Like any respectable quilter I have a collection of UFO’s (unfinished objects) that have cried out for my attention but never quite captured it – but then, if I knew how to finish them they would not be UFO’s, right?
On Christmas night we get our little group together for dinner at our friend Tom & Joe’s house. (Nothing like an impending Christmas party to light a fire under the UFO cauldron.) I needed gifts for three ladies who (lucky for me) appreciate hand-made items. I learned a few things that I thought I would share with you:
1. Anything – and I mean anything – can be made into a tote bag.
2. I need to invest in a good walking foot for my Bernina.
Solange, a bona fide French Parisian, was born and raised just outside Paris in a village where her father was mayor. When WW II broke out this graduate of La Sorbonne went to work for the US Intelligence Service and can tell stories that would curl your hair – all in the name of freedom. I adore this woman. I want to be Solange when I grow up. She is always incredibly and immaculately dressed, most often in haute couture Chanel she wore (and still fits into) from back in her college years in Paris. (It still looks fabulous.) For Solange I made a tote bag out of some Michael Miller fabric that was a gift from a friend who went to Paris. I was going to make a bag for myself but got sidetracked and never got it done. The fabrics, the colors and the subject matter were a perfect match for Solange, who loved the bag. This is how it came out:
Irma was next. Irma is a pistol, she’s an 80-something firecracker who loves being (as she calls herself) our “Jewish Friend” in attendance at our annual Christmas party. This year Irma brought her mother’s Hanukkah menorah and we had a little ceremony where she lit candles and did the blessing. It was sweet. Irma is also a world-class knitter so I knew she didn’t need a tote bag as much as a knitting bag. I had a few pieces of Sashiko that I finished ages ago and had hanging in my sewing room gathering dust. I combined them with some bits of a failed Japanese quilt that went south with a bullet (thankfully before I got too far) and made Irma a new knitting bag:
Last but not least was Kay, Tom’s mother. She is the only “mother” left in our little group, all of the rest of us having lost ours, so she is our group surrogate. She is a warm and wonderful woman who taught English Literature (what’s not to love!) and adores travel. I had a wall hanging I was making for the kitchen that stalled out and sat in a box for 8 months when I took it out and decided it, too, could become a tote bag. (See #1 above.) I am delighted with how it turned out and I think Kay was equally delighted to receive it. I have, however, resolved that as much as I adore Japanese fabrics I have a looong way to go before I learn enough about sewing with them to try anything else very soon. (See #2 above.) Here is Kay’s bag:
So there you have it – a bunch of UFO’s turned in to Christmas gifts. No patterns, just did it on the fly. I always hesitate to give things I have made myself because I don’t think they are quite “gift giving” caliber but I love all three of these women and I wanted to give them something from my heart, something useful, practical, but with a little whimsy. They were very well received and I feel pretty good about that. It’s nice when giving a gift makes both the giver and the recipient happy, no?
PS – Sorry for the weirdly stacked images, WordPress is trying to shove them all into the same gallery and I wanted to separate them into their own categories. Anyone know how to change that?