Sew Together Bags Look Like Bags

4 Sew Together Bag Interiors
4 Sew Together Bag Interiors

I spent a lot of time over the weekend working on these bags. I have to say that it was a joy. I do want to get them done, but I really enjoyed the process.

I talked, a long time ago, about trying to be process oriented. It is hard and I have to focus on it. This sewing didn’t feel hard. I just moved through the process steadily, listened to an audiobook and felt very happy.

As you may know, these are the interiors. I was able to put them together, after making the pocket panels the other day.

STB WonderClips flap
STB WonderClips flap

I also added a little flap to hold WonderClips. It isn’t a great solution and I’ll have to think of something better for next time, but it will hold WonderClips, which will keep them from falling out of the STB if it gets turned on its side.

The arrows point to the flap. I want to hide end somehow for future models as it is hard to get the end straight with the seam allowance pushed down into such a small space.

STB Pocket Panel

Sew Together Bag - 4 Pocket Panels
Sew Together Bag – 4 Pocket Panels

I am not sure if this is actually called a pocket panel. I might have heard that somewhere else or in another bag pattern. It fits the description, however.

I tried to match up the different zippers with the exteriors of the bags. Stayed to see what you think about my matching.

In the photo, you can see that I have already added the needle holder and pincushion. I haven’t found a good pincushion size. I did something different this time, which was to sew the pincushion to the lining piece by machine. I have sewn them by hand before. The pincushions are also much smaller. Not sure that is good, but we will see. I am sure I will make more in the future.

It occurred to me that I should add a WonderClip holder. I wish I had thought of it sooner, but I can still add something.

Latifah Saafir Class

Put a Ring On It Pattern
Put a Ring On It Pattern

Even though I can teach a vast number of quiltmaking skills, I don’t know everything. The guild hosted Latifah Saafir on Saturday via Zoom to teach us her pattern, Put a Ring on It*.

This pattern uses two of Latifah’s Clammies, the 12 inch** and the 8 inch**. I was super pleased to receive these as gifts between my birthday and Christmas.

The pattern is fairly complete and pretty easy to follow. The class was worthwhile, because Latifah gave us tricks and tips and helped us troubleshoot. The Clammy tool and the pattern really make this, essentially a Double Wedding Ring, pattern accessible to almost anyone. Obviously, I wouldn’t suggest it as a first quilt or if you haven’t tried curves, but otherwise, you can do it.

Martha Negley Vegetables
Martha Negley Vegetables

We had to select fabrics and cut pieces before class. I used an older Martha Negley fabric for the background. The background isn’t very much of the quilt. I wanted something different after looking at all the various versions of this quilt plus other DWR versions online. I didn’t want to make the traditional light background. I also didn’t want to copy the version on the cover. I thought of text prints for the rings, but defaulted back to my Frolic! color scheme with a variety of red-violets and the dark blue.

Two Rings Finished
Two Rings Finished

During class I was able to finish two rings. I wasn’t pleased with the green I chose for the squares. That was one good thing about being at home. I was able to grab some other fabrics and switch them out. I’ll mix up the rings so the green doesn’t look like big green blobs in the center of the quilt.

I am making a 9 block (1 ring=1 block) quilt. It will be about 48 inches x 48 inches. I didn’t want to commit to something larger and even this number of blocks is feeling like too much. I am going to power through. If I can get a ring a day done this week, I can finish all the ‘blocks’ by the end of the week and be ready to put the quilt together at the weekend. I don’t want this to become a UFO. I want to get it down and ready for quilting.

What I really wanted out of this class was to learn to use the Clammy rulers. I think I have started on that process, but didn’t get very far. This class was all about the Put a Ring On It pattern and making that. Learning various Clammy techniques was not on the agenda. That was sad. I hope Latifah comes up with a Clammy Sampler class. I get the sense that this tool is an awesome method for making circles in quiltmaking.








*No affiliation. Both a PDF and print pattern are available. I got the printed pattern and really liked the format.



