I can remember, when I was little seeing these two wooden sticks with small holes in them always floating around in some drawer or basket in my mom’s laundry/sewing room. I can remember banging them together like drum sticks and for some odd reason, in my little adolescent mind, I thought my mother used them for darning socks. Not sure why, but I did.
So when I ran into a set again a few weeks ago, going through my step-mother’s mother’s piles of fabric, I had to ask their true purpose. Purse handles. Of course!
My step mother couldn’t quite remember the pattern or style and had some general ideas of how the purse came together. But her father used to make the handles himself and then her mother sewed them up as gifts for friends and family. He sat down with me too, trying to remember how "Janie used to make them", his rough farming hands gently turning them over and over, using a napkin like a piece of fabric, folding and turning it, to give me an idea of a pattern. Being pathetically unable to visualize something, unless it is right in front of me, I went along with his description, hoping he would be able to uncover one of her old ones from the closet, like he promised he’d try to do.
But the next day, I caught a glimpse out the window of my grandmother gingerly getting in to the car with one of her children, to attend a graduation celebration, and clutched in her hands was one of the exact purses I was trying to put together. I found her after she returned home and had ‘naps’ and she gave me her bag as a pattern and told me it was one of her favorites. It may have even been a gift from Janie herself.
So I took it home, studied it, drew my own pattern on a brown paper bag and got right to work. It is a simple design, and once I held one in my hands and could turn it over and look at it closely, it all made sense. And I’m sure a big, "ooohhh." even came out of my breath.
So this is my prototype, inside seams showing and all. But its my everyday bag now, the one I take everywhere and I love it. I’ve actually been carrying it around for almost a month now, forgetting that I’d never shared it with all of you.
We are desperately low on sunshine lately, so forgive the pathetic photo stylings from this morning. Do you see that I had to perch it right in front of the window to even get the littlest rays of light to cast on the bag? But I did have a very helpful assistant, who even posed with the bag over her arm, since her mother was still in pajama bottoms and wearing her county fair queen sash. (This morning, Emma begged me to wear my sash from when I was a "fairy". I keep correcting her that I was just a queen of the fair. I guess I can see how she’s getting it confused. Maybe I’ll just keep the fairy title for now.)
So this is just the first of what I hope to be many more. I think they’d make great knitting travel bags because they have no clasps or velcro or snaps for yarn to get stuck on. And I think they’d also be nice in a smaller clutch-size. Now, I just have to continue the tradition and get Dan to start making some of those wooden handles for me, too.
***I’ve posted ISBN’s for yesterday’s new craft books in the post***