Friday, February 4, 2011

Once a Hippy, Always a Hippy

I grew up in a very conservative southern family. My father was a Southern Baptist minister. But I was different. I loved and was intrigued with anything that was a bit different. When I was able to choose, I bought psychedelic paints. I would listen to The Midnight Special with Wolfman Jack on the radio and Edgar Allen Poe was one of my favorite writers. We lived in rural Mississippi from the time I was 10 until I was 13. So, not only was my family conservative, but everyone around me was conservative as well. Girls were not allowed to wear pants to school, and that was public school. My mother would measure my skirts at exactly 3 inches above my knee. I hated my long skirts and I longed to wear the frayed, hiphuggers jeans and ponchos that I would see on television.

Finally, my day arrived. My mother and I were invited to a special event in Meridian, MS. The mother of a friend of mine invited me to come along and shop for something new to wear. Now this was much more special than you can imagine. All of my clothes were homemade, and not made like I wanted. The mother of my friend was much more easy going, so I knew I had a chance at picking out something I really wanted. I will never forget that outfit. I chose a pair of cerulean blue hiphuggers with big yellow and white daises all over them. My top was sleeveless with a mock turtleneck in sunshine yellow. I felt liberated and I felt beautiful. That spring, the school decided that the girls could wear pants for one special day. We were going on a field trip. To be honest, I do not remember where we went or what we did, but I can immediately tell you what I wore. That was the first time I ever wore a pair of pants to school and it was the most wonderful feeling.

I just finished this bag yesterday, and I love it. The way the bag came about was I took a class with Nicky Epstein. What a wonderful experience. She's so full of energy and fun ideas. To prepare for the class, we were to knit two squares. On one square we did the embroidery that you see above. As usual, I can't leave well enough alone. I added the center section to make it look like a sunflower.

We never did anything with the other square, but, I kept it.
'We made a sample of the larger flower and we also made one of the hanging flowers that you see in the above picture. I liked how they looked and decided to make two more. They are super fast and super easy.

As I looked at all the pieces I had, I thought that they may make a great bag. For the sides and the shoulder strap, I knitted a cable band. To decorate the top edge, I knitted 3 i-cords and then braided them together.
To make the bag a little sturdier, I made a simple square pouch that would slip inside and then put a zipper closing on the top.

I lined the shoulder strap with a piece of grosgrain ribbon so that it wouldn't stretch.

The bag was not a part of the class. I just hate to waste anything and so decided to make use of my pieces and try to make something I would enjoy and that would be useful. In the process, I was able to take a lovely trip down memory lane.

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