**I use affiliate links and may be paid for your purchase of an item when you click on an item link in my post. There is no additional cost to you for clicking or purchasing items I recommend. I appreciate your clicks and purchases as it helps support this blog.

Two Quilts Ready for Binding

Colleen sent these two quilts back to me last week. Both are gifts. I have to bind them, which is a problem since I have about 2,000 hours of handwork to do and not enough time to do it. My normal handwork time is taken up now with a 6,000 piece puzzle. I am working on the sky – no clouds, no airplanes – just flat blue sky. It is taking forever. I need to get them done in the next month, so perhaps at Craft Night? At least neither needs a sleeve.


Fabric of the Year 2019 - mid-November 2
Fabric of the Year 2019 – mid-November 2

Part of the process is ripping and I had to rip as I was very close to finishing the FOTY 2019 top.

The quilt top started out correct. It is not sewn together completely in the photo (left), but all of the pieces are where I wanted them.

I continued sewing -and it is a lot of sewing to get these Fabric of the Year quilts together- to make chunks.

FOTY 2019 - Letters upside down
FOTY 2019 – Letters upside down

When I had about 12 seams left, I realized that something had happened.  I had reversed a section somewhere along the process.

I can tell because the letters (white on red serif print) are upside down. I try to get the directional prints going in the right direction when I make these quilts. They do have a top and a bottom. I was nearly done sewing the quilt together. I could have gotten the quilt done before dinner if I had just continued. The question, however, becomes “will I notice this forever?” In this case, the answer was yes.

One good thing about this type of quilt is that I could rip out that one section, resew it and finish the quilt, which is what I did.

Except that I also tried to figure out where I went wrong. I know that on November 14 that section was oriented correctly. On November 23rd, it wasn’t. Sometime in that 10ish day period, something happened and that chunk was turned upside down.

It is hard to keep these pieces correctly oriented. By ‘correctly oriented’ I mean in the place I want them. Most people wouldn’t notice and in 10 years, I might not notice either. I notice now, however.

It is fixed and the quilt top is on its way to being finished.

FOTY 2019 Again

FOTY 2019 early October
FOTY 2019 early October

I finally felt well enough to do some work on FOTY 2019.

The first thing I did was start to move the whole piece down and over so I could reach the top better. I also needed to make the top slightly wider to accommodate the various pieces. I am not quite sure how many rows and columns I need since I didn’t do any math around this piece yet.

FOTY 2019 - early October #2
FOTY 2019 – early October #2

After move what I had down, I started to add more of the colored squares to the design wall. I am sure I will have to cut more greys, but I haven’t done that yet.

Plaid Top Finished

Plaid Top Complete
Plaid Top Complete

I spent some time working on sewing the plaid blocks together. I was able to finish the top with only a minimal amount of irritation. There are a few places where I would have changed the blocks if I had been able to see them on the design wall, but didn’t and am not unsewing.

In general, I am pretty pleased with how the piece looks. The yellow is pretty well distributed over the top, so it helps the eye to move around. Now on to back and binding!

Process vs. Product…Again

A bunch of things came together this past week or so to make me think about process vs. product.

For at least a month, I really wanted to finish the Frolic! top and back and get it ready for quilting. I felt like it was taking me too long to piece. However, when I looked at the blocks, they did have a lot of pieces (63? 68? I counted, but can’t remember). Bonnie Hunter, the designer of the quilt, gives the steps, but she doesn’t estimate the time each step takes. I am an experienced piecer, so I expect things to take a shorter period of time. I forget to take the looking, ripping, re-pressing and other parts of the process into account.

Of course, Frolic! might be a particular case. I spent a good portion of last year piecing Flying Around. When I started Frolic! I wanted and needed a quick and fun project. Frolic!’s outcome is fantastic, but it wasn’t quick and there were some frustrating bits. It was a process. I forget that. I really should have done the Windmills before starting Frolic!, but I didn’t know how involved it would be. I have only done one other Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilt, so the complexity of Bonnie’s designs wasn’t in my mind.

