Sunday, March 28, 2010

Irish chain microwave potato bag = serendipity

I've been able to spend some quality time with my sewing machine, creating a couple of projects from scratch, beginning to end.  Today I finished my microwave potato bag.  I made a couple of these late last year but ended up giving them both away.  I have missed having one around, so decided it was time to make my own.  I wanted this one to be just right for my kitchen and also represent my love of quilting.  Now that this project is done, I realize how appropriate the quilt block design is. The first example of serendipity in this project is that I used Irish Chain just because it fit my parameters, but now that I'm writing it up it dawns on me - not only is this bag going to be primarily used for microwaving potatoes, but this is March, when everyone seems to think about things Irish because of St. Patrick's Day.  Part of my heritage is Irish, so I always pay attention to anything having to do with the Emerald Isle.

I put far more work into this project than you might think it deserves.  After all, it's only something practical and "homely" that's going to hang out in my kitchen.  Some people I know would say "For goodness' sake, why did you cut up perfectly good material into little pieces and sew them back together when you could have used one whole piece and had it done, lickety-split?"  Well, if I was on a deadline, or if I was making it for someone else (especially a non-quilter), I probably would have.  But I was making this for me and I wanted it to delight my soul.

I enjoyed the challenge of designing and constructing this.  I had to do a lot of research, paging through my collection of quilting books to find an appropriate design.  I also made use of the Quilt Wizard software.  Once I found the right block, I had to do a lot of math to adapt the instructions for a full quilt to just two blocks.  I wanted to utilize strip piecing but I didn't want it to be boring.  The final result is even better than I had visualized.  I made two blocks10" square and had to add a strip between them to get the length I needed for the bag (22").  When I turned it right side out after sewing the sides together (right sides together, of course), I found that I had unintentionally perfectly aligned the overlap, so it looks like I have two altogether different blocks.  Another example of serendipity.  I'm not able to name them off the top of my head, so that is a challenge for another day.