Noodlehead Cargo Duffle

I made the Noodlehead Cargo Duffle (free pattern) along with at least half the online quilting community with the intent of it being my overnight/weekend bag to go camping or traveling with.  I don’t get to make bags as often as I would like because I just don’t need that many!  I carry a diaper bag with my daughter, and a backpack when I go to school, and that covers about 98% of my life.

Cargo Duffle

This is an amazing pattern, considering it’s free!  The only tricky part is cutting out the fabric.  Just take your time, double-check the directions – and make sure you are not cutting out your fabric to the final dimensions before you quilt it.  Cut a little big, quilt, and then cut down to size.  It’s a little safer!

I made a few changes to the pattern… First, I quilted it on my longarm.  I just did straight line quilting because I had intended to make another one, and wanted to test my construction methods before getting fancy.

Cargo Duffle

I also added a lining instead of binding the inside seams.  I wanted pockets inside, and needed the lining to do that.  Lining Tutorial: Small Town Thread

I also never added the snaps to the outside pockets.  They are really more decorative than useful, so why bother?

Cargo Duffle

I added a zipper pocket to the inside, and a water bottle spot.  I’m not a fan of how my water bottle spot works, but the zipper pocket turned out great!  Tutorial for zipper pocket inside: Sew Mama Sew and UHandbag.  I also added a row of straight pockets.

Cargo Duffle

Since using this for awhile, I’ve discovered this bag is not what I wanted for an overnight bag for me.  It’s a little too small, and the handles are shorter than I like to carry.  The pockets would have been great for this use, if it was how I used it.

Cargo Duffle

It’s not a lost cause though!  It’s perfect to put my daughter’s clothes in for trips.  I can fit a week or more of her clothes in here, and fold it up and tuck it away if we unpack somewhere (like we did in the camper this summer).  We lived out of our bags for a month, and only did laundry once, so it was about 2 weeks of a 2 year old’s clothes in here.

Cargo Duffle

This was a fun bag to make, and I have two more bags from Noodlehead next on my list to make.  If only there were more hours in the day…

Fabric used: Linen for the base of the bag, and Chicopee for the handles.  I think the blue leaf fabric may have been from the Denise Schmidt line for JoAnn’s, but I bought it so long ago I can’t remember for sure.  The lining is Ty Pennington Impressions.

– Heather

Linking up to: Finish it up Friday @ Crazy Mom QuiltsWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt AddictTGIFFFabric Frenzy Friday @ Ft. Worth FabricLink a Finish Friday @ Richard and Tanya QuiltsShow off Saturday at Sew Can She


Nature of Purple Quilt

I occasionally find myself in an odd place in the quilting world style wise – I am not super modern, yet to a traditional quilter I look modern.  I think one of my old guilds determined I was “modern” simply by my age.  I have embraced the “modern traditional” moniker, but it’s not always an easy category to fit in.

Nature of Purple cropped

This is my first go at a more definitively modern piece.  The pattern is not mine (probably takes away from the modernity, right?), but was a piece for the Carolina Longarm Association.  They are trying to put together a display with modern and traditional mini quilts that will all be the same two designs, but with a wide variety of fabrics and quilting styles.  It should be a really cool display once it’s done.

Quilt Name: Nature of Purple

Size: 29″ x 29″

Nature of Purple from below

I really enjoyed quilting this piece.  I loved combining the straight lines with the curves to create contrast within the piece.  I also really like the design I used inside the rectangles.  It’s a straight-line spiral, for lack of a better description, but is fun to use in a space like that.

I did learn some good lessons from this quilt – such as purple is extremely hard to photograph and the quilting does not show up well unless you are really close to it.

Dense quilting would also probably show up better with either a double layer of batting, or a higher quality puff or mixed cotton/poly blend.  I used a cheap cotton/poly blend I had laying around because I wan’t planning on quilting it this densely when I started.


Unfortunately, it is not an impressive piece when you see it hung next to other quilts.  There is a certain beauty in its simplicity, and the negative space leaves a lot of room to quilt, but it’s still a very simple quilt with very little piecing.   I feel like the photo below is a Where’s Waldo game, but you are looking for a small purple quilt that blends into the black background curtains. (Photo borrowed from Christa Quilts, link to her NQA experience roundup).

Christa Quilts Modern NQA Show

I entered it into the National Quilting Association show this year to get feedback and try to improve my quilting. As far as feedback, I found the comments to be very useful. The judges found a couple things on this quilt that I had missed, and called me out on errors that I knew existed.  It was also nice to receive more than one or two comments, which is more normal for a local level show.

Entering this quilt was a worthwhile experience, and it is pushing me to be better.  When I received the quilt back in the mail, I saw that it had been held for the category and a judge’s choice.  It’s bittersweet news in a way – it was good, but not good enough.  It just means I need to improve my work and make a better quilt next year!

Even if it didn’t win anything, I still like it.  I have it hanging above my longarm in my new setup.  I still love the purple.  I wish it quilted better so I could use it more often, but as you can see below the purple just absorbs all light and makes it look like a purple black hole.  Eventually, it will find its way back to North Carolina, but I’m not quite ready to give it up yet.

