When you need to make something

What do you do when you need to make something but you have lymphedema and your lymphedema bandages just won’t let you knit or spin?  Really MAKE, like create.  Not make a bed, or make supper. 


You can sew!  It’s actually amazing how fast you can get a whole project done when you use fabric that somebody else makes 🙂 .  Kimberlee linked to a pattern for one hour one yard tote bags the other day (scroll down a bit, it was last week, I think…).  Here it is.  I modified it a bit.


As written, the handles are perhaps 10 inches long each when completed… 36 X 4 inches, divided the short way, but then with the ends tucked under the cuff of the bag.   I think such a generously sized tote needs longer handles.


So I divided my handle fabric the long way, making each piece 36 X 2, and matched it up with some sturdy ribbon.  It turns out that the ribbon was the only thing I needed to buy to make four bags, so the total out of pocket cost was less than five dollars. 


I was about to have to spend more, though… I couldn’t find my pins.  Guess that’s what happens when you don’t do any sewing other than mending for a year or so 🙂  But while searching for my pins, I found a skinny roll of some sort of double sided iron-on adhesive.  Since I haven’t yet lost my iron, I was able to use it to hold everything together.  It’s probably cheating or something, so don’t tell my mom.  She would NEVER lose her pins.


Don’t worry, I’m not depending on this nameless magic iron-on stuff to hold my handles together.  I sewed them securely.  See?  Actually, it’s hard to see.  This is because I WAS able to find matching thread.  So in two hours and 37 minutes, I made four bags.


Do you want to know how I know exactly how much time it took?  Turns out it is much harder to sew while playing with a toddler than it is to knit while playing with a toddler.  So I told the bigger boys that they could play Wii for as long as it took me to make my project if they would take care of George.  They’re usually limited to an hour a day, so they counted every second.

I’m going to be happy to get back to knitting, though.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll tell you all about lymphedema.  Or maybe I’ll show you the pictures I took of Danny’s swimming lessons.  That would definitely be more fun.

7 thoughts on “When you need to make something

  1. Glad you were able to “make” something on a day when your usual outlet wasn’t available. I’m sure the big boys enjoyed their time on the Wii too…

  2. Awesome bags! I agree the handles are a bit short in the pattern – the solution you ‘found’ looks great! 🙂 I do love the satisfaction of completing a ‘quick’ project.

  3. Sounds like my sewing “adventures” this spring…I hadn’t sewn in FOREVER and decided to make totes for Betsy’s bridesmaids…I had all this “stuff” but had actually forgotten what the iron on tape was! Plus, my machine wouldn’t sew…so a trip to get it repaired…at least he assured me it wasn’t my fault!

    A few days later (after I got out the manual to make sure I remembered how to thread it!)… the rest was easier!

    Just don’t ask Missi about my monogramming her initials! (That’s when I was really glad I made pockets to monogram on instead of the bag itself!

    Love your bags…hope you can get back to knitting soon!


  4. You are amazing! When you can’t put your creative juices to work on your activity of choice, you find another outlet. You always will. The bags are great. Nancy

  5. You did better than the pattern. Pattern is supposed to be “one hour”. You made four in 2.51 hours. Therefore, you made one in .625 hours (36 min).

  6. Great bags! Great colors! More sewing could be in your future because it can be habit forming. Great photos and blog too!

    Great math skills, Esther!

    Hmmm, your mother never lose her pins – don’t count on it – tee hee!

  7. Dear Teri,
    My math was shaky at best. 🙂 It’s the old “put more labor power into the task to speed it up” mantra. Too bad that trick doesn’t work for projects that actually take time regardless of how much labor power is dedicated to the task: making yogurt, making ice cream, pregnancy. 🙂
    But in this case, I do like to think Elizabeth totally ROCKED the statistics and made each bag in 36 minutes.
    ‘Coz Elizabeth ROCKS.

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