Monday, December 31, 2012

Finally Finished Modern Medallion Quilt!!!

I thought this would be a great year ending post (a super long one too).  Earlier this month I finally finished the quilt for Handstitched class at Stitched in Color that ended in August.  Since then I'd been working on hand stitching the border in bits and pieces. I am thoroughly satisfied with being finished. AND I'm just in time as registration for Rachel's classes start January 1st, and I'm going to register for the Curves class.

Some of the techniques that went into this quilt and how I felt about them-

Reverse Applique: Simple enough, though I did NOT read the directions so I made three times as much work for myself as needed.  I will probably be using this technique in the future but haven't had a reason to do so yet..

Perhaps because THIS fabric is cotton sheeting instead of quilting cotton, it's the one area of the quilt that got ripply.

Satin & Jewels:  Phew was it time consuming!

I opted to add in a bit of embroidery from September House, and also a picture of some henna work I saw online.  My border was half an inch too small so I altered from the original design quite a bit, but looking back I wish I'd just narrowed everything a bit and stayed true to the original.

The colors and shape has held up pretty well after the first washing, this was also the motivation for me to start embroidering in general.

Applique: It was fun to try, but I find it unlikely that I'll be incorporating it into anything except wall art.

It doesn't seem sturdy enough to me for anything that is going to get much use, and with three cats well, you do a lot of laundry.

English Paper Piecing: This was fun, it's wonderful because once you learn it you realize you can make all sorts of designs on your own (or follow any of the thousands of ideas already out there.)

I've done several paper pieced projects since I did this part of the quilt. Also become addicted to paper piecing hexagons.

Also I'm now going to do the BOM paper piecing QAL over at Quiet Play that starts next month.

On Point Squares: Fun, and I had enough of a seam allowance on this part (wasn't the case with a few parts of this quilt, let me tell you!) to sew it together correctly. No clue if I'll use it again but I'm glad I wont be scared to try it in the future.


Hand quilting:  There are som good tips & tutorials on it from Anna Maria Horner and, surprise surprise, Rachel at Stitched in Color

I don't love doing it, it's hard on my neck and wrists and pretty timje consuming - but unless I get a more quilting friendly machine, I think I will be doing my share of it.

Have been using on a few other quilts so far and a lot of smaller projects.  I think the key is moderation.  I also did a gingko leaf pattern along two of the sides, I think I'd like it with all orange peel too, but I wanted to try something else.


I hand washed the quilt in the tub with Eucalan, and after that and a stint in the dryer it was cat hair free.

I mean I'm afraid to use it now as it was so much work and I'm pretty sure I failed to use a 1/4" seam allowance everywhere so it will come apart if I look at it sideways, but I do plan on taking it out and looking at it now and again ;)
The back was a lot of the leftover fabrics from the quilt,  I'm not sure piecing backs like this is really my style but it was nice to try it out. The middle certainly puckered up differently than the rest of the more heavily quilted areas after washing.

So I love love love it, flaws and all.  By far the most satisfying thing I have made to date.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Gonna be a busy 2013 isn't it?

I planned on starting the year sloooooowly.

Back in August I'd already planned on signing up for taking Rachel's Curves class on January 1st...of course, it's fun, she's a great teacher, it's only 5 weeks in duration, and you can work at your own pace.

And Sew On... BoM
Mid December I saw the adorable  "And Sew On.. " paper piecing sewing block related BoM Kristy is hosting at Quiet Play which is only nine blocks for the year, perfectly doable.  Starts simple and works it's way up to some complicated blocks!  I have only done simple designed paper piecing so I am really looking forward to the escalating challenges.

 The same week I saw Melissa at Bittersweet Designs is doing A Lovely Year of Finishes to motivate us to finish up UFO's and WIP's, one a month for the year, and who doesn't want to do that? (If you play along in hardcore version, it involves 2 blog posts a month with an in progress and a finished project report.)

I wavered a bit, because of the whole being accountable thing, but I do have a few things I want to finish up, and the project can be one you start and finish in the same month.

A Light in the Dark mini
 On Christmas day, I discovered my mother was going to do a BoM too, the one Elizabeth at dontcallmebesty is putting on, Lucky Stars, a foundation paper pieced BoM.  Besides the fact that the blocks are beautiful, foundation paper piecing is on my "must learn in 2013" list.

I was already in love with a few of her quilts, including <<< this disgustingly awesome paper pieced star one, so it seemed unreasonable to not give in and join the fun.