Quilting Studio

Linking up to some of the following: Fabric Tuesday @ Quilt StorySew Cute Tuesday @ Blossom Heart QuiltsLinky Tuesday @ Freemotion by the RiverLet’s Bee Social Wednesday @ SewFreshQuiltsNeedle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt InfatuationFinish it up Friday @ Crazy Mom QuiltsWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt AddictTGIFFFabric Frenzy Friday @ Ft. Worth Fabric


Michigan Quilt

The last quilt I finished before I had to pack up my longarm to move was the Michigan quilt for Anna of Life Sew Crafty.  She finished the quilt and blogged about it before I finished my blog post about the quilting part.  I’ll catch up one of these days!

Michigan Quilted

This was a very large quilt, about 96″ x 108″!  My husband and father in law were luckily both on hand to hold it and protect it so I could take a few photos.

Anna and I decided to do woods and animal type quilting inside the land mass portion of Michigan, and to do water texture with some fish in the blue portion.  In doing so, we inadvertently turned Michigan into an island, but I really love the effect.  I think my husband would be very happy with a whole cloth version of just the blue portion.

Michigan Quilted

There are a variety of animals and trees represented: bears, deer, elk, moose.  I did an outline just inside Michigan to delineate the land/water difference.  I did not stitch in the ditch because the seams were pressed open and did not want to risk having my stitching undo any of Anna’s stitching.

Michigan Quilted

This side angle shows the texture the best of the pictures I have.  I had to ship it off before the movers came so pictures are somewhat limited.

Michigan Quilted

As soon as I pulled this quilt off the frame, we started dismantling the longarm for the move.  Happily, she survived the trek and is up and running again!  I currently have no wait, and would be happy to quilt for you!

Taking down the longarm to move



Longarm Quilting

Before I had to take my machine down, I was able to do actually do some longarm quilting on it!

This first quilt is a stack and whack quilt that a local lady made.  My daughter thought it was the coolest thing every because it had lions and tigers and all sorts of African safari animals.  She is obsessed with Katy Perry’s “Roar”, so animals that roar are the best.

Meander quilting

She wanted an allover meander, and it suited what she was looking for.

Meander quilting

The next quilt was a string quilt.

Baptist fan panto

I quilted a baptist fan panto on it.

Baptist fan panto

The maker of this quilt is donating it, and I hope that the future owner appreciates all the hard work that went into this quilt.  It’s really lovely!  Thanks for trusting me to quilt for you!

Rainbow Mini Swap

I have to admit I’ve gotten caught up in the mini quilt mania that is going around, and also gotten caught up in a few swaps.  It’s not like I really have extra time to be devoting to swaps, which is why I’m probably not going to participate in any more big swaps (until the next amazing opportunity comes up that I can’t say no to), but I really enjoy that they push me out of my comfort zone and challenge me to come up with new designs and color palettes that I wouldn’t necessarily come up with on my own.

Rainbow Mini Swap Complete

The latest swap was the Rainbow Mini Swap.  Rainbow is a big trend right now that I am embracing, albeit as a late adopter.  I made this mini quilt for @SGThings (Instagram).

Rainbow mini ready to be quilted

At my recent Carolina Longarm Association meeting, one of the newer members was surprised that I put small things on my longarm.  I think she felt like it wasn’t worth the effort to load or didn’t make very many small items.  I put everything on the longarm, big or small!

Rainbow Mini Swap detail


I used a light yellow thread throughout the quilt to blend with all the colors, but it may have blended a little too well because you can’t see some of the custom quilting I did at all!  The text on the white background has ribbon candy in it.

Rainbow Mini Swap detail

My partner mention that Anna Maria Horner was one of her favorites, so I tried to incorporate several of her fabrics.  I made a coordinating zipper pouch as well, using the tutorial from The Busy Bean.

Rainbow zipper pouch

This is the mini that I received from @SewGiddy.  I love this block, but it’s on my never-ending list of blocks that I haven’t gotten to making yet.  At least I have it look at in the meantime!  My daughter is going to have a field day with those fabric markers when I let her loose with them.

@Sewgiddy Mini Swap package received


Linking up to some of the following: Fabric Tuesday @ Quilt StorySew Cute Tuesday @ Blossom Heart QuiltsScraptastic Tuesday @ She Can QuiltLinky Tuesday @ Freemotion by the RiverLet’s Bee Social Wednesday @ SewFreshQuiltsNeedle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt InfatuationFinish it up Friday @ Crazy Mom QuiltsWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt AddictTGIFFFabric Frenzy Friday @ Ft. Worth FabricShow off Saturday at Sew Can She

Bamboo Quilt

I recently finished this quilt for Heather at A Reformed Heath’n.  She had created this Bamboo quilt from her month in the Stash Bee in 2014.  She has a tutorial to make these blocks here.

Bamboo Quilting

We talked about how she wanted it quilted, and decided to go with this leafy panto that would bring out the bamboo look.

Bamboo Quilting

I enjoyed giving Heather sneak peeks of her quilt all day on Instagram while it was on the frame.

Bamboo Quilting

This is a pretty dense design, but it adds a lot of motion to the quilt, and evokes that leafy bamboo jungle feeling.

Bamboo Quilting

Here’s the completed quilt!  I am happy to report that it arrived safely back to Heather a few weeks ago, I just haven’t posted it yet.  She’s better than me, and has the quilt completed and entered into the Blogger’s Quilt Festival!

Bamboo Quilting

If you would like to finish up one of your UFOs, let me know!  I am full prior to the move, but once I am set back up there will be no wait.  We are supposed to get into our house on July 1st, so I’m hoping to be back at work mid-July.  I’ll let you know as it gets closer!

– Heather


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