Finally Cutting Up Some Octopus

I’ve been wanting to cut into some of Brandon Mably’s black Octopus fabric for a long time. I’ve seen some really cool bags made out of it recently and have been itching to make one. So today I finally dove in.

I thought I’d combine the octopus fabric with some muted yet colorful crumb piecing. So I dug into my scraps and pulled out some fabrics I liked and tried them out with the octopus. Here’s those scraps made into the first step of the crumb blocks.

I chain piece the crumb pieces and it goes really fast.

Here’s a pile of the pieces on the ironing board all ready to be pressed and cut apart.

I used a big fussy cut piece of the octopus fabric for the first panel. I’m not typically a fussy cutter, but I thought this was really screaming to be fussy cut. I added some onion rings around the octopus block, some purple spots because the friend I’m making this for loves purple, and added crumb blocks along the right side and bottom. Here’s the finished first panel.

I started working on the second panel but my back started bothering me so I had some ice cream instead and am now curled up under a quilt on the sofa. Thinking I might actually watch a movie.

We had a great sheep herding lesson today. It’s been a few weeks since we had a lesson, but Rico jumped right back in and did an amazing job. And it was a gorgeous day! So much sun. It’s so nice to have the rain stop for a few days.

He really was not happy to pose since he wanted to go get those sheep organized!

Tomorrow afternoon I have another sheep herding lesson with a different trainer. I’m planning on taking down my outdoor holiday lights in the morning.

I got photos of just one Frankenbag in the last few days. This bag was made by Paula Laramie for her son’s mother in law who is named Guadalupe and was born on the feast of the Lady of Guadalupe. She made the bag to celebrate Lupe’s 70th birthday.

I love the bright colors, the crumb piecing, and the way she used that big panel on the front of the bag.

Why do weekend days go so fast and work days go so slow?

Yellow Frankenbag Zipper Placket After the Fact

We’ve been having some really rainy weather. It literally rained all day today. My poor dogs were not happy that we didn’t get a mid day walk. I wasn’t very happy about it either. The work days when I’m not able to get out mid day are difficult work days.

We did get a little break in the weather at 5:00 or so and I geared up and we headed out. We walked three miles, which takes us a little less than an hour. Most of the walk was in rain… soaking rain… mist… light rain… drizzle. We were wet by the time we got home, but we were much happier than when we were dry.

Since I didn’t get my walk mid day, I used part of my lunch break and made the zipper placket for my yellow Frankenbag.

After our wet walk this evening, I got it all applied to the bag that I finished last night. It works fine to do it after the bag is done. But it’s a little easier to line it all up if it’s sewn to the lining when the two lining pieces are flat.

I think the onion rings fabric was the right choice. It even looks like I was very careful in lining up the pattern on the fabric. I’ll let you believe that’s the case… and that it’s not just a happy accident!

I also took a few minutes to sew on my label. I just love these labels! They are the perfect finishing touch.

Here’s a few more photos of the finished bag.

While I had my needle and thread out, I decided to sew the tag on the Aboriginal fabrics bag I finished last week.

That’s two late holiday gifts done. Two more to go!

A friend of mine named Mary Basu painted this picture of Bender. She really captured him! I’ve added the original photo too. Check her out on Instagram and see some of her creativity at work.

We have a couple more days of rain coming up and then we’ll get a patch of some really lovely weather! I could really use a break from the rain and I’m hoping I’ll actually get to see the sun!

This forecast is even better because I have sheep herding lessons on Saturday and Sunday!

Yellow Frankenbag with Lots of Black and White

I had today off and will enjoy my final day off tomorrow. It was really rainy today. We were able to get a walk late this morning. Most of it was in either no rain or light rain. But the first mile was pretty wet.

These boys don’t mind. They LOVE getting rubbed down with a towel when they’re wet!

Aside from our walk this morning and a short walk after dinner, I spent the entire day in the house. So I decided to crank out another Frankenbag for a gift for a friend… a late holiday gift.

