Instead of Yarn Addiction Thursday, I thought I’d go to a different fiber media—quilting. I’d been wanting to do a project with my mom for a long time and the timing never worked out and then suddenly it did.
My parents drove down to Las Vegas to meet up with my husband and I. My husband was there for work and my parents were doing the snowbird thing. I brought my camera, my dad brought his golf clubs and my mom brought her sewing machine. I planned to do some photography with a friend, my mom planned to do some quilting during her snowbird sojurn. My mom is an excellent quilter. She’d probably say she’s still a neophyte, but her works looks great and she is very meticulous. Being meticulous is a great habit in a quilter I think.
While hanging out with my mom she wanted to go to a quilting store. Suddenly, I had the idea to make myself a quick little bag. And I could do a project with my mom! I was definitely more excited about this than her. I planned to just get some fabric, fold it over, sew up the sides, add a strap and voila! A bag to take my workout clothes to the gym.
But, as my friend Deanna of StudioDeanna says about my work, why would I do anything simple when I could over-engineer it? She should know. As my crochet sensei, she’s seen me over complicate lots of stuff.Because soon after saying I wanted to make a ten minute bag, I had the idea to make an octopus quilted bag.
This is where my mom and I diverge on things. I’m not a quilter but I understand the basics. I have basic sewing skills. But I do read quilting and craft magazines and blogs. I had recently read a blog post Sewing: Snowman Quilted Pillow Cover at www.craftpassion.com. The pillow was a trapunto technique. I was pretty sure that I could make my own bag using this as inspiration as long as I kept things simple and used fusible web. My mom insisted that I needed a pattern. She also had a different idea about how I would do the applique.
We compromised by having me describe my idea to an employee at the quilting store and discussing it’s feasibility. If the clerk said it would work then I’d do it. If the clerk laughed her head off, the bag was off.
We went to Quiltique in Henderson, NV. I found the staff really helpful and the fabric selection was gorgeous! I was immediately drawn to a lovely selection of batiks. When I described my idea, showed my sketch and told the her how I planned to construct my bag I finished with, “Will it work?” She gave me a puzzled look and said, “Why wouldn’t it?”
I turned to my mom and gave an enthusiastic thumbs up and my mom just laughed and rolled her eyes.
So… this little bag that I originally planned to make in twenty minutes for $15 max $70 project over two several days.
At first I over-designed. I imagined a scene with coral and sand and the octopus peeking out, maybe playing dice. It didn’t take too long to realize that was too cartoonish and way too much work. I edited it back to just the octopus. The design is the same on both sides and the head joins along one side so when the bag is full you get a 3-d head view. The inside of the bag is a sandy-colored batik fabric. The pattern of the octopus and the waves outline with the colored thread.
I’m pretty happy with it and it looks like I imagined. I originally planned to have two colors for the water lines and have more of them and also to sew some bubbles. I opted for finishing instead of making more work. I’m toying with the idea of adding some very light fabric paint with a stencil brush to give the eye a 3-D effect. Mom says that the eye will pop out more once the bag has been washed. We’ll see.
The hardest part was tucking the loose threads into the work. My mom introduced me to the self-threading needle. A-Mazing. My eyes are changing so it took me five minutes to thread a needle for a thirty second job, multiplied by a hundred loose threads. Oy. The self-threading needle meant I could thread a needle in two seconds.
My other nit-pick are the overlapping tentacles. They aren’t what I intended. They need a bit more volume. If I had to make some changes, I’d fix the overlapping tentacle by quilting it and putting a little washer in the end to weight it down. I’d also finish the inside edges by covering them with bias tape.
Thanks for helping me make this bag mom!