I’m happy to report another 2014 finish – my Whole Lotta Bag, a beautiful messenger-style bag, designed by Katy Cameron of The Littlest Thistle (pattern available here). Katy’s been running a sew-along to make this beauty, and having a ‘timetable’ of sorts to follow has kept me motivated and going strong over the last few weeks – and got me finished, too 🙂
Seeing as I’m currently participating in the Fabriholics Anonymous Fabric Fast, I had to use fabric from my stash. The fabric I picked out had been tentatively earmarked for a baby quilt of some description, but I loved it so much I found I couldn’t bear to use it for a gift (what a mean old bag I am, right??!)
I love owls, and these were so cute, not to mention the beautiful purple and pink co-ordinating fabrics, that I decided that this would be the ideal project to use it in – and I’d get to keep the bag at the end of it – totally owltastic!
Although the pattern itself isn’t difficult to make, it is quite time consuming – but I’ve certainly found it to be worth the effort involved, as I absolutely love it!
It sports a back zipper pocket, which is way big enough for my 13″ MacBook…
… two elasticated side pockets (perfect for my phone)…
… a front bellows pocket (ideal for my phone and Macbook chargers)…
… an interior zipped pocket, as well as bags of room inside for anything else I could possibly think of!
I finished the bag earlier this week, courtesy of my lovely friend Ms C, who popped in to install the bag fasteners for me – way too fiddly for my crappy fingers (note to self – next time, use magnetic snap fasteners, which look a whole lot easier to fit!) I was initially planning to use it on my trip back to the UK this week, as it’s absolutely ideal for hand baggage, but then I looked at the weather forecast and decided that perhaps I’d better wait until there was less likelihood of torrential rain to ruin its newly-finished perfection!
My niece, the lovely Miss B, is already casting covetous eyes over this bag, so I may be making another one sooner rather than later, but until then, I shall be enjoying this one all for myself.
I’ve not been sewing much this past few weeks. I’ve had a really bad back since Christmas and I’ve just not been up to much, to tell the truth. But it’s slowly getting better, and I’ve been able to use the time profitably by re-acquainting myself with my projects and my stash, and deciding what I want to work on over the next few months.
First thing to admit is that I have a lot of fabric. Actually, let’s make that a s**tload of fabric! I’ve been doing a bit of an audit since Christmas, and the quantities I have shocked even me. As did the number of projects I have in progress, the number waiting to be quilted, not to mention the number I have bought all the fabric for but not quite got round to starting yet. Hmmm…
My Stash and Project Cupboard
Inside the cupboard, all so neatly organised
Auditing and re-organising stashed yardage
Suffice to say it was all becoming a bit overwhelming. And this is one of the main reasons why I decided to join in the Fabriholics Anonymous Fabric Fast, hosted by Rebecca Lynne at Making Rebecca Lynne and Jess from The Elven Garden.
When I first heard about their plan to completely stop buying fabric for 6 months, I was utterly intrigued. Over the past year or so, I have slowly been coming to terms with the fact that I might have a bit of a fabric buying habit. And that it may possibly be starting to get slightly out of control. Two years ago, when I last reorganised my sewing room, everything pretty much fit into the lovely glass-doored cupboard I bought to house my stash and my various projects. Now it is spilling over into piles of boxes everywhere, the bottoms of the drawers in my cutting table are falling out due to fabric overload, and I have started to invade other cupboards in the apartment to store my ever-increasing stash.
Extra projects in boxes that won’t fit in the cupboard anymore
More projects and scrap bin hidden under sewing table…
Cutting table drawer 1 – Assorted fat quarter and half yard bundles
Cutting table drawer 2 – Precuts: Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes and Charm Packs
Spilling over into the spare room wardrobe…
So the Fabric Fast idea really started to get me thinking. Could I do it? I was sure I could. More importantly, did I want to do it? And yes, I was equally sure I did. The decision was finally made when I read a fantastic blog post by Jodi of Tickle and Hide, describing her own 2013 fabric fast. She wrote about how she managed, and how, as the year progressed, she started realising her own style and tastes a lot more. This really struck a chord with me, as I seem to make a bit of this and a bit of that – some of my projects are very traditional and some are über-modern, some use a muted colour scheme and some are in-your-face loud. And in general, I love them all. But I really hope that not getting distracted by the lure of new fabric lines and of new projects means I’ll be able to focus more on defining my own style. And if it doesn’t happen, I’ll surely have fun trying 🙂
And so I joined up. And I feel pretty darned good about it, too!
So here is my master plan:
- First step – re-organise my fabric and sewing room, to get me motivated to start.
- Next step – create a list of projects I’d like to work on for the first half of the year. I have plenty, so narrowing it down will be tricky, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say. I’m also planning on joining in with the 2014 Q1 Finish-Along with the lovely Katy from The Littlest Thistle, so I should have plenty of motivation to keep me going.
- Final step – get cracking on the sewing!
I have the feeling it’s going to be challenging, but ultimately extremely rewarding, so wish me luck, and here goes…
Back in the summer, I went into my local quilt shop and saw a sample for a class they were running this autumn. I was fascinated by the different sized blocks and how they all fitted together so neatly.
The class was already full, so I asked to be put on the waiting list. And promptly forgot all about it, figuring that there was next to no chance of getting onto the course this time around, and that I’d have to wait for it to be re-run in the spring.
Then last Wednesday afternoon I had a call to say they had a last-minute drop-out, and was I interested in filling the spot. First session – Friday, 2 days away. Wow! Well, yes, I certainly was interested, and after a little diary re-jigging I was happily able to make it. Cue frantic stash raiding on Thursday to try and find the necessary fabrics – a selection of 10-15 different fabrics from the same colour family, but with a range of different values. Ok.
Eschewing my favourite pinks and purples for a change, I decided to work with the blue/green spectrum – from pale aqua, through turquoise and teal to dark blue. I never thought I had much in the way of this colour family – until I went looking through my stash and scrap bin. Hmmm. It seems I have plenty (and this is just the scraps and fat quarters….)
The couse itself was excellent.The teacher, the lovely Judy, is a quilty friend of mine, and once she’d explained the principle behind constructing the quilt top, I got stuck right in. A new departure for me, this course uses centimentres rather than inches – now, while I can spot a scant 1/4″ seam at 10 paces, and can estimate the remaining yardage on a bolt with a reasonable degree of accuracy, I have no idea when it comes to metric measurements. Although, upon reflection, this could easily be made using inches, I bought myself a 31.5 cm square ruler (12 1/2″), and got measuring, cutting and sewing. And here are the blocks I’ve made so far, although I’ll need a fair few more to make a decent lap sized quilt
The next class is at the start of November, so I’m going to be kept busy over the next few weeks constructing these pretty blocks. Their extreme squareness appeals to my quilter’s OCD, and the fabrics I’ve chosen remind me of the ocean. This is one of the few things I miss about England, living here in land-locked Switzerland. The lakes are undeniably beautiful, but we Brits are an island race, and I really do miss the smell, taste and sound of the sea…
Linking on up to Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.