Why I line

A million years ago, when I worked as a writing instructor, whenever the opportunity presented itself I would assign Joan Didion’s piece “Why I Write.”

In the essay Didion describes why she writes; her perspective often inspired an awakening in my students that made them realize that writing is a powerful tool and not an an antiquated and unnecessary chore to be dreaded.

This shift in perspective mirrors my own changed view on lining a crochet bag.

There was a time when I would spend countless hours devising ways not to line a bag.

I would crochet lines of reinforcement, weaving in several dozen ends and doing anything I could to avoid having to haul out my fabric scissors and rudimentary sewing skills in order to fashion a lining.

In the fall of 1973, I was in the 8th grade at what was then known as Douglas Junior High School. Like many of the other young women in my grade, I was enrolled in a course of study listed on my report card as HOMEMAKING.

In the fall I, along with thirty or so other girls, had Mrs. Mosher for the sewing portion of our homemaking studies. We learned to thread sewing machines, stitch hems, and to make things like aprons and smocks.

Fortunately for me, my teacher graded as much on good behavior as she did sewing skills, and my ability to excel at the former helped make up for my myriad deficiencies in the latter.

Fast forward thirty-seven years. I found myself confronted with a project that I really needed to line.

There was no way around it.

After scouring the internet and finding a tutorial on this exact topic, I got out my scissors, a box of straight pins, a measuring tape, and a needle and thread and got to work.

Here is a view of the first lining I ever sewed into a crochet bag:

fabric lined crochet bag
The first bag I ever lined

And it was that project that catapulted me from being a lining avoider to a lining advocate, so much so, that first element of the flamingo-inspired practically perfect crochet granny square bag that I had, was this fabric for the lining:

The flamingo fabric to line the crochet purse it inspired
The flamingo fabric to line the crochet purse it inspired

When I got the fabric home, I washed, dried, ironed, and folded it, and then put it away for safe keeping.

Yesterday, I pulled it out and for the first time noticed that all of the flamingos go in the same direction. As I was planning to use it for the interior of the bag, it occurred to me that the flamingos would be right side up on one side of the bag, and upside down on the other.

I decided to remedy that by cutting two pieces for the interior lining which could then be sewn together in such as way as to render most of the flamingos right side up:

flamingo fabric lining
I join the two pieces of the flamingo lining

With interior lining well on its way to being completed, I cut out the fabric for the outer lining, got out my needle and thread and set to work. Here is how far I got before sunset:

double fabric lining for a crochet bag
The inner and outer linings of the flamingo bag-to-be

Having made substantive progress on the lining, I then finished joining the seams of the bag itself, and even managed to complete thirty-six one-round granny squares to be used to make the thirty-six two-round granny squares I will need for the edging/handles:

granny square crochet purse
One side of the flamingo inspired bag-to-be
granny square crochet purse
The other side of the flamingo inspired bag-to-be

It seems to me that while my linings are perhaps not “perfect,” they are perfect enough, and in learning to line my crochet bags, I have empowered myself and achieved things far beyond what I thought I could.

It reminds me of the end of the musical “The Addams Family.” After some resistance, the Addams and the Beinke families embrace the fact that their children will marry, and Lurch sings the following:

Move toward the darkness
Welcome the unknown
Face your blackest demons
Find your bleakest bone
Lose your inhibitions
Love what once was vile
Move toward the darkness
And… smile

3 thoughts on “Why I line

  1. Before you stitch the lining into the bag, have you given thought to sewing a pocket on either side of the lining? To me, a bag is only as useful as its pockets! 🙂 Gorgeous work! Are the yoyos going to factor into your final product?

    1. I have thought about adding pockets, but I have not yet done so. Given how dark this lining is, it is an excellent candidate for a brightly colored pocket so you can #FindYourStuff. 🙂

  2. I took lots of classes in various art forms in Jr High School, including home making. I love all my creative learning and to this day I still call apon this knowledge in sewing and cooking. My teacher, Mrs. Cheshire wAs a gentle woman who I will remember fondly forever.

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