The Secret Santa swap with the Tacoma Modern Quilt Guild was back on December 15th, but at least I’m finally sharing it! On our sign up sheet there was a variety of projects to pick from, and we each had to select our top four picks, and whoever drew our name would make one of our selections for us.
I don’t know the person whose name I drew very well, which made it extra hard to figure out ideas for her top pick (a bunting or other Christmas-themed wall decor) so I went with her second pick: a quilted tote bag. I’d been wanting to try Anna’s Noodlehead Maker’s Tote pattern – especially since it comes in two sizes, but I couldn’t find much in the reliable way of pictures online that indicated what size people had made when they were displaying how much you can fit into the totes. Making one for somebody else seemed like the perfect opportunity to figure out which size I would like to make for myself, while ending up with a nice gift for the other person.
For this tote, I used Moda’s Little Miss Sunshine fabric line for the interior, binding, and pockets, and used Robert Kaufman’s Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in charcoal (my favorite!) for the outside of the bag. I really do love the texture of the Essex Linen, and the charcoal color goes with just about everything!
The tote wasn’t as hard to make as I had expected, and Anna’s video of tips on how to sew the sides to the bag body was a big help as well. I made the large size for the swap, and found out that even though it won’t zip closed with an 11″ Q-Snap frame in it (my favorite for cross-stitch), the frame fits quite easily (even while tucked inside an extra-large Pouch With a View) inside the bag otherwise – which will be just perfect for me. I’ve got an idea for what fabrics I want to use to make one for myself, but I haven’t gotten around to doing it yet.
I’ve got one or two things that I’d like to do differently when I make the next tote. The first one would be on the tote sides: the interfacing is only ironed to either the lining or outer piece on each side, and when I assembled this tote it was ironed to the fabric that ended facing outwards. Next time, I’d like to assemble my bag so that the interfaced piece is on the inside. Because it’s heavier interfacing than the Pellon 101 that I usually use, it tends to show creases and wrinkles more. I’d also like to try using the one-sided fusible Pellon Flex Foam (I used By Annie’s Soft and Stable here), but I’ve had problems with fusibles not necessarily fusing to the Essex Linen as well as they fuse to regular quilting cottons, so I’m undecided if I want to try that with my bag or not. I’d been planning on trying to finish my Betsy Travel Bag for Quiltcon next month, but now I’m thinking that this may take priority… even though I’ve had the pieces for the Betsy Travel Bag cut out for nearly a year now. Maybe one of these weekends, I’ll camp out in my sewing room and get both knocked out. A girl can dream, right?
I really enjoyed our Christmas Social – this year it was at our regular meeting place, but we had a potluck and I had fun visiting with everyone. I also really liked that we went one at a time opening our gifts, so we got to see what each person received. I liked that much better than our (smaller) Secret Sisters swaps, where it’s harder to watch the person we gave a gift to, to see their reaction.
I can’t remember which options I had selected on my questionnaire for the swap, but I know “mug rugs” was one of them, because I ended up with these two darling mug rugs from Monika! These are definitely going to get hung in my hallway – I’m not letting drippy coffee/tea mugs and cookie crumbs touch these.