I posted last week about the tote I was making for the Modern She Made Swap. It’s now finished! I love how it turned out.
I quilted it all over in an angular pattern, and I can definitely tell that my FMQ skills are improving. Almost a year ago when I made a King size Wonky Star Quilt, I wanted to do an angular pattern like this but just didn’t think it would turn out well, so I fell back on stippling. In fairness to myself, I had horrendous morning sickness at the time, so even finishing the quilt I had begun prior to that was quite an accomplishment. It just wasn’t the time to be stressing myself out with new techniques. However, what scared me to death then was pretty easy this time around, so that just goes to show that practice will take you far!
I made a small needle case that can be clipped on and off the inside of the tote so when it’s stashed away, the little case won’t get lost in the huge bag. My partner plans to use it for transporting quilts and sewing projects, so I thought this would be really handy. I also made the straps nice and wide and padded since the contents could potentially be heavy.
For the inside, I used a pink flower print with blue flowers that match the straps and some of the outside. My partner seems to really like bright pinks, and I think this really pops and goes well with the outside. I put in an inset zipper, and I was really excited to use a zipper from my grandma’s vintage zipper stash. It has a circular metal stop on one end, so it was meant to be inset in a bag like this. It even matched, so it must have been meant to be.
I also put in slip pocket sized to hold a quilting book or magazine and a pen pocket right next to it so she’ll never be without a pen or, one of my favorite tools, the water-erasable-ink fabric marker. The bag is large and sturdy enough to hold a folded up queen-sized quilt, so hopefully this will work well for what my partner plans to use it for. I didn’t use a pattern for this, but right after I finished it, Elizabeth Hartman from Oh Fransson posted about a sewing bag pattern and just released the pattern a few days ago—mine is fairly similar, though I like the shape of hers better, and a pattern certainly would have made this a lot easier! Oh well. I did buy her pattern because I plan to make myself a mobile quilting bag, and although I might change her pattern to suit my own needs, it would be good to use it as a reference to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything.
We are also supposed to make our partners a small item. Technically, I suppose the needle case would count for a small item, but I really wanted to make her a mini quilt because that was another item on her wish list (though she intended it for the large item). For some reason, I never see a mini quilt as a large item because it sews up so quickly—it’s basically a large quilt block quilted, and this went together for me in a few hours total. I made my own paper pieced pattern. I saw something very similar (I’m not sure if mine is an exact copy, but it’s close) online, but it was for a 12” finished block, and I thought a mini quilt should be larger than that, so I made mine finish at 16” instead.
It was fairly easy to create my own paper piecing pattern. I just drew it out on paper, labeled them all with the color of fabric I planned to use, and then added a quarter inch seam allowance around the edge when I trimmed it up. Since I was using text fabric, I also wrote the direction I wanted the text to go so it would all be facing the right direction when I finished—so proud of myself for thinking of that. Usually I’m smacking my head at the end of it all instead of thinking ahead.
For the quilting, I mostly followed the angles of the star spokes, but I did do a a little figure 8 type design on the black points, and I think that turned out nicely. It was my first time trying that pattern, but I’ve been branching out on FMQ designs a lot lately, and most of them have been working well for me. I’m starting to get braver!
For the back I used a Kate Spain flower print. All the fabrics are from different designers, but this print seemed to pull it all together. Too bad no one will see it since it’s on the back!
Now I just have to wait until the end of April to mail it all—can’t hardly wait!