To Market, To Market...with a new bag!

Whenever I travel, especially on quilty adventures, I feel the need to make a new bag. And usually this feeling doesn't come over me until the last possible moment, so right on schedule yesterday, I found myself desiring a Super Tote. Have you seen these bags? It's probably Kelly's fault, because she made a gorgeous one adorned with applique leaves for Tracey, come to think of it. All the same, Anna, as always, wrote an amazingly easy to follow pattern that yields beautiful, professional looking results. I am super excited to board a plane to Portland today carrying my new bag. I love this bag.

Super Tote - done!

It's huge. I could probably even fit my laptop in here, but I'm not going to try on this trip. Inspired by Kelly, I made a few changes to the bag - I added the exterior pocket to both the front and back of the bag, because I like pockets and I added a crossbody strap rather than two shorter straps. At Market, you wind up lugging a bunch of stuff around, so I figured the crossbody strap would be way more comfortable.

Super Tote - top/side view

I used Essex Yarn Dyed in Flax for the linen bits, Melody Miller's amazing viewfinders in aqua for the exterior pockets, Madrona Road Sprout in Straw for the lining mixed with an old Kumari Garden print called Tarika for the lining gusset. I only wish I'd bought a whole bolt of the viewfinders when they came out, now that they're out of print!

Super Tote - interior fits SO much stuff!

All in all, I'm really happy with how this turned out and have plans to make a second one for Jacquie. She jokingly asked me to make her one to bring to Market, but rather than rush through it, I'm going to make it for her after I get home. She can use it to cart some of her necessities to all of her wonderful classes that she's teaching these days. You should check to see if she's teaching near you, because she's seriously awesome!

Cross body #supertote finished! Pay no attention to my messy closet please :)

I'll be back with loads of pictures from my trip next week, and I will indeed be posting to Instagram (with my terrible camera phone) while I'm away if you want to follow the #quiltmarket fun. Have a wonderful rest of your week!

It's my Aeroplane!

Did I just put that Red Hot Chili Peppers song in your head? You're welcome ;) It was in my head the entire time I worked on a bag I've been looking forward to making, the Aeroplane bag, pattern by Sara/Sew Sweetness.

A finished Aeroplane bag

My Aeroplane bag was the first project I attempted to tackle at The Stash Bash over the weekend. I had spent a few hours piecing together a patchwork panel for the front and back of the bag, and quilting-it-as-I-went, and prepped all of my interfacing and other pieces before I headed up to Georgia.

QAYG panels

I was really surprised at how fast it came together once I got my sewing area all set up in the sewing room. I think it probably took no more than three or four hours to put the whole thing together, which is probably how much time I spent making the patchwork panels, so this is definitely the kind of bag you could tackle making in a weekend.

Hanging finished Aeroplane bag

I made the Long size of the Aeroplane bag, and it is truly humongous. The Regular size is just as tall, just slightly less long. I can easily fit everything I need for a weekend trip in this bag, no problem, with room to spare. I also really like how long the handles are, it's quite easy to carry around.

No problems with Aeroplane assembly

The directions for the pattern were supremely clear and easy to follow. The bag is literally assembled much like a zippered pouch, so it was fairly simple to put together. This was my first time working with Annie's Soft and Stable, which was really easy to use and did give the bag a lot of additional body. I will definitely choose to use it again for another bag in the future.

Adding the straps

Thinking about the construction of this bag versus the Weekender is a little bit tough - I used my Juki to put the Aeroplane bag together, and I used my Sapphire to put my Weekender together, so it's a bit like apples and oranges. The Juki is definitely way more cut out for bag-making, though. No broken needles, no difficulty shoving thick layers through the machine, just smooth sewing. I will say this: there are way fewer pattern pieces, no piping, and there are two inside zippered pockets in this bag that the Weekender lacks (though you could improvise and add them). I would say that this pattern is something that an adventurous beginner can tackle. And it's even more fun to tackle at a sewing retreat, for the record  :)

I hope you have a wonderful day!

Update from the Duffel Trenches #2: A finish!

I'm a bit surprised to tell you that I've finished up my StudioCherie duffel! I was fully expecting that it would be a more way more time-consuming and frustrating process than it was. I'm quite pleased with the finished bag, though if I were to make the bag again another time, I would probably use a heavier batting, like upholstery weight, to create a stiffer finished bag. On my bag, I used Pellon Legacy 100% cotton batting, which yields a softer finished bag with less body, but when it's stuffed to the brim, like it is in the photos, there's plenty of body.

Finished duffle - front view

After my last update, I first tackled the straps, which was a relatively painless step. Installing them was equally straight-forward. Even installing the top zipper was a cinch...I didn't get tripped up in the pattern until I got to Step 9 with the zipper stop tabs. I broke one of the cardinal rules of sewing a bag pattern - I didn't read the entire pattern before getting started, so I didn't realize that there were actual pattern pieces at the back at the pattern, as there were rotary cutting instructions for the bag. Whoops! I actually asked another person who blogged about having made this bag, Sara of Knottygnome, who helped me figure out the step 9 instructions before I discovered the pattern pieces. The pattern pieces would have made everything make perfect sense.