I dug into some blocks that a friend gave me that are made with a lot of KFC fabrics and some other fabrics thrown in. I picked out some that read yellow and started cutting and designing. I decided to use lots of Brandon Mably’s black and white designs for a different look.

Here’s the mostly finished bag. I did realize as I was sewing the top stitching on the top of the bag that I forgot to add the zipper placket before I finished the lining. I’ll add it tomorrow after the fact. I was too tired when I got done and needed to be fresh to make sure it looks nice!

I consider this the front of the bag. It really doesn’t matter, it just affects where I put the pockets and how I position the zipper placket.

Here’s a close up of that sweet little bird in the upper right.

Here’s the other side of the bag.

I just love all that black and white! It gives the blocks such a different feel. I really had fun cutting up the blocks my friend gave me.

Here’s the pockets on the inside. There’s a double slip pocket and a zipper pocket made from the tutorial I linked to in my last blog post. I made the zipper pocket really generous.

I just love that onion rings fabric for the inside of that zipper pocket! What a fun pop of graphic bliss! And this simpler zipper pocket is much better than the more complicated one I made in the Aboriginal fabric bag I finished a few days ago. I will use this more simple approach in future bags.

I think I will make the zipper placket out of the onion rings fabric. I think it will tone down the yellow lining a bit and will be a nice element with all the black and white on the outer bag. I’ll decide for sure tomorrow.

Here’s a view of the bag with a peek at the lining. I really like it!

I realized today that it’s been seven years since I bought my Bernina. This picture was taken the day I bought it.

This machine has been a work horse for me. It would be fun to know how many hours of sewing I’ve put on this baby. And that reminds me… I do need to take this in for its annual service. Luckily I have a great local shop that is quick and does a great job.

I bought the Bernina from a friend of mine who is a very accomplished quilter. She was getting rid of it because she was having some issues with her sight and needed a machine that had a better lighting system. I got a screaming deal on it from her. It’s much more machine than I’ll ever need, but I love it all the same.

I have a bunch of Frankenbags from readers to share with you tonight.

First up is this gorgeous bag from Maddie Pepe. I just love this bag! The fish fabric on the front. The graphic black and white. All the saturated colors. I just love it. And she’s added some extra pockets. I love it when people customize their own bags!

Next up is the bag made by Celia Garcia Goins. I love that green, yellow and black, and those little pears are so cute! This is her first bag of 2022 and she made it in four hours! I think there may be more in her future!

Next up is a whole bunch of bags made by Tina Hadden. Tina has made some customizations to the Frankenbag with all kinds of padded pockets, different handle applications, and she’s used some really fun fabrics.

Here’s the first one. I just love those little sun panels! What a great use for that fabric. And the tree on the other side is really cool. The third photo shows some of Tina’s customizations.

Here’s Tina’s second bag. I love all those stripes and graphic black and whites, and I love those dark and colorful fabrics. You can she she’s made a single shoulder strap on this bag.

Her third bag has another one of those fun trees and Kaffe’s Jupiter design is so perfect for a tree! I’ll have to remember that! And I love that huge red bloom with all the black and white. And look at all those pockets on the inside. Plus another shoulder strap. I’ve actually been wanting to make one with a single strap.

Here’s Tina’s fourth bag.

… and number five… this one reminds me that I’ve wanted to make one out of Brandon’s octopus fabric. I need to make another one for a late holiday gift. It might have to be from octopus!

And finally, her sixth bag!!! Another fun one with the contrast KFC fabrics, big blooms, and that fun piece of onion rings! Love it!

Thanks to everyone who sent photos!

One more day off. I hope I can be productive. I have a few errands to run but do plan to get some sewing done.

Aboriginal Fabric Frankenbag Completed

I had a good sleep in this morning, then got up and had a good breakfast and a couple cups of coffee. Then I bundled up and took Bender and Rico for a nice four mile walk in the cold sunshine.

Today is our last day of dry and cold weather for a while. The temps are going up and the rain is coming back tomorrow.

