Monday, April 06, 2009

To See the Frog Eat the Goggle-Eye Bee

April 05, 2009

Clockwise from top left: Frieda can't keep her eyes open for this photo, Frieda with bag, Sweater sized bag, sock sized bag

Despite the dull, steady headache associated with staying out super late and getting up super early (the rock show on Saturday night was totally worth it, but I have no photographs), Sunday was a pretty productive day. A friend is planning to have a booth at Sock Summit in August, and I've been trying to come up with a sock project bag that she could sell. This is a proposition with a lot of "ifs", in my mind--if I can make more than one or two, if she does have a booth, if I will more than break even on the deal, etc. Then there's the obvious "will anyone buy this" question, of course.

I can sew pretty well, but my quality threshhold for things that I make for myself is decidedly lower than my quality threshhold for things that I would buy, and that's a contradiction that may mean trouble. Producing multiples of something that is sewn well enough that I would buy it myself may suck the joy right out of the creative process for me. Also, I think that my design idea is pretty good, but I've been mentally overcomplicating it and even my simple attempts today have some issues.

My basic idea is a bag that will keep two balls of yarn from tangling (as in two socks at once, or colorwork socks), but will let me remove the yarn without cutting it, and will hold the project and the yarn. No velcro, no zippers--I maintain that these are the enemy of yarn, just as mohair yarn is the enemy of my skin. I've decided to try button closures, so that the yarn can thread out the sides, but will tuck into the center & be buttoned up. Future enhancements (the part that I'm overcomplicating mentally) include inner dividers, pockets, etc., but I'm trying to remind myself that this is just a project bag--it's not a purse, or a full-on knitting bag, or a means to create world peace. Two balls of yarn, with room for one or two socks. That's it.

The prototype bag is made of denim with a little stretch that I had lying around, embellished with some Japanese frog canvas & a couple of scraps. I didn't line the bag, but am still on the fence about that--it's a balance between excess weight and better finishing. I zigzagged the raw edges so there won't be any fraying, but lining would still look neater. Also, I put in the buttonholes before sewing the side seam, and it would look neater to sew the side seams first and then turn the top edge down and put in the buttonholes (assuming that I could still mark the buttonhole positions straight). The embellishment took a long time--too long, really. A cute pocket (maybe big enough to hold a pattern) might be a better use of the space.

So what do I like about the bag? The craftsmanship is reasonably good, and I think that the size will work well (but I might make it slightly wider). I like the clutch-style handle, and I like the look of the different buttons. Denim is super durable, so needles shouldn't poke through. It will stand up (though is a little floppy) when empty, which means that if loaded properly it will stand up when full.

The only project I'm working on now that uses two balls of yarn is the Black Diamond (look at how big it's getting!), and this bag will hold two 100g balls of classy but not the yarn and the sweater. So why not sew a larger version of the bag? On the larger bag, I put two handles to the top of the bag, and a mermaid pocket on the front. Wider opening = 5 buttons, which I was too lazy to dig out and sew on before calling it a day. I'm not sure I'd want to make many of these, it takes longer and a lot more fabric, and getting the pocket square is tricky. If you could see it closer, you would notice that--trust me.

So now that I've made a couple of bags, I suppose I need to test them out--I have this fear of the yarn getting all tangled up on the buttons, and the only way to put that fear to rest is to knit a little!


e said...

I really like this prototype. Especially the little tag handle thingie on the side.

For the yarn can you do those little tags inside the bag on each side with snap closures so they open - kind of like my Jordana Paige bag?

dem Efa said...

Make some bags for the booth...but copyright and print your pattern and sell that also...or how about a kit with the pattern and all the yardage and notions? Those bags are great!