The Best Quilting Projects That Are Not Quilts

Quilted Cathedral panels using Nantucket Summer fabric

Quilting Outside the Lines

When I began seriously quilting, about seven or eight years ago, my focus was primarily on piecing a large top then quilting it, to create just that, a quilt.

As my skill set and confidence grew so did my knowledge of the versatility of this technique. Little did I realize that my quilting interests would expand to include bags, pouches, table runners, even a jacket! Nor, did I realize how those new (to me) creative outlets would lead to experimenting with other textiles – vinyl, cork and custom print fabrics.

The quilt world is a world of possibilities. All one has to do is turn back that layer of quilted fabric and see what lies beneath.

When I first turned back that top quilt layer I discovered these cute bag and pouch projects by Minki Kim. Almost immediately, I was addicted.

Quilted Minki Kim Flying Geese pouches and Half Moon case made from Birds of a Feather fabric line by Gail Pan

What could be better than a mix of fun fabrics and a cute pattern!

Then came another version:

Variation of the Flying Gees pouch pattern.  Fabric by Zen Chic Moda

And another:

Variation of the Flying Geese pattern.  Fabric: Renew

And, yet, another. A collection of quilted items (Cathedral Windows, Flying geese pouches and a Nantucket Mini Charm bag), all made from one my all-time favorite fabric lines: Nantucket Summer by Camille Roskelley and Moda fabrics.

Quilted panels, bags.  Fabric:  Nantucket summer by Camille Roskelley / Moda

In fact, projects such as these may be the best way to begin quilting as a hobby. The patterns are easy to follow, utilize a variety of basic quilting skills (learning how to consistently sew a 1/4″ seam, creating a quilt sandwich and quilt design and binding. Unlike a large quilt, that can take from a few weeks to months to finish, these projects are small enough to finish in a day or weekend.

Starting small and working up to larger projects allows your skills and interests to grow hand in hand.

Joining A Community

Quilters are a unique breed. The “shiny objects” that grab our attention are sewing machines, new fabric lines, and various tools and techniques that make out tasks quicker and easier.

We are happiest when are making something, anything.

We would rather give than receive.

Without trying, like-minded quilters have a way of finding each other. Finding the Fat Quarter Shop and the Clover and Violet Sewing Club are just two of the many opportunities for quilters to nourish their creative souls.

Below are a examples of how joining the Clover and Violet Sewing Club facilitated my new-found interests to continue creating non-quilt projects:

Boxy Bag

Boxy bag with hooks and shoulder strap

Maisie Tote bags – Large and Small

Maisie large and small tote bags from clover and Violet Club.  Fabric:  My summer House by Bunny Hill designs

Fabric Needle Book:

Fabric Needle Book - C&V sewing club.  Fabric: Birds of a Feather by Gail Pan

Molly Bucket Bag

Molly Bucket Bag - C&V Sewing Club.  Fabric: My Summer House by Bunny Hill

Recipe for Fun

Ready to cook up something really unique?

Combine Spoonflower custom fabrics, clear premium vinyl and one of many By Annie bag patterns and here is the result:


Project Bag 2.0 – Small

By Annie Project Bag 2.0 using premium vinyl and In the Groove fabric by Caleb Gray Studio and Spoonflower

Project Bag 2.0 – Medium

By Annie Project Bag 2.0, medium size.  Fabric:

Project Bags in Use:

Small Project Bag 2.0Project Bag 2.0 Medium used a quilt ruler storage.

Keeping It Organized

No matter what project you decide to tackle, the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day and you will, if you don’t already, have more ideas and fabric than you have time, the key to getting it all done, somewhere near on time, is organization.

The project bags shown above are a good solution for storing and organizing fabrics and notions but how do you keep track when you have three or four projects going at once?

Publishing a blog, running a website and posting on social media has been a huge lesson on the importance of organization. If I were more organized and disciplined, I could get more done. On the other hand, if I didn’t have the organization skills and the discipline I have, I wouldn’t have accomplished anything.

Knowing the importance of organization, I find myself constantly in the market for that “perfect” organization tool or technique. Of all I’ve tried, I think this system created by Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet may be (or bee!) the best one yet.

In typical Lori Holt style, these project organizers are 1) cute and 2) functional!

The WIP (Works In Progress) column on the first page is the missing piece to all other organization systems I’ve used.

Having a visual list of what I’m working on, in my opinion, is exactly what I need. If I were home each day and able to continue each morning with the project I ended the night before I might not need this column to list my WIP.

However, for the next couple of years, my sewing/quilting schedule is broken up by the 3 or 4 days a week I work at my real job. I don’t work consecutive days so my work / sewing schedule is start, stop, start, stop and those stops can cause a lapse (or two) in my memory.

This column, along with a Quilt Project Index column – the best things since sliced bread!

Busy Bee Quilt Binder Pages - Page 1

Turning that page brings you to two pages dedicated to a single project with space allocated for all things necessary to plan and document your quilt or other project.

As you progress in your quilting journey, people will have questions…lots of questions. As time goes by, it isn’t easy to remember all the details of a particular quilt. These Quilt Binder pages, I feel, will make it much easier to quickly refer back to each project.

Busy Bee Quilt Binder pagesBusy Bee Quilt binder page

My only regret is not knowing about this sooner.

For my older projects, I may loosely use this format as a template to create a way to simply document the quilts and quilted projects I’ve made in the past.

I’ll be starting another SAL this week and a BOM next week and can’t wait to put these new pages to use!

Stay tuned and Sew Something Fun Today!

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