Since the beginning of the year I have been trying to cast off possessions I no longer want, use, need, and even like… yes, I actually hang on to things in case they might be useful, even though I don’t actually like them! My casting off involves taking things to charity shops, giving them away, recycling, and if none of these work, then actually throwing away… chipped crockery comes into this category – we have saved more than we can ever need to put in the bottom of flower pots to aid drainage, so now, intro the dustbin they go.
The other day we took several bags of things to the charity shop and parked right in front of it. On a shelf inside the door I could see a red bag, which looked rather lovely so I asked my husband who was taking the stuff in, to check the price, and if it was less than a fiver, I’d have it.
He came back with the bag – £3:50! What a bargain! It looks brand new! Now, I know I’m supposed to be getting rid of stuff, but i actually do need a new bag; the one I’ve had which I use all the time since I bought it nearly six years ago, is beginning to look a bit faded and sad – i will keep using it for everyday, but I just thought I needed something a bit smarter and nicer, and a charity shop bag for £3;50 puts money into the charity, and I have a bag.
When i got over my excitement and started looking at the bag, I began to think that it was home-made – beautifully home-made, but definitely not mass-produced. It seems to have been made from the sort of fabric which might be used on furniture, or maybe very heavy curtains. I don’t know what it’s called, but it is patterned with camels. I think the original fabric had a deep margin at the bottom of plain maroon, which has been cut off and reworked to make the top of the bag, and the strap. It isn’t lined but there is a little pocket, and there is a zip across the top. The stitching is perfect, the pleats and folds to make it into a bag are perfectly regular… whoever made it took so much trouble, and worked so neatly. Even the bottom which you can only see by turning it upside down is carefully made.
I wonder who made it? I guess it was a woman, but of course it might have been a needleman; I wonder if she made it as a gift for someone, who didn’t actually like it… I wonder if she made it in a class and had no use for it herself and so gave it away, or maybe she didn’t like it either and got rid of it, I wonder if she just likes making things, using scraps and off-cuts of material – what used to be called remnants? My mum made all our clothes, and she would go to material shops or the fabrics department of a big shop, and always looked in the remnants basket for bits of material she could make into something for us. Maybe the needlewoman had an offcut from some curtains she’d made, or a chair she’d recovered, and not being wasteful made it into this beautiful bag?
Whoever you are, needlewoman (or needleman) thank you very much for making such a beautiful bag; thank for giving it to the charity shop, or than you person who had received the bag as a gift and given it away, thank you! I love my new bag, and found it really useful this weekend when i went away!