Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Favorites 3/4: Mom's Brea Bag

This Friday's Favorites is a little closer to the heart than usual.  Today I'm sharing with you Mom's Christmas present, the Brea Bag.  It's taken me a little while to finish, but all those little details really make it so worth it in the end, and I'm really proud to share how it came out.  So here we go!

This yarn + this pattern = perfection.
We'll start with the knitty-gritty (haha) details this time.  This pattern is Brea Bag by Norah Gaughan, knit with Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Almanac.  The pattern calls for a worsted weight, held double.  So in the end, I used 4 skeins of yarn, but if you use a bulky yarn, you could probably get away with 2 skeins.  My yardage is also a little skewed, which I'll discuss in a moment. 
I fell in love with this pattern the first time I saw it. The cables and stitch pattern create an image that resembles the lotus flower (look towards the middle top of the bag).  I think this bag and design probably is best when used with a yarn that will show off the textural details. 

I thought this bag would be a fun, casual weekend purse.  The bag doesn't require a lining, but many people lined it anyway. That's what we did to.  Made for Mom for her Christmas gift, I wanted this to be something she wanted.  When I finished the knitting, Mom picked out her fabric and helped sew the lining into the bag.  
Part of my reason for wanting a lining to was to maintain the structural integrity of the pattern.  The pieces of the bag are seamed with a crocheted slip stitch and create very clean lines.  And since these pieces all blocked out so nicely, I didn't want their look compromised. To help with that, fusible interfacing was used on the lining gusset.  
The actual knitting for this project was fairly fast.  The front and back panels took a couple days each - the cables are very engaging.  The gusset, on the other hand....took forever!  

Instead of a leather shoulder strap, I knit the shoulder strap using the book "Super Stitches Knitting" to pick out a cable pattern that would compliment this bag. This is the reason the amount of yarn I used is different than what many people would get.  The strap was reinforced using the same fabric as the bag lining.  (We didn't want the knit strap to stretch.)  The cable pattern is OXO on pages 182-183.

And the final finishing detail was the button.  Honestly, I had forgotten about what kind of button I wanted to use until I we got the lining in.  I had seen another Raveler's Brea Bag and she had made a gorgeous button using embroidery thread.  I wanted one too.  The pattern is called Dorset Button (Ravelry link for Dorset Button here) and uses plastic rings, embroidery thread and a yarn needle.  Super simple!  I really recommend trying this out.  It produces a really neat, fun result that can be customized to whatever project you're working on.  And since you can find plastic rings in so many different sizes, you can have a wide assortment of these buggers! :)

I must say - this is one of my favorite projects to date. :)


  1. That's great that you love this project so much. It's so awesome to read about the process and to hear the pride in your voice. Is your mom using it yet?

  2. @Kepanie
    Not yet, she'll get it tonight or tomorrow when I see her next. :)