It’s happened to me many times, wandering round a craft fair and spot something that I had no intention of buying, but it is just too fabulous to walk away from.

Lucy Robertson, the maker behind a terrific range of hand-made bags under the name of Jeanie Bags, sees it all the time when she attends craft fairs and puts temptation in front of people in the shape of her bag collection.

Lucy, of Galalaw Farm, in Kelso, started making bags in a bid to stop her toddler, Jeanie, trailing shopping bags around behind her many years ago (she is now 21), and she got so many compliments from friends about the bag, and requests to make them one, that she continued to make bags and her business has grown over the years.

Lucy has the backing of a previous career in saddlery, working at one point for the Queen’s harness maker. When that job came to an end so she moved back up to Scotland and started making curtains and loose chair covers.

She says: “I’ve always been handsy, my mum used to say, with hands that big, you had better use them for something,” she waves her hands at me while we sit at her kitchen table watching the birds visiting her feeders. Like me, she loves birds, and it’s hard to concentrate on the job of interviewing with so many woodpeckers, goldfinches and tits visiting outside.

Back to the business in hand, and Lucy shows me her sewing workshop, “My late mother in law would not be impressed with what I have done to her ‘good room’,” she laughs.

She has a terrific range of bags arranged on her dining room table, lots of colours, shapes, and a range of purses as well. All being readied for the next craft fair.

Her bags are simple, that’s what she insists on. They have to be practical and tough and they absolutely must have a giggle factor. Whether that’s a quirky tassle, or funky lining, she wants them to have a fun element to them. But practical is a must. Lots of pockets, internally and externally. She tries them out and tests them herself, often finding that there are little things that need amended on her pattern to make them perfect.

This is a one women operation, she makes all her own patterns and sews all the bags and purses herself at her sewing machine in the workroom.

“I used to sell them in various shops across the country, but I find that I can sell them perfectly well myself, without the shop mark-up, so that’s what I do.”

Lucy uses a lovely range of fabrics often quality tweeds. Harris tweed features a lot. She knows which colours suits the seasons and works with this year’s colours in mind when purchasing fabric.

She has six styles that are her consistent sellers. Her best seller is the Two Way Toonie, a unique designer rucksack/backpack with a difference, the leather straps cross over to guard the top of the bag, even though it does have a zip too. With one easy flip, the leather carry straps turn into handles giving you the option of a smart shoulder bag. And it has a very elegant design, big enough for laptops and business use.

Lucy is a member of the The Crafters in Melrose. There are 13 crafters involved and they all do a different craft, each crafter taking a turn of manning the shop. They are celebrating 20 years in business this year. Melrose is a busy town, says Lucy, so there is always through traffic bringing in new customers to the shop. They also feature four guest crafters each month to keep the stock fresh.

She loves to meet her customers at the craft fairs. “I particularly love the wool-based fairs, like Woolfest which is coming up in June. Also, Wonderwool in Wales, is terrific. It’s a slightly wacky clientele, which is terrific, they come past the stand trailing their trolley full of ‘projects’ that will last them for a whole year.”

Last year Lucy took 110 bags to Wonderwool and not one of them was identical. Some were the same style, but had different fabric, linings, or tassles. All unique.

Lucy has been working on her bags since her two children were young, she finds that she has more time now that the children are independent.

“I could take the business to a higher level, but to be honest, I really think it works very well as it is. I’m at the stage that I’m happy to switch off the sewing machine and do other things. My bags have always worked around the children and the farm, and I’m happy to leave it that way.”

Lucy shows me a bag made using tweed that was woven in commemoration of the Iolaire disaster, which was a shipping disaster

off Stornoway which lost many lives some 100 years ago. She delights in telling me the story of meeting a naval lady at one of her craft fairs and telling her the story. The lady wasn’t entirely convinced, but she must have wandered off and googled Iolaire. It wasn’t long before she was back to buy the bag, and has now commissioned a purse in the same fabric. Lucy has found a lovely lining material with little ships on it to complement the tweed. She took huge pleasure in the sale, and really enjoys meeting her customers at the fairs.

“I’m happy to do commissions for people if they have something in mind, or if they have their own fabric they would like used. I am making 16 bags at the moment for Ardalanish Weavers in Mull, they send me their lovely tweed and I put together bags for them and send them back, I’ve been doing it for years.

“I had a lady contact me to make three bags out of a tweed they found in their late father’s possessions. I made three bags, one for each sister, which was a lovely gesture, I thought.”

You can find Lucy at various craft fairs and wool festivals across the country, she also exhibits with 3D2D which is a crafters organisation, based in Edinburgh, which takes space at various fairs throughout Scotland. She also displays at Exclusively Highlands, which are held in National Trust Homes, mostly north of Perth and she does Christmas Fairs in the run up to December.

“I always try to add a new style each year. I’ve always been one for trying to figure out how to do new things myself. I get the drill and the vice out and give it a go. I’m a farmer’s daughter, married to a farmer, so there’s not much I can’t get my head around.”

Lucy finds that even though she is happy to walk away from the deadlines now and then, she has realised that everyday she finds herself in her sewing room at some point, just pottering, checking in on where everything is at. It looks to me that she has a lovely balance of working from home, doing something she loves and still having time to help out on the farm. She’s got it sussed.

The range:

The Two Way Toonie,

Sonsie Shopper,

Feerie Flapper,

Tweedside Toonie,

Bonnie Bucket,

Kelsae Toonie,

Big Bobble Clutch and the Jaunty Jeanie as well as a range of purses and wallets.