My Bluestem

Chrysanthemum Bluestem
Chrysanthemum Bluestem

I finally made something for myself.

This is the Bluestem pouch pattern from Sew Sweetness. As mentioned when I made the pink one recently, it is part of Minikins Season 4.

I plan to use this pouch for my pens, post-its and other bits an pieces that I take to guild meetings and Sew Day.

Chrysanthemum Bluestem - end
Chrysanthemum Bluestem – end

I decided on the fabrics as part of the latest President’s Challenge at the guild. I have had some of the Chrysanthemum fabric for awhile, but I got another piece for my birthday. The goal of the President’s 2024 Challenge is to get people to ‘use the good stuff’. I have been trying to do that, but it is difficult. When I started this pouch, the day had come to do it.

Chrysanthemum Bluestem - open
Chrysanthemum Bluestem – open

I am taking the President’s 2024 Challenge a bit farther in that I am also using the fun zippers I have been buying. I really like those rainbow zippers. The new zipper pulls also look great.

I used the orange stitch fabric, because I like it. I have used some of it, but also tend to hoard that particular print. I decided I could enjoy looking at it as I used the pouch just as well as when I came across it in my fabric closet.

Chrysanthemum Bluestem - label
Chrysanthemum Bluestem – label

I remembered to put a label on the lining before I sewed the lining together, which makes me smile.

I am struggling a little with covering the inside raw edges. Still practice makes perfect, right?

New I Spy

Big Poppy I Spy
Big Poppy I Spy

I got some new templates this week, which means I needed a new I Spy pouch in which to store them.

I cut this pouch out after work on Monday and sewed it up during Craft Night. I only had to whip stitch the bottom closed and I could fill up the bag with my templates.

Big Poppy I Spy
Big Poppy I Spy

I made an effort to make the window (lining) fabric look good and used some fabric I received for Christmas. Normally, the fabric isn’t seen, but I wanted to make this super pretty.

I am planning to make another pouch for the other set of templates. I could have made two at a time, but I thought I would have to adjust the size and I didn’t want to worry about that on Monday. I just wanted to sew.

Finished: Enigma #4

Pink Enigma
Pink Enigma

I finished the Enigma #4 and also gave it to my friend. She was so touched; it made me want to cry. I don’t think of giving bags to people as anything special. In my small quiltmaking/bagmaking world, everyone gives bags like they are napkins or something equally as mundane. I am always brought up short when I give a bag to someone outside of that world and see how amazed they are.

Pink Enigma #4: open
Pink Enigma #4: open

This one came out really well. I am still impressed by the matching stripe I was able to find. I cannot remember when I bought it or where, but it has been hanging around for awhile. It just goes so perfectly with the pink and green outer fabric. I used up all of the fabrics I used. All had chunks taken out of them when I started and were really just scraps when I finished.


Engima #4 - top view
Engima #4 – top view

Of course, I am still swooning over the diagonal zipper. Of course, I didn’t take a photo of the side where you can see in this version. You can see the diagonal zipper and how it works in the picture of Mom’s Enigma.

I am really pleased, also, with how well the handbag zipper color goes with the exterior fabric of the bag.

I am Miss Self Admiration Society today, aren’t I?

Pink Enigma - open flat
Pink Enigma – open flat

This one also lays flat. I still really like the way this design opens flat for accessing everything inside. 

This piece really came together well in terms of fabric. I am already thinking about the next one I want to make.

Brown Strip Donation Quilt Ready for Quilting

Brown strip donation top
Brown strip donation top

I wouldn’t exactly say I finished this in record time, but I did work hard to get it done and off my design wall.These quilts aren’t difficult to make. The blocks can take some time, but go together quickly if the strips are available and I use the leaders and enders technique.

This is the third quilt finished from my black-grey-brown scrap drawer. It never ceases to amaze me how little fabric it takes to make a quilt. This one, including borders and sashing took about 3 yards.

I showed it to Marty, who loves the nuanced subtlety of brown, at Sew Day the other day and she loved it. She wanted to know if I was a brown convert. No, no I am not, but I am glad I made this quilt and got rid of the brown scraps I had.

While we were looking at the quilt, I pointed out some of the fabrics I used in really old quilts, like She Had to Have her Latte. That is the fun of scrap quilts – seeing old fabrics and remembering a previous project.

Brown strip donation quilt back
Brown strip donation quilt back

I had a large piece of ‘tea dye’ colored fabric that was almost perfect for the back. I had to add on a bit more, but it was nice to get that large piece out of the fabric closet.

The fabric has postcards on it. I tried to read the messages, but I finally decided they must be fakes as some were impossible to read. That, or they were intentionally blurred.

Another project and more fabric out of the house.