Admittedly now I'm finding myself almost overwhelmed and wondering when I'll have time to do other projects at all! 

Skill Builder Quilt at Pile O' Fabric
Edit...really?  And the day after I sign up for the Lucky Stars BoM Alyssa at PileoFabric goes and announces shes doing a Skill Builder Block of the Month QAL... Using the quilt as you go method no less, which I'm pretty sure was the last thing on my "must learn in 2013" sewing list not covered by any of the events above.

My husband has been making noises about me getting a more quilt appropriate sewing machine instead of trying to FMQ on my Brother Project Runway machine with a 5 inch harp space, especially when I gave him the rundown on how full my quilting plate is going to be, so I am looking forward to looking around to see what is out there :)  Otherwise I will probably be insane by March at this rate!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas just might not be so bad after all.

I am going to admit something - I opened a present early.  My husband and I were wrapping each others presents his parents sent us so we'd have that whole unwrapping presents experience.  UPS dropped a box off and I brought it inside - from the return label I knew just what it was, so I put it back outside so when he got home he'd see it and smuggle it upstairs so he could wrap it, but instead it went something like this.

Him "Honey there's a box here!"
Me "Mmmhmmm"
Him "Will you come see what it is?"
Me "Its a box"
Him "Well duh, can you come see what it is?"
Me "Sigh, it's a present for me and you were supposed to take it upstairs and wrap it"
Him "Well I can go wrap it"
Me "Screw it, I'm opening it up and using it since I know what it is and I wanted to get to work on some hand quilting"

His parents got me a QSnap Floor Frame, and boy it would've been useful for most of the quilts I've made this year, I didn't realize how handy it would be.   So, I cheated on Christmas (sorry Mom!) but I got a lot of progress made on one of my quilts!  Uh, and apparently immediately and unwittingly provided the cats with another cat bed.

After Christmas I got to do some fabric folding, I had four bundles from The Intrepid Thread, I'd bought Notting Hill in the magenta colorway and a few other prints, then won Notting Hill in teal from FiberofAllSorts (yay!) and my SIL got me Frippery in warms and Floressence in Lumine Scent.  Seriously I just want to leave the fabrics there to look at for the next month but I have ironing to do!

So even though I don't like Christmas as a commercial holiday since that's not the point of it - I can't argue with having awesome things for sewing.  I am ashamed that all those stacks of FQ's are not keeping me from being aware there are a lot more fabrics that have come out recently that I want too.  Patience grasshopper...

Friday, December 21, 2012

Finished embroideries, yay!

I have a confession to make.  I can't wait until Christmas is over.  The tree is taking up precious sewing space!  I guess that's what happens when you turn the living room into a sewing room.  I've also already made Christmas dinner earlier this week so I don't spend Christmas day in the kitchen and can opt for something simpler to make.  This means today was a day of delicious grilled turkey and smoked gouda sandwiches. 

I finished two embroideries I was making for gifts, First was Heart o' Flowers.  After I put a backing on it I realized I hadn't finished the outer part of the leaves all the way, and so ripped out the stitches rather than dissemble it. I wanted to embroider EVERYthing in it, but apparently there's a fine art to not actually covering things 100% with floss, and I am trying to figure out how to accomplish that.

Also I made an impromptu toasty one when a friend who I haven't seen in months popped back into my life - they are very fond of toast and I thought something fun was in order.  The pattern is from a digital stamp by someoddgirl.

I decided to try some shading with oil pastels after seeing the idea at Wild Olive.  I didn't tint it until afterward the fact since I wasn't sure about it, and it turned out OK but next time I'll tint ahead of time.  It has some imperfections but I was still kind of sad to give it away!  I also tried combining fabric and embroidery.using a bit of Anna Maria Horner flannel stitched on for a countertop - too stretchy for it I think, so next time it will be regular old cotton.


I'm working on a bunch of new projects again, my sister rummaged through my stash for some fabrics for a chevron pillow top I'll be sewing together for her (she seemed drawn to Art Gallery fabrics, I love so many of their prints that I was happy to see she felt the same).  It was fun to watch somebody else work through their placement process.

Hopefully this next holiday week I will finish a pillow cover of my own I've been working on, and the all solids quilt top I started spontaneously last night.  I'm using some bright Kaffe Fassett shot cottons and Kona in Coal, and it's looking good so far.  I must say, I am really happy I decided to get interested in quilting earlier this year!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Star Blossom Paper Piecing

Hallway's too narrow to get a straight on shot of course


This Star Blossom block is a project from the Handstitched Class that Rachel @ Stitched in Color teaches.  (Shes opening registration for her classes again January 1st, I highly recommend you try her Handstitched class if you have any interest, I'll be taking her Curves one if I can)

This is paper pieced, sewn onto fabric and mounted on a 16"x20" canvas ( to do with as your imagination dictates).  I certainly did a better job on it than I did my first two attempts at paper piecing!

