Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Grrlfriend Market Bag

Have you ever made something because you thought you wanted it, only to find out you really didn't need it and might never use it? That's my situation with this knitted market bag.

What enticed me about this beauty was the fantasy of walking a farmer's market and filling my hand knit bag to the brim. The yarn was what sold me on it. I just love the colors. It's Linsey from Berroco yarns. Wonderful to work with, in a blend of linen and cotton. The self-striping effect is so cool!

I say going to the farmer's market is a fantasy, because I have yet to find the likes of the HUGE one in my hometown (Ithaca, NY) here in central Massachusetts. A roofed pavilion, stalls too numerous to count, live music, purveyors of fresh cooked snacks and lunches, art, wine, baked goods, preserves, hand spun yarn - all enhance the task of shopping for the freshest of vegetables and fruit. I miss it.

This summer my husband and I bought a farm share, or CSA. Every Thursday I drive 8 miles to a home where I pick up produce that was delivered earlier in the day. We bought a small share, and it's proven to be more than the two of us can eat. Last week's share contained 2 ears of corn, 4 bell peppers, 4 or 5 hot peppers, lettuce, arugula, a cucumber, cilantro, an eggplant, two summer squash, a pint of tiny yellow pear-shaped tomatoes, and a large tomato. On paper this sounds wonderful, but there was just as much in our box the previous week, and the week before, and the week before... I have banana peppers coming out of my ears. I have a refrigerator bursting with produce, and I'll be picking up more on Thursday.

Ok, I admit, I'm not much for cooking. People say I'm a good cook, but it doesn't happen often. I think it's because I put so much of my creative juices into sewing and knitting. I have little energy left when I enter my small kitchen. Which is another issue. Last night my husband helped me make a grilled vegetable lasagna, and we kept bumping into each other. It was frustrating to have so little counter space, and I had an "aha moment". I finally realized the space issue is part of the reason I don't cook much. The other is that my husband often works late, and I don't like to cook for just myself. A bowl of cereal and fruit is just fine some evenings. Or a salad with every vegetable in my fridge at the time.

The farm share has helped us eat better, and I've made some delicious recipes, but I'm going to be relieved when it ends in a couple of weeks. We're not signing up for the fall session because there will be kale, kale, and more kale. In June, I had kale coming out of my ears. And we don't care for kale, collards, or escarole. We tried it; it doesn't make our taste buds happy. So this fall I'll be going to the local farm stand and buying what appeals to me at the time. And maybe I'll use my bag - although I don't want to get it wet or dirty, or - why did I make this bag?

Look how cool the bottom is! The cast on stitches are pulled through a circle of yarn (Emily Ocker's Beginning, which can be found online). It's a really cool way to start a project. The bag was designed by Laura Spradlin and the pattern is available on Ravelry. It was lots of fun to make. The only change I made was to make two shorter straps instead of one shoulder strap.

Time will tell what I carry in this bag, but I have to admit, it does look great full of vegetables!

In the studio, I'm busy making handbags. I, who vowed to never make another bag for as long as I live, have three handbags in the works. It's been fun shopping my stash and designing one-of-a-kind bags. I let the fabrics dictate the style, shape and mood of each one. That's much easier than trying to figure out how to make a fabric do something it doesn't want to do. I've been doing the painting all at once, since there is some set up and tear down involved in that process. Then I move forward cutting and sewing each one until I arrive at a place where I need another supply, or I'm not sure how I want a certain element to look, and I start working on a different one. I'm usually a one-project-at-a-time kind of gal, but I'm enjoying working this way right now.

I find I really enjoy drafting the patterns, too. There is something very pleasurable about a pencil in my hand. The simple act of physically transferring thought onto paper is something I so seldom do in this digital age. Each time I pick up a pencil, I realize how much I've missed writing and drawing. I've purchased a small sketch pad, pencils, a sharpener and an eraser to keep in my car, so that I can draw ideas as they come to mind. Not while I'm driving, but in between appointments, errands, work and home, etc. Of course, I'll need to design a bag to keep them in!

I plan to have at least one bag completed by the end of the week, so I'll be posting again soon. Tell me, how does your cooking mojo compare to your sewing or knitting mojo? Does it drain your creative energy, or can you do both with no trouble? I'm curious!


  1. What a beautiful bag! I get the concept of not wanting it to get dirty though....my market bags simply do not stay clean for long - it's the nature of the beast.

    I'm getting ready to jump on the bag-making bandwagon. Truth is, I NEED them!

    Regarding cooking mojo...I think that I [ahem] mature more, I seem to be becoming a bit more of a home-maker type. I went through a phase like this in my 20's, when I both sewed & cooked up a storm (albeit I was living a rather different lifestyle in many ways....). So I do both. But not every day. As with most things creative, it's all in spurts and as the spirit moves.

    I shared a produce-box thing with a friend, a few years ago. All fabulous, local, organic, produce, delivered to your door. Sounds SO wonderful, but it just didn't work for me. It was often too much, even though I DO love my fresh produce, but I would rather make my own choices...it's sort of like a "mystery bag" of fabric. Except the produce costs more lol!

    1. Forgot to mention my share is organic. Lovely veggies sometimes. Sometimes dwarfs or disfigured misfits, but they all taste good. Except kale.
      Mystery box, indeed. I should have bought fabric instead!

  2. LOLOL. Oh I SO get it!!! I love that bag, I want that bag. But I would never ever put wet or dirty or unwashed produce in it!!! I would make it and then "save it for good". LOLOL.

    It sure looks great, staged with veggies! Now, see, it could also be a beach bag, but you have the same issue of sand and wetness. Hmmm.... I don't know the answer, but I love it.

    And, I'm the same as you regarding cooking. Though when I'm being healthful, I do make veggie soups that use up tons of veggies...

  3. By the way, I make green smoothies and put tons of kale in there. YUM.

    1. Yuck! Sorry, but that sounds totally disgusting!

      Rhymes With Orange had a funny comic strip a couple of weeks ago. Mom was serving dinner to Dad and daughter, saying, "We're having kale stuffed kale with kale sauce, and everyone's going to like it!" Followed with sign saying: The Tyranny of the Farm Share" Tee hee!

    2. lol, that IS funny! My friend with cancer used to think it sounded gross, too. But she has been reformed and now loves them. The primary taste is the fruit, ie. mango. :)

      I'm going to go make one raght now!

  4. Oh yes indeed - a good green smoothie is hard to beat! Kale, spinach, or chard, with frozen banana, some coconut, protein powder of some sort, a few nuts or nut butter, a piece of fruit or fruit juice....omg my mouth is watering......

    How about using your bag as an accessory? You know, you can put something in it, or not, & just carry it around looking cool....

  5. Spinach, yes. But not other dark greens. I just don't like them. I suppose I could bury the flavor in a smoothie with fruit, but I won't be rushing out to try it!
    Hey, maybe I should load up my market bag with kale and send it to San Francisco!

  6. What a wonderful bag. Come to Chicago and I'll take you to a lovely farmer's market!!

  7. Thanks for the invite, Rhonda! I just might take you up on it some day.

  8. Oh, your bag is so gorgeous, I love the colours and the subtly blending self-striping. Beautiful! I am right with you, on the cooking thing. I tolerate the day to day stuff, but I like experimenting with new recipes sometimes, for fun! Your high veggie diet sounds very healthy and yummy too :)

    1. Thank you, Carolyn. My diet would be a lot better if I actually ate all of the veggies before they went bad. It's just not happening.:(