January 07, 2016
When I use my hands to create it is the act of creation that speaks to me. I love the process. Yes, the finished product is nice (usually) and I like using and wearing what I make, but it is the in and out of the needle, whether knitting needle or threaded needle, I enjoy most of all.
I work slowly, not by choice, necessarily, but it is the way I work in this moment. Once upon a time, I could whip through a sweater in a month, but those days are behind me -- partly because my hands and arms need a slower pace, and the occasional rest, and partly because I have found other shiny objects to draw my attention.
This past year I found one of the processes I have enjoyed most has been the sewing of Alabama Chanin projects. I buy kits from Alabama Chanin because I do not have the desire to own all the stuff needed to do my own stenciling, nor do I have the space. The fact I can buy a ready to stitch project is a big part of the draw. I need only thread a needle to be ready to go.
The Market Bag was one of the most process heavy projects, of any sort, I have ever made. The point was to learn the different techniques used in the Alabama Chanin process and I certainly have learned that over the course of the two projects I've completed. I've also learned just how much I like it.
The first thing I did was stitch the motifs on the two larger main pieces (the front/back) of the bag. For one side I outlined the designs using a running stitch and on the other side I used a back stitch. The back stitch took 5 times longer, and more than twice the amount of thread, than the rest of the project. After outline, the inside of the motif was cut away to reveal the color below. Joy filled my heart, as the spots of color brought the whole project to life. However, there was much more to do once the main pieces were complete. The bag had two narrow side sections, a bottom, and two handles, plus all the pieces of the lining to sew into place. Don't forget, the cute little inside pocket with the AC label, which is the icing on the cake!
To keep the bag stable I decided to only do the stitching of the bottom and side pieces and not cut them to reveal color. Three layers of fabric should give the bag the ability, as well as the stability, to carry heavier objects, like books or a computer.
As with any long-term project I am going through a bit of a mourning period. I miss stitching my Market Bag. I started this project over Labor Day weekend of 2014, so we've been together a long time. It's now time to enjoy the next part of the journey with my Market Bag on my arm, full of my favorite things. I'm stoked.
What a beautiful description of your creative and artistic process along with the stunning finished project. Enjoy your gorgeous bag, and enjoy your next long-term project process!
Posted by: Bonny | January 07, 2016 at 05:45 AM
What a beautiful bag Margene! So many loving stitches sewn into it. I need to get back to my embroidery!
Posted by: Sharon | January 07, 2016 at 06:40 AM
That's such a beautiful bag. I know you will use it for a good long time and the memories of making it will be cherished!
Posted by: Carole | January 07, 2016 at 06:58 AM
How beautiful! I hope you enjoy your journey with your new bag!
Posted by: Debbie | January 07, 2016 at 07:08 AM
Margene! It's just beautiful! The process is the Best Part -- but in this case, I think you're going to love using the bag nearly as much as making it. I love it! (Wish that kit was still available... Like you, I'm not into the stenciling, etc.) XO
Posted by: Kym | January 07, 2016 at 07:19 AM
Isn't it wonderful to discover things that work for us and our creativity?! That bag turned out great. :)
Posted by: Chris | January 07, 2016 at 07:50 AM
It is so beautiful
Posted by: Monica | January 07, 2016 at 08:10 AM
Magnificent!! I think your mourning period will be short because, unlike a sweater, you'll be able to use your bag everyday and tote it with you everywhere (should you choose)!!
Posted by: Vicki | January 07, 2016 at 10:01 AM
What a lovely bag, Margene. This is one of those beginning to the end projects since you will continue to enjoy it regularly whenever you use it, which should be often. What's next?
Posted by: Becky | January 07, 2016 at 01:09 PM
That bag is gorgeous. I'm not familiar with this process and I'm trying really hard not to click the link and learn more. I don't have time for the hobbies I currently have (as my spinning wheel would tell you) so I hate to get sucked into something else. I love that you made something so beautiful and functional that will bring you joy for years to come.
Posted by: Stephanie | January 07, 2016 at 03:40 PM
Margene, the finished piece is beautiful - a true work of art that will bring both beauty and function into your life! ! I didn't remember that the project had been with you that long...I'm sure you're mourning the process. I think of myself as a process and a project knitter, but ultimately, I think it's project ... and you've reminded me to more mindful of the process. thank you!
Posted by: Mary | January 07, 2016 at 05:48 PM
What a joyful project! You will get so much use from that beautiful market bag!
Posted by: Patty | January 08, 2016 at 07:52 AM
so very beautiful and so very you! I am glad you enjoyed the project and I think the stitching would be a wonderful relaxing actitvity
Posted by: karen | January 08, 2016 at 09:29 AM
I too love this post...your description of the "why" behind the process totally resonates with me. Like you, I know that now the AC is finished, you are mourning its "loss," tho' I think that will be short-lived and you will move onto another satisfying and creative adventure...I would love to venture into this area but I hope to restrain myself as my plate's become a 'groaning' board but I am working on a year-long project and I may just be able to add a bit of the AC technique in as an experiment. Ummm...
Beautiful bag and post. Thanks for sharing. Carry/Use the bag in good health!
Posted by: Honoré | January 08, 2016 at 12:17 PM
Beautiful work! I really enjoy seeing pictures as the Chaninistas work on and finish projects!
Posted by: Beverly | January 08, 2016 at 03:28 PM
Posted by: Manise | January 13, 2016 at 06:09 AM