Mini Double-Pocket Bag • aka Mini Sew-Together Bag

Sound the trumpets! Today is finally the day that I’m releasing my pattern for the Mini Double-Pocket Bag. I know the title at the top of the post is long, but hang on to your handbags, because so is this post.

You all know that BluPrint/Craftsy has bit the dust, possibly due to the coronavirus, but possibly not. I used to have a slew of patterns on there, but after the purge of Craftsy to BluPrint, they allowed me one. And that one was my more simple attempt to get the dimensions out there for the mini version.

But it’s not been satisfactory to me. I felt I should give you better.
Short version of this story: It’s Time.

It’s time to have a stand-alone pattern for my Mini Double-Pocket Bag, that also has instructions, so you can take this pattern to your retreat that is in the mountains or at the sea shore and STILL be able to make the bag, without relying on the Internet.

This version has two pockets. The yellow Mini Double-Pocket Bag I made has two zippers, that open from opposite ends. The other two bags (red and blue) slide open from the same side. I like to change things up.

I spent more than a few hours making over 64 (full-color!) illustrations to go in this pattern. I didn’t want any of you to get lost along the way. I used three pieces of software: Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, and Affinity Publisher. I recommend them verrrry highly if you are someone who wishes they’d majored in Graphic Design in college and more than once in the last week has mentioned this to their husband. (Yes, you’ll have a learning curve, but there are lots of resources to help you online.) This pattern is ALL MY OWN WORK.

To proof these bags, I sent patterns to Cindy of LiveAColorful Life, and Carol @carolgillen and they both suggested some minor changes; both were happy with the multiple and detailed illustrations. Thank you to both of those amazing ladies!

This is what the pattern looks like over at my pattern shop on PayHip.

I tweaked some measurements, dove deep into the making so I could understand other components, and added a few twists of my own.

And why do we all like to make this thing? I don’t know why, but there are over 500 posts of people making it, even with that old dishrag of a pattern that used to be up on Craftsy.

I think it’s because we can take three of our Anna Maria Horner fabrics, back it and bind it with another two AMH fabrics, and have something to carry our Hexies and sewing and binding and stitching stuff in. And we still have more AMH fabrics left.

Or we can gather up a batch of red and white and blue fabrics, and whip up a cute hostess gift for that non-existent 4th of July party we are going to. (Okay, better keep it for yourself.)

I, myself, have over five different small sewing bags, each geared to the type of project I’m working on. My friend Judy packs her jewelry in it when she used to head out on her international trips. I suppose you could use to when you head to the grocery store, to organize your coupons. I’m sure you’ll think of ways to use your Mini Double-Pocket Bag, and if you need the pattern (of course you do), here’s a little treat:

Until July 14th, the pattern will be sold at a discount of 20% with the code: minidoublepocketbag20 — that’s all lower case, with the number 20 at the end. When you check out over on PayHip, you’ll see a place to put your code.

Welcome the newest addition to our pattern world!

Happy Sewing!

MetaStructure/Metaesquema

MetaStucture/Metaesquema
Quilt #231
11″ wide by 16″ high

Recently our Inland Empire Modern Quilt guild had a challenge that required that we use at least 4″ square piece of classic blue fabric, that any one side be no longer than 24″ and that the theme was Urban.

I’m on the board for this Guild, and am VP of Communications, so to help advertise it, I set up a mood board and we handed out a card with the 4″ square of fabric stapled to it. We chose Lapis, a Painters Palette solid from Paintbrush Studio, and I purchased several packets of it from Pineapple Fabrics, when they ran a booth at Road to California.

Then Covid-19 hit and it scuttled our plans. Like most, we were knocked flat for a bit, but then put together a Zoom meeting and resurrected our challenge. We had several amazing entries, seen on the guild website.

MetaStructure/Metaesquema was my entry (seen above).

I wrote on my label:

Helio Oiticica, a Brazilian artist (1937-1980), made hundreds of his Metaesquema paintings. Here are a few:

Metaesquema 153
Metaesquema 239, from here
Metaesquema 157
Metaesquema 438

I like the way the solid blocks in the Metaesquemas kind of slump into each other, like a square that lost its energy, or tried to take off and was misdirected, or else it was trying to get away and couldn’t get free of the grid.

As noted above, Oiticica was closely linked to the global Concrete movement. They stripped art from any lyrical or symbolic connotations, believing that art should have no meaning other than color, line, and plane. Kind of sounds like catnip to a quilter, doesn’t it?

He created his Metaesquemas between 1957 and 1958. He coined the term as a means to “describe a work that, although schematic (esquema) in its formal development, is still open to the subjective interpretations inherent to metaphysics (meta). Oiticia was aware that artworks are objects that exist in time and space,” and are subject to the viewers’ interpretation (Philips).

For the contruction, I made wide 1-1/2″ borders around my blue squares, then created a tilt on them that I liked. I cut a few tilting to the left and a few tilting to the right, then arranged them. Of course, I would like to try this in a bigger quilt, with more white space around the tilted squares, but for a first go at it, I’m pretty happy.