Lining up the straps

Step Eleven was the only truly maddening step - lining up all of the bag parts and sewing them together was not exactly fun, but it was also not the horror that lining up all of the pieces of my Weekender was. There's a few less layers in this bag, so it wasn't anywhere near as challenging. I also used my Juki for all of the straight stitching on this duffel, and it sewed right through those layers as though it was just two layers of quilting cotton. No broken needles, no hesitation - this machine is perfect for bag-making!

Pressing the raw edges of the straps under

So, now that it's done, what can I tell you about this bag...well, first off, this thing is huge! I fully expect that I'll be able to pack not only my projects for the Stash Bash retreat next week but also all my clothes in this bag. I tested it out with quilts inside and found that it can easily fit four lap sized quilts, maybe even more. This is a great bag for a weekend trip, and I believe the size is an acceptable carry-on for most airlines.

Installing the side zip

I also love the fabric I used - I wasn't sure about the orange Sketch for the handles, but it really does work nicely with the penguins, so I'm pleased with it. And these penguins always seem to make me smile.

Finished duffle - top view

The main thing I don't love about this bag are the raw edges on the inside of the bag, which I couldn't seem to get a decent picture of. I overcast the edges as best I could with my Viking, but admittedly, I stink at overcasting, so it's not a perfect job. Then again, how often am I going to be looking at the interior of the bag? Probably not very often, so it's definitely something I can live with.

Installing the side zip

Another thing I'd do differently next time is repeat the pockets that are written to be just on two of the four sides of the bag. I would repeat the zipper pocket that is on one short side of the bag on the other short side of the bag, and I'd also repeat the small pocket between the handles on both long sides of the bag. You can never have too many pockets :)

Finished duffle - side view

I've gotten a lot of questions about where I sourced all the materials for this bag, especially the long zippers and the jute, so here's the rundown on where I got everything:
Zippers: Purl Soho

But all in all, I'm going to be a very happy camper carrying this bag around when I travel! I may even make another manly version at some point for my husband, since he travels infinitely more than I do. I hope you all have a wonderful Friday and a great weekend!

WiP Wednesday: The one with the mad dash

It's officially chaos in my sewing room now, as it's barely a week before Sewing Summit now, with boatloads of Sewing Summit-related deadlines approaching fast, as well as a few other non-Sewing Summit deadlines! Eeek! How did it get to be October 3rd already??? Didn't school just get started?? It's going to be a week with a lot of late nights and early mornings, clearing off my sewing plate this next week, but I know I can do it. Now I just need to stop signing up for more deadlines!!

Working on:
Red and white zig-zag - I spent the bulk of the last several days on this project, making 528 half-square triangles and then stitching all of them together. The quilt top is done and basted and ready for some simple straight-line quilting. Stay tuned for a finish on this one soon!



Sidekick tote - I really love how this bag is coming together so far. I'm waiting on some strap hardware to come, so I've saved this fun project for when I'm so tired of HSTs that I want to scream ;) Isn't that pocket just darling? Can't wait to finish this one off and put it to good use!

Sidekick in progress!

Sewing Summit class samples - I finished quilting all of the samples, and I'm really excited to share them soon. The binding is half on all of my four samples now, so I'm in the homestretch here. Just need to spend a few nights on the couch, catching up on TV with the husband and hand-stitching to wrap these projects up.

Time to pick some binding...


New this week:
Pillow Talk Swap - After sitting out several rounds, I'm back on the wagon for the ninth round of the Pillow Talk Swap. Every time I sit out a round, I watch from the sidelines and marvel over the things that are being made in the swap. I'm glad I'm participating this time around, it's going to be a lot of fun! I've gotten my partner's information and stalking has officially begun. I've got a good sense of what she's into, I think, now I just need for inspiration to strike. Here's the mosaic I made to inspire my partner, of some of my current faves...


4x5 Modern Quilt Bee - Now that the summer is over, the 4x5 Modern Quilt Bee is back in session (and full), with shorter rounds, which I think will be nice. Short and sweet, but with plenty of time to make blocks. I'm excited about this one, it's always fun to see the amazing things that everyone makes in this bee.

Bee block for Katie - Katie sent some gorgeous Field Study and Indie fabrics this month for the {Sew} Beautiful bee, for feather blocks. I'm looking forward to working on this one this weekend, hopefully.

Bee block for Cindy - Cindy is working on a Halloween quilt in the Stash Trad bee, and we're all making Great Granny blocks for her, in shades of black, purple, orange, grey and lime green. I've never made anything Halloween-themed before, so this should be a fun one!

I haven't forgotten about these, but haven't had time for them either:
Washi tunic
Space Dust quilt

So now, it's back to my sewing machine, time is slipping away from me super fast this week!! What are you sewing this week? Write it up and share it at today's specially guest hosted WiP Wednesday, with host Debbie of A Quilter's Table.

Goodie Bag Swap - done! (I think)

Looking for my awesome giveaway for Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day?  Click here!  If you've already entered, good luck to you!

