Category Archives: Junior Billie Bag

A Busy Week . . .

. . . is coming up and I couldn’t be happier about it.

In just a few minutes I’m leaving for Quilt Camp — four days and three nights with a group of terrific women I’ve had the pleasure of “camping out” with for several years. In the past few years we’ve gone to Camp Tilikum in Newberg, Oregon, just about an hour away from home. It’s a popular spot for quilt retreats.

I’m packed and ready to go:

Project boxes and fabric tub? Check. Sewing machine and wraparound table? Check. Suitcase? Check. Billie Bag? Check. Big board? Check.

Camp ends at 4:00 pm Wednesday but I’m heading back early, picking up the Dear Husband, and heading to the Oregon coast where I’m doing a trunk show and lecture for a quilt guild on Thursday and teaching Part 2 of my Junior Billie Bag workshop on Friday. The DH and I are staying an extra day for a mini-vacation.

The quilts I’m taking for the trunk show are stacked on the couch, ready to be packed into bags when I get back:


I can’t wait to see the progress my students have made on their Junior Billie Bags in the couple of weeks since the first workshop. Speaking of which, I couldn’t resist seeing what my current one is going to look like when it’s sewn together. I’ll be demonstrating this step at the second workshop so for now I simply pinned the side/bottom panel unit to one of the front/back panels:

One of the fabrics I chose for pockets on the side panels is a batik with directional bubbles. Just for fun I made the bubbles horizontal on one side and vertical on the other.  They may not be easy to see once the bag is all put together but I like knowing they are there.

No more work on this till after Quilt Camp. I’ll be working on Hazel’s Diary Quilt. Here’s hoping I make a lot of progress on it!

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, family, Hazel's Diary Quilt, Junior Billie Bag, quilt retreat, tote bags, update | 2 Comments

Mixing It Up

When I pulled fabrics a few weeks ago for my current Junior Billie Bag, these were my picks:

You can see at a glance this is a combination of batiks and regular woven cottons. Some quilters work exclusively with one or the other but I really like to mix ’em up.

You’ve already seen the front and back panels of my JBB in progress:

Now here’s a look at the pockets on the inside of the front and back panels:


I also have the side panels/bottom unit done (not pictured) and my binding made. This bag is ready to become three-dimensional! That happens next week, when I demonstrate how it’s done for a marvelous group of students from the Oregon Coastal Quilting Guild.

When this bag is finished it will go on display at Montavilla Sewing Center in Lake Oswego. Why? Because I’m teaching a Junior Billie Bag workshop there in February and March of next year. When the class is over the JBB goes home with a dear friend of mine who loves the color purple.

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, Junior Billie Bag, kaleidoscope quilts, tote bags, update | 8 Comments

Junior Billie Bag: A New Beginning

In the works: a new Junior Billie Bag, based on Billie Mahorney’s original design. I’ve had the pleasure of teaching this fabulous quilter’s tote for the last three years and will be heading to the Oregon coast next week to teach a two-day workshop for a quilt guild.

A new class necessitates a new Junior Billie Bag, and here’s a preview of the one I’m working on right now:


(My celadon green carpet isn’t the best backdrop to show off the front and back panels but it will have to do for now.)

My starting point was this gorgeous print from In the Beginning Fabrics that came out last spring. Designed by Jason Yenter, it’s called “Ajisai Hydrangea:”

For one of the front/back panels I made a windmill block, inserting a fussy cut blossom in the center with narrow trim around it:


For the other panel I made a kaleidoscope block of eight 45° degree triangles, converting it into a double inset circle:


I just happened to have the perfect button in my collection to put in the center of the circle. The button went on after the panel was quilted:

Now I’m preparing to make a plethora of pockets. Here’s my fabric pull, a pleasing mix of woven cottons and batiks — all from my stash:


Does anyone else love the combination of green and purple as much as I do?

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, Junior Billie Bag, kaleidoscope quilts, tote bags, update, windmill block | 8 Comments

Old Fabric Crushes

I happened across one of my posts the other day that was written in October 2012, a little over five years ago when my blog was in its first year. I was writing about three fabric groupings in my stash that I was wild about even though I hadn’t yet decided yet what to make with them. What a pleasant surprise to discover that I have, in fact, used all three groupings!

The first was this one, a mix from several lines anchored by the red and aqua floral print in the center from Denyse Schmidt’s line, “Flea Market Fancy,” reissued earlier in 2012:

Several of the fabrics wound up in this sewing machine dust cover . . .

. . . and this set of king-size pillowcases, both made in 2013:


The second group was this one, primarily from the “Ainsley” line by Northcott Fabrics:

From this group came a small project, a kaleidoscopic table topper made in 2014 . . .


. . . and a large project, my queen-size sampler quilt Catch a Falling Star, completed in 2015:

The third group was from the “Scarlet” line by Pamela Mostek for Clothworks:


These fabrics remained in my stash until 2017, when I used them to make my current Junior Billie Bag . . .


