In this time of trying to be more “green,” Eleanor Levie has written a fun book featuring tote/grocery bags you make and use instead of disposable paper or plastic. She asked celebrity quilters to join her and create a bag in their signature styles for the book. There are some real icons of quilting in this book, including Jean Ray Laury, Virginia Avery, Kaffe Fassett and Liza Prior Lucy, Rachel Clark, Jane Sassaman, Lonni Rossi, Karen Eckmeier, Judy Hooworth, Susan Shie, and Eleanor Levie.
Last winter during the depths of snowstorms every other day, howling winds, and cold weather I stayed at home and worked on my bag for Eleanor and her book. It was totally fun, no stress, a simple project that would showcase some of my quilting.
I chose some beautiful sky blue fabrics hand dyed by Sharon Anderson who was in one of my classes and generously gifted me with a packet of her fabrics, after I drooled all over hers. It was February and somehow blue was the color I wanted to quilt, sans drool of course.
My bag, shown in the photo above, is very simple, two whole-cloth quilted squares joined together by a quilted panel, with two detachable handles made from curtain tie-backs and antique buttons. I loved how the fabric quilted, enjoyed the soft blue silk threads I used, and tried out some new designs. It is a great way to work on your quilting with no stress of “ruining” a quilt top.
Pick some great fabric and go for it! It’s time you made something instead of practicing. Make some of the various designs in the book for your friends, your family, for gifts, whatever. I’m sure no one will notice one stitch a bit larger than the others, a strange looking feather, lines that are not perfect. It will give you confidence and get you back to quilting.
The bags in the book range from more complex like mine to fun and fast and easy, but they are all wonderful. Most of them have space where you could practice some of your free motion skills – tuck in a feather by the beets, or on a carrot. I have to admit I especially like Rachel Clark’s Cherrywood Jelly Roll tote – it’s gorgeous! There's even one by Jane Sassaman for your bicycle basket. There are ideas and styles everyone will like, plus tips on customizing the bags for you and what you need.
To order the book, go to: http://www.eleanorlevie.com/ where you can see Eleanor and the book, and go to the books page to order with check or PayPal. I hope I see lots of great new totes on the arms of quilters, inspired by this book.
Keep quilting! Your work gets better every day.