This is the second item I've sewn onto fabric & mounted on a canvas, and this one doesn't lay perfectly flush against the background fabric, but I am still pretty happy with it and I'll like it more when I get around to painting my walls beige ;)  Not sure about my fabric choices, I still have a lot to learn about that subject.

The piece in the middle was supposed to be more off center to show the other elements on it a bit more, but instead it just looks like I was trying to center the flower and sucked at it :)

unmounted and finished
Speaking of fabric, , I realized my carpentry skills aren't good enough to tackle my own cubby storage right now like I planned, so I got two ClosetMaid storage units from Lowe's.

 My stash was getting a bit unwieldy as I was keeping it in a stack of plastic bins, which of course always had at least one cat sleeping on the top lid so I couldn't get to it.  These aren't the best storage solution (had to turn them on their sides for the fabric to fit in this way) but they'll work for the time being and were not that expensive all things considered ($45 each).

One unit is being used for prewashed  fabric (I stopped prewashing 6 months ago) and I'm thinking I better really delve into the prewashed to make some room since I couldn't fit all my non washed fabric in... I'm hoping that having it all visible will uh...keep me from buying more?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Custom Open Wide Pouch for Bath Bombs

variant of open wide zipper pouch

I like the concept of Noodlehead's open wide zipper pouch so much that I thought I'd adapt it to fit a  specific item.  I'm still tinkering looking for the perfect bath bomb recipe, so I thought I'd try a new variant for a Christmas gift but I needed some packaging - and a custom bag seemed like a great solution.

A recipe make 6 two inch squares in a silicone ice cube tray, but since I want to test at least one from every batch I make to give away, I needed to fit 5 of them in.  After measuring the dimensions of the row of bath bombs I cut two pieces of 10" by 16" fabric and one piece of batting the same size.

 I followed the tutorial for the pouch to attach the zipper on one side, but since this was one piece of fabric instead of two I used a zipper several inches longer than the pouch and unzipped it most of the way so I could easily flip it in the other direction to sew the zipper onto the other side.

I hand stitched next to the zipper with cotton pearl thread to reinforce it, and made the box corners the right width for the bath bombs to be able to sit flat on the bottom of it. I just wrapped them in parchment paper (I had no idea tape wouldn't stick to parchment!) and they fit inside just about perfectly. The pouch is rather triangular viewed from the end.

This fabric is some that I picked up at Joann's before I started quilting or craft sewing - I have no idea why I bought this, it doesn't seem my style but I think it's a decent choice to house a bath item.  The shape of this is this.  The shape of the pouch is odd so I'm not sure what it will be used for afterwards.  I love how it opens all the way.

Continue reading for the bath bomb recipe (which I'm mainly writing about to keep notes on my progress towards finding the right mix)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Paper Pieced Insulated Trivet & Visit to Urban Craft Uprising

Well that's a mouthful!

Star cut out from an 8" circle of cardstock
I'm doing a bit more paper piecing here and there I love that you can make anything you can dream of, but I cant draw so drawing pictures then deconstructing them isn't a walk in the park and I have to keep it simple.  Luckily there's wiser people out there than me for when I want to upgrade to complicated projects! Until then I'll just cut things out of cardstock with trial and error ;)

I used La Dee Da Floradots in Saffron from Free Spirit Fabrics for the star.  My plan was to have a well graduated circle of light to dark blue around it, but I didn't stop to make sure I had that before cutting things out (I do NOT do so well with the planning stages of fabric choice...) so it got a bit wonky and I didn't really get a good mix between small and large prints either, but I'm still happy with how it turned out.  Art gallery's Pure Elements in empire yellow made a good match for the binding,  which was sewn on with pearl cotton thread.

Since I figured I may as well make this Christmassy I used one holiday tree fabric on the front, and for the back one of the Christmas fabrics my mother in law gifted me.  It's sandwiched as following:
Backing fabric
Layer of cotton batting
Layer of insulated batting
Paper pieced star
I'm impressed with how well the insulated batting works, and a yard of it is taking me a long way, I've made two potholders, 4 trivets, and still have enough for a couple more things.