. . . and matching accessories:


Now when I see a new group of fabrics I just can’t live without, I’ll remind myself that the fabric in my stash is indeed getting used. I’ll just need three additional lifetimes to sew my way through all of it. Can you relate?

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, home dec, Junior Billie Bag, kaleidoscope quilts, Reach for the Stars sampler quilt, roll-it-up pillowcases, sewing machine cover, sewing tool caddy, table topper, update, windmill block | 5 Comments

It’s Party Time!

Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs is hosting a Best of 2017 Linky Party, inviting bloggers to highlight their top five posts of the year. It’s a fun way to look back over the last 12 months and identify some of the high points.

My top five are below, in reverse order. Clicking on the links will take you to the original posts.

5. Dutch Treat. Although I didn’t finish this quilt till June, I started it in January during an epic snowstorm that kept me and many Portlanders indoors for several days.

4. NYC and VFW. A trip to New York City with my twin sister in March combined many of the things I love in life: family, travel, theater, museums, and quilting. The quilting part? A visit to the Manhattan shop of Victoria Findlay Wolfe:


Victoria didn’t happen to be there that day but I had the pleasure of meeting her the following month in Paducah, Kentucky during AQS Quilt Week:

3. Terrazzo Tiles and Piccolo Terrazzo Tiles. Using the free pattern Mini Mod Tiles by Sew Kind of Wonderful, I made two versions:

The larger one was made by “supersizing” the original pattern, using the larger of the two curved rulers Sew Kind of Wonderful designed for cutting curves. I wrote a tutorial showing how I did it.

2. Junior Billie Bag. This was the first of two JBBs I made in 2017:

Designed over 20 years ago by Billie Mahorney, it’s a fabulous quilter’s tote personalized by each maker, starting with the design on the front and back panels and ending with the pockets inside and out. Two years ago Billie turned the teaching of her design over to me, and I make a bag every time I teach a class. This may be my favorite of the eight I have made so far.

Without consciously planning to, I wound up making a suite of accessories to go with my Junior Billie Bag:

(See the rotary cutter coat in the lower left corner? I wrote directions for it in 2014 and it remains my most popular tutorial. Every now and then when I see a huge spike in the number of views on my website/blog, I know it’s because someone provided a link to the tutorial.)

1 . Where It’s @. Much to my surprise and delight, this quilt won a second place ribbon at the Northwest Quilting Expo in Portland, Oregon in September:

The design is Rewind by Karla Alexander of Saginaw Street Quilts. I started the quilt in a class with Karla in Sisters, Oregon in July 2016. Getting a ribbon was honor enough but the award came with a check for $500. My first reaction? “Think how many yards of fabric I can buy with that!”

Well, this has been a nice little trip down memory lane. Do you want to join Cheryl’s party, too? The link is open until January 2. Be sure to check out the top five posts of the other quilting/blogging partygoers. And thank you for checking out mine!

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, family, Junior Billie Bag, Northwest Quilting Expo, QCR Mini, Quick Curve Ruler, Quilter's Affair, rotary cutter case, sewing tool caddy, tote bags, tutorial, update, windmill block, wonky Greek key | 5 Comments

Speaking of Junior Billie Bags . . .

. . . (see my last post), I have another finished one to show you, the one I made alongside my students fall term at the Pine Needle. The class ended a few weeks ago but I didn’t put the last touches on the bag until today. It’s for my friend Vickie, who has a late November birthday, but she won’t get it for several more weeks because she’s traveling. You get to see it before she does.

Here are the front and back panels:

I decided early on to cut the binding fabric on the bias because I figured the striped fabric would provide a dramatic frame for the panels. Good call, don’t you think?

These pictures don’t give a sense of the depth of the bag — 7½” — so here’s a partial side view that also shows you the pockets I put on the outside:


That side has two pockets and the other side has one taller pocket cut from the same wavy stripe I used for the binding:

Coco is busy investigating the interior pockets, of which there are many.

A look inside:


It’s really hard to get a good shot of the interior of a finished Junior Billie Bag. This earlier photo should give you a notion of how many pockets there can be (totally up to the whim of the maker):

You can also see there’s a shorter set of handles. Those are tucked out of sight in the photos at the top of this post.

To sum up:

The Billie Bag was designed by Billie Mahorney, who taught for many years at the Pine Needle. The junior version measures 14″ wide, 17″ tall, and 7½” deep.

The panel with Friendship Star blocks was based on a design by Thelma Childers of Cupcakes’n’Daisies. Read here how I modified it for this project. The windmill block is a variation of one designed by Deb Eggers of the Cottage Rose for her pattern A Mid-Winter’s Night.

I started with fabrics from the “Dance of the Dragonfly” line by Benartex and Kanvas Fabrics, adding several batiks from my stash and one blender from P&B Textiles. There can be no doubt what the birthday girl’s favorite color is!

