Monday, February 16, 2015

Joining a Quilt Guild: First Project Is Done!

Last fall, my neighbor invited me to attend a meeting of the Cobblestone Quilters, a local quilt guild. I've only made two quilts in my life but I do love to sew, so I attended as her guest. I was surprised at the size of the group (50-60 women that evening) and the variety of fiber projects presented. The women I met that there were outgoing and amazingly creative. Needless to say, I was excited to join.

On the day of the next meeting, my first as an "official" member, my neighbor called to remind me that I should bring five fat quarters to the meeting so that I could be part of the "Brown Bag Challenge".  I ran to JoAnn's for fat quarters in my favorite color - orange - but had no idea what I was getting myself into!

photo courtesy of A Day In the Country

The rules were simple. Each person's fat quarters and name were placed in a plain brown bag and the bags were exchanged. You would have until the Spring "Tea" to make something for the person whose "brown bag" you ended up with, using four of the fat-quarters they provided and a "5th quarter" of your own choosing. The participants' names were to be kept secret until the evening of the "reveal".

Being a novice quilter and new member, I was totally intimidated at first. I spent weeks clutching my fat quarters as I visited quilt shops for ideas.  I scoured Pinterest and etsy.  After many "false starts", I came up with my project . . . a large organizer bag to carry quilting supplies to quilting bees and meetings of the quilting guild.

The pattern wasn't designed for fat quarters but with some piecing, I managed to make it work. I was lucky in that the "rules" for the challenge stated that the lining or backing of a project did not count in the limit of five fat quarters.

 I chose this "peacock" fabric for the lining and "5th quarter" on the outside of the bag to coordinate with the four I had to use.

I've never used an ellie mae pattern before and found it easy to follow with helpful illustrations, including those for fabric selection. ellie mae is a division of McCall's and they offer some very up-beat designs, especially for accessories.

Sewing interfacing into a project is always my least favorite part . . . lots of sewing with no measurable results. This bag called for the extra-heavy craft interfacing for stiffness. I was shocked at the price: $4.29 a yard for 21" wide interfacing. Needless to say, I used a coupon.

The bag went together pretty easily with a little fussing to line up the pockets (lots and lots of pockets!) and trim on the straps.

The finished bag is large ( 14" wide, 7" deep, 10" high)  and has pockets for sewing and craft supplies on the front, sides . . .
Back . . .
And inside.
Because of all the pockets, I think this bag would make a great gift for anyone who creates, travels, goes camping, reads, shops flea markets, takes classes, or hauls "stuff" to and from work.
It holds a LOT!
I filled a few of the pockets with inexpensive quilting supplies for my recipient . . . whose name I can't divulge yet (under penalty of fifty lashes with a measuring tape???).

I really stressed about this project so I'm glad it's done . . . early even! I think it's definitely scarier to sew for someone else. All I know about the person I sewed the bag for is that she's a quilter and that she likes greens and blues.  I hope she's pleased with it.

I liked the finished bag so much that I bought the fabric to make three more, two for gifts . . . and one for me.  The way this winter is going, I figure I'll have plenty of time to sew them before Spring arrives.
Have you ever joined a quilting guild or sewing circle?
Yours in fat quarters,

This post is being shared at:
Craftastic Monday Link Party at Sew Can Do
Sew Darn Crafty Linky Party at Sew Many Ways
Masterpiece Monday at Boogieboard Cottage
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