Thursday, January 31, 2019

Two January Finishes and a February Goal

I can’t wait to return to all this scrappiness!

January has been blissfully quiet around my house. I have had my share of commitments, but it all has been manageable in the wake of the holiday chaos. I’ve even made some good progress on a bunch of projects and met my One Monthly Goal for January: finishing two Cargo Duffle Bags. Yahoo!

A Second Finish

I blogged about the first completed bag here. I installed the snaps on the second just minutes ago, found an acceptably well-lit spot to take pictures, and am ready to share it with the world ...

This is my fourth Cargo Duffle. Pattern by Noodlehead.

I am very pleased with how this bag, made for my niece, turned out. My love for this little girl is evident in my use of the beloved Lizzy House Catnap print on the exterior. I don’t cut up yardage like that for just anyone, you know.

The Upcoming Sew-Along

The most exciting part about these finishes is that they’ve convinced me to hold a sew-along to encourage you to make your own Cargo Duffle. If you’re a quilter who’s scared of three-dimensional projects, this sew-along is for you!

I took a bunch of pictures as I sewed up those Lizzy House cats, jotting down notes on how I approach the pattern and why at times I veer from it. This is an opportunity to get in my brain and understand why I do what I do when making a bag.

The schedule details as well as my thoughts on the materials list will post on February 11. The sew-along itself will launch on March 4. Now, this pattern is no quilt. I consider it a weekend project. Despite that, posts about constructing a Cargo Duffle will span two weeks, and the subsequent linky will be open for two weeks. Read that as: There will be plenty of time to play catch-up if you’re not ready to sew on March 4.

My February Goal

Here I am explaining how great and productive January has been, but February is breathing down my neck. There is a bunch of stuff going on with me and my family next month, the thought of which makes me want to curl up in fetal position. Plus, I’m headed to Nashville for QuiltCon, and although I’m super excited about that, there’s planning and packing and preparing to be done. So far, I have done nothing. (Insert deep-breathing exercise here.)

I figure the most I can do at my machine is make headway on a scrappy, stringy project I started a few weeks back. Simple, mindless sewing will be just what I need to escape from February’s demands. And I’m only shooting to finish the flimsy as my goal. Basting and quilting can wait until March. : )

Here’s a little preview. It’s the Valentine pattern from Elizabeth Hartman’s first book, The Practical Guide to Patchwork . . .

These jewel tones are a departure from my usual palettes!

How is January wrapping up for you? Did you start the new year as I did, at top speed?! I will have to hit the breaks in February, but the productivity streak has been fun while it’s lasted

To join the goal-making fun over at Elm Street Quilts, go to the February goal-setting link-up!

Linking up to Main Crush Monday and Needle and Thread Thursday ...

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Friday, January 25, 2019

You, Too, Can Sew an Awesome Bag / Beauties Pageant 17

I made this bag!

I’ve noticed an interesting trend among quilters. Many of them exclusively sew quilts and consider anything three-dimensional to be beyond their skill set. I am here today, my friends, to tell you that’s not true. Your experiences making quilts put you in a great position to sew, say, a Cargo Duffle Bag. Why? Consider this …

Fact: You can follow a pattern with ease.

You’ve followed quilt patterns before (some of you have even written them!). Sure, bag making might require learning new terminology, but with some help, you can decode pattern instructions and create something both beautiful and practical.

And I made this bag!

Fact: You can sew with precision.

You’ve got the quarter-inch seam down pat. The half-inch seam, called for by many bag patterns, is easily within your reach. And the same attention to detail that has served you well when piecing with precision or quilting everything from straight lines to free-motion motives has prepared you to top-stitch beautiful detailing on a bag project.

Fact: You’ve got the equipment and know how to use it.

I wish that when I first started sewing bags I knew what a walking foot was because it’s the bag maker’s secret weapon for sewing through lots of bulk. You already have a walking foot and know how to use it. Now is the time to learn what else you can do with it.

Oh yes, I  made this bag, too!

