Esme is hungry.

Esme is my loom. The larger of the two (and yes, I realize that makes me sound far more prolific than I am), she sits, a small marvel of industrial technology, surrounded by fiber and yearning to be used. She is rusted, worn and grooved from years of use by a hard-beating blind rug weaver, and now sits daintily laden with 5/2 cottons and alpaca and wonders if her best years are past.

No, Esme love, they are not. For you see, I’ve recently re-read The Hobbit (and yes, I re-read it before the Big Announcement) and I was fired with a desire to weave a Hobbit Bag.

Now what is a Hobbit Bag? Even the idea is in flux, as I play with sketches and ideas as to what it should be. Is it about function, as most things in my life tend to be? I tend to ask, “So how can it be used? Can it get dirty?” even as my soul yearns for pretty lace and silk and paperthin tea cups… (Wait. Is that true? No, not really. Not so much lace and china as Bag End’s study and a big pot of tea, some bread and cheese, a big basket of yarn and a pile of unread books. The bread and cheese can be sitting on a lace cloth. I’m digressing, aren’t I? Maybe. Isn’t this about my view of the world, and the uses of the objects therein as I sit?) Ahem. Still, if I’m to use it at all it has to be both interesting and attractive and be usable. Read: No handbags. I’ve never been a handbag person. They are too small. I feel like a planet with a very small moon. I’d rather just carry a wallet in a pocket.

Back to the bag. I’m leaning toward a general shape like this, but with a much deeper sack area. I’ve recently made a bag with this pattern, using scraps of handwoven fabric, and it’s a fun bag, but not at all deep enough. It tends to spill and gape. So, a deeper pocket, and narrower at the top so as to help with gaping. Or perhaps eyelets and cords on either side to narrow it. Hmm.

Then, of course, we have to talk about why it’s a Hobbit Bag. It could be just any bag, really. What would a bag made and used by Hobbits look like? A cross-shoulder bag, I’m imagining; texturally, I’m seeing leather and linen and diamond, twill, and birds’-eye patterns in rich fall colors. Kharold the Hobbit slings her Hobbit Bag on and walks down the lane to find a tree against which to prop herself, in order to pull out a sketchbook or a book or some knitting.

Somewhere on there, there must be dragons, however. Because there was a dragon, and this must be Acknowledged.

Okay. Once the general shape and palette has been decided upon, then I get to decide: all handwoven fabric? Or only sections? If it is all handwoven, then I will need to decide where on the woven fabric any inlay will go, whereas using the handwoven fabric in sections means that I can put the inlay in the right places in general, knowing that the precision will lay in the cutting and sewing.

Initial decisions? Big pocket, long strap for cross-shoulder wear, fall palette, inlay dragons, all handwoven. I plan to document its progress here, in order to facilitate said progress. Fear of scorn is such a good motivator.

Here’s Esme:

Esme Loom, ready for action

Doesn’t she just look ready for action, the sweet old thing? But do you think she’s ready for dragons?


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