File this under something I wasn’t sure I’d be able to pull off, but here I am, alive to tell the tale and not having suffered a crafting-induced hissy fit four days before Christmas. (Mostly!) In case you’re looking for something handmade to pull together in the next few days, here’s a simple how-to for a gift that won’t push you over the edge of crafting misery or cost more than a few dollars to make.
You could give it with no more than pine sprig inside, or fill it up with tiny treasures, or something even fancier, a festive bottle of rum, say. A homemade jug of egg nog? Whatever suits your fancy is the right answer.
If you have a crafty friend, you could also gift the supplies themselves—20 or so clothespins, a ball of string, and an embroidery loop—and the promise of spending an afternoon weaving together.
We have Rose Pearlman to thanks for the idea and instructions. I made my own bag following her guide. More from Rose below:
What you need:
+ One side of an embroidery hoop (the one pictured is ~9-inches and works well)
+ 18-20 wooden clothes pegs for a 9” hoop (you might need a few extra if they crack while placing them on the hoop)
+ Hemp, linen, or cotton twine or string (roughly 120 yds.)
+ 12-inches cotton cord/leather strap (optional)
+ Place the clothes pegs onto the perimeter of the embroidery frame. Place the pegs roughly one inch apart, and press down firmly making sure each peg fits tightly.
+ To begin, place a 20-inch tail end of the string through the center of your frame. (This will be long because it will be the handle of your bag.) Wrap the string (from the ball) twice around one of the pegs clockwise. You can wrap the tail end of the string around the bottom of a peg so it doesn’t get in your way.
+ You will then pass the bottom loop over the top loop and off the peg. Repeat to the next peg to the right, looping twice and passing the bottom loop over the top and off the peg. Repeat for the remaining pegs until you are back to the first pin with a single loop on it.
+ To begin weaving, you will not loop the string around the peg. Instead, simply bring the string in front of the peg with one loop below it.
+ Pass the bottom loop over the top string and off the peg. Repeat this technique on all the pegs, rotating the loom to the right. You will need to go around the circle many times to form the bag. The fiber will stretch significantly once off the loom. Weave in the round for 4-6 inches depending on the size you want your bag. The bag will stretch significantly once off the frame.
+ Once you reach your desired length, you will begin to cast off. Cast off starting on the same peg that you began weaving (where you can find the tail end). Cut the string, leaving a 12-inch tail.
+ Carefully slip the first loop off the pin and pass the tail end through the loop. Repeat for all the loops and pegs.
+ Pull the tail end to cinch the bottom of the bag together. Tie a few secure knots through the adjacent loops and weave the tail end into the bag.
+ To make a handle, use the tail end of the string at the start of the bag. Connect it to the opposite side of the bag, weaving it through an available loop (or two). Bring the tail end back over to where it started and secure a knot.
+ If you prefer a wider handle you can use extra string to tie a strap onto either side of the bag.
+ Shape your bag and use it to package small gifts and treasures.
Thanks to Rose Pearlman for developing this project and writing the instructions. Rose is an artist, teacher, and textile designer. With a background in fine arts and a love of well designed functional objects, her creations blur the lines between art and craft and pushes the boundaries with non-traditional techniques and materials. Rose teaches monthly rug hooking workshops in and around her home in NYC, and also welcomes commissions for one of a kind constructions in decor and home furnishings. Her work has been featured in fiber magazines, galleries, and numerous online design sites. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her family.
This post includes affiliate links. Reading My Tea Leaves might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links.