Urban Craft Uprising December 2012

I made it to Seattle's Urban Craft Uprising for the first time last weekend with my sister.  It was a great show, but I was a little dissapointed that while there were vendors of all sorts, there weren't that many people selling handmade goods of the crafty variety.  Jewelry, art, food products, ceramics, carnivorous terrariums, amazing clothing, but the only handmade vendor that didn't seem to be geared towards felty animal crafts was geared towards baby stuff.  I think i was hoping to get a lot of inspiration at the show, but mostly I just emptied my wallet!

I came away with $40 in salt :| $12 boxes of macaroons (that got crushed in my purse :( ), a bit of art including some fun from LaRu and some stocking stuffers for my husband.  Now that everybody can use their smart phones to take debit cards, the world has become a much more dangerous place for my budget!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Cloth Lined Burlap Napkin Basket

I'd been wanting to make a basket to hold my cloth napkins in for a few months, and unable to bear the thought of working on any of my half finished projects, decided it'd be the perfect time to start a new one.  I had some burlap I grabbed on impulse from the remnant bin at Joann's as well as some Pelleon SF101 interfacing left over from the Weekender travel bag sea along so I figured that would be a good start.

Now...I haven't worked with burlap before, but this stuff was warpy and evasive!  I started off making a rectangular basket and ended up with a square one.  More or less the burlap was cut in a + shape with the middle of it 8 by 8 inches for the bottom and the branches being 8" by 5". 

Interfacing - one 8 by 8 inch piece for the bottom and four 5 by 8 inch pieces, basted onto the burlap +.  I was able to sew the corners together on my sewing machine instead of by hand (yay), then I hand sewed the handles on which were burlap wrapped and sewn around small pieces of the Pelleon.

I made the shell for the lining in a + shape also - 8.5" by 8.5" for the middle section (which is the bottom of the basket) with the four branches being 8.5" by 6.5"  I ended up with a bit of slack in the bottom, but the corners all fit in pretty nicely with a 1/4" seam allowance, and it enabled enough fabric to be folded over the edges of the burlap/interfacing so it about 1" isvisible on the outside. I stitched the lining in with a neutral pearl cotton.  One great thing about this is that if & when I want to switch out the lining all I need to do is remove the pearl thread.

The fabric for the lining is Salt Air Sea Garden by Cosmo Cricket in Summer

So I'm pretty sure I wont be working with burlap again unless I get my hands on a coffee bag.

There are certainly a dozen excuses for me to make more baskets of all shapes and sizes. This project can surely be done better, so I better practice!  And if I do switch out the lining I will probably move the handle down another inch for aesthetics.

Now I just need to make my own coordinating cloth napkins and I'll be set. Muahahaha! I didn't know how much fun a good hobby could be!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Quilter's Shirtless Man and Spicy Burrito 2013 Calendar

I was procrastinating getting a calendar like I always do, but finally ordered one yesterday.  This summer I stumbled across a calendar that Megan at The Bitchy Stitcher put together in 2012 to raise funds to help her brother's family with some medical bills accrued from her brother fighting brain cancer.   So the reason this is in existence is sad and touching, and the calendar itself is silly and awesome. She put together another one for 2013, many quilters were kind enough to send in pictures of the men in their lives posing shirtless with quilts and burritos (that's right, take a good look at your husband, could he be the next Mr. October?).  I can't think of a better choice for keeping track of sew and quilt alongs!  I like quilts, I like men, and I am rather partial to burritos (though not on the spicy side).

My purchase was through her link to, but I see that also carries it, which means there's probably some other fabric stores to buy it from too.  Gives you an excuse to buy some fabric while you're at it. Anyway, I can't wait to get my copy,  and if you have a quilter on your Christmas list and need a last minute gift, I'm not sure you can go wrong with this!

note: My husband and I use different calendars, so he wont be forced to stare at bare chests all day.  Although now that I think about it, it would be pretty funny for him to have to look up his dentist appointments on this ;)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Color Wheel Paper Piecing

I made this color wheel several months ago, but as I didn't starch the devil out of it before I removed the paper, it didn't stay perfectly round so it had been sitting on my design wall just staring at me.

After getting to work on my paper piecing Star Blossom project from the Handstitched class Rachel from Stitched in Color put on earlier this year, I figured I should suck it up and figure out how to deal with it since I had to stretch the star blossom onto canvas anyway, and had bought canvases for both projects.

