Tool Tote Purpose

Art Bin with bag hardware
Art Bin with bag hardware

I finished the Tool Tote awhile ago. It has just been sitting around. I thought about giving it as a gift, but I made it with fabric that I used for several bags I wanted to make for myself. Thus, I hadn’t found a purpose for it until recently. I decided to use it to organize the hardware and supplies I use for bagmaking.

I had put a few tools in it, so those had to go somewhere else (or will have to go somewhere else).

Tool Tote with bag supplies
Tool Tote with bag supplies

These supplies weren’t disorganized, but they weren’t in great shape and I was having a hard time keeping track of what I had. Since the Tool Tote was there. It was also the right size to hold the Art Bin I got last birthday. I filled the Art Bin with little pieces of hardware. I put the zippers and things on top.

It isn’t a huge tote and if I buy a lot of supplies before I use the ones I have up, I won’t have space. Perhaps that is a good thing. It is good to be organized.

Frolic! Clue 2

Frolic! Clue 2 finished
Frolic! Clue 2 finished

I was able to finish Frolic! in record time. I downloaded the clue. When I looked at it I realized that I could do the clue at Sew Day, I sewed strips really quick and took everything to Sew Day to cut up.

This clue was an easy one, but it was done very quickly and it seems like an eternity ago that I did it. I am already working on Clue 3.

Another Kind of Chain Piecing

Chain/Strip Piecing
Chain/Strip Piecing

I was working on the Frolic! piecing and I realized that I was doing chain/strip piecing in a different way.

In strip piecing, you put two strips right sides together and you sew up one side. In this case, I had one long strip and a bunch of smaller strips and squares. I lined up the various bits and pieces on the long strip and just sewed. Later, I cut the pieces apart to the appropriate length.

It works and is great, because you can get some scrapiness without as much cutting.

Gift #4: Julie’s Scissor Cozy

Scissor Cozy
Scissor Cozy

I finally got my head around the Sotak Handmade scissor cozy tutorial. This is one I made for Julie from the same fabric I used for the pillowcase I sent along with her walker bag.

Mine is a little different as it has a leash and a lobster clasp, so it can be clipped to another bag. I don’t know if I have made Julie a bag with a D-Ring. I’ll have to put it on the list for next year.

I was thinking I could make one of these pouches for my Ultimate Carry All Bag  or All Rolled Up tote and clip it to the inside.

Gift Post #3: Mega Pinnie Angel Gift

Angel Mega Pinnie
Angel Mega Pinnie

I made this Mega Pinnie as kind of a test. It was the second one I had made. I thought I would use it as one of the raffle prizes. 

However, we are having a Winter swap in a few weeks. Last year, people didn’t show up so others did not get their gift. I decided that I would donate it as an angel gift for the swap.

I didn’t go as crazy on the pockets, so the pockets are larger than on the Swap Gift Mega Pinnie. I also forgot the handle. I think it will be great, though.

Gift Post #2: Julie’s Pencil Roll

Julie's Pencil Roll
Julie’s Pencil Roll

Yep, we are all about gifts here on the blog right now. In case you hadn’t noticed. I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that Christmas is coming. I just don’t believe it. It would probably help if I got some decorations up.

Still the practical part of me knows that Julie’s birthday is before Christmas and I needed to get her gifts done before the Thanksgiving frenzy arrived. So, I also made this pencil roll for Julie. I thought I made her one before but couldn’t find any evidence. She wanted one with a flap. Apparently, the one without the flap leaked writing implements. I have had this experience with mine and keep it upright in order to keep the implements where they belong.

Julie's Pencil Roll, open
Julie’s Pencil Roll, open

I was really pleased to choose fabrics for this pencil roll. I found some great batiks that I had been hoarding. I also threw in some lime/icky greens. They go well with purple and will tie this piece to the Undercover Maker Mat she made. I knew she would like them.

Julie's Pencil Roll, flap down
Julie’s Pencil Roll, flap down

I left the top open to turn the piece and I won’t do that again when the pencil roll has a flap. I had to carefully stitch the thing in order to make it look right on the top.

These don’t take long to make and I might make some for the officers. I don’t know if they are pen people, though, so perhaps a scissor cozy is better?


Gift Post #1 2019: Swap Mega Pinnie

Mega Pinnie with baby pincushion
Mega Pinnie with baby pincushion

As mentioned, I had to make a swap gift for the Winter Extravaganza Palooza at the guild. In that previous post, I talked about the pattern. Since then I have been contemplating WHY I chose what is, basically, a giant pincushion.