I remembered that I used up quite a bit of brown for the Henry Softies.

Hemingway Finished

Hemingway Pouch finished
Hemingway Pouch finished

This was a relatively easy project. As mentioned the other day, I didn’t use the exact dimensions, but it didn’t matter. You can make this pouch any size.

For me, it seemed best to make two at a time since you only use one side of a zipper. I didn’t want to have a random piece of zipper hanging around, so I made two.

I am going to try making one with some of the pre-quilted foam I got last year. I might make a bag for my lightbox.

Mom’s Enigma

Paint Tube Enigma for Mom
Paint Tube Enigma for Mom

I briefly talked about Mom’s Enigma bag in the post I did about all the gifts I have made for her. It was so brief that you probably didn’t notice.

This is the third Enigma Bag I have made and I am especially pleased with how good the zipper looks with this fabric. You can see the other Enigmas I have made by looking at the Minikins page.

As you know, the Enigma is part of Minikins Season 4 from Sara Lawson at Sew Sweetness*. It came out in November or December – I can’t remember – late last year in any case. I am pleased that I have made 6 projects from this group. Yes, four of them are the same pattern, but still a good showing.

Paint Tube Enigma for Mom
Paint Tube Enigma for Mom

This is the bag that is great for handwork, especially in the car or on a plane, because of the open flat, completely enclosed design. There is a small pocket in the middle. It is a floating pocket, so your items fit underneath it. I want to try making it in vinyl.

Paint Tube Enigma for Mom
Paint Tube Enigma for Mom

As I mentioned, I am happy with the zipper. I used zipper tape either from  Sew Sweetness or Sew Hungry Hippie. The rainbow look is a favorite, but I also like how the zipper tape blends with the fabric color.

Paint Tube Enigma for Mom - end
Paint Tube Enigma for Mom – end

I am not that fond of these giant zipper pulls. They are easy to grip, so Mom won’t have a problem opening and closing the bag, but they do clunk together in an unattractive way. I have some other options coming.

You can also see that the construction of this bag using a similar accordion construction technique to the Sew Together Bag. If you have made an STB, then you can make this bag, no problem.

Mom's Enigma - side view
Mom’s Enigma – side view

One of the reasons I have made 4 of these is because of the diagonal zipper. I really like that look.

Mom seemed to like, though she is making noises about having too many bags. I still have a lot of fabric for gifts for her, so I’ll have to think about that.







*No affiliation. Just a happy customer.

Finished Black Strip #2 Donation Top

Black Strip #2 donation top
Black Strip #2 donation top

This quilt is off to the guild for someone else to quilt and bind.

I added a larger border on the sides to make it less obviously rectangular. I didn’t want people to think only super skinny folks could use it.

This quilt was popular after listening to Christina Cameli give us her Big Ideas lecture. Get her to come to your guild! That is a great lecture.

Tula 2-in-1 Case Finished

Tula 2-in-1 Case
Tula 2-in-1 Case

I finally finished the Tula 2-in-1-Case. The binding gave me fits. I am pleased, however, that it came out so well. Choosing a Tula Tiny Stripe for the binding made coordination easy.

The inside is an old feather print I had. I like it and it is light colored so the recipient will be able to see what’s inside. I suppose, however that is not as important with a bag that opens flat?

Tula 2-in-1 Case - open
Tula 2-in-1 Case – open
Tula 2-in-1 Case -back
Tula 2-in-1 Case -back

The back is fairly normal. It is just the back of a bag. There is an interesting bit of symmetry because of the way I cut the exterior panel so that the lady would be centered on the front.

I don’t yet know who the recipient will be. Stay tuned!

Finished: Ultimate Project Bag

Ultimate Project Bag - exterior
Ultimate Project Bag – exterior

I finished the Ultimate Project Bag! After 5 years, I finished it. I am annoyed, because this was not a difficult project. It may have been more difficult 5 years ago, but my skills have improved tremendously since then. I was also swayed by the other members of the club saying that it was such a difficult project.

I am pretty happy, not only to have it finished, but also with how it came out. I have some ideas for changes, (of course!), if I make this again. I should make it again just to remind myself that it isn’t a very difficult project. It could be very useful for toting around bag projects in process!

This is the exterior and you can see the quilting pretty well. I talked about it a little in the in process post I wrote a few weeks ago.

The exterior is like an Essex Linen, but by Figo. It feels like a very lightweight canvas, though drapey. It looks like the photo above on both sides when closed.

Ultimate Project Bag - interior
Ultimate Project Bag – interior

When opened it is about 39 inches long. I don’t know why 39 inches and not 40. ~\/0\/~ On one half of the bag (top in the photo, right) is a zippered mesh pocket.

In the middle is a tab with a D-ring.

