You’ve got a nerve to be asking a favor


Pattern: Easy Drawstring Bag by Page of Purl Soho
Fabric: Upholstery remnant from Hancock Fabrics (24″x60″)

I’m a terrible swap partner.

Last fall, flush from the joyful experience of Dish Rag Tag, I joined International Scarf Exchange 9, led by one of my team members. I love scarf knitting. I love my DRT Five Alarm Fire teammates. What could go wrong?

I’ll tell you what. Me. In the scrum of hat-making and organizing for Conway Cradle Care, the scarf I was making for my partner grew slowly when it grew at all. Then with Christmas knitting, it again played second fiddle. I received my scarf at the end of November, a beautiful and professional piece of work in holiday hues, which should have shamed me into finishing mine, but I found a million things to do other than knit my exchange scarf.

Luckily, my swap partner was Leah, the exchange organizer and my teammate. Or maybe it wasn’t so lucky. You see, she knew everything that was going on in my life. She wasn’t anonymous. My obligation to her was less structural and more personal. You’d think this would motivate me to fulfill it, but instead it convinced me that she would cut me all the slack I needed.

I actually finished the scarf early this year. You know what? It still hasn’t been sent. And here’s why: Being so horribly, unforgivably late, it needs the most wonderful gifts to accompany it to make up for my failings. The later it gets, the more wonderful the goodies need to be.


This weekend, I think I’ve finally cracked it. My desire to continue practicing my sewing and mastering my machine, plus a search for basic and useful patterns that didn’t require me to be garment-precise yet, led me to the idea of a knitting project bag. If it turned out well enough, I thought, maybe it could be the apology-offering that accompanies Leah’s scarf, finally allowing me to send that package to its destination three months late.


Saturday morning: a pilgrimage to the fabric store with Cady Gray for supplies. Saturday afternoon: sew sew sew. In the above photo you can see the part of the bag that was new to me — creating a gusset so the bottom is square. Each bag is one piece of fabric, folded up lengthwise and sewed up the sides. The bottom is formed by sewing across the triangles of each bottom corner and cutting off the fabric above the seam.


I used the same ribbon purchased for Cady Gray’s needle roll for a drawstring. In one of many lessons this project taught me, I discovered that the cool dress trim I bought to use as the cinching cord was too wide for the channel (I hadn’t managed to examine the pattern closely enough to figure out how tall the channel was before going to the store.) The first one I made was roughish, especially at that top channel seam where I had a hard time keeping the allowance steady and the stitching straight. The second one was an improvement.


Yes, I made two. One to give away, and one to keep. Long-suffering Leah deserves both, no question, but now that I’ve got the hang of this project, I imagine there are many more in my future. Just as there are many more people who will deserve my apologies for being a terrible swap partner, I’m sure.

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4 Comments on “You’ve got a nerve to be asking a favor”

  1. Already an expert! Wonderful project!

  2. Leah Says:

    You have NO idea how much I love this! It is gorgeous–just exactly my taste!! I’m SO excited!!!!

  3. Leah Says:

    Yay, it’s mine! It’s already got a knitting project inside, and I carry it everywhere–have gotten many compliments on it!

  4. […] bought the fabric a couple of months ago, on the same trip when I got supplies for my drawstring bags and monster tooth pillow. But because of the utter chaos of my schedule and obligations in March […]

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