Wednesday, November 05, 2014

October Wrap

View from the studio - tamaracks turn golden
A little late recapping how I did with my October reminders list, but I've been busy with, among other things, finishing up one last item on it that was begun before the month was over. Technically, it belongs to November but I'm going to cheat on this one. October is the first month this year, perhaps the first month for a long time before that where I actually got to everything on my list, no carry forwards! It may sound silly to be this excited about that, but I am! I have to laugh at myself that the first thing on the October list and thus the first thing checked off was "Rue the fact that it's October already." Yes, the year has been zipping by leaving much undone in its wake (and not just in the studio). So face up to it, then carry on. I got caught up on my documentation files, including printing out photos, got the fat-quarter quilt top ready to quilt, worked on Adrift (the shibori piece) and finished washing, ironing and putting away the last of my friend's stash that I brought home late last September. Considering that I ended up with another sinus infection that put me on antibiotics that make me feel almost as cruddy as the infection, I'm very pleased with what got done. I even worked on that fountain wall idea which wasn't on the list.

And as for the last thing on the list, my cheater that got finished today - it's the bag I wanted to make out of the ugly art cloth I redeemed with stamping. The piece of marbling I'd pulled from Judi's stash turned out not to be long enough so I found another one of hers that could provide the extra 4 inches I needed plus pockets - it was marbled on a mottled tan fabric, I noted. It was actually a good thing to need to do this; the patterning on the main piece was not as interesting on the ends as it was in the middle. By cutting it in half to insert the bottom panel, I could flip each piece to put the good pattern at the top of the bag where it would be most seen.

The pattern I'm using on this is one of a collection in a free pdf I snagged off the website. It had the kind of top treatment I had in mind but I made lots of changes to suit my cloth. For instance, the outer shell was pieced in strips, then fusible fleece was to be applied. I wanted a softer bag so chose to apply Pellon fusible interfacing for collars and cuffs (because I happened to have quite a bit of it on hand) to the 4 inch bottom panel and the pockets and leave the heavier art cloth without interfacing. My hope was the stiffness in those two areas would give my bag enough structure. Because my bag is shorter than the bag in the pattern, I could incorporate the bottom of each pocket into the seam joining the bag bottom to the sides. I did my topstitching in navy thread and also sewed down the middle of one pocket to divide it in two. I envision putting phone on one side and sundries on the other, while the larger pocket could hold my kindle or a sketchbook.

That was probably the most time consuming part of the bag. Next step was to sew the side seams of both lining and shell, then sew across the ends of each to create a box bottom. (The pattern called for rounding the corners at the bottom with no accommodation for this feature that I wanted.) Then sew the shell and lining together at the top, leaving an opening for turning, after which I ran topstitching closely around the entire edge. It does appear that the pocket and bag bottom interfacing is doing what I hoped it would.

All that was left was to add grommets - the main reason I chose this pattern. Believe it or not, I've never put grommets in anything before, but I'd bought the proper size and tool to do it and it was ridiculously easy to do. I didn't realize I'd be cutting holes for the grommets, nor that reinforcing those areas would be important, so today I was cutting small squares of fusible interfacing, cutting holes in them and stuffing them through the holes in the cloth, fusing them in place. In retrospect, I realize I could have used a tricot knit fusible interfacing on the shell and that would have given both the right amount of stabilizing to the top while maintaining the softness I wanted and also provided some reinforcement for the grommets. Next time I'll know.

Oh, wait - that wasn't the last thing. I'd cut strips off either side of the art cloth for handles and I had yet to deal with them. I fused more of the interfacing down the center of the stamped design and turned the excess over it, top stitching all in place. This was threaded through the grommets, then joined. The pattern didn't call for it, but I ended up stitching the handles to the bag at each side to make the pulling up and opening of the top easier, keeping the length of the main loops more even. This is pretty much what I had in mind for this bag, although I can see things I could improve on. I wanted something a little bigger than the normal purse I carry but not huge, just something that could hold those extra things that I occasionally want to carry with me.

Late arriving birthday money put to good use - $1.99 a spool!

So now I'm thinking about November, and of course, how close Christmas now is. I had a notion to make gifts this year so I best get crackin'. I think all I need to write on my reminder list is bags, books, and bowls! My order of Superior Threads' October special Twist threads arrived today and no doubt will come in handy on some of these projects. I'll probably add the shibori piece and the fountain wall to the list as well, but I'm not in a huge hurry to finish either. I'll probably just work a bit on them as the mood hits me.


(I go by) Lola said...

Such a cool bag! Love love love it!
You are so focused and always doing such creative and great things!
Yes... NC did well in the election. I am a bit relieved in general, as I feel things are totally out of control and the White House us not listening to the people. Looking forward to what lies ahead. Pop

The Idaho Beauty said...

Thanks! Of course, now I can see all the things I coulda shoulda done differently with the stamping and the bag itself, but all in all, I'm pretty happy with it and think it will get a lot of use.

Interesting that you should comment that I am so focused - I'd like to think so but lately focus seems such a struggle - thus the reminder list!

You must have seen my comment over on Cathy's blog. I have a brother and nephew in the Raleigh area and I haven't heard a peep from either about NC election results. Hopefully they feel as you do.

Thanks for showing yourself with a comment. Nice to "meet" you. :-)

Michele Matucheski said...

What a deal on the thread!