On the other half in a vinyl pocket where I used glitter vinyl (because I love it). The vinyl pocket also has a zipper.

The pockets are quite large – around 16×16 inches, which definitely holds blocks.

Ultimate Project Bag - interior - with Road Trip bag
Ultimate Project Bag – interior – with Road Trip bag

As I mentioned, this was part of the Crafty Gemini Organizer Club and one of the first projects we made was the Road Trip bag. The Road Trip bag was designed, from the beginning, to be attached to this Ultimate Project Bag. It is a good idea, because I often need a place to store bag hardware I have collected as I am assembling supplies to make a bag. I put a Lobster Clip on the Road Trip bag and a D-ring in the Ultimate Project Bag, because I prefer to be able to clip the smaller bag to larger bags. Crafty Gemini designed the patterns to have the D-ring on the Road Trip bag and a Lobster Clip on the Ultimate Project Bag. It is really preference. Neither is right or wrong. I try to remember to put a leash/tab and a D-ring on my larger bags just in case I want to clip something to it.

Ultimate Project Bag: detail-mesh pocket
Ultimate Project Bag: detail-mesh pocket

I am not happy with the position of the clip for the Road Trip bag. As I carry the Ultimate Project Bag, the Road Trip Bag falls out and drags on the floor. I am thinking of adding a separate tab and D-ring to the top side, under the zipper, of the mesh pocket. If I do that the Road Trip Bag will still jut out a little bit, but at least it won’t drag on the floor.

Taking the binding off the mesh pocket, will be less destructive than taking it off the vinyl side.

As an aside, you will notice that the Road Trip bag looks very similar to the Sew Sweetness I Spy Pouch from Minikins Season 1. The pattern designs are very similar.


On to the Ultimate Retreat Bag!

Finished: My Jumbo Project Bag

My Jumbo Project Bag
My Jumbo Project Bag

I was able to finish my Project Bag while I listened to a presentation at work the other day. You might think I was cheating on work, but I find that if I do some handwork, I can pay better attention to the presentation.

I was going to make Mom another one for Christmas, but decided on something else and made this one for myself with some of the fabric Colleen quilted for me. It is already in use for the EPPic bag pieces I cut out at Sew Day some time ago.

Finished: Disco Double Zip Pouch

Disco Double Zip Pouch - finished
Disco Double Zip Pouch – finished

I finished the Disco Double Zip Pouch, so I have another gift, not wrapped but, otherwise, ready for the holidays. It’s a nice firm pouch so my fix for the Frankenfoam worked well.

The pouch itself is quite large and with the extra Decor Bond, it is not very squishable. It would fit well into a Chubby Charmer to organize all the things someone needs to take somewhere.

Disco Double Zip Pouch - top
Disco Double Zip Pouch – top

If I were to make this pouch again, I might add some interior zipper pockets. I am not sure how useful they would be, but there is enough space and I think you can never have too many pockets. It would also be good to add some pen holders. As the pattern is written, you just toss things into the pouch. It would fit my Leuchtturm notebook, but then what? I just don’t know how I would use this pouch.

Disco Double Zip Pouch - handle
Disco Double Zip Pouch – handle

The handle is very useful, I think. One of the reasons I added a handle to the Hackney was that it made the bag more usable. I am glad the pattern included a handle for this pouch. The weird thing is that the zippers are behind the handle. I might add some zipper pulls.

This pouch is great if you want to fussy cut some special fabric, or use an embroidery design. The large size has a great space for a specific motif. Frankly, I am not sure how I would use this pouch, but I am glad I made it.

Fish Hackney Done!

Fish Hackney - done - open
Fish Hackney – done – open

Hooray! The Fish Hackney is done. I am going to get a gift card and store it in my box of gifts. I can cross off one holiday gift requirement.

It looks pretty good. I am happy with it and hope my Dad will like it as well.

I think next time I will try a smaller vertical zipper for the mesh pocket. I think it might be useful and there is something about the zipper in the center of the pocket that bugs me a little bit. I’ll have to adjust the size of the zipper binding (called Mesh binding in the pattern) to accommodate a different sized zipper.

Fish Hackney - done - top
Fish Hackney – done – top

I was able to fix the label. I connected the bottom of the label to the mesh by sewing it carefully to bits of the mesh. I should have used yellow thread, but I didn’t.

I’ll have to think about where to put non-artquiltmaker labels in the future. Middle bottom of the top? It would mean they were upside down, but might be an option.

Fish Hackney - done - handle
Fish Hackney – done – handle

The handle looks good. I think I need to position them a little higher up in the future.

I know I will make at least one more of these bags, maybe two.

This one is done and I am super pleased.