I Managed to get it mostly round on the inside & outside.  I pinned it to an 18" square piece of Kona (in Bone).  My q-snap frame wasn't holding it stretched evenly (fabric was too thin so wasn't being gripped firmly on all 4 sides), so there was a bit of distortion when I sewed it on.  I used DMC pearl cotton in size 8 to stitch it on.  Now that I think about it further, putting batting scraps for thickness where the fabric is held onto the frame to give it thickness would've probably fixed that problem.

 I used a teeny bit of 505 spray basting between the fabric and the canvas to secure it in place while I stretched and tacked it onto a 12" square frame.  It was actually pretty easy to do that, and I'm glad I got down to business!

For the color wheel itself, I just traced a dinner plate, then traced a bowl inside of it off center inside that circle and divided it (mostly) evenly into 12 sections.  Had a bit of trouble choosing something for the green-blue fabric, as I didn't really have any and couldn't find a good one while browsing either.  I'm finding improve paper piecing rather fun, so I've already cut out a star pattern to work with next.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Insulated Hexagon Hot Pads

I thought I'd make insulated trivets for Christmas gifts and myself.  I needed one because I've been using a sample square of carpet tile to rest my french press on when I make coffee  for the last year :|

I'd used the hexagon coaster tutorial from Canoe Ridge Creations from the Festival of Hexagons series a few months ago and thought the basics of it would lend itself well to this project too.

For the center I just enlarged a single hexagon in a word document until it was 2.5" per side, and  5.25" across at its widest point before printing it out (I couldn't get the custom templates at to work that day).  I cut 2.5" by 6" strips of coordinating fabrics , and one layer of Insulated batting and one layer of cotton batting for each  hot pad.

The two for gifts I decided to bind & made 2" binding out of Kona solids. It was interesting working with the hexagon corners, they're a bit more tricky square corners, & the second one went better than the first. These ones just all got sandwiched together before sewing.

The funky blue and orange one is for me (never pictured combining those two colors for one item) and I just sewed it together with right sides facing each other, leaving most of one side open,  turned it right side out, pressed it, then stuffed it with the two layers of batting (trimmed down to fit).  It was bit of a challenge to get all the corners to get lined up exactly, if I tried it again I'd probably baste the batting layers together before attempting that.

They're about 8" across, and big enough for potholders.  I just used mine for the first time and managed to dribble chai all over it as I was straining the ginger and cinnamon out - serves me right for making chai from scratch I guess!

I don't mind if I do!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"Reusable" Fabric Gift Tags

Since my mother in law gifted me with some holiday fabrics when we visited Vermont, I figured I should make some gift bags.  One fabric seemed a good print to lend itself to make the "ribbon" for a couple of "wrapped present" look bags, after being inspired by the block Katie @ Swim, Bike, Quilt did for the Christmas in July Block-a-thon. I started thinking about how to label the gifts - stickers wont stick to them, so I figured fabric tags would be the way to go.

I thought about embroidering them with names but that would take forever, and I wanted them to be reusable.  I decided to go ahead and to use a Pilot FriXion pen to write names on them, that way if the recipient wants to reuse it, all it requires is 2 seconds of a hot iron and voila! Blank again.

So this doesn't really requires a "tutorial" (and I'm sure there are lots of tutorials out there for stuff like this anyway) but I'm practicing my technical writing skills!  These are the steps I took.
1. Cut out two pieces of fabric the same size, of the desired shape and size you want your label to be.

2. Sew on a bit of lighter colored cotton fabric wherever you like on the tag (you can also do this step after it's sewn together if you dont mind the stitches sewing through on the back).  I used a zig zag stitch on most of the tags, but since I these don't need to be super durable, a straight line stitch is fine in my book.

3. With right sides of fabric facing each other, sew around the edges with a 1/4" seam allowance backstitching a couple stitches at the beginning and end.  Leave an inch opening (easiest to leave the opening in the middle of a side instead of in a corner, makes closing it look neater).

4. Turn tag right side out, I use a dulled wood skewer to poke the corners out.  Make sure the edges of the opening are tucked inside and press the tag with a hot iron.

Don't forget to use a Shout color catcher to avoid pink :|
5. Sew the 1" opening closed.  You can hand stitched it closed, machine stitch just the area of the opening (not bad if your thread matches closely) or sew around the entire tag with the machine. If I work on some nicer looking ones I will probably hand stitch around them with perle cotton or embroidery thread.

6. Write on whatever name or term of endearment you want with a heat removable pen. (I know there are other brands out there too.)

