New tote bags

kingfisher tote

Tote #1

I made a couple tote bags. White tote bags. White is not a practical color for me, but I love how stitching looks on a plain white background. I guess I need to start looking into stain removal for things you don’t want to throw in the washer all the time… I used this bag once to carry fabric I bought at a quilt show up in Roseville last weekend, and it’s already dirty. Definitely need some kind of cleaning wipe thingys. It’s medium-sized, I guess, at about 14″x14″. The pattern is from Studio MME and was used in the Feeling Stitchy Midsummer Stitchalong. It features a kingfisher with an eye patch. His name is Reginald, and he has a backstory if you want to go check him out šŸ™‚ I was nowhere near done in time for the stitchalong — in fact, I think I started it after the SAL was already over.

kingfisher closeup


I basically made up the process to make the bags. No pattern or even a well-thought-out process — I just winged it. I used a cool neutral palette quilting cotton from Joanne’s for the back, straps and lining.

kingfisher back

Back, straps, and lining

There are a couple pockets on the inside, which I don’t have pictures of because it’s not really possible to take a good photo of the inside of a finished bag šŸ™‚ I wasn’t sure how well it would turn out since I was making it up as I went along, so I didn’t do in-process shots. Plus, once I get started sewing the last thing I want to do is take a photo break.

redridinghood tote

Tote #2

Bag #2 is pretty small at just under 9″x9″, but it’s perfect to carry my Kindle and a sketchbook. I used a couple patterns from Aneela Hoey’sĀ ā€œLittle Stitches” book. I learned to embroider when I was really little, and all I knew was backstitch, satin stitch, and a few other basics — there weren’t a lot of filling options. I love the patterns in “Little Stitches“, but I didn’t think the filling stitches would really be “my style”. I’m surprised by how much I enjoy filling stuff in. I really like it and have done it far more than I expected. Also, I can’t explain it but I love French knots.

redridinghood closeup

redridinghood lily closeup
Lily with French knots for the flowers

I used this lovely peacock pattern quilting cotton from for the back, straps, and lining. There aren’t any pockets in this one — it’s too small. I did sandwich a layer of batting in each tote bag to add a little weight so they wouldn’t be so flimsy.

redridinghood back

Back, straps, and lining

I’ll probably end up making at least one more — a really large one would be fun (and practical-ish), and it might be good to do it the “right” way and actually follow some directions šŸ™‚


Embroidered Pincushions



I need pattern weights. I’ve been using some old, rusting paint tins as weights, and they’re really just not cute. My original plan was to make some really quick weights filled with beans or something, but then I saw (and bought) the book “Super Cute Pincushions” at the bookstore. Pincushions are way more useful than tiny bean bags. I have a few small embroideries completed, so I stitched some pincushions up using quilting scraps for the back. These are all filled with fine sand, so they have some heft for keeping patterns in place, but I’ll get a lot more use out of them as pincushions — and my pins will stay nice and sharp.

I haven’t made such small circular things before. I definitely need to work on my curves. My uterus is especially wonky… Well, not MY uterus — I’m sure that’s fine. I also found out that I hate embroidering on felt. HATE. It feels gushy and weird. The only one on felt is the skull — the others are regular fabric, which works just fine. No more felt.

I’ll be making more of these — “Super-Cute Pincushions” has a ton of great patterns I still need to embroider šŸ™‚