Hop over to the Inland Empire Modern Quilt Guild website to see all the entries and the winners.

Repeat/Augment

Repeat/Augment
Quilt #230
47 1/2″ square

For some reason this morning, the fog cleared, the brain snapped to, I thought: “You have got to finish something today!” And so I did.

A low-energy-COVIDistraction-day back in May got me started on the quilting, although the quilt top itself was begun back in August 2019, in another galaxy far away from our lives now.

Shots from my backyard, in nearly 100 degree heat. We are both wilting, the quilt and I.

Why is it called Repeat/Augment? Because you’ve seen this City Streets pattern once before, in this quilt.

I decided it was Very Serious, all that gridwork in the quilting.

So I went natural this time, in as many places as I could. And used Tula Pink fabric in really saturated tones with curvy-swervy designs. Yes, definitely more playful.

The label is coming, but here’s the mock-up.
Without the pink things sticking out everywhere.
(I was having fun with my Affinity Designer software.)

Our lives, now, unless you live in one of those places that is like the wild, wild west and has released you from Stay-At-Home. In our neck of the woods, it’s not yet, so it kind of freaks me out if I go outside and see people not wearing masks.

Hey, around here, even the quarters have them on!

Which reminds me, I need to cut out some more masks. My friend’s granddaughters are making holiday-themed masks (not shown here, but there are some fun types) and after the most recent news from Those Who Know, looks like the granddaughters were on to something. If you are keeping track, here’s my most recent favorite map, from Johns Hopkins. (I put it here so I can find it again.)

Last happy news is that my hair stylist has re-opened for the first time since March, so on Saturday I will get a real haircut. Not the kind where you set the mirror up on the barbeque, and try to cut your hair yourself. I am a little afraid of what he’s going to say when he sees the hatchet job that is living on top of my head. All I’ve got to say, it’s a good thing I’ve been in Stay-at-Home mode.

Happy Quilting!

Buzzing

Let me start with the easy stuff, the stuff that’s in my hands all the time: cloth, needle, thread, shapes, stitching.

While I’ve called this the #dungeonofcute on Instagram, I am happy that I finished it, and that it is really cute. I set up a place on my blog to corral all the handouts I made while working through this. I made a series of tip sheets that collect all the disparate information that Lori Holt presents on her blog, and hopefully will serve to help those who decide to jump in to Bee Happy. Borders are up next.

I started to wonder why this was so hard for me. There is the matter of all that stitching. By hand. It is also a quilt of medium tones and values, and while I do like those quilts, I tend to be more comfortable using stronger contrasts. And maybe I’m not as patient as I could be? And maybe because I felt like I was always buying her fabric, so everything could neatly “fit in together”? Sunshine and rainbows and unicorns and charming motifs and flowers and buzzing bees?

This week has provided us all with a way of looking at the side we don’t often see, the side that gets hidden behind a tidy facade. I’m a Pollyana from way back, and am always looking for the rainbows and the hearts and flowers. But there were more than a few things in the past few days to knock me around. It was that kind of week.

From this, the (mildest of) images, to the videos and pictures generated by another visitor to Lafayette Park, the news stories chronicling the fights and the hate and the soldiers and the protestors and the (unneeded) clashing.

This week, our Instagram feeds filled with these sorts of images:

House in my neighborhood

Then a couple of days ago, I was surprised to see this statue from Alexandria, Virginia in my southern California newspaper. I’d walked past this statue often when I lived there, and thought it a rather simple memorial.

The art critic calls it a “racist civic sculpture celebrating white supremecy.” Its location in Alexandria is right where the main street through town gives way to a bigger highway, shuffling the traffic over to bridges and it faces south, away from the town. It was, when I was there, a mostly ignored statue. Is it okay to admit to liking this simple memorial in an area full of memorials, a soldier contemplating his fallen comrades? But this week, given our new vantage point, and out of necessity, it came down. And as my historian sister says, a lot of ink has been spilled on this topic recently.

So, this week I sewed.

This week I listened and watched.

I spent time in my garden, catching a glimpse of a late-blooming peony. I read through news stories of the protests, stunned at more instances of thoughtlessness. I would step away from the television and computer every night then lay awake in the dark, wondering what kind of senseless world I was living in, when people were singled out for how they look. I had no answers, just a lot of tired mornings, when I would repeat the cycle again. I wanted to make it all happy, turn the cloth under, hide the fraying and the raw edges, but I was being asked to see it from another view, a richer, more nuanced, and painful view.

A flower for George

I wish I could wrap up this post in a tidy little package, give a neat turn, but this is not that kind of week. This is the kind of week where you wonder. This is the kind of week where you decide what you want your country to be. This is the kind of week that you pay attention to what’s on the other side of things, knowing that they can make all the difference.

