Monday, May 22, 2017

Infinity Strap Tote

Hi all -

Sorry I haven't blogged in so long. A couple of non-quilting things got in the way of my quilting motivation. The first event was a biggie for me: a couple of days after my last blog post we got a notice from the sheriff that a violent sexual predator was being released from prison and was moving into the house right next door to me. As you can imagine, that was pretty stressful and had me scrambling to get things like pepper spray and alarms for my doors. The neighborhood ended up pushing back and he ended up being released to the homeless shelter in Boulder instead. That has left me a little torn because I'm extremely relieved that he's not moving in next door, but I also don't believe in "not in my back yard" and know that sending him to a homeless shelter makes him even more likely to reoffend and just puts other people in danger. But still, I feel very relieved.

More recently, we just had a record-breaking snow storm. Over this past Thursday and Friday, we had 42.6" of snow in my neighborhood. That's one of the biggest snows we've had in my neighborhood since I moved in 17 years ago, and by far the biggest snow in May. To give you an idea, here is a picture of the fence right outside my front door:

Incredible, huh? Lance was a little intimidated by it all:

I shoveled a path down the driveway to the road on Thursday so I would be able to take the trash out on Friday morning. I had to shovel it again on Friday since we had had an additional foot of snow overnight.

I finished up the shoveling on Saturday. It was a beautiful clear day with bright blue skies.

The sky was actually an even deeper blue than it appears in the picture. You can see where my inspiration for my Colorado Skies quilt came from! I'm all dug out now, although it's currently snowing pretty heavily again. The forecast is just for 1-2 inches overnight. I hope they're right! You would have thought this would be a good time to get some sewing done, but we had long power outages all through the storm and the recovery so I couldn't make much progress.

But I was able to get one thing done, and so I'm writing again. A couple of weeks ago, I made an applique roll for storing hand applique projects. After seeing my project, a friend had seen a pattern that Nancy Zieman had that used an "infinity strap." The infinity strap is a strap that is a single loop that can slide through some casings so that you can pull them out on the bottom of the bag to hold something like my applique roll. She thought I should make one and I thought it was pretty cool, so I decided to design my own bag with an infinity strap.

This was the first time that I designed my own bag without a pattern so there were several missteps along the way, but it turned out nice. I started with the outside of the bag. I love having zippered and open pockets on the outside, so I put one of each on each side.

The zippered pocket on front is fully lined and there is an open pocket behind it. The strips on the sides are channels for holding the strap on the bag.

On one side of the lining, I put in an open pocket with 3 sections:

And I put a zippered pocket on the other side:

If I had thought of it, I would have put an open pocket below the zippered pocket, but I didn't think of that until now.

I decided to put in a recessed zipper so the bag top could be closed.

I'm not sure if I like this because it pulls on the lining in a funny way, but we'll see how I feel about it when it has some stuff in it. Here you can see the inside pockets:

After the bag body was finished, I had to add the strap. I prepared one long piece of strap, without doing the edge stitching on the ends. I then pulled the strap through the casings I'd prepared on the outside of the bag, being careful to keep the strap from twisting. To get the strap through the casings easily, I hand sewed one end to a BBQ skewer and used that as a needle:

I was pretty proud of myself for coming up with this! It worked really well. Once the strap was through all of the casings, I carefully sewed the two ends together, the say way that I sew together the ends of a binding when adding it to a quilt. Then I just had to finish up the edge stitching on the strap and it was done.

Here is a picture of the bag:

and another picture with the applique roll slipped into the bottom:

I think it turned out pretty cool!

And just so that I have a record of my other creation, I also finished another one of the cell phone bags that I had made for my sister. This one is for my other sister, who had seen the picture of my first one on Facebook and wanted one for herself.

I really like this little bag and will make another one for myself one of these days.