Back to the Bionic Bag

Most of my go-to sewing supplies and notions live in a Bionic Bag that I made several years ago.  It travels around the house from sewing machine to sofa or patio for hand stitching, and it goes with me to guild, sew-ins, and shops when I teach.  This bag is frequently admired, and following several recent requests, I will be teaching this pattern next January at Dabble and Stitch in Columbus, Ohio.

It was so much fun to choose new fabrics for the shop sample!  I love to mix and match fabrics from different designers and lines, and this project was no exception.  The main outer fabric is from Carrie Bloomston’s new Wonder line, and the other fabrics are a mix of designers including Alison Glass and Tula Pink.  I used a walking foot to do some linear quilting on the bag exterior.  I like the look and texture of the quilted bag, but you can also choose to use an iron on interfacing and skip the quilting step.

One of the things I love about the design of this bag is the way the front folds creates a tray when the bag is open.  In this section, I like to add magnetic snaps to hold the dumpling pouch and a small pin cushion.  I use the dumpling pouch for wonder clips, and the pin cushion is stuffed with scraps of wool batting and keeps pins and needles within easy reach.

Between the four zippered pockets and the pouches formed between them, you can fit almost every supply you need for a day or more of sewing.  Once you have made one of these bags, they go together very quickly and make great gifts for sewists and non-sewists  alike.  I have made several over the years, and you can check one out in this Bionic Bag post from a couple years ago.  The Bionic Gear Bag pattern is available for download on Craftsy.

If you would like to join me for the class, it will be held at Dabble and Stitch on Saturday, January 12, 2019 from 10am-4pm. During the day, you will construct most of your Bionic Bag, and you may or may not have time to to work on the optional dumpling pouch.  I hope to see you there!

Columbus Cityscape Block of the Month: Art Museum

June is the second month of the Block of the Month Quilt I have been designing for Dabble and Stitch in Columbus, Ohio.  This year we are creating representational blocks of city landmarks, and this month’s block is the Art Museum.

Art Museum Block 2

The Columbus Museum of Art recently opened a new addition which houses galleries of contemporary art and traveling exhibitions.  I enjoy seeing how designers incorporate contemporary architecture with historic buildings.  In this case, a glass enclosed hall joins the two sections of the building, giving a slight visual break between old and new.

This is one of the longest buildings included in this quilt, and I couldn’t get far enough away from the museum to take a single photo of the facade.  This image is a composite of two photos that I used to draft the block.

Art Museum Composite 2

I drafted each block in AutoCAD Light, and I start by tracing over the reference image.  The most challenging part of the process is determining which architectural details are critical to the story of the building, and which details can be omitted.  When drafting in AutoCAD, you can zoom in to draft details that are too tiny to measure.  For foundation paper pieced blocks, I don’t want any pieces narrower than 1/8 inch.

Art Museum Drafting Process

Finishing at 14″x52″, this is one of the largest blocks in the quilt.  The background for the quilt is a Grunge print, and the buildings are all solids.  The only exception to the solids rule are for banners that adorn many of the buildings in town.  The art museum typically has two banners on either side of the central archways.  For the specialty prints, I selected a floral to represent the historic wing of the museum, and a geometric print to represent the contemporary wing.

Art Museum Detail

The entire quilt includes twelve major landmarks and two street signs.  It is constructed using mostly foundation paper piecing and traditional piecing.  You can still sign up with Dabble and Stitch if you would like to join in the fun!  As an added bonus, I demo a portion of the current block one Sunday afternoon each month.  This month the demo will be June 3 at 1pm.

Quilt

 

Light Show: December Block of the Month

The block of the month I have been doing with Dabble and Stitch in Columbus, Ohio has been humming along, and we are now at the final block.  This design is inspired by the holiday light shows that appear this time of year, and focuses on the displays at the Columbus Zoo.

Light Show Quilt Block

This block is based on a 12 sided polygon, which is a reflection of the shape of the building which houses the historic carousel located on the zoo grounds.  The green corners creating this shape also create the suggestion of the center of an evergreen wreath.