Amidst all the Giveaway Day hoopla yesterday, I found myself with a couple of fun finishes.  The first one was an awesome surprise for my son and I when we returned from our weekly trip to the library - the marigolds we planted two months ago are finally blooming!  He was so excited, and given that I usually have a black thumb, I was pretty pleased myself.  Anyone know when I ought to move them out of the planter and into the regular ground? I'm completely inept when it comes to gardening.

I also finished up my Goodie Bag for the big swap yesterday, which wound up being a big summer tote bag, adorned with some fun scrappy log cabins on both the front and the back.

I started this tote with only one thing in mind - linen.  I knew I wanted to work with linen for my partner.    The main body is made from Essex linen, which is oh-so-yummy to work with.  After debating between Natural and Gray, I wound up picking Natural.  Linen is just perfect for totes, if you ask me.  I lined it with Peltex interfacing for some nice stiffness, which is a pain to sew with, but it makes such a nice, full-bodied kind of bag.  

The scrappy log cabins are a complete mish-mash of fabrics - from Flea Market Fancy to Love to Sugar Pop and Nicey Jane.  I really rooted around my scrap bins for some of these, and I'm really happy with how they turned out.  Thanks to everyone who gave me feedback on Sunday about these, I was really unsure about how they would look on a bag.  The only thing I would do differently if I did this tote again would be to make the log cabins a bit bigger.

The lining and straps are my personal favorite print from Alexander Henry's Farmdale, which I still plan to use eventually to make a nice bag for me.  That's one of the million and twelve things on my someday to sew list...

I'm hoping my partner will really like this bag, because I had a ton of fun making it for her, although I did have a super hard time deciding what to make for her, since her taste is so broad.   The mailing period doesn't start for another week, so it's entirely possible that I may wind up completely changing my mind and making something else for her, but for now, we'll check this off the WiP list!

What a year it's been...

Just a year ago today, I started my very first quilt, thanks to a budding fabric addiction.  It's a really shoddy quilt, looking back on it, but it was definitely the start of something big for me.  Previous to this quilt, I had sewn a few receiving blankets and some burp cloths.  I had always thought quilting was pretty awesome, thanks to my amazing aunt who has quilted for most of her life, but had never thought I could do it myself.  My mother attempted to teach me to sew as a kid, but it didn't really stick.  I cross-stitched for a while, but eventually gave up after getting frustrated by the tedious patterns.

I bought a sewing machine at the beginning of 2010 on a whim, and slowly began gathering fabrics.  What for?  I didn't really know right away.  I started reading everything I could about sewing, and started some small sewing projects here and there, like some simple flannel blankets, burp cloths, and even a simple sling bag.

I picked up Amy Karol's Bend-the-Rules Sewing book at the library and I found a super simple strip quilt pattern, and I felt compelled to try it.  I had no idea what I was doing, barely knew how to measure and cut fabric, it's amazing the quilt was even a rectangle.  I used store-bought binding, which I haven't done since, and totally fudged my way through mitering the corners.  So, like I said, it's a little shoddy, but it's my first quilt, and it made me a quilter.  This little quilt stoked a fire in me that has kept me quilting for the last year.

It's kind of hard to believe I've only been doing this for a year, I feel like it'e been a part of my life forever now.  I feel so lucky to have found a hobby that I enjoy so much that brings such joy to me.  Happy quiltaversary to me, I'm so glad I found quilting and then found all of you wonderful people to share it with.  Your comments and feedback really make my day and it's so nice to find others who share my passion.  I hope you all have a wonderful day!  :)

Who needs another handbag?!

It's no secret that I love bags.  Having been a mom for the last two and half years, I've sported probably eight different diaper bags, and rotate heavily between three or four of them, as each has its own function.  As I finished up my in-laws quilt, 301 Park Avenue, and geared up to finish my sister-in-law's quilt, still to be officially named (not to mention finished), I decided I needed a quilt break.  And Amy Butler's Birdie Sling pattern has been sitting on my desk, unused, for far too long.  It was calling me.

I came across a quilt Monday morning at the Bloggers' Quilt Festival that used some beautiful Echino double-gauze fabric.  Lesly made a gorgeous quilt using some of Echino's Love Birds.  I just love how her quilt turned out.  When I spotted it, I remembered that I had some Echino of my own in my stash, just itching to be used!

Some people think Amy Butler's patterns are wordy.  I can't disagree, but I think the wordiness kind of helps me.  Bag making doesn't come as easily to me as the simplicity of quilt making - curved seams are not my friends.  But, despite a few bumps in the road, I'm really pleased with how this bag turned out.  It's huge, and is going to make an awesome day trip bag.  Plenty of room for diapers and sippy cups and the like.

Now off to my sketchbook to work on some scrappy mug rug designs for the upcoming scrappy mug rug swap!  (Did you notice how I'm avoiding that quilt WIP?  All I have left to finish the top is the final border, and I always dread putting those on, because they never seem to be straight!)

Happy sewing and make sure to check out Amylouwho's Sew & Tell linky party!