Short answer: I don’t know.

Long answer: it is kind of a strange gift, but it is useful. It reminds me of the cube I made for the YM. It is also different from other things I have seen. The pockets can hold scissors and seam rippers, etc. I photocopied a variety of tools and put them in the pockets to show how the pockets can be used.

Mega Pinnie with needle felt
Mega Pinnie with needle felt

The baby pincushion (Mini Pinnie) can be removed from the Mega Pinnie and used away from its giant mom. There is also a piece of felt designed to hold needles.

The top has a handle, which can be used to hold the full Mega Pinnie.

As I usually do, I filled the piece with some Beanie Baby pellets as well as stuffing. I didn’t use wool roving on this one; I used poly-fil because I needed so much of it. I hope I put enough of the Beanie Baby pellets in the square to keep it anchored. I know I could have put more in it.

I still want to make more of these!

Gift Bags

I have been working on gifts for almost all of November. That makes it hard to have anything about which to post. The people for whom I am making gifts read my posts. I have almost finished the major gifts for the upcoming holidays, which is a relief. However, I have some gift bags to show you.

Julie Gift Bags
Julie Gift Bags

I talked about gift bags and making them as I go along earlier this year. It hasn’t worked out completely as planned. I had plenty of leaders and enders projects in the donation quilts I have been making. Also, because bags are good mind sorbet, but boring if you don’t need mind sorbet. Also, I have a lot of small gifts to wrap and small bags are quicker, but also fiddly-er. I will have to buckle down and find some small bags in my stash of bags or make some. The only other alternative is to wrap with actual paper and tape. Bleah.

I wanted to make gift bags in which to wrap the gifts. I have had some fabrics waiting to be made into gift bags. There happened to be some purple that was perfect for some of the gifts I have made.

Scrap User System

One of the things that was in the first Frolic! clue was a mention of Bonnie Hunter’s Scrap User System. I had forgotten about her system, but was reminded when I clicked on the link and started reading the article.

2019 Cutting Chart
2019 Cutting Chart

I don’t do exactly what Bonnie does, but I do a version of it. As I have mentioned, I cut certain pieces out of every piece of fabric I use or buy for future projects. As I mentioned the other day, this sometimes comes in handy when I work on a project that needs certain unit sizes that I have cut. This is the point of Bonnie’s system.

My cutting varies from year to year depending on what projects I have going, as I have said. I like the idea of cutting up all of my scraps into usable pieces, but it just isn’t practical for me. I like the compromise I have made. It breaks up my cutting, as I have also said. I have the pieces I need for my next projects ready to go when I am ready to sew. I have something (cutting up pieces of fabric) I can do when I have a few minutes free.

I also like having random shapes and sizes of fabric in my scrap drawers. I would be able to make interesting journal covers or the improv donation quilts without them.

I think the key is to think about different systems and make them work for you.

Leaders & Enders Clarification

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a leaders and enders demo I did at my guild. I am not sure if I changed any world views, but it was a good way to clarify the process in my mind.

As I was working on Frolic! this week, I realized that chain piecing and leaders & enders are related, but not the same and thought I should clarify.

Leaders & Enders Clarification
Leaders & Enders Clarification

Chain piecing is where the quiltmaker sews piece after piece without cutting the thread. Leaders and enders are used instead of a thread bunny.

I got used to using leaders & enders when I made my FOTY quilts. It is not really possible with those projects to chain piece. I have to keep the units in an exact order on the design wall. If I chain piece they get mixed up. Thus, I put two FOTY units through the machine and end with an ender. I go press and replace the FOTY combined units back on the design wall and grab two more units. I put this FOTY set of units through the machine, which means that my ender is now a leader. I put another ender through the machine and cut off the FOTY unit and the leader.

In the above photo, you can see me chain piecing. There are a number of Frolic! units after my leader (the white pieces). I won’t cut off the last unit until after I have sewed on an ender. I adjust how I piece depending on the look I want.

As I have said before, you can use anything as leaders/enders. I have used gift bags, bag parts, other quilts. Most frequently, I use pieces for my donation quilts.

The key is to use leaders and enders to improve your productivity.

I have copied the resources below from a previous post. As I have said before, Bonnie Hunter is the leaders & enders queen.