Are you convinced yet? If you are ready to make the leap, I am holding a sew-along later this winter. We’ll be sewing a Cargo Duffle Bag together (this Noodlehead pattern is free from Robert Kaufman). There will be lots of in-progress photos and tips from me during this sew-along about how I get great results. More details about the schedule and prizes (because quilters who take risks sewing three-dimensionally deserve prizes!) will be posted in February. The sew-along itself will run in March.

This project is not for new sewists. But if you already know your machine, have created lovely quilts, and are ready for something new, this sew-along is for you!

In the meantime, let me celebrate your latest finishes with you. Share them in this week’s Brag About Your Beauties Pageant. : )

The pageant rules are simple:
  • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
  • Point your readers back here with a text link or use the button above.
  • Visit and comment on other participants’ finishes.

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Friday, January 18, 2019

One Cargo Duffle Down, One to Go / Beauties Pageant 16

This is me getting fancy with my photo shoots.

We’re halfway through January, and I’m pleased to report that I’m halfway to meeting my One Monthly Goal! I survived sewing my third Cargo Duffle Bag. Honestly, it wasn’t that big of a deal. Installing the zipper, hammering the snaps, sewing through all those layers—in the end, it was all doable. And that is good, because January’s goal was to make two of them. One down, one to go!

Previous posts have covered my thoughts on this free pattern by Anna Graham, of Noodlehead, so I’ll just inundate you with pretty pictures of this latest finish. (To read about my first bag, click here. To read about my second, including details on how I modified the pattern, click here.)

I used a Denyse Schmidt print for the exterior and a Carolyn Friedlander print
for the accents.

I love how the straps are constructed!

This little bit (is there a technical term for it?) is my own addition, to aid in
opening and closing the zipper.

I chose to line this bag instead of binding the unfinished edges, per the pattern.
Another Denyse Schmidt print adorns the lining of both the main compartment 
and the exterior pockets.

I’m hoping you have some pretty pictures of finishes to show with us, too. Add them to this week’s Brag About Your Beauties Pageant. : )

The pageant rules are simple:
  • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
  • Point your readers back here with a text link or use the button above.
  • Visit and comment on other participants’ finishes.

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

2019 Finish-A-Long: Q1 Goals

I started 2019 with a lot of projects on my to-do list, probably enough to get me through the entire year. The sheer number of them convinced me to commit to two goal-setting programs.

I started by choosing my One Monthly Goal for January: to make two Cargo Duffle Bags. Now I am signing up for the Finish-A-Long, hosted by a group of bloggers. This is a quarterly program and the first finishes linky opens in April, so I can dream a little bigger.

This is what I’ll be focusing on for the FAL ...

Jane Market Bags

I need to make 11 Jane Market Bags for my kids’ teachers’ end-of-school gifts, and I don’t want to be scurrying around in June trying to finish them. I have 6 done, 5 more to go. I have made this pattern many, many times before, so it’s really just a matter of finding the time to sew these up. (Type “Jane” into the search box on the right to read more about my past versions, including the one pictured above.)

Garden Plots Quilt

I finished my Garden Plot flimsy back in November. It’s one of those projects that is not urgent; there’s no intended recipient. But for it to get finished, I have to make it a priority at some point. I plan on splurging and buying mint-colored fabric for the back, and then I’ll to rent the longarm at my LQS to quilt an allover pantograph on it.

No LatitudeLongitude Quilt

My No Latitude Longitude Quilt, started at a workshop with Latifah Saafir in November 2017, is my oldest WIP. The main reason this has lingered so long is that I don’t have enough of the background fabric and my attempts to come up with an alternative have fallen flat. But first quarter 2019 is this project’s day in the sun! I’ve even already decided to quilt it with straight lines on my Janome 1600P-QC. (It’s been a few months since “the other man” and I have quilted a big project together.)