Gift: Large Hackney

Mom's Hackney Bag: three quarters view
Mom’s Hackney Bag:
three quarters view

I have made a number of these Hackney bags,  but this one is special as it is for my mom for her birthday, which is today!

This one also really came out well. I am super pleased with it.

I used some zipper tape I have had for awhile. I bought it from Sew Sweetness in January in both black and white. I am pleased with how the rainbow metallic of the zipper teeth enhance the look of the paint tube fabric. I did forget to add a second zipper head, but the bag will still be able to be closed with a zipper, so no problem.

Mom's Hackney Bag: interior
Mom’s Hackney Bag: interior

I used a more Decovil** and DecorBond** than in other Hackneys. Note, I didn’t add an excessive amount, just a bit more. I have to remind myself that I like structured bags and I should add more appropriate interfacing when I need to.

I thought I had a ton of red fabric, but I didn’t have quite enough for the front panel of this bag. I still think it looks nice. It looks very cheerful on the inside.

Mom's Hackney Bag: interior mesh pocket
Mom’s Hackney Bag: interior mesh pocket

Yes, I made the mesh pocket again. As I said before, I think they are useful; I just don’t like making them, but practice makes perfect. I think I would like to try making it a different way. I don’t want to fold the edge of the zipper tape as much as the pattern says. The edge of the zipper tape gets ensconced in the seam allowance, so there really isn’t a reason not to leave it raw. It is easier and tidier not to go through all of those layers of folded zipper tape anyway.

I will say that the fabric I found matches the zipper and the foldover elastic very well.

I think I still need more practice making the inside.

Mom's Hackney Bag: exterior
Mom’s Hackney Bag: exterior

The outside looks very good, though.

I oriented the directional fabric a little differently this time. I oriented the top exterior piece so the paint tubes are right side up when the bag is being carried. The bottom paint tube are oriented at a 90 degree angle from the top.

Mom's Hackney Bag: handle
Mom’s Hackney Bag: handle

The handle is also in the right place, which makes me really happy.

One thing I haven’t figured out is where to put the handle in terms of the distance between exterior top and exterior bottom. I hope I remembered to measure where this handle is placed before I gave it away. 😉

Mom's Hackney Bag: interior bottom
Mom’s Hackney Bag: interior bottom

I am doing a better job of remembering to sew my labels in. I wrote myself a note on the pattern, so sewing in a label has become another step in the process. You can see the labels in the photo on the right. I try to include one of my Wunderlabels as well as a label from my 2022 Advent Calendar.

Mom's Hackney Bag: exterior top
Mom’s Hackney Bag: exterior top

So, another Hackney under my belt. I feel like writing another post showing them all. Maybe I should make myself one.











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Blue Strip #3 Donation Quilt Completely Finished

Blue Strip #3 donation quilt
Blue Strip #3 donation quilt

At my sew day with Cyndi, she worked on binding quilts. One of them was my Blue Strip #3. I am so thrilled because I just finished this one in July! I am thrilled that it is already finished.

We discussed colors to use as binding and eventually settled on a turquoise. I thought a purply blue would look better with the batik border, but she didn’t have such a fabric and I didn’t think it mattered that much. The turquoise turned out to be a great choice.

Cyndi did a machine binding that looks really nice. I have to try and learn that skill.

Blue Strip #3 donation quilt back
Blue Strip #3 donation quilt back

Laura, a longarmer who has been doing quilting for the guild, did the quilting. It is flowers and you can see it really well from the back.

Finished: Bristol Pouch

Finished: Bristol Pouch
Finished: Bristol Pouch

I finished the Bristol Pouch. I am pleased with how it came out.

I am also pleased with the “fussy cutting”. I have to laugh, because I didn’t really fussy cut the big flower. It just happened: Happy accident!

Bottom and side
Bottom and side

I think I would construct it a little differently if I made it again. I think the foldy instructions for the bottom are cool, but I don’t like the way it looks on the outside. I also think this technique would be better without the foam. I might try this technique with fusible fleece. The finished piece just feels too thick in the corners. I am pretty sure this is personal preference.

Bristol pouch: top closed
Bristol pouch: top closed

From the top, the pouch looks good. It looks very sleek.

As you can see, I chose a striped binding. I love striped binding and I think the fabric combination looks good.

I am also pleased that my leftover zipper end worked in terms of color with this pouch. I struggled a little to get the zipper to work properly, but once I zipped it a few times, the teeth got themselves organized and there was no problem.

Bristol pouch: top open
Bristol pouch: top open

I really wanted to make this quickly, so I didn’t spend a lot of time choosing fabrics. I used the quilted combination I had from Colleen, but I probably should have matched the binding on the inside to the lining fabric. Maybe next time.

I am not sure how I will use this pouch, but some need will turn up.