I made a quilted bag!!! A coworker’s wife introduced me to her version of Penny’s tool tote pattern and i fell in love with how sturdy and pretty her bag is. I had to make one for myself, especially that my portable sweater knitting project has grown large enough to not fit into the tiny bag i and I’ve been looking out for a good project bag.
So I got the materials, chose the brightest, happiest possible fabrics/zipper I had in my stash, and started making the bag. This is my first real quilting project that follows a pattern, and oh my goodness, i had so much trouble putting the pattern together! The instructions are well written and funny (it feels like Penny is a friend who is talking to me and guiding me through the project). However, I am so used to garment patterns, where things have different shapes and i can tell easily which piece goes where. But this one is made from all rectangles, and while they are labeled all clearly, my brain just could not process the words to visualize which piece goes where. I eventually got it all figured out (with many, many seam ripping), and i love the end product. I learnt a little about my brain – i definitely think more visually, and not so much with words.
You can tell from the video – the bag has really excellent shape and support. This is because it has very good fusible foam batting, and strong wires along the openings (both recommended by the pattern and provided in the shop by Penny). It opens all the way up like a box, and closes all the way up with the zipper. It has pockets all around for anything i might need to bring along for my project – extra needles, scissors, scrape yarn, needles, markers, and of course enough space for spare yarn and the sweater itself. It reminds me of a doctor bag. My heart feels so happy whenever I take it out to continue my knitting project (especially when i open and close the bag), i suspect I’d be making other versions of this pattern in the future!!
Here’s a picture I took on our road trip this winter – i was knitting while the girls were playing with sand. Having a structured bag that is big enough makes knitting on a go such a pleasure.
On a slightly related note, I remember taking a home economics class in my first year in Singapore, where I learnt how to use a electric sewing machine. The teacher was a little anti-immigrant – when she first met me (as a new student/immigrant half way through the semester) she questioned what I was doing in Singapore in the tone of “you are not really welcome here”. But by the end of the semester, I was one of the best students (at least in sewing, i cant remember if i was any good at cooking) in her class. For my final project I made a backpack and everyone thought it was pretty awesome. That was my first bag project! I have come a long way from then… but when I think back about that teacher, I am still slightly shocked by the openness of her unwelcoming attitude, slightly proud that I “showed” her, and mostly, grateful that she still did her job despite her opinions, was part of my sewing.