Valentine Quilt

A friend recently moved into a new place. I offered to make her a quilt, and she expressed a fondness for blues and greens. I homed in on Elizabeth Hartman’s Valentine pattern, from her book The Practical Guide to Patchwork, and started culling through my scraps and stash. This is another quilt I have decided to longarm with a pantograph, making it more feasible that I’ll meet the April FAL deadline.

Oh, dear. Now that that’s all written and up for public consumption it seems like a lot of goals for a little chunk of time. Thanks, in advance, for rooting me on!

What do the next few months look like for you? Share a goal or two in the comment below.

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Friday, January 11, 2019

Fabric-Diet Update / Beauties Pageant 15

If you heard a loud thump about December 26 or 27 of last year, that was me, falling off the fabric-diet wagon and landing hard in the middle of some end-of-year fabric sales. It happens to the best of us, I guess.

My purchases were not frivolous, however. I have plans for (almost) everything I bought.

I’ve already declared 2019 as the Year of the Christmas Runner, and this wintery fabric will go toward making upwards of a dozen runners for holiday giving. I’m striving for easy piecing—disappearing nine patches, rail fence blocks, even simple patchwork—to allow the pretty fabric designs to be the star.

Return to Winter’s Lane by Kate and Birdie

Vintage Holiday by Bonnie and Camille

Juniper by Basic Grey

I’m also starting on a quilt for a friend who is a school librarian. That overdue fabric (below), from Heather Givans, will work well as the back of the design I have picked out. Hmm ... it may even set the palette for the quilt top. We’ll see.

In that last pic, you’ll also see butterflies. They were included in my shopping cart simply because I have a thing butterflies. (And ladybugs. And butterflies and ladybugs in the same fabric design.) Every good fabric splurge needs a just-because purchase or two, right?

I know, I know … I had been so good at keeping my fabric acquisition to a minimum that I can hardly be at fault. The real culprits here are Cobblestone Quilts, I Love Fabric, and Lou Lou’s Fabric Shop. : )

What have you been up to this week? Share your finishes in this week’s linky ...

The pageant rules are simple:
  • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
  • Point your readers back here with a text link or use the button above.
  • Visit and comment on other participants’ finishes.

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Friday, January 4, 2019

Coming Soon to a Blog Near You / Beauties Pageant 14

Honestly, I don’t want to be writing a blog post right now. For that matter, I don’t want to be cleaning bathrooms, starting on dinner, or folding laundry. I want to be sewing!

My Christmas deadlines—little pouches, a medallion quilt, and a scrappy kitty quilt—kicked my butt, and I am determined not to repeat the last-minute crafting anytime soon. So I spent the weekend prepping 13 bags, some for winter gift giving, most for end-of-year teacher thank-yous. These projects will be smooth sailing. I know this because I’ve made both patterns before.

First up: two Cargo Duffle Bags (free pattern by Anna Graham). Assembling the final bags can be a bear because it requires sewing through many thick layers, but I have my walking foot and a size 16 needle on hand. Bring. It. On!

I made this Cargo Duffle two years ago for a friend.

Second up: 11 Jane Market Bags. This pattern by Alicia Paulson is busting a bunch of the half-yard cuts I have on hand. After this batch is finished, I can say that I’ve made well over 50 Jane Market Bags. For real. (I lost an accurate count once I hit 23 or 24, years ago.)

This batch of Jane Market Bags went to the staff of my old local quilt shop.

So expect to see bags—many bags!—on these pages in the near future.

Update: OK. I am committing to finishing those Cargo Duffle Bags by the end of January, for my first foray into the One Monthly Goal linkup, hosted by Elm Street Quilts!

It’s time for another Beauties Pageant, and I’m pleased to say that I found a workaround: We’re back to submitting text links that don’t require any kind of registration. I’m not sure how long inLinkz will allow me to skirt the latest-and-greatest version, but for those of you who hesitated to create yet another online account (and, man, I’m with you on that), you’re in luck for the time being.

The pageant rules are simple:
  • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
  • Point your readers back here with a text link or use the button above.
  • Visit and comment on other participants’ finishes.

Follow on Bloglovin