Day 1: A Crafty Day

Happy new year! I spent the first day of 2011 sewing with my new sewing machine. It's kind of amazing. As I told S, it has all sorts of little features that I used to wish someone would invent. Of course I wished that when I was sewing on a 35 year old sewing machine, so I didn't really know my ideas were already invented. So much for making my millions in patents.

My first project was to make two identical quilted tote bags using the pattern "bow tucks tote" by Penny Sturges. The pattern is for a simple quilted bag with multiple interior pockets, one exterior pocket, side ties, and a button closure. I did away with the exterior pocket and side ties since I knew it was unlikely I would use either. I also used a hidden magnetic closure instead of a large button since I couldn't find a large simple button to match the blue and gray fabrics I choose.

I bought the fabric from Zfabric in Portland, Maine, which is a funky little fabric shop that clearly caters to a younger audience. The owner has expanded her selection since I was last there a few years ago and now has a great selection of goodies in her little shop. I might have to go back and stimulate the Maine economy a bit more next time I'm in town.

It was really nice to welcome the new year with a day of quiet crafting with no tv, no hammers, no Internet, no drills, no radio, no paint, and surprisingly no audio books too. I just sewed.

Obviously I've made tons of bags in my life since I sell bags made from recycled sails in our etsy shop, but it was really nice to do something totally different and to follow a pattern word-for-word. Well minus all the changes listed above. Close enough.

The coolest part of the project was the free-motion quilting. The machine came with a special foot that let me move the fabric and batting combo around in loops and swirls. I tried to follow the pattern of the fabric for a hot second 'til I realized that it was way too hard and way too time consuming. These gloves with sticky/grippy fingers that I bought made the quilting part a lot easier.

Who knew I had slippery fingers? I thought the name was pretty catchy, "machingers," but of course I couldn't remember what the heck they were called unless I was actually looking at the package. Go ahead, try to recall "machingers" in five minutes without looking back to this paragraph.

In addition the cool quilting features, I also tried out a few of the programmed stitches along the handles. I was going to write "I love S" a hundred times along the center of the handles, but thought that might be a little weird so I went with little star/cross thingies. The stars happen to be the same pattern that my mom's friend who gave me a introductory lesson on my machine used on her bag so I take zero credit for originality.

After working for about eight hours with a break here and there to take Feeney out, I had two finished bags; one for me and one for my mom.

I'm going to use mine as a knitting bag since I only have about 50 bags and really needed another one. I love the way they came out, especially with the magnetic closure. I think my mom likes hers too.

So that's how I spent the first day of 2011; not a single house project in sight (ok so I did think about the basement bathroom layout while I sewed), how did you spend day 1?

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