It was a little tough to get Bender moving, but he did ask me to wish you a Happy New Year!

After our nice long walk I made a couple of feed bag totes for a friend that I’m going to see tomorrow. She had given me some of her chicken feed bags and I wanted to make her some totes to say thanks. She also has some brand new baby chicks that I’m going to go see tomorrow. Then we’re meeting some friends for some dog agility training. It will be good to see everyone.

After the feed bags, I got working on the pockets and placket for the Aboriginal fabrics Frankenbag that I’ve been making. I’ve had a good number of people ask me for my Frankenbag tutorial, so I’m linking to it here.

I added a generous slip pocket on one side…

And a zipper/slip pocket on the other side…

I used a method that has you make a faced opening in your pocket and then sew the zipper in once the opening is done. Rather than putting the opening in the actual lining, I made a separate pocket and sewed it on so it also serves as a slip pocket.

Here’s a video tutorial I followed to make this opening. I made up the rest of the pocket construction. I will make my next zipper pocket like she does in the video on my next bag. Mine was way too complicated!

Once the pockets were done and sewn onto my lining pieces, I made and installed the zipper placket. You can find my tutorial for how I do my zipper plackets here.

Here are some photos of the completed bag.

And the two different interior pockets.

This turned out to be a lot of construction but it looks really well made and fees substantial! But I AM going to simplify that zipper pocket. I made it a lot more complicated than it needed to be!

I was laughing as I turned the bag right side out after sewing the lining to the bag. It reminded me of childbirth!

And yet, somehow it always works!

I’m not sure what I’m going to work on tomorrow. Thinking I’ll either start another Frankenbag for a gift for a friend, or I might work on my scrappy sunburst quilt.

My Very Exciting New Year’s Eve

My most stressful fundraising month of the year has ended. I’m looking forward to four days off and some time in my sewing room.

I’ve never been a fan of big parties, so a New Year’s Eve at home is pretty perfect for me.

I took my boys for their evening walk and then I spent a little time in my sewing room, but I was tired so I didn’t want to do anything that required too much attention. So I cut the lining and applied the interfacing for the Aboriginal fabrics Frankenbag I’m making.

I’m going to add a slip pocket and a zipper pocket to the lining. And then this will get a zipper placket. I’m hoping to finish this up tomorrow.

Then I dug through some scraps and made 22 more key fobs. I chain sewed these bad boys and it went really fast! The first picture shows the string of 22 pieces getting the center line of stitching. The center photo shows all 22 pieces in one long strip piled on my cutting table. The third photo shows all 22 pieces cut apart.

Then I chain sewed each strip into a loop, cut them apart, and applied the hardware.

It’s taking me some time to figure out the best way to get the hardware crimped on all straight. But I’m getting there.

Here’s around 40 completed key fobs crammed into a zip loc bag.

No idea what I’m going to do with all of these. But I feel like I want to make more! I just love them! I have some lanyard hardware coming so will make some longer versions.

I changed the sheets on my bed this morning and tossed Bender’s favorite hedge hog toy in the washer with them because it was really stinky. He was a little concerned about this development.

And poor Rico is not happy with all the fireworks tonight.

A few more blog readers sent me photos of Frankenbags over the last few days. This first one was made by Kim Bates. She made this for a guitar-loving friend of hers. I love the black, white and red, and this bag looks really well made. That big piece of the guitar fabric is really fun! What a great bag for a musician!

Next up is this bag made by Celia Garcia Goins. She used fabric from a project from a long time ago and doesn’t remember what the fabric is. But it’s fun! I see pineapples and zebras. And it follows along with tonight’s theme of red, black and white! I love her wonky angles and big pieces.

The last bag tonight was made by @kimknitessex on Instagram. She made the bag for a friend for a gift and said ┬áthat as a complete novice at quilting and making bags it was an excellent way of practicing . She said my instructions were easy to follow and she’s going to make one for herself next.

Thanks to everyone who sent photos! Now off to be so I can be well rested for my four day weekend!