7.  Attach to present.  I strung lengths of perle cotton thread through the tops of my gift tags with a needle.  In the picture above, I sewed the thread directly into the tag as I made it.  I may also make some gift bags with fabric loops sewn into the seams for me to tie the tags onto.

And that's that!  Now I am sure you can do better this, I was very sloppy in my assembly! Christmas and the whole gift thing is not my favorite pastime, but I do admit I'm having fun with this year's crafty aspect to it ;)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Long Weekender Sew Along Tula Pink Bag Finished

Well that's a mouthful.

My dual purpose sew along bag is finished, just under the deadline for the Tula Pink Sew Along, and ahead of schedule for the Long Weekend blog hop.

All the prints are Tula Pink, it has a few bits of solids for the patchwork. Kona in Bone for the piping
Kona in Crocus for the straps (which match the bag better in person than they seem to in photos)
A sturdy beige suiting fabric for the bottom.
I used Parisville's Sea of Tears in Dusk for the majority of the outside, a patchwork of Parisville & Birds and the Bees on one side.
For the lining, Bees Knees in Sunset which is too pretty to hide, but I did it anyway.  Lots of  Cameo in Sprout too as it's the first Tula Pink fabric I ever fell for, long before I ever had an idea that I would ditch garment sewing for quilts and crafty projects.

I'm going to just be upfront and gripe about the Weekender Bag pattern .  Its page on the website doesn't have a link to any corrections, so if I hadn't been doing this as part of a sew along I wouldn't have even known the were any.  What I like less is that if you find the corrections, you print out SIX pages of errata and then are supposed to use them to make changes to your pattern directions, crossing stuff out, re-labeling things, writing in the margins - which I find less than awesome.  I didn't because with my messy writing I wouldn't have been able to read a thing it said, so I had to go back and forth between the pattern and the printouts. With that many corrections I feel I should be able to print out an entire set of correct steps.

Amy Butler is awesome, and she generously offers free patterns too,  but I'm a bit reluctant to purchase any other patterns anytime soon, as besides the errata issue, I didn't find the directions super easy to follow (though more talented sewists have said they were fine - I am certainly not even classified as an intermediate quilter yet I imagine), partially because they weren't formatted in the most user friendly layout visually (for me at least), and partially because it felt like they jumped all over the place instead of moving through a natural flow for prep & assembly.  Nevertheless now that I've gone through the trouble to make this I'll probably make another as the end results are pleasing.

Ok, now that I've vented - I did patchwork for one side (not quilt as you go, just made quilt blocks to size). I used batting and some thicker myterious utility fabric to reinforce the sides and large pockets, and just used the Peltex for the bottom and the side pockets.

I made my handle length 48".  My Joann's didn't have either of the suggested zippers so I got a 30" dual separating parka zipper so I could open it from either side. I'd never inserted a zipper like the directions have you do  and it was really fun for some reason. I put an extra pocket inside one of the large outer pockets too.


Making piping worried me because a piping foot isn't available for my machine, but it was easy to do with fusible tape.  I made it stop at ground level, as I didn't plan on putting feet on this bag & this way it won't be touching the ground and getting dirty.

Speaking of feet - with all the layers together, the only foot that could accommodate the height with the piping and get close enough to it was my blind hem foot, and I managed to break that pretty quickly.  That's actually two feet I've abused in the last month, maybe I better get some back ups just in case... Ont he bright side I didn't break a single needle!

I'd planned to add a zippered pocket inside but decided not to, figuring its an excuse to make more pouches to throw inside instead.

I mistakenly fused the interfacing to the lining fabric and not the outer fabric and didn't have extra, so it's not as firm as it would be otherwise, and there is some slack in the lining (I saw others say they had that issue too).  Truth is the lining directions was the one section where I have no clue what they are telling me to do without some visuals present to follow. 

When I first tried to read through them I'd been working on the bag for 8 hours straight so feeling fuzzy, but I just reread them now and they still make my head hurt.  I get the idea that they tell me how to take up the slack fabric, but I will deal with that if I find it bothersome after using it.

And I too, like so many others, bled.  Bled and swore.  Swore and bled.  Actually got the sewing machine needle in my index finger a bit once. Grabbed the wrong end of more pins that I could count too.  My hands will heal in a couple days though, and even though I wasn't so sure about the bag in general or the fabric choices in particular I am happy with it.  I like that if I'm feeling subdued I can show the muted side to the world, and if I'm feeling a bit more outgoing I can put the noisy patchwork side out.  Now I'm just impatiently waiting for an excuse to use it!