I looked through my process posts to find the one I was thinking of and came across one to read over and contemplate again. Sometime ago I pondered on process, but thought more about creating a habit and continuing to improve rather than exactly process vs. product. There is the implication of process vs. product in that post. The other day, I read a NYT times article** about activities in which people were engaging during Shelter-in-place and found the following quote:

“In the 19th century, intellectuals like Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and others started to expand on the positive psychological benefits associated with a concept now known as mastery: practicing an activity at which you have no previous level of expertise, and experiencing gradual improvement over time.”

I know I want to improve over time, so perhaps I need to ponder what Frolic! gave me in terms of skills beyond the finished product. One thing that comes to mind is the way Bonnie Hunter mimicked 8 pointed stars with HSTs. How do I feel about that?

I like the NYT article. It gives examples of non-digital projects people are pursuing, but it talks a lot about the time it takes to improve. I have always been annoyed at ‘quick quilting projects’. Quiltmaking is not a fast process. There are a lot of steps and they take time. I understand the desire for instant gratification, especially since that seems to be what I am talking about in wanting Frolic! done faster. I rely on my knowledge and experience in quiltmaking to finish projects quickly rather than continuously choosing easy patterns. Another conundrum to contemplate.

N.B. There is nothing wrong with easy patterns!

I also came across a Creative Spark post about process, which reminds me of my hopes and dreams within process. This post is part of the Little Spark project we did a few years ago. You can go through the posts again. I am sure you’ll get value.

The post I was actually looking for talked more about product vs. process. Product is very seductive. I like finishing. I try very hard to be more mindful of the process, to enjoy the process and be engaged with the process, to have my quiltmaking be about the process. It can be difficult, because I like to finish things. I also want to use 100 yards of fabric, I want to clear out my fabric closet so I can fit more of my tools and supplies in there and not have them all over the workroom. I want to be more organized. How does the finishing of a quilt contribute to my goals? Does it contribute?

It is possible that how I am feeling has nothing to do with product vs. process. Perhaps Frolic! wasn’t the right project for the time? Perhaps I needed a much easier project to alternate with Flying Around. I needed some mind sorbet. Perhaps my brain needed a rest? It is possible that I will always struggle with that concept when I get tired of piecing something. I do notice that my efforts to teach myself to keep working through problems with projects stuck. I didn’t put Frolic! away. I kept working on it. Did I work on other things? Yes. I worked on the Running with Scissors Tote and I did some work on the UCAB as well as donation blocks and quilt tops, but my primary project was Frolic!.

So, am I stuck on products? Have I not evolved to enjoy the process? Perhaps this is a stepping stone in the path of mastery and I have to work through it. I really think that the biggest issue was that I should have picked an easier project before I started Frolic!





** If you don’t have a personal or work subscription to the NYT, check your local library. They may be able to provide you with access.

Finishing Frolic! Top

Finished Frolic! Top
Finished Frolic! Top

Yes! I finished the Frolic! top. The borders were not painful. I was sure the top and bottom borders would cause me problems. I had to ease a bit more on the top and bottom than I did on the sides. Other than that they went on smoothly. I am really pleased.

I thought about adding another plain border, but decided I couldn’t face it.

Frolic! Back
Frolic! Back

I also made the back and the binding so the whole piece is ready to be quilted. For the moment, I am not planning on doing a drive-by at the moment, but we will see.

This quilt used about 11 yards of fabric, which put my total up. I am thrilled about that and thrilled that the piece is really for quilting. Really thrilled!

Frolic! Top finished- corner detail
Frolic! Top finished- corner detail

I can’t decide whether I like working on quilts for so long. I did other projects after I started this, but no quilts except donation tops. It is the second project I have worked on recently that took me ~5 months to piece. I am trying to decide if I like those types of projects. I definitely don’t mind the piecing. I think the problem is not having things to show at meetings, feeling like I am making progress and the process being slow. I have to find a balance between impressive, complex projects and speed.

Frolic! First Border

Frolic! with side borders
Frolic! with side borders

I spent part of my lunch hour working on the Frolic! borders yesterday. I also worked on it for awhile after work and after dinner.

