Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Out and About

Welcome to another Island Batik blog hop, featuring collections that will be making their way to quilt shops near you in the next few weeks & months.  This is a project I look forward to every year: making one of the bags designed by Annie Unrein of By Annie.  I started making her patterns in 2020 when they were first one of the Island Batik Ambassador challenges, and I found that while I struggle with most 3D projects and bag patterns, something about Annie's designs just click for me!

For this challenge, I was given the Limerick collection by Kathy Engle for Raija of Quilter's Treasure Chest.  Limerick is a dazzling collection of purples, teals, and greens.  The pattern I picked out called for 4 fabrics, and we had to choose months ago.  Imagine my surprise when, in addition to the fabric specifically for the bag, I was sent a full half yard bundle of the whole collection!  Because of this, I actually used more than the original 4 fabrics in my bag.  There are 7 fabrics from Limerick, plus the always-available basic Navy in my bag.

Which bag to choose is always the hardest part for me--even harder than picking the fabric!  I had my eye on one of the new patterns Annie released last year, but ended up changing my mind.  My family has a big trip to Universal Orlando planned next month to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and I thought a small backpack would be prefect for that trip.  Annie has several backpacks, and I was most interested in Out and About.  It has a pleasing shape, isn't too big, and has lots of pockets and compartments.  

 Items used in this project were provided to me by Island Batik, By Annie, Schmetz, and Aurifil.


inside of the compartment on the front

I was sent a kit that had everything I would need to make Out and About, including Soft and Stable, the foam that makes Annie's bags stand up so well and look professional, mesh for some of the pockets, fold-over elastic, and the hardware for the backpack straps.  And, of course, the beautiful Island Batik fabrics I chose for my bag!


inside of main bag

Annie's bags have a lot of steps and take me a fair amount of time.  They aren't difficult so much as time-consuming.  I also highly recommend watching her accompanying add-on videos that go over the difficult steps in a bag.  I find these videos super helpful!

Watching the add-on video for the next-to-last step

This bag has a front compartment.  They way Annie designed it, there is a border on the top of that compartment, just under the zipper.  Since I picked Out and About, I have been thinking about a way to jazz up that pocket, either just the border or the whole front pocket.  I thought about an embroidery design but couldn't find anything I liked, and was also worried about finishing in time.  Ultimately, I got out the daisy die and my accuquilt and cut daisy petals out of my main fabric to make an appliqued flower for the front.  I absolutely love how that turned out!  I used another fabric from Limerick for the daisy center.  

this bag is cat approved

I use a Schmetz top-stitch needle whenever I make one of Annie's bags, and this was no exception.  I had no trouble going through all the layers of this bag--it really helps to go slow!!  I used three different colors of Aurifil thread, and switched thread fairly frequently depending on the fabrics.  The main purple dotted fabric went with Aurifil #2545 Medium Purple, Aurufil #2784 Dark Navy blended beautifully with Island Batik's Navy, and Aurifil #2720 Light Delft Blue worked well with the lighter dotted fabric I chose as the lining.  

I am beyond pleased with my purple Out and About backpack and can't wait to use it on my trip!!!  Two other ambassadors made By Annie bags using fabrics from the Limerick collection today, be sure to visit them:  Maryellen of Mary Mack Made Mine and Leah of Quilted Delights