I’ve had this idea for the longest time: to make a felted tote with leather handles. I thought it difficult to realize though. How much to knit to get a good size felt? How to attach the leather straps so they don’t look homemade? How to sew the lining — by hand or by machine — so it stays nicely stretched and even? What hardware to use? The headaches of bag making…

Then one day I found at the back of the closet an old wool vest that I had knitted for my husband and after washing it became very short and very wide, because I can (would) never follow pattern directions but make it all up as I go. I tried to felt the vest some more, cut it and sewed it again to make it into a tote. I cut the straps from an old leather bag that I have fallen out of love with and sewed them by hand, to the perfect length. Then I used the zipper pulls from the same old bag to make a sort of hanging/closure type of thing, to which I added some charms. The charms play a double role, both decorative and utilitarian, as they act weigh down the leather pulls, keeping the two sides of the bag together.

I think the result is quite beautiful. It looks professionally-made and I like that it still reminds me of the old vest a little. And don’t the heart-charms are quite suitable for this Valentine’s Day post.

I have been wearing the felted bag little throughout the winter, not because I don’t like it, but because it does not match my everyday coat. But this The Sak leather bag that I ended up buying in the fall has been great.

Actually, I used it in its original form for not more than two months when I decided that it lacked something. It was too plain. A black leather bag. And the strap was a bit too long. So I cut the strap and shortened it, which makes me very happy now because the bag hangs right under my armpit and when in falls from the shoulder I can still carry it on the arm without worries that it will drag on the floor. But the best idea ever was to sew on the bag these beautiful turquoise flowers, cut from an old leather wallet, for a bit of whimsy.

I traced them with a cookie cutter and cut them to shape, then I sewed the flowers to the bag by hand. And this is how now I have the perfect bag. No doubt about it.

Well, doubts will arise, no doubt, after a while. But until then, I can declare myself bag-happy.

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