Saturday, July 11, 2020

Fireside Retreat - Day Three

Why does time pass so quickly when you're having fun? We still have one more full day, and then there's no reason to rush home tomorrow, so I should be able to get a lot more done.

I can see the bottom of the laundry basket, but that doesn't mean that I'll get everything finished. And remember that a couple of projects that are "done" while I'm here, are in fact, not done as I didn't have the thread for the applique and so on. But most of the stuff that went into the "done" bag here is pretty much done.

I'm loving being this organized.

A HUGE thank you goes to Nina this morning. I'm trying to get that darn backpack of mine done. I wanted to change the straps on the back. Why??  Well, this is the way the straps are made according to the pattern. They are made from webbing that has been covered with fabric.

The straps on the original backpack

It's not that I use straps a lot, but sometimes, it's just very convenient to have them, and I intend to put my laptop in the new backpack, so I want something way more substantial than webbing for the strap. I also don't like the way the strap gets attached to the backpack. Essentially, it's attached to the back pocket. That doesn't make sense to me.

The straps are attached to the pocket

Even the handle. Can you tell me why the handle is attached to the pocket and not the seam between the back and the gusset? I'll have to rethink where my handles go.

Anyway, there's another bag called the Out and About bag. It's much smaller, but the straps are so substantial and padded, and I thought I would take the straps from that bag and apply them to this bag. For whatever reason, the instructions had me totally lost. There weren't good pictures in the pattern, and there were tons of pieces. A good diagram would have gone a long way. I thought I had it figured out, and then I remembered that Nina had made the Out and About bag. If she could take the time to send me some pictures, that would be awesome.

And she did!!!!

This is the link to her blog (which I must start to read!!!), where she made the same backpack that I'm currently making.

And this is the link where she posted pictures of the Out and About bag, including very detailed shots of the straps.

There is no pocket on the back of this Out and About backpack, so the straps and the handle are attached into the seam at the very top, which makes more sense to me. But the straps are padded and then also have the webbing attached to the padded part, so they are more substantial and probably way more comfortable.

I wonder why the pattern designer doesn't use the padded straps on the bigger backpack???  Oh well - this is where one takes a pattern and makes it their own!!!! 

Again -- thanks Nina -- those pictures are perfect, and now I have enough info to make the necessary changes.

I didn't get started at the sewing machine until almost lunchtime. I went out for a bike ride in the morning—an easy 34 KM. I stopped a couple of times to take pictures. NO - not because there was a hill. Just to take some photos. That's part of what a bike ride is - enjoy the scenery around you and not just ride and ride.

This is my flower photo of the day. I actually took this one while I was out walking. I've no idea what it is, but it was pretty, and I only saw one grouping of them along the entire walk.

My flower photo of the day

Don't you just hate when you open your camera, and there's your face because the camera lens got turned around? I thought - oh well - just take a selfie and move on! So here I am, after about 20 KM. I thought my face would have been a bit redder and more sweaty, but I look pretty chilled out!

A selfie while cycling

I was stopped when I took that picture. But this is why I stopped. This property had a big long stone fence, and this bike was permanently attached to the rocks, which I thought was kind of neat.

A bike attached to the stone fence

I found another route where I still have a hill to climb, but it's much shorter and only 7% incline, not 10% like the other hill. The only problem was that I then took that road all the way to the end, it landed me right on Highway 11, which is a pretty busy highway. II don't mind the traffic, and I was NOT going to turn around and bypass that part. I simply sucked it up and rode on the highway until the next turn off - a couple of KM. It was fine, and all the big trucks were very accommodating and moved over.

I was on lunch duty, so I had to run to the grocery store to get supplies. Then after lunch, I was finally able to get myself organized and back to work.

I wanted to make some progress on that darn backpack. There were still loads of pieces that needed to be sewn on, and I wanted to go home with a bit more work done than I had accomplished so far.

I got the gusset completed! Actually, it's called the zipper insert or something like that. The front and back of the backpack get sewn into this circle. The zipper (on the right) is the top of the backpack.

The zipper insert

There are two side pockets on the backpack. I made mine with the quilted fabric, but I think next time, I'll be using a mesh which will not add a whole lot of bulk.

Pockets on the side of the backpack

OK -- let's forge ahead and try to get more done. This is the front of the backpack. There's a LOT of work in this. The flap has a magnetic snap, which needed to be placed just so or the snap wouldn't close, and you want that flap to lie perfectly flat. A wee bit of jiggling, and it was done to my satisfaction. This was the part that I goofed up previously, but with a little bit of engineering, I got it to work.