Frolic! in Progress

Frolic! Clue #1
Frolic! Clue #1

I am working on the four patches for the first clue. They are taking more time than I would like (WHY am I in such a hurry lately???), but I am doing a couple other things in the process. First. I looked through my pink scrap drawer to find some pieces of raspberry fabric. I cleared a little bit of random bits of scraps out either my tossing them into the “to be pet bed filling” bag. There is slightly more space in my pink scrap drawer, but most of the fabric were not the right raspberry.

I also looked through a lot of fabric. I have bins of fabric, but I also have some stacks of fabric. I looked through all of them to find the right colors. I had to press and cuts small strips of fabric in order to create a lot of variety. I don’t know what the next steps are so I can’t tell if the pieces I have made so far are going to be right for the project overall. I guess we’ll see.

White Improv Donation Quilt Progress

White Improv - November 2019
White Improv – November 2019

I have been making some progress on the White Improv piece. I am not working as fast as I would like.

It is looking good, I think, different than the others, but interesting in its own way.

The pieces I have in my scrap drawer are a trial, however. There are many, many pieces of great fabric in stupid lengths. They seem to always be wrong. I am making it work, though.


Bonnie Hunter released her 2019 mystery quilt on Friday. All of the clues will be posted on the Frolic! tab on her site. Normally I wait to see what the quilt looks like, but I decided to do it. One reason was that when I read through the whole first group of instructions I was, once again, impressed with Bonnie Hunter. She may not have an MQG aesthetic, but she has sound techniques and good designs.

I am mostly following her color scheme so far. There is only one clue, so that isn’t saying much.

One of the reasons I decided to do this was what Bonnie said about cutting. She said

“When cutting, do NOT leave the ruler line you are measuring by on the mat NEXT to your fabric.  Get it UP ON THE FABRIC.  Be sure the line is ON the fabric, not next to it.  Don’t leave the line on the mat.”

This is something I never have been able to find out. Nobody really taught me to rotary cut, so I never knew where the lines on the rulers went until I read this  post. I should be embarrassed to tell you, but I am not. I make quilts I love and I have good technique. It can always be better and this is me getting better.

Various & Sundry 2019 #12

I really can’t believe it is November — oops! I meant I can’t believe November is ending. The good part of November ending is that it is the YM’s birthday today. He was born on a Saturday so this particular birthday is special to me. I am now the mom of a 23 YO! How can that be? The bad part of November ending is that there are very few days left to make projects for Christmas! Yikes. On so many levels, time is just flying along.

I updated the Quilt Gallery Menu (check the header) to include more quilts, tutorials and pages of series quilts. Take a look!


OMCA: Woman Statue
OMCA: Woman Statue

As I mentioned in two recent Burning Man posts, I went to the Oakland Museum of California. I did see some other things besides the Burning Man exhibit. One was this beautiful statue that was 40 feet tall and a fraction of the original’s height.  The lines and shape of the body are simply amazing.

Projects, Patterns, & Tutorials

Charlotte Hawkes of Scrapitude fame is coming out with a  new mystery quilt in January. The kickoff post, which I found a little confusing, is already posted on her site. Thanks to Valerie of Evening in the Garden for the link.

Remember I talked about Mega Pinnies? I saw a post from the designer where she showed a whole bunch of different Mega Pinnies. It is fun to see the different fabrics used. Also, I found that you can buy the pattern from the author’s Etsy shop.

LillyElla of Undercover Maker Mat fame is back with a Mini Maker Station pattern. This would make a great swap gift or a great gift in general.

The Daredevils QAL is finished, but I found one block I forgot to post. Katherine’s Block is one of the best of the bunch. I like the way the circle is split.

Scissor cozies are something I haven’t thought about, but I saw the tutorial and thought that it would be a nice idea for a future gift grouping.

In the paper department is a site that has origami and paper folding. I saw a project called a Mette Ring. I have to try it as it reminds me of a slightly different take on a wreath.

The directions for Bonnie Hunter’s newest mystery quilt, Frolic, were posted today. You can see all of the posts on the Frolic Mystery Quilt tab.  The directions are only free for a limited time, so make sure you save them if you can’t start now.

Fabric, Notions, Tools & Supplies

SewTites is having a sale through December 2. Get some! They are fabulous!

I found glitter vinyl on the Sew Hungry Hippie site. I cant’ remember if I told you about it. If I did then this is a reminder to go look at it. I think I might be in love with glitter vinyl!

