Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric... Welcome to the Patriotic Quilter where I like to share all things quilty as well as red, white, and blue! Please feel free to look around and enjoy yourself! I would love to hear from you.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Who Needs Vera?

To begin this post, we must travel back in time to the last week of June.  I was getting ready to go to Quilt Hawaii and just after that was over, I flew to the mainland for three weeks.  As I was running around getting things ready I decided I wanted a different computer bag for traveling.  We have a large-ish black bag that has wheels, but I didn't want to drag that around.  I also wanted something with some pockets to hold my Kindle, ipod pouch, and a small purse, so I only had to carry one thing.  Oh, and it should be cute--not just another black bag.  Apparently I was asking for a lot.

So I shopped.  I found a Vera Bradley bag that I sort of liked, bought, brought it home and discovered my computer wouldn't fit, and returned it.  I squandered hours I did not have to find a bag.  Finally my friend Sandra loaned me hers so the pressure was off.

Then I went to Quilt Hawaii and took the Superior Threads School of Threadology.  One of the instructors was Annie and she has many patterns for bags, including this one:

This is for a "Carry All" as well as a slimmer case just for the laptop.  I also found this pattern:
For a small cellphone wallet--perfect for just the necessities you need when you travel (phone, ID, credit card, carmex.)  Maybe you think carmex is not necessary, but I do!!!

What is really spectacular about Annie is that she also sells the "finishing kits" containing all the hardware you may need for each pattern.  Please check out her website here.  At any rate, I bought both patterns and finishing kits and fabric for the projects was on my list for shopping on the mainland.  

I must say that finding a fabric/fabric line that I really liked and that would go with the black hardware was sort of tricky.  Or it could be that I was having committment issues, but it was a struggle.  Finally, I found something that was okay.  I thought it felt a little "Vera Bradley-like" but I still got it, mostly because it was red which is my favorite color.  When I got home, I put the stuff in a pile of my USOs (Unstarted objects.)  You may remember from last week, that I made the cute humpback whale quilts.  I started wondering if I could incorporate one or two into the bags.  I pulled fabric, paid a little visit to The Fat Quarter Shop to order some more and Ta Da!  I came up with these:

Annie's patterns are very detailed and well written, but if you just skim through them, it looks confusing.  However, if you cut and label everything and then just take it one step at a time, you will have success.

Here is the carry-all/tote
Above is the back.  You can see that there are short carry handles, and a long one, which can be removed.   The horizontal strap is attached so that it can slide over the handle of your suitcase, if desired.  Can you believe that whale batik I found?  It was just the perfect color and pattern!
Here is the front view.  You can sort of see the small side pockets and then the front has a zipper pocket and behind the zipper pocket is another one.  Inside is another large zippered pocket and a divided set of pockets.  Lots of places to tuck things.

This is the front of the smaller laptop case.  I measured my laptop and cut the front and back down so it custom-fits my laptop.  I'm kind of a freak about things fitting in the space they are designed for.  Anyway, the front features a zippered side pocket.
The back was free of pockets, though, and so nicely showcases my quilt.    It will also be tucked into the carryall, so I don't have to worry about it getting too dirty.  I'm also sort of freaky about having things that match, so I made the small phone wallet to coordinate.
Here is the "back" with a clear pocket for an ID, etc.
And here is the "front" with a pouch and flap for tucking a phone or camera.
Inside you can see the slots for credit cards.  I added the zippered inside pocket all on my own, and it was pretty easy because of all the zipper instructions on the patterns. 

These projects came out so neat!  Do you ever make something that comes out so cool that you can't believe you made it?  I'm so excited!  Now I want to travel again, so I can use them!  Again, I can't say enough about Annie's patterns, and I still have some more, so be watching for more projects in the future.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Playing with the Fishes

I'm back home, and have been for a week now.  That is how long it takes me to feel like I have my feet under me again.  I swear, it was worse this time.  I was really struggling with "daily routines" like remembering the fabric softener in the laundry and turning onto the correct road for where I was headed.  Good grief!

I did have some big fun this week, though.  Take a look at these--I know they aren't "fishes"--whales are mammals, but you will see later why I titled this blog "Playing with the Fishes."

These were so much fun to make!  Once I figured out which fabric was going where, it was just as easy to make 4 as it was to make 1-2.  The two on the left are actually my "extras" that I may use for gifts, etc.  The two on the right are without borders right now as I am waiting on some different fabric.  I'm planning to use them as the front and back of a tote bag. 

The pattern is called "Humpbacks" and is designed by Castilleja Cotton and available from Quilt Passions on the Big Island of Hawaii.  They are a featured shop in the current (summer) issue of Quilt Sampler.  I was lucky enough to visit earlier this summer and it is a fun shop.  It finished about 20" x 14" and I easily got these all done to this stage in a morning.

That was how I spent my Tuesday.  On Wednesday of this week, three of my fellow girl friends and I went snorkeling on the North Shore.  It was lots of fun, and I got some great photos.  I particularly like this one:
That is a parrot fish "smiling" for the camera.  His teeth look a bit scary, but they don't really bite people.  Parrot fish bite off chunks of coral (you can really hear them crunching under water) and then they digest it and eliminate it in the form of beautiful, white sand.  Yes folks, those gorgeous white sandy beaches are really parrotfish poo.    The brightly colored fish is a Christmas Wrasse.  I think they have a symbiotic relationship with the parrotfish because they are frequently paired up.

The remainder of my week was spent with making and then attending appointments.  It really bugs me how much time something like a doctor's appointment takes when you factor in the phone calls, the driving and parking, the paperwork, the waiting, and finally the 5 minutes you actually spend with the doctor.

Yesterday I started a large, slightly complex quilt and I'm looking forward to seeing it come together.  Between shopping at Quilt Hawaii and visiting quilt shops on the mainland, and my pile from the Big Island, and the stack from the last time I was on the mainland, I have more things to do.  Forget about UFOs.  I have USOs (Unstarted objects.)  I'm looking forward to spending some serious time in my quilt room!