Why 'My Mink Betty'?

Why 'My Mink Betty'?
I'm not your common, everyday twenty-something year old and when I graduated from High School I got an equally uncommon gift. My parents found for me a beautiful 1940's mink stole at a garage sale. It had belonged to the woman's Great Aunt Betty who had married late in life to a man with money and had only allowed him to buy her this one luxury. The unusually styled stole has the name, Betty L. Jones, embroidered in the satin lining so that's what I call her. They never had children of their own and the mink was passed to Aunt Betty's niece and on to her daughter. Until it got to me, no one since Aunt Betty had worn it. Now Betty the mink and I go to the theater together on special occasions and I hope that someday I can take her to the Symphony or the Ballet. Although Betty hadn't been worn or loved for many years she was waiting for someone to love her again as are most other things I look for when thrifting.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Ravelry Swap Reveal: Part Two, The Project Bag

I live close enough to one of the two Pendleton Woolen Mills (where Pendleton blankets and shirts are born) that I have driven past it countless times over the years on my way to church, friends' houses or estate sales.  For years I've wondered whether there was a factory store open to the public and what the hours would be.  One day, on my way to church, God sent me a sign.  Well actually, it was the factory sign that had apparently been there all along, just obscured by a grove of cottonwood trees.  Somebody cut down the trees, and I discovered the Mill Store.

Soon I stopped in and discovered that a decent variety of wool remnants could be found at reasonable prices.  Additionally, every cut fabric was 30% off, including remnants.  I wanted to do a project bag for the Ravelry swap, and after a very enjoyable time looking through all the goodies, I found three pieces I was sure would work.

I chose a solid piece in orange, and two coordinating plaids, one with a grey base, and one with a yellow base.  Each remnant was about a half yard of fabric.

I knew I wanted to make a Japanese Knot style bag, because this was going to be my first project ever sewn on a machine, and it doesn't require a zipper, drawstring or any other fastenings.  I found a pattern online and modified it to the size I wanted.  Then I set to work.

Unfortunately, being a novice at sewing, I didn't realize that working with wool brings it's own challenges.  The edges needed to be finished so they wouldn't ravel, and the weight of the fabric made it more difficult to manipulate and gather.  I also did not know that a Japanese Knot bag is a tricky pattern, no matter how straight forward it may seem.  Mom was confined to bed, so unable to help beyond giving advice, so I was on my own.  It was quite an adventure.   But I managed to pull it together just in time for shipping.

Here's the finished object.  I used the solid orange with the grey plaid for contrast. 

The lining is done in the grey plaid with an orange bottom, and the bag is fully reversible.  Even though the wool was a challenge for a novice to work with, it makes for a very sturdy bag, and I'm very pleased with the choice.  My swappee sews and she was very impressed.  Because she sews, I sent along the leftover material, including the majority of the yellow and orange plaid.

When I was practicing with the sewing machine, I made this little needle book, which I also sent.  Wool makes an excellent needle book.  Now that the sewing machine is set up again, maybe I can sew a make-up bag in less than 24 hours (sewing by hand isn't difficult, but it is time-consuming, lol).

Part Three of the Ravelry Swap Reveal is coming soon.
If you haven't seen Part One, it was mostly yarn.

I'm linking up with these parties:
Nifty Thrifty Sunday
Show and Share
Roses of Inspiration
Think Tank Thursday
Frugal Friday


  1. Oh, I love wool... What a great place that must be and your bag is lovely.. I bet whoever received it thought they were blessed.. smile..
    Thanks for dropping by and yes, I am Canadian and do love my dishes.. smile.. xo

  2. Your bag is quite charming, my dear :) And the colors are so fun and cheerful. I have never worked with wool so thanks for the heads up and helpful tips :)

    It's always a joy to have you at Roses of Inspiration. Hugs to you!

  3. I just started sewing this year and at this point wouldn't call myself a complete beginner because I got so (or sew?) obsessed with it that I started sewing all the time and now have a pretty good handle on things. I still have a lot to learn, though! Your bag looks wonderful!

  4. Thanks for visiting my blog and for your kind words.


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