Valentina, my newest spinning wheel, needs a bag to hold her accessories. I’ve seen some nice knitted ones on pictures of other people’s wheels but I had a bag in mind for Valentina and just couldn’t find one already made up that looked like my vision so I decided to make my own. I wanted one that had a rustic look with a folk art feel to it. So today I gathered my materials and started working on the bag. Here’s what I’ve done so far.
The first thing I did was make some sketches of the sheep that I wanted to applique on the front of the bag. I decided to use the design on the right so the next step was to draw and cut out each individual piece of the sheep. If you’ve ever done applique before, you know that you need to cut out each piece of the design separately, i.e. the sheep face, the legs, the main body, the ear, and the pieces of the blanket over its back.
The next step was to gather bits of felted wool and other bits of wool that I’ve collected for projects such as this. I had decided to make my bag out of felted wool, line it with a cotton print, applique the design on the front in wool, and outline the edges of the bag in a buttonhole stitch. Once I decided what colors I was going to use for each piece of my pattern, the next step was to trace the pattern on the wrong side of the wool and cut it out. For some pieces, I fudged and just pinned the pattern to the wool and cut around it.
The next step involved deciding how big I wanted the bag to be and cutting two pieces out of the wool for my bag. Now I was ready to start appliqueing the pattern pieces to the front of the bag. I had decided to just do a quilt stitch around the raw edges of the sheep pieces. Since I’m working in wool, I don’t really have to worry too much about fraying and since I don’t plan to be throwing this bag in the wash, again…I’m not worried about turning under my raw edges. Any stray threads will add to the charm.
You might be wondering how I got that little tail on the sheep. The grey wool was actually a beret and the little “tail” was in the center of the beret. I wasn’t using this beret any more so decided to cut it apart and use the wool for applique. When I saw the little tab, I immediately thought, “sheep tail” and incorporated it into the design of the sheep.
An important thing to remember when sewing an applique pattern is that you want to start with the pieces that are on the bottom layer of your design and work your way to the top layer. In other words, the sheep’s face and feet where the first things I sewed down. Next came the sheep’s main body. Now, I’m working on the “bottom” layer of the decorative blanket and will working upward, finishing with the smallest circle. Finally, I’ll sew on his ear.
That’s all I got done today on it because I was also teaching a friend of mine how to machine quilt so most of my time was spent doing that. Tune in Saturday for the next steps in making the accessory bag when I’ll (hopefully) be sewing the front and back of the bag together, inserting the lining, and adding a strap.