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, cats, Junior Billie Bag, Quisters (Quilt Sisters), tote bags, update, windmill block | 3 Comments

Completing the Ensemble

Here are two more accessories I just made to tuck into my Junior Billie Bag when I’m heading out for a class: a case for my 5″ Gingher scissors and a 4″ x 4″ fabric box used primarily as a thread catcher:

The scissors case and fabric box go with the rotary cutter coat and sewing tool caddy made recently from the same fabrics:


Isn’t this a charming group of accessories?


Everything fits inside my Junior Billie Bag with plenty of room to spare:

My quilter’s tote is loaded and ready to go.

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, Junior Billie Bag, rotary cutter case, tote bags, update, windmill block | 6 Comments

An Open and Shut Case

You may recognize the fabrics in this sewing tool caddy, which I made last month at Quilt Camp:

They’re the same fabrics used in the Junior Billie Bag I made earlier this year.

The pattern for the tool caddy is Travel Case by Pearl Pereira of p3designs.com. I’ve made it several times, modifying it the last few times by adding an extra pocket. I keep my tool caddy in an acrylic brochure holder one of my students gave me:

With the flap turned back, all of my smaller tools are right at my fingertips. At the end of a sewing session the tools go back in the caddy. It really does help me keep my sewing room organized.

Having made the caddy, I couldn’t help but make a coordinating rotary cutter coat:

Aren’t those vintage red buttons perfect?

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, Junior Billie Bag, rotary cutter case, sewing tool caddy, tote bags, tutorial, update | 5 Comments

Ready for the Next Dimension

The Junior Billie Bag I am currently working on is slowly taking shape. I’m pacing myself on the construction so I can show my current group of students at the Pine Needle how this quilter’s tote goes together step by step. The bag is a gift for a friend with a November birthday so the timing is perfect.

In the photo below you see most of the individual elements — front and back panels, handles, side panels, inner and outer pockets:

This particular bag is going to have plenty of pockets — 21 to be exact. The pockets have been carefully sized to hold everything a quilter might need, from file folders to acrylic rulers to rotary cutters. The Junior Billie Bag was designed by Billie Mahorney to be customized — makers of the bag decide how many pockets they want and what size they will be.

Now that the second panel on this bag has been quilted and the handles attached, you can see what the bag is going to look like from front and back:

Which is the front and which is the back? It doesn’t matter! The front/back panels are totally interchangeable. The front of the bag is whichever side the owner turns to the outside on any given day.

And you can quilt the panels very simply or be very creative with free motion quilting. I’ve done both on previous bags. On this one I opted to stitch in the ditch in the central part of the panels and to use a serpentine stitch on the strips around the center blocks. I used the same decorative stitch on the handles:

The next step is sewing the front/back panels to the side panels and bottom unit. I’ll demonstrate this in Friday’s class. My students are almost ready for the third dimension!

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, Junior Billie Bag, tote bags, update, windmill block | 2 Comments

Back to the Billie Bag

The first week of October already! September came and went in a flash. It was a very busy month, just not one devoted to much sewing. I’m finally back at work on that wonderful quilter’s tote designed by Billie Mahorney known as the Junior Billie Bag. I’m teaching an upcoming class at the Pine Needle so I need to get a move on.

Here’s the second of two panels in my JBB-in-progress:

The block you see above was inspired by a block in a quilt called Christmas in July designed by Thelma Childers of Cupcakes’n’Daisies:

Christmas in July, 88″ square (2017). Designed and made by Thelma Childers. Photo used with permission.

Click here to read Thelma’s post about the making of this quilt. In July Carrie Nelson of Moda wrote about Thelma’s quilt on the Moda Cutting Table blog and created a pattern for it called Hometown Stars, available as a free download.

Thelma’s quilt is very scrappy. Working with far fewer fabrics, I simplified the block somewhat and made one change that made a big difference in the outcome. Here is my block as it was first laid out . . .

. . . and here it is ready to be sewn:

Do you see the difference? Turning that center square on point reinforced the angles in the Friendship Star blocks in the four corners. Had I made an entire quilt, I would have followed Thelma’s design to a T because the square in the center of the block is central to her overall design:

To minimize the seam lines I opted to construct the center section like a classic bow-tie block using Y-seams:

Thelma’s original finished block size is 17½” square. Carrie resized it to finish at 14″ square, although she included directions for both sizes in the pattern. I had to resize the block to 12¾” square to get it to fit my panel size. That means the half-square triangles finish at 1¾” square and the center bow-tie block finishes at 5¼” square. Good thing I like the challenge of quilt math!

Here are the front and back panels side by side:

Since this Junior Billie Bag is being made for a friend, incorporating the Friendship Star block is a meaningful addition. Thank you, Thelma and Carrie, for the inspiration!

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, bowties, Junior Billie Bag, tote bags, update, windmill block | 4 Comments