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Wednesday, 4 May 2022

I Have My Head In A Book

When I researched building an email list, the most common piece of advice was to give readers an incentive to subscribe in addition to the reason they're subscribing.  Are gimmicks really necessary? I think we're all smarter than that and if we want the information, we'll subscribe and if we don't want it, we won't. SO...

... if you look over in the right hand column, you'll see a link to subscribe for workshop and event news. No extra incentive. And you won't hear from me very often, perhaps three or four times a year at most. I've created this subscription list for two reasons. The first is in case my Instagram account or the blog is highjacked (which has been happening to others lately) and I need to let you know and the second is to send information about any upcoming workshop and event news because there will be some as soon as possible. 

A friend gave me a lovely wicker bag with wooden handles a really long time ago and when it wore out, I created this knitting bag in the same shape and reused the handles. We were talking on the weekend about when that was, trying to figure out how long I have been sewing bags for. She remembers me making her a diaper bag when her daughter was born thirty-two years ago so it's been at least that long but probably longer because I'm quite sure I would have made a few before I gave one as a gift. 

The handle on this bag is carved wood. It was made for me by the owner of the B & B that I was staying at for a sewing retreat with the same friend. That was seventeen years ago and by then I had become fairly proficient. 

The bag was part of a dozen made by recycling quilt tops that had nowhere to go.  The squares on the flap are raw edge, fused in place, stitched over with variegated thread, and embellished with three beads each - two seed and one bugle. Even though I have always been drawn to labour intensive work and to exploring curious questions like what kind of handbag could I make with this quilt, those techniques were part of the shift from traditional quilt making to textile art around 2004-ish. The bag was used as a portfolio when I flew to Los Angeles to be the guest on a show about setting up your sewing space - a book I wrote about thirty years ago. 

Before I moved here, I lived in a community just over an hour away. For fifteen years, I flipped houses and Lyn was my realtor. She was also one of the managers at my first job at age fifteen. The bag was designed specifically for her to meet her perfect bag requirements and the picture was taken in my studio at the townhouse I bought ten years ago. Along with curious questions, I enjoy creating to a theme or for a specific person. 

Right now, I have my head in a book and as much as I like to think I can multi-task, it's never been my strong suit. When I find a project engaging, it's also all encompassing and seems to consume the entirety of my brain power. That combined with the fact that I'm still losing weight means I'm not sewing a lot of clothing lately so there will be more bags and less clothes on the blog for a while. I'll try to write supportive, encouraging, engaging posts so that if you're not interest in bags, there is - hopefully - still something of interest. If there's a topic you'd like me to write about, please let me know and I'll see what I can do. 


SO... the long and the short... I am writing a book about creating one of a kind handbags which after a stuttering start (entirely normal) is editing itself, finding shape, and moving forward. I haven't written a book in a really long time and I am LOVING it. My mind is happy dancing, there are notes scattered all over the studio, and the energy is invigorating. It's exactly what I need right now. 

This particular bag will be part of a section about developing and testing a pattern. Originally, I thought I'd write the book first and then look at teaching but I'm wondering why wait? It is entirely possible for me to organize workshops and begin teaching again right now even as I'm writing which is...

... VERY exciting because I really enjoy teaching and have heard (via reviews) that I'm quite good at it which is the perfect combination. If you visit my website, you'll see that it is slowly evolving into a business site focused on the handbags although it's in the fledgling first stages right now without workshop descriptions or a gallery yet. Now that I've realized I don't want to wait to teach, those will be added even faster because I think the fall would be a good time to head back to "school" if you will.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a long history with bag making


  1. Please write about making bags. One of my goals after retirement is get into making bags with African fabrics. I will be in line to buy your book.

    1. THANK YOU - that is so encouraging and exactly what I needed this morning.