9-Patches and Churn Dashes • First Monday

PinkyOrangeQuilt1

So what if you were trying to think of the basic blocks for beginning quilters?  What would you choose?  So far in our First Monday Sew-Day series, we’ve done four-patches and square-in-square and half-square triangles and flying geese and a few others (Log Cabin was last month), so I thought I’d take a look at another basic: nine-patch blocks. Above is a version of this block, colored a little differently than what we usually see.

June 2020 FirstMonday Sew-Day Illus

For the handout for the nine-patch/churn dash blocks, click to download a PDF file:

FirstMondaySewday_6_2020

Bee Happy Quilt_Feb_1

You think I might have caught that wonky churn dash.

I recently made some churn dash blocks for the #dungeonofcute quilt I’m making, and yes, I did fix the problem in the upper left.  For this beginning class handout, however, I chose to make the churn dash blocks more like nine-patches, rather than the adjusted proportions, seen above.

Aug2018_Gridsters

Here’s another variation of proportions: large corner squares, and smaller centers.

This is one of those Frivols quilts that I did in 2018, which frankly seems like it was about a century ago.  All churn dashes, cozied up to each other.

kucera_mcm

This quilt is the result of a bee; Linda asked us for small churn dashes, with skinny sides and big, fat centers, in these colors.  It’s a really fun way to work with churn dashes.

carla_mcmCarla Block Jan

While I’ve never done a large quilt with churn dashes, more bee-mates at the time asked for them, in two more different styles.  The blending of value and color in the bottom really makes it interesting.

MCM_Timberlake1

Here were my two blocks that I made for Carla T, and the finished quilt, with giant churn dashes interspersed in among the smaller ones.

Here’s a nine-patch “quilt” done by an artist I follow.  He works in paint.  He told me his mother was a quilter and I can see her influence.

Quilt Frolic_front

And here’s Quilt Frolic, a series of nine-patches, set in a an off-set white block, with tons of Amy Butler large-scale prints.

All our Handouts and topics can be found in the tab at the top of my blog: Projects for 2020/First Monday Sew-days.  More quilts can be seen below, in a gallery.

Happy sewing!

tiny-nine-patches

Baby Quilts Nine Patch

I’ve made a lot of baby quilts using nine-patch variations.

Mom Churn Dash

My mother helped make these nine-patch variation (shoo-fly) blocks nearly 85 years ago.

Amish Double Nine Patch

Mini Quilt: Amish double Nine-Patch

Nine Patch green

Carla Churn Dash

Carla’s quilt, from here

Some Thoughts on Our Nation’s Milestone

COVID-19 Map_ May 24_2020

For several months, I’ve awoken every morning, and looked at this map.  I remember when not every state had COVID-19, I remember when New York started spiking, I remember when we started our stay-at-home time some two months ago.

I was aware that we were coming closer to the milestone of 100,000 deaths during this pandemic, and I thought about all I’d read about the Spanish Flu when I was in graduate school and wrote a short story about a dancer and her young soldier who went off to war and never came home, felled by the influenza that ravaged the world in 1918.

But how would I choose to depict our losses in our pandemic?

Kentucky Death Quilt

from here

I’d seen death quilts, with little coffins neatly stitched, tucked away in their little graveyard or around the edges of quilt.  Or would I want to depict them as Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae did, in his poem Flanders Fields?In Flanders fields the poppies

 

But this past Sunday morning, I saw this:

COVID-19_NYTimes1

I read the article online, scrolling through the humanizing choice that this paper had made, to give a person’s name and a salient, interesting fact about them from their published obituary.

COVID-19_NYTimes2COVID-19_NYTimes3COVID-19_NYTimes4

At first it was just numbing, then I noticed this: a quilter.  I began to look for other quilters.

COVID-19_NYTimes5

I found several.

COVID-19_NYTimes6

And on one page, I found not only a quilter, but a “collector of people, laughter and good stories.”  It made me wonder: what one line would I want people to remember about me?  I found several intriguing qualities, and I reflected briefly on that person, especially the one who was “Faithful in corresponding through cards and handwritten notes.”  A woman after my own heart.

COVID-19_NYTimes7COVID-19_NYTimes8COVID-19_NYTimes9COVID-19_NYTimes9b

I loved Patricia Yanni’s quality: “Wasn’t afraid to try new things.”  So often we look to people’s achievements, that they were this important person, or grandmother to twenty-five, or CEO of a Big Corporation, but wouldn’t you rather be known as someone who wasn’t afraid to try new things?  I would.

COVID-19_NYTimes9c

I’d like to be known as someone who gets things done.

COVID-19_NYTimes10a

Someone who had a life-long passion for learning.

I circled the second one (in red) because now this was in my hometown, a hospital where I had gone for a surgery several years ago.  Rosa could have been someone who cleaned my room, made my bed.  I will think this week on all those lives that have been taken too soon.

COVID-19_NYTimes10b

COVID-19_NYTimes11

I will remember the quilters.

Sawtoothmania2