Category Archives: Bags and purses and wraps

Entering July

This little heart-embellished door can be the passageway into July.  Why not?

It was hard to cut the hankie that offered up these red hearts, but I’m glad I did.  I for one, am planning to create some pockets of joy this month – so what better doorway for the season?

This piece is small – about six inches square – and to my eye, has a decided “Quilting Arts” feeling to it.  It’s the checked flowers, I think.  Today, I’ll add tabs and find a stick to hang it from, and call it done.  Moon needs a few more stitches.

The Tshirt quilt project has been revised to – duvet cover.  It would be very difficult for me to quilt a blanket that is 91 inches square with my current set up.  Yesterday, I hand-sewed the buttonholes.  Today – I will tack down the edge you see here, connect the quilt top and this red print, and sew on the buttons.  The end is in sight!

(That will bring me some joy!)

Our sole surviving currant bush (too near the neighbor’s driveway and their handyman’s plow-path!) is rife with fruit.  I will make a tart for K and me – because the boys are away and because they wouldn’t like it if they were here!

And speaking of the boys, here is a relic from boyhood.  This is the “Peepee Turtle”.  In their younger days, this was the place for all outdoor urination.  Contained the activity, somewhat.  This poor turtle has not been pee peed on in quite a few years (that I know of, anyway).

A reliable summertime joy?  Tomatoes and basil.  These were mixed with halved mozzarella balls for a little bit of heaven in a bowl.

Lastly, as a teaser, while on the Vineyard last week, or two weeks ago?, we went to The Dumptique… a little shack filled with clothes and books, associated with the dump, where everything is free for the taking.  I found some exciting garments – more on that another time – and this lovely, if a little beat up, crocheted purse.  I love that it is round and features horses, trotting endlessly in a circle.  It needs a good washing, and then — I’m not sure what.


on the table

Items in progress on the coffee table.

This fragment from the larger Middle Passage series is nearly done.
A little bag in progress… not sure how I’ll construct straps yet.

I shipped these 2×2″ squares to Jude Hill on Thursday as part of her “Magic Feather” project.
This one was too big, so it’s a keeper:

It’s a real lesson in scale, because at four by four instead of two by two, this little shape is decidedly more moon-like than stone-like.

Japanese bag

This simple and beautiful bag was the inspiration for the two-quilt-messenger bag that I made last week (below).

It is constructed from three pieces – the front, the back, and a single side piece.  Each component has a blue face with a red backing.

The side panel does not come all the way up to the uppermost edges, in order to leave room for a casing, which houses the blue cord pull-ties.  The casing is just a gap between the red lining and the blue front, with two lines of stitching to define.
Because you seam the finished components wrong sides together, there is no need to leave an opening in the final construction phase in order to reverse, the way many bag patterns require.  By using the red contrasting fabric for the inside of each of the three pieces, and making no attempt to hide any seams, a beautiful line of color is created – very much like piping.

The ties are long.  Each of the two loops exit on opposite sides, so that when you pull the ties, the loop that is inside the casing opposite, tugs closed.  It’s a simple and elegant design, through and through.

I thought of this bag as I was pulling the next two quilts out of a drawer during my three weeks of purse sewing.
About 14 inches square, these two panels were a good size for a messenger bag, or what I’m calling a messenger bag.  A true messenger bag would have a fold-over flap.
I realized that once I removed the dowel sleeves, I had two of the three pieces of the model Japanese bag.  I constructed a blue strap with finished edges that was long enough to run around three sides of the bag and then up and over the shoulder (14 inches x 3 plus about 35 inches).  I included enough length to make a loop on one end that the other end would tie into, so as to make the strap adjustable.


I also added a good-sized lined pocket on the wrong side of one of the quilts.
The project made me happy for a couple of reasons.  One, it put to good use some quilts I was not crazy about as wall hangings (I love them as purse panels, though!!).  I did six of these, so I can make two more bags.  I sold this one on Sunday.  I think I will select a handle/side & bottom fabric that is much tougher than the one above, so that the bag could carry the weight of a lap top – it’s the perfect size.  Two, I was very proud of myself for figuring out how to borrow some of the construction methods of a long-admired bag.*

P.S. While sewing mine together, I realized that the curved edges were critical to the design of the indigo bag.  I had to stop my side panel seams just short of each corner, leaving four holes that I then hand sewed.  I didn’t really want to cut the 14″ x 14″ quilted panel – doing so would have wrecked the bound edge and posed a different construction problem.


*  I bought this bag from a couple who made a wide variety of useful objects out of beautiful Japanese indigo cloth many years ago at a huge holiday craft fair held at Boston’s Seaport World Trade Center.  I have no name to share with you, I’m afraid!!