Little projects for busy times

'Quick Change' compiled by Karen M Burns
‘Quick Change’ compiled by Karen M Burns

The craziest thing happened last week:  I ordered a patchwork and quilting book from Amazon; it duly arrived; and I didn’t look past the book’s cover for three whole days! Distraction levels must be turned up very high indeed to prevent me making a cup of coffee and sitting down to enjoy a browse through a book full of tempting, inspiring projects!   But that has been the case here with the very on-going building project still going on and on and on!  Progress is being made in the kitchen – cupboard units are in place, doors attached (handles added today! Yeah!), worktops fitted, best of all, as of yesterday, the temporary sink unit was removed from the middle of the room and the permanent sink plumbed-in!  But we are waiting for the electrics to be sorted – at present we have just two working power points and no lights at all – the radiators to be plumbed-in, the flooring to be laid… As for the garage conversion and the shower room…


My poor cluttered sewing space :-(
My poor cluttered sewing space 🙁

Most of the contents of the kitchen cupboards are being housed in the sitting room and this means we’ve run out of all available space.  To put down anything bigger than a mobile phone involves moving something else first! I have given over my sewing corner to the clutter of tea and coffee making equipment (quilters dilemma – sewing space or hot drinks? Hum, tricky!) and I have had to put the pink fairy castle quilt top aside and be content to work on a few small projects.

Small projects are life savers/sanity restorers don’t you think?  A quick, familiar pattern provides the almost guaranteed satisfaction of a finish.  A decade ago my on-the-go project would have been a large cross stitch picture likely to take me a year or more to complete. I got into the habit of making and finishing much smaller projects alongside the big one and found this helped me stay motivated.  So, employing the same psychology, I have returned to my favourite quick patchwork and quilting projects: making tote bags and a recently discovered ‘one hour tidy bag’.


The tote bags are my adaptation of a pattern taught by Jennie Doan.  Having found her tutorial after putting in a search for ‘easy patchwork bag’ or something of the like I made several using her method before gradually introducing changes.  Now I usually make the bags without wadding or quilting.  The main part is a central 12″ square showcasing novelty fabrics or a patchwork block.  Then I use unbleached calico to surround the squares and to make the handles.  I line the bags and add a simple pocket.  I can definitely thank Jennie and her tutorial for being the inspiration behind my tote bags.


My tidy bags are adapted from an easy to follow tutorial I found on Craftsy. As I didn’t have any of the necessary stiff interfacing to hand I decided to add structure to my bags by using wadding and some fairly dense quilting.  I enjoy making these and, like the tote bags, often make two at a time to create a bit of a production line and so speed things up a little.

SONY DSCJust this weekend I needed to make a little quilted item to hang on a wall space (more of this another time…). Inspiration came from looking through some of the boards on my Pinterest page/wall.  I’m finding Pinterest so handy for storing photos – each with an easy link to it’s source. I looked through four of my boards – Inspiring Quilts, Quilted Table Runners, Half Square Triangle Quilts and Baby Quilts & Playmats – and settled on using half square triangles to create a chevron pattern.  Then I found some 5″ charm squares and a piece of background fabric in my stash and was able to set to work within an hour 🙂 Five days later the binding was stitched down just in time for the ‘tablerunner/wallhanging/quilted thingy’ to be hung in it’s special place!

I am so happy with the binding fabric on this project.  It's 'Lime Twist Chevron' by the Henley Studio for Makower UK
I am so happy with the binding fabric on this project. It’s ‘Lime Twist Chevron’ by the Henley Studio for Makower UK

It has taken me four days to finish this post, too late to link it to Nancy’s Inspiration linkup which had been my intention 🙁

Feeling frazzled but not defeated!


2 thoughts on “Little projects for busy times

  1. Allison, you can link this post to the next Quilty Inspiration (opening Saturday night at 10 PM Eastern Standard Time) and going for 5 more days.

    I’m so sorry the remodeling is going so slowly. You’ll be thrilled when it’s over, I know, and then you’ll be thrilled again at all the newness and convenience, won’t you?

    I love those little baskets!


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