sewing & needlework
needlework essentials 3.0 :: project bag

needlework essentials 3.0 :: project bag

I’ve long joked that I have crafty ADHD. I’m either 100% hyperfixated on a project or hobby, or I shove it to the back of the cupboard, left to languish for a decade until that particular hyperfixation comes around again. Swings and roundabouts, is the best description of my creative habits. After fifteen years of writing and sharing projects in this space, it’s interesting to look back and see the way I’ve grown and embraced the way my brain works in creative mode.

Lesson one: let go of “should”. Each and every one of the projects I share on the blog is for fun, mostly. If I’m not having fun, why SHOULD I push through and force myself to do something? If I’m not enjoying it, I’ve learned to either set it aside, or let it go. I’ve learned to trust my instincts on a project, and if I know I won’t come back to it, I’m better to let it go, rather than hold on to it just because I might guilt myself into coming back to it. Nope. Aint nobody got headspace for those lies-to-self.

Lesson two: in the same way my children are more engaged in their schoolwork if I create cross-curricular lessons, so too do I love bringing different strands of my creative life to a project, especially a long project. The Twelve Days swap I did with my friends is so very fun for exactly that reason. When it comes to year long projects, the more fun stuff I can pull in, especially in the set up stage, the more likely I am to stick with it.

For one, the variety of things to work on in the early days of a project allows me to set the habit while still having plenty of novelty to keep my brain happy and not wandering off getting bored and wondering how I’ll manage 365 whatevers. It also means when I hit the week six doldrums, I can remind myself how much I’ve invested into setting up for this project and really, keeping going is better than writing off those sunk costs.

All in all, its a very long winded way of saying…I like all my collateral to match my project and it makes me happy to look at it when it does.

The first thing any project needs, of course, is a project bag. Never mind the fact I have an entire box of bags and totes and pouches. In my defence, I did consider using a pouch I already had (the two pouches from Needlework Essentials series one and two would have worked quite well), and then Joy dropped into the group chat with a cute pouch with a clear panel, and I knew I needed one.

How though, should I make a pouch for a rainbow project? Clearly I needed to overengineer this and got busy pulling the scraps from my crosses quilt, matching them against my floss. I kicked around a few ideas, but in the end decided on improv piecing to maximise my scraps. The size was dictated by a piece of denim I had that I wanted to use as the backing, and then to finish it off, I lined it in calico.

It is my first peekaboo panel pouch, and it makes me happier than seems reasonably to see the little circle of floss popping against the almost perfectly matched fabric. The denim backing means I don’t need to be too precious when finding a sideline bench at kids sport to set myself up on, or throw it in my bag. In the end I decided not to use a hoop on this project, so didn’t need to account for that in my sizing, and simply made it to fit the rectangle denim scrap I had on hand. It finished up being 6.5″ wide, and 7.5″ high, with the clear vinyl being 4″ square.

The joy of looking at something so pretty is the best part of this project, but the second best part ranks very close behind it – it’s all from stash. From the vinyl I rescued from a clearance bin a million years ago, to the zip pulled from the box of odds and ends my nan gave me when she downsized, the denim scrap that was the perfect size for the backing, the front pieced from quilt scraps, all the way through to the calico gifted by a friend as she decluttered ahead of an interstate move, every last piece is something I had on hand.

And the only thing better than a matchy matchy cross curricular project? A matchy matchy cross curricular project that doesn’t cost a cent. When you are a finance nerd with crafty ADHD, there’s not much more you can ask for!!

2 thoughts on “needlework essentials 3.0 :: project bag

    • Author gravatar

      Such a cute pouch! I like that you made it strictly from what you already have on hand. Did you know there’s a very similar free pattern available as a YouTube tutorial from Riley Blake? I made mine in January 2021. Yours looks so similar to it: “Fun and Useful Clear-view Tote.” I use mine for hand appliqué blocks.

      • Author gravatar

        I didn’t know that! I was working off a photo of my friend Joy’s pouch, which she’d also made up. I had considered making another and doing photos for a tutorial so good to know one already exists. Aren’t they great pouches? I’ve never had a clear pouch before but I think I’m converted now!

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