I can’t tell you how fabulous it was! I got the side borders on the quilt, which meant taking the HST borders and sewing them together. They fit really well. I didn’t have to ease barely at all. I am thrilled. On to the top and bottom borders. The end is near!!!

Frolic! HST Border

The first set of borders is finished. The HSTs are sewed together, but the strips are not sewn to the quilt.

The photo shows the border strips hanging over the top of my design wall. I worked hard at not putting the same print next to each other. They are controlled scrappy and I am pleased with the way they came out.

I didn’t have as many red-violets as I have other colors, but I do like that color. Not quite pink, not quite purple.

I know it is hard to see the borders, but, trust me, they are fabulous. 🙂 Click on the photos to see them larger.

Frolic! center with first border (detail)
Frolic! center with first border (detail)

I will start working on the blue HSTs soon.

I don’t know if I will keep this quilt or give it away.

Frolic! Border

Frolic! Corner with Border
Frolic! Corner with Border

I talked about trimming Frolic! the other day. I spent the weekend working on the pouch, but was able to sew the first border on to Frolic! as well. This corner detail shows the border up close and personal.

It was a BIG hassle, because the entire edge of Frolic! is on the bias. If I have any advice for you it is: DON’T MAKE YOUR EDGES ON THE BIAS. It is doable, as you can see, but a lot of easing went into adding the border. You can’t just sew and extra 10 inches on to the edge and trim it off. Bias stretches. By adding a longer border and trimming it, you will get waves and I didn’t want a wavy border.

N.B. I wouldn’t dare question Bonnie Hunter’s reasons for telling me to make the quilt this way. She had good reason (math craziness) for make the quilt this way. I just suggest that YOU not design a quilt this way.

Also, if I had been thinking, I would have sewed a mitered corner. I wasn’t thinking and I don’t think it will matter in the long run.

Frolic! center with first border
Frolic! center with first border

As usual, though I didn’t design this quilt, as you know, this quilt is larger than my design wall. Thus, it is hanging off the design wall a bit and might be hard for you to see in the second photo (right).

I have the HSTs for the next two borders, so I need to get sewing.

Frolic! Together (Finally!)

Frolic! center's last seam
Frolic! center’s last seam

Today would be Tax Day, but it isn’t and I am pretty sure I don’t need to go into why.

This is the last seam. I had to take a photo, because I feel like this top has been such an effort.

Frolic! Center Together
Frolic! Center Together

Yes, the top is together.

Finally! Seriously, I feel like this center took for-freaking-ever!

As I said last week, I have a long way to go before I can get it to Colleen, but this is major progress. I feel like I have accomplished something.

My friend Cyndi retired (even though she is about 35!) just before the shelter-in-place order and she is going to town on her UFOs. She is the rockstar who finished her UCAB already.

Frolic! Secondary Block
Frolic! Secondary Block

I think I might need to do something with the secondary blocks/setting blocks. They really look good sewn together. The bad part is that the block is made up of the edges of the main blocks. I could include the pieces on the edges of another block. I just have to figure out how to do it.

I liked this top before I started sewing it together, but I like it so much more now. Despite my whining, I think it looks great. I am constantly amazed how sewing the blocks together can change the look.

Someone asked me why I just don’t put it away and work on something else. Yes, I have been *almost* miserable working on this at times, but I want to keep my habit of not putting a quilt away. I don’t want to build up my UFO pile again after working so hard to get it down to a manageable size. It would be easy to put it away, but I don’t think it would feel good and I am sooooo looking forward to add the yardage to my “Fabric Used” spreadsheet!

Sewing Together a Quilt is Not Pretty

Sewing Frolic! Center Together
Sewing Frolic! Center Together

I am finally sewing the Frolic! quilt top center together! Yay! I say and I am sure you say, because we have both, probably, had enough.

It isn’t really pretty, though, as I sewed sashing to the blocks in an attempt to chunk the blocks and that worked against me in the final stages. I have had to do some partial seams. Some blocks ended up with sashing on them and others didn’t.

C’est la vie. I see the end.