Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Handwoven SAORI Market Bag

Our guild Retreat is coming up fast. Such a lovely time to relax with friends and fiber, with no responsibilities and no schedule. Wait... there IS one responsibility - every year we're given a different challenge, to create something incorporating some handspun. This year it's a market bag. I was planning to knit something... and then suddenly I realized the time had gotten away from me, and knitting was going to take too long. Enter weaving - so fast, so fun!

I dug around in my handspun stash, and found a skein of fingering weight silk singles I'd spun a long time ago from a pastel-rainbow tussah silk top (in the picture, I've already wound it onto bobbins). Perfect for my main weft. Thinking SAORI-style, I grabbed some multi-colored silk hankies and a small handful of mulberry silk top, along with some leftover bits of cotton yarn from another project.

Then I warped my Cricket loom with black 5/2 and 8/2 cotton, held together, in the 12 dent rigid heddle. This gave me a good background for some color play.

You can see that I used the handspun silk as the ground weft, and randomly tossed in torn-off bits of the hankies and top, creating hills and valleys and delightful textures. In true SAORI fashion, I didn't worry (much, I'm still a structure girl!) about the edges, and knew they would be sewn in anyway.

In practically no time, the piece was done.  The warp was 3 yards, and 7.5" in the reed/heddle. My finished piece was 90" x 6.5". I used this guide on Doni's Deli's blog to create the bag - essentially, the strip of cloth is folded like origami and sewn up the sides.

Et voila!

(That's the bag simply pinned together, before sewing.) I sewed it by hand, partially because I was intimidated by the thought of trying to get the thick fabric under my machine's foot, and also because I wanted to use the same black 8/2 cotton as I had in the warp. I was glad I'd made that decision - the fabric felt good in my hands and the sewing was relaxing.

Here's the finished bag. I folded the strap's edges in and sewed it as a tube (using an invisible ladder stitch) to narrow the strap and to give it strength. There was no cutting involved in the construction.

I am absurdly pleased with this bag. Once I add a lining, it will become my new everyday bag. I'm secretly hoping people will stop me and ask where I got it, so I can proudly say, "I wove this myself!"


  1. Debbie, I'm absurdly awestruck by your bag! I will stop you, as soon as I see you with (or without) this lovely bag!

  2. Debbie -- Awesome job on the bag!

  3. LOVE the bag! So clever to use that form of silk that way. Of course, I love silk anyway. :) So fast and easy to weave up!

  4. Wow! I'm putting this on my future project list! I want to make one of these and the fact that it has no cutting and can be hand-sewn is a BIG plus, considering my lack of machine sewing skills!.

  5. Love This! Wish, Oh I Wish, I was closer to you so you could teach me to weave! I have a 20+ year RH that has not had 1 project finished on it. :(


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