Other Artists

Charlotte of the Slightly Mad quilt Lady talked about how to discuss your quilts in a recent post. She follows up on that topic in an even more recent post by clarifying that ALL quilts have a story and we must all tell their stories. I agree. If we don’t tell the stories, they will be lost and that is a crying shame.

Because of my job I found out about a site called Behance. Of course, I did a search for ‘quilt’. I update it every day and look to see what I can see. Through that site, I found Karlee Porter’s site. Her lion is fabulous!

I have heard of Lynn Carson Harris before. Today’s Quilter, perhaps? I don’t remember. I just know that I like her quilts: lots of pieces. She is also working on a  series about domestic abuse. This is a subject near to my heart, not because of personal experience, but because it primarily (not exclusively!) affects women and children. A number of the donation quilts I make are sent to a local domestic violence shelter to comfort the victims who have taken shelter there. The quilting on LCH’s quilts is wonderful.


I often think of QALs and SALs and BOMs as another thing on my to do list. Gretchen posted about why she likes them and it really made me think about these group projects in a different way.

I always think of creatives like musicians as just making their music and that is enough creativity for them. Boy was I wrong, at least in the case of Sir Rod Stewart. He has worked on a creative, non-musical project for 23 years and he finally shows it off. I can really understand how he would want a break from the music, but would still want to be creative. This is amazing and I am thrilled he finally showed it off. I use a lot of creative problem solving at work, but it is a lot different that the part of my brain that is used when I sew. Both are good. I can see the benefits of engaging in both.

The article about drawing to learn is really interesting.

Amish Acres in Indiana is set to close. My friend thinks it would be a great quilt retreat and I should buy it.

Frances of the Off Kilter Quilt and Quilt Fiction fame wrote a long essay about why she makes quilts, the making of quilts in general, quilt stories and selling quilts. She writes “I said I wouldn’t go into quilters underselling their quilts on Etsy, but I will say that while it bothers me, I think I understand why you might sell a quilt easily worth $1,000 for $250. For most quiltmakers, the point of making a quilt is not having a quilt, at least not after you’ve been quilting long enough to have more quilts than you know what to do with. The point of making a quilt is making a quilt. In this way, making a quilt is similar to taking a trip to Paris. You purchase fabric and thread just as you would an airline ticket. Working on the quilt is akin to spending a series of gauzy fall afternoons walking along the Seine or through the Tuileries Garden. You wouldn’t count that time as billable hours. You are passionate about being there—in fact, being there is part of what gives your life meaning. When you return home, you don’t expect someone to reimburse you for your travel expenses. The cost of the travel (the fabric, the thread) is the price you were willing to pay for the experience.  ….” Go read the rest of point #4 (or the whole thing!). It is well worth your time. She makes some excellent points.


Philip Jacobs has a Zazzle shop full of items covered by his designs.

Check my Cafe Press store for holiday gifts.


Edgestitch had a reminder to go get a Mammogram. When was your last one? I want to extend that out to general self-care. I get a haircut religiously every 5-6 weeks. I get a pedicure every month. I exercise. These things cost money and there are other ways to care for yourself. I think it is  important to care for yourself because you can’t care for the others in your life if you are falling apart. What is your self-care routine?

Creativity Quote

Life is busy right at the moment. I’ll get back on track next week. In the meantime, I read an article* in the Wall Street Journal about Julianne Moore called “Julianne Moore is fighting for safer kids.” The article is by Jason Gay, and was posted Nov. 6, 2019 8:34 am ET

“I ask Moore about winning her Oscar, and what it meant—if, after being nominated four times, including twice in 2003, for supporting actress in The Hours and best actress in Far From Heaven, it loomed, perhaps heavily, as a goal. “You can’t have it as a goal,” she says. “It can’t be. It’s a marker. I remember somebody asked Jodie Foster about winning an Oscar, and she said, ‘Oh, my God, it was such a relief.’ ” Moore smiles. “I laughed, because that is how it feels. You have to work for the work. You have to like the process and like doing it because you like doing it. And yet our culture has these competitions and these prizes…so on one hand, it feels like, Phew.”

I left in the surrounding text so you would understand the context, but I have highlighted the sentences that spoke to me.

Hope you are doing well!




*The link will probably bring you to a paywall. Logon to your public or university library and get access to the WSJ through them.