Salvaging a Tote Bag

There are really nice quality tote bags to be found at tag sales and thrifts. The ones with logos are often the best deals. For example, this one, New, made of heavy nylon? canvas-like material with a water-resistant coating on the inside, was only 50 cents at a tag sale! Probably because nobody wants to carry around a bag that says ‘LAS Links’.

457 50 cent tote

I came up with a simple solution – carry the bag with the logo side next to my body. Lame, I know. lol. As you might imagine, I haven’t used my ‘new’ tote very often, just a couple of times to carry library books.

Then one day I came upon this weaving project over in Ravelry – Jazzturtle wove narrow fabric panels out of scrap yarns and appliqued them onto purchased tote bags – and I thought, “What a great way to salvage my thrifty tote!”

I looked for a black and red fabric in my quilting stash.

457 red and black fabricNo, I’m not going to carry around a tote bag covered with grizzly and polar bears, lol; that would be as bad as the ‘LAS Links’ logo!

What I am going to do is weave a panel out of strips of this material – purchased to accent a quilt for a foster boy, but you may have noticed I’ve made zero quilts in the 2 1/2 years that I’ve blogged, so I think it’s o.k. for me use it in this project instead – and then I’m going to applique it onto the front and back of my tote, concealing the logo. You’ll see, it’s going to look Great!

I thought the red of the logo might be noticeable through my coarsely woven ‘rag’ fabric so I decided I’d spray paint over it. I didn’t have any black, but I thought dark green would work just as well.

dark green spray paintWhile that was drying, I cut about half of the bear fabric into 1″ wide strips and folded them in half as I rolled them onto an empty cardboard tube left from crochet cotton.

457 fabric stripsNext I picked these two threads out of my cotton stash.

457 black and red yarns

The red is a cotton blend of some kind. It’s going to be the warp and will also go between strips of ‘rag’ in the weft. The black crochet cotton (thicker than #10) is for an accent stripe in the warp.

The green paint turned out a little brighter than I expected. Hopefully that’s not going to be a problem. We’ll see.

457 ready to weave

I don’t want a thick fabric like that in a rag rug or even a place mat, as that would make it more difficult to sew it onto the tote, so I’m being careful to beat softly as I weave. Alternating between the two shuttles, a stick shuttle holding the fabric strips and a boat one holding the red thread, is rather awkward, but I’ve woven less than a foot at this point, so there’s plenty of time for me to find a rhythm.

457 weaving a tote bag 'cover'

Woo-Whoo!! I’m weavin’ and I’m lovin’ it!!

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This entry was posted in Bags, Inspiration, Thrifty Treasures, Weaving and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Salvaging a Tote Bag

  1. you make weaving look like fun. It’s not something that has ever appealed to me, but maybe if I got into it more…or just watched you and monitored your progress 🙂

    • “you make weaving look like fun.” – it’s so interesting that you chose those exact words because that’s how I want to approach teaching it, that first and foremost. . . weaving should be about The FUN!

      To that end, I’m going to pre-warp and thread the looms for the very first class, so everyone can just sit down and weave! Traditionally you start by first doing the math figuring how many and how long of strings you’ll need for the first project, then everyone puts the strings on their looms (warping), threads them through the heddle (sleying), and ties them on. Only once all that is done do you, finally, get to weave.
      I say, There’s plenty of time to learn how to do all that Later. Let’s Weave!

      Oh! I think I just found the perfect name for the workshop! – ‘Let’s Weave!’ 🙂

      Stay tuned – I plan to show plenty more weaving in the posts ahead!

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