I can't believe it. It's been five years in the making, punctuated (frequently) by children needing my attention. But the day has finally arrived to face my fears and unveil the fruits of my labour. This adventure started on Christmas Day 2008 when my husband surprised me with a gorgeous Ashford spinning wheel. But I didn't know how to spin and frankly, I was terrified of it. Fortunately the wheel came with some beginner lessons. Of course my husband only thought to mention that the next day after I'd already destroyed some perfectly good fleece!
The next year Santa brought me my very own Ashford rigid heddle loom. Having spent most of the previous year knitting my hand spun yarn, this was just what the doctor ordered! I was instantly hooked and have not picked up a knitting needle since! I have fallen in love with the way the warp and the weft combine in interesting and unexpected ways to produce some of the most unique fabrics I could have ever hoped for.
But the problem still remained, what to do with these yards of narrow fabric? When I asked my husband what he thought, he grabbed a length of fabric from my hands, and lay it across our dining room buffet and proudly announced "table runners!" No.
After a brief flirtation with scarves and some encouraging feedback from my friends, I was still looking for my "thing". I knew the fabric was good but I didn't know what to do with it. One day I was sewing a dress for my daughter with some fabric I'd picked up at the local shop and I stared over at my latest creation still wound tight on my loom. I started to wonder if I could sew the fabric into something more interesting, and even useful.
It started with a small change purse. It was small and would hold very little, but I was hooked. I wanted to make bags. But hand woven fabric can be delicate and might not wear well with daily use. I needed a way to reinforce the bag in a way where I could showcase the fabric while still making it practical for every day use.
First I tried various cotton fabrics but I didn't like the look and, frankly, it looked "too" hand made. The answer was leather. Turns out I love working with leather (apart from the occasional hammer bash to the finger!) and I think the two materials together make a beautiful bag. I hope you agree.