watching the lights go down

Frakken tote

Dear Tote,

I hate you. I hate you so very much right now. You suck.


Okay, that’s probably not fair. The tote is, after all, going to be awesome and hella sturdy when I finish it. IF I finish it. See, all I have left to do is get the handle attached to the tote and topstitch across the bag. THAT’S ALL THAT’S LEFT. And I just CAN’T get it done. My sewing machine is fighting every stitch to attach the handle. Once I get past the side seam, it’s easy peasy until the next side seam. But these handles and those seams are about to make me go crazy.

I wanted a new tote for vacation. One to hold my knitting, camera, and sometimes computer. One with nice pockets so it could double as my “purse” when I fly home. This bag meets those requirements. Except for the handle. The fricken frakken handle.

I bought this pattern a while back, thinking it would be fairly easy as most of Amy Butler’s patterns are. Well, not EASY, but well designed and with detailed instruction. And it is both of those things. I just can’t get it to work.

In trying to attach the handle I have now broken TWO needles and bent the tips on two others. That’s 4 needles designed to plow through denim that I’ve destroyed with layers of cotton and fluff.

Luckily, I have a Stonecutter friend who sews a lot. She’s a quilter (you can see some of her awesome stuff here) and has been sewing a lot longer than I have. So I put out an APB for help and she gave me some good tips. The next steps are now:

  • get some topstitch needles – they’re super sharp (I ordered some titanium coated ones, which hopefully also means super strong)
  • clean out the dust and such from the throat plate – this seems like something I should have been doing for a while, but I’m admittedly not that familiar with the machines in general. I can sew, but I learned a lot of it by trial and error.
  • Debulk my seams as much as I can without (hopefully) destroying the integrity of the bag/seams.
  • Eventually, get the machine in for a good cleaning and check up. It’s a good machine, I just don’t ever seem to have the cash to get it checked out.
  • While I’m waiting for the needles to arrive, I’m planning to put this bag BACK together. I had to take it apart after a disastrous trip through the washing machine, during which the duck cloth lining the inside shrunk because I didn’t wash it first. Kara fail.  Because it’s fewer layers & a fairly easy project, it should at least tell me how the machine is behaving on a normal thickness project.

Note that I refrained from putting “throw machine out the window & wait for the guys in white coats to come get me” on the list. Although maybe I should.