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.