Columbus Zoo Carousel

At the center of the zoo grounds there is a lake that is center stage to a musical choreographed light show with trees of lights floating on the water.  The blue fabric represents both the water of the lake and the night sky.  Many of the light designs constructing the trees consist of vertical stripes which are shown in the orange and violet triangles.

Light Trees on the Lake

The red and white candy cane stripe placed diagonally across the block is inspired by the lights wrapping the posts of a bridge leading to one of the buildings.

Bridge with Lights

This block is fairly easy foundation paper piecing and is done in four sections.  I absolutely love how it looks when these blocks are put together.  They create an awesome secondary pattern with stars and diagonal stripes.

Wall Quilt Layout Color

I started experimenting with some different color schemes, and I love this one that adds an extra color to the star points!

Wall Quilt Layout Color Option 2

This pattern is available through Dabble and Stitch.

Improv Trees

This weekend I had the opportunity to teach my first improvisational piecing class at Dabble and Stitch in Columbus, Ohio.  And it happened to be one of my all-time favorite improv inspirations- winter trees!  Talk about being perfect for this time of year!  In the sample piece I used a lot of bright colors.

Improv Trees Sample

I love using unexpected fabrics for the trees, especially irregular stripes or splotches.  We spent the first part of class selecting fabrics, and the students made fabulous selections!  Here are a couple student projects.  I tend to get pretty wrapped up in the class itself and forget to take photos, but I can assure you that there was a lot of awesomeness going on!

For the tree fabric strips she selected a print of trees!  Don’t you love how the print looks all cut up?

Improv student process shot

Here is a finished top.  The tree fabric used in this one was a popular choice and looked terrific with a bunch of different backgrounds.

Improv student project

 

I really hope I have the chance to teach this class again!  If you would like to see another example and read more about the process, please check out another improv trees mini quilt I did awhile ago.

Building Bridges: January BOM

2017 is going to be an exciting quilting year, and one of the projects I am most excited for is working with a local shop, Dabble and Stitch, on a block of the month program.  Throughout the year we will “travel” in and around Columbus, Ohio, creating blocks that are designed to represent the neighborhoods that make up the larger community.

We are starting the year with the block, Building Bridges, which is inspired by the Lane Avenue Bridge that crosses the Olentangy River on the Ohio State University Campus.building-bridges-block-copy

Bridges are more than physical structures- they create vibrant communities in areas that a natural divide could easily separate people into different social, economic, and cultural districts. The location of this bridge on a university campus is particularly notable since academic institutions bring people from around the world to live and study together.

As a cable stayed suspension bridge, the structure has a strong, dynamic lines that make it a notable architectural feature of the area.  The medallions on the bridge are super eye catching.  (I travel by this bridge each time I go to Dabble and Stitch, and I secretly hope to have to stop at the light leading up to it so I can stare for a minute!)lane-avenue-bridge-collage

When designing this series of blocks, I want to make them representative, but in an abstract manner- sort of like how a log cabin quilt block abstractly represents the building of an actual log cabin.  My hope is that people both in and outside of Columbus find these designs both attractive and inspiring.

Each section of the Building Bridges Block represents an aspect of the Lane Avenue bridge.  The Stripes on one half of the block represent the sidewalks and street, the Olentangy River, and the bright red center of the decorative medallions.  There are three pairs of cable lines to represent the three bridges that have stood at this location.bridge-block-with-notes

This block is even more exciting when it is created in multiples.  Every other block is constructed as a mirror image of the original, and a couple fabric placements alter position to create a sense of depth.  When a set of four blocks come together, they form a full square which symbolizes different communities coming together as one.

The table topper version is comprised of four blocks./Users/cassandra_ireland/Desktop/Quilting/My Quilts/Block of the

16 blocks make up the baby or wall quilt./Users/cassandra_ireland/Desktop/Quilting/My Quilts/Block of the

You will need 48 blocks to construct the Twin sized version./Users/cassandra_ireland/Desktop/Quilting/My Quilts/Block of the

This pattern is available through Dabble and Stitch and includes instructions for a single block as well as the table topper, baby/wall quilt, and the twin sized version.  I am also very excited to be doing a class on this block next Sunday, January 15, so I hope to see some of you there!

I’m linking this post up with Show Off Saturday at Sew Can She.