The front of the backpack

Inside the flap are some little pockets where you could put a credit card or room key or whatever. If you didn't have those small pockets, whatever you put in there would drop to the bottom of the pocket. A lot of work and it all adds bulk, but I think they are worth it.

Card slots inside the front flap

Then there's another pocket on the inside of the front. That pocket has a zipper and is made with just fabric—no extra support.  I used one of my big zippers (zipper tape), but next time, I'd probably use just a regular zipper and mesh. Mesh was suggested in the pattern for the side pocket and the inside pocket, but I went with the fabric instead.

The inside of the front of the backpack

So those were two major components of the backpack - DONE. That leaves the straps and the back. Now that I have more information from Nina, I think I should be able to do a bit more work before we have to leave tomorrow. I thought I was missing some fabric but then realized that I had already cut fabric to make the original fabric covered webbing straps, and I'll just reuse that to add the webbing to the padded straps. I think I can almost get it completed this weekend. That would be great!!!

Then it was time to move onto the yoga bag. I know -- why all these bags? Quilts are so MUCH easier to make. All these pockets and zippered pockets and topstitching - it's a tremendous amount of work. Don't even think about asking for one unless you're prepared to make it yourself!!!

Both of these bag patterns are from  I do love her patterns and the end results are very professional looking - but I'm a bit ticked about things like the straps and the lack of pictures in some cases. And why should I have to pay $5 to watch a video on her website or buy a NEW version of the same pattern because she changed the instructions? Oh well --- let's move on.

Here is one side of the yoga bag with ONE pocket on it.

Side one of the yoga bag

And here's the second side of the yoga bag. This one has two zippered pockets (which we doctored at the last retreat as I didn't feel the zippers were inserted with enough stability) and there's one slip pocket.

The other side of the yoga bag

 The handle is also made and that's what I get to work on this morning.

It's definitely been a retreat filled with lots of bag making. Ronda made her backpack and then tons of zippered pouches and bags. She made a Crafty Tote, Laura made a Crafty Tote as well and several small Everyday Baskets. I'll try to get photos of it all today so you can see what we've been up to.

Claudette is making the Professional Bag. She was hoping to get it done this weekend and we all laughed at her! That's another very fiddly bag with loads of pockets, trim and other details. It's a very time-consuming bag.

She's using webbing for the handles and she dressed it up with some fabric that I LOVE. This is a super creative way to use webbing for a handle and not have it look like webbing.

Dressed up webbing for a handle

Then Katheleen blew us all out of the water. She made each of us a Junque Journal.

A junque journal
 It's a journal that's essentially made out of bits and bobs of stuff. I'm so excited about it. She also customized it with the topics of our group exchange a while back. Every time I look through it, I find something new.

Inside the junque journal
 She spent an enormous amount of time on the journals, and they are GORGEOUS. I'm going to start putting bits of stuff in the journal from our retreats. It's just the best. THANK YOU, Katheleen!!!

OMG -- we just had a chat about journals and I'm so inspired to get home and start a very cool project. It's so amazing to chat with each other and offer up suggestions.

Ronda is our entertainment coordinator. She's been wanting to have a movie night for a while. I brought along a projector and she somehow brought a movie.

I didn't even know what was going on with the setup. And I'm not good at watching movies late at night so I wasn't sure that I would last. This is the set-up for the movie. I had to laugh - there's a big sheet hung up and honestly - it worked like a charm.

Movie night at the retreat

 We had snacks that I ate too much of! And I wasn't going to sleep so that was good. We were watching the movie inside the screened-in porch which has a tin roof. Then the rain started and it started to pour. We had to stop watching the movie.  To be resumed later today!!!!

Rain pouring off the roof

What can I say? Retreats are just the best!!!  Good friends are even better and when you combine the two - well, it's heaven!!! 

I don't think I'll be riding my bike today. It's raining a bit now and it's going to rain most of the day. That's OK - we desperately need the rain and I didn't bring any rain gear. My knees and feet would be happy for a day off.

And I'll get my yoga bag done or almost!

Have a super day!!!!



  1. your flower photo is wild sweet pea

    1. Thanks for the information on the flower name!!! That makes sense - my Mom used to have sweet pea vines in her garden. I had forgotten about them.