Mother’s Day Ishi Bag

Yesterday I posted a picture of what I was feverishly working to finish as a gift for my daughter for Mother’s Day. I was sure no one would be able to figure out what I was knitting.

But I should have known at least one knitter would have recognized it – and one did: Ethel! She thought it might be an Ishi Bag. It was!

But here’s the rub: I had no idea this was an Ishi Bag. I had a free pattern from the internet for a “garter stitch square bag.” The instructions were minimal, but it was easy to “wing it.” After Ethel’s comment on my blog post, I googled “Ishi bag” and found it at Ravelry.

I used Plymouth Yarn’s worsted weight jeannee (50 g skeins) that I bought at Linda Urquhart’s store Rumpelstiltskin in Sacramento. I used 2 skeins of the purple, 3 skeins of black. (Nb: I had about 1 yard remaining of the purple.)

After I washed and dried the bag, I lined it from material from a pearl grey pillow case I never used. The fabric has an interesting basket weave. As the bag is stretchy, I put two horizontal and two vertical pleats in the lining.

My daughter loved the bag and used it all day Sunday! She asked if I could put in a pocket for her cell phone (of course), and one for her keys (no problem).

By the way, my daughter told me her first [and silent] reaction when she moved tissue paper and saw the purple and black stripes was a silent prayer, “Please, don’t let it be a sweater.” Then when she saw the black I-cord straps, it was “Please, don’t let it be a tank top.” 🙂

Now, here’s a question: What should someone like my daughter – someone who is very well aware of the time, cost and thought that we fiber folk put into our art/craft – say if appalled by our gift?!


About sweatyknitter

Fiber art devotee, author, and amateur artisan bread baker.
This entry was posted in Knitting, Other Fiber Arts and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Mother’s Day Ishi Bag

  1. vairarenbeth says:

    Best of luck! One thing for sure, fiber will always be there, waiting…


  2. Thank you; I amglad you enjoy the blog. I have a Ravelry ID but just haven’t had much time to explore Ravelry – sadly. I am developing a business plan for a non-fiber related endeavor that is taking a lot of my time!


  3. vairarenbeth says:

    Love the bag – and added it to my queue on Ravelry! This will come in handy, indeed, for the :gift season. I’m teacatweaves on Ravelry. Love your sense of humor on your other posts!


  4. Now that would indeed be nice!


  5. katzendog says:

    One should profusely thank the maker/giver. Use or wear it once in presence of maker/giver then return it to its drawer to live until it can be regifted or donated to some charity far far away from the make/giver. I’ve stopped making handmade gifts for a couple of folks because of their reactions.


  6. Don’t worry … when you become a grandma you will have lots of opportunities for payback. 🙂


  7. handstitch says:

    That would be me too, Karen. I knitted a cable vest in lemongrass (neon green) at her request. It appeared finishing it in three days wasn’t fast enough before her taste changed!! I was gladly added to my wardrobe. That’s then…when she and I wore the same sizing. 😀


  8. I’m careful even when there’s specifics. For instance, my daughter once picked out a mohair that can best be described as Gatorade Green. She loved it and wanted a sweater out of it. She was quite specific re length, type of neckline, etc. I made it to her specs, she wore it once, and then gave it to me. (!) So I overdyed it black and now it’s mine. 🙂


  9. handstitch says:

    I stop making things for my kids…unless they ask for specifics. Beautiful choice of color combo and gorgeous felted bag. I didn’t know Ishi bag is knitted in pieces and then seamed together. Always thought it a modular, seamless knit. It’s the way how I like ’em. When the knitting is done, the project is finished.


  10. My daughter called me to tell me the handles/straps stretched quite a bit (she claimed it was near the floor – I hope she’s exaggerating) and asked if I could shorten them (no problem). The bag came out to be rather large, and I lined it – and then she packed it full. So its packed weight along with the cotton/acrylic i-cord combined to create a lot of stretch. I am going to make another one (for my daughter’s mother-in-law who loved it), and I am going to put some sort of cording through the iCord.


  11. kate says:

    Love that bag – must search it out immediately…

    I’ve been given some strange things myself (generally sewn and sometimes patchwork), and I’ve always found that it’s best to say something like ‘That’s wonderful, how did you make it / sew that bit / get that part to work?’ because I learn something. Even if it’s what not to do.


  12. anjig says:

    That’s great! It’s so lovely to have someone who will appreciate the hard work that’s gone into the knitting, even if she doesn’t like or doesn’t wear it. Great kiddo!


  13. That’s my girl! When she was young she wore a lot of things I surprised her with because she didn’t want to hurt my feelings. I think now she’s figured out she can keep the sweater and wear it for a year and then give it to me saying she’s changed her style or something! Then I get a “new” sweater!


  14. anjig says:

    I love her comment where she’s worried that it’s a garment for her, lol!


  15. Yes, it was pretty darn fun! My daughter is loving it!


  16. Curls & Q says:

    Like father like son! Luckily for me, it’s not like mother like son. 😎


  17. anjig says:

    That’s awesome bag! I added it to my Ravelry queue.


  18. Ethel says:

    I think mine comes from my mother not letting me use the sewing machine until I was ten. (my oldest sister sewed through her finger which put the kibosh on the rest of us.) I started sewing doll clothes at age 5. Wish I had kept some of them – bet they were really crude at first.


  19. When I was in 13, all girls were required to take sewing in school. Our teacher required us to know how to do everything by hand as well as by machine. Old habits die hard. 😦


  20. Ethel says:

    I did line it because I knew that my friend would need all sorts of pockets. I understood when you talked about putting two pleats in – has a nice full bottom. I love to do hand sewing so the lining got double stitched in because I knew my friend is rough on things. ;o}


  21. When I started it I thought it would be great felted and undoubtedly would have saved time with the lining – which for some unfathomable reason I decided to put in by hand with tiny tiny little invisible stitches! Did you line the felted bag?


  22. Ethel says:

    I thought I recognized that stack of squares. Lovely! No wonder your daughter liked it. The one I did was felted and just right for a smallish woman (she is 5’2″). I rather like it not felted – perfect for carrying my knitting in. Love your color choices.


  23. Thanks! Now time to try it in crochet!


  24. Don’t forget rolling of the eyes. 🙂 The bag came out great — I thought the straps were a bit too long but she’s tall and says they’re fine. If she wanted them shorter, she could always just a tie a decorative knot in each of the straps!


  25. I guess only closest friends and family could be honest and say something along the line of “thanks, it’s amazing work, but I’m allergic to cashmere” or something. 🙂


  26. I knit a VERY complicated and time-consuming sweater for my ex-father in law … he BARELY said thank you and I never saw him wear it. So I divorced his son. 🙂


  27. 🙂 I only knit for a handful of others … family and closest friends.


  28. Dina says:

    Ooh … added it to my queue! I admit that I’m too much of a selfish knitter to knit for others.


  29. Curls & Q says:

    OOPS, forgot to say that the bag is quite lovely! If she doesn’t like it, send it south! 😎


  30. Curls & Q says:

    Someone should always thank a person for a gift! I made a shawl and a quilt for my MIL, never saw her wear the shawl or use the quilt, but she did thank me. 😎


  31. Tracey says:

    Oh I love it! I think even if someone doesn’t like it, they should say thank you. Everyone doesn’t have the same taste, but the effort is what makes a gift like this special.


  32. Suzy says:

    One should say thank you, it’s lovely! Without saying so through clenched teeth or a tell tale grimace if at all possible! But glad that it wasn’t necessary and she could come clean in the end! It’s a lovely bag!


  33. summerlarson says:

    Love how it turned out!


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