Monday, February 13, 2012

February project: Valentine's Day treat bags

When I started to teach myself to quilt last year, I also started reading lots of quilt blogs. One thing I noticed among many of them was a subtle disdain for Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts and for the fabric sold there. It seems that Jo-Ann is the Wal-Mart of the quilting world - it's the ghetto shopping destination for common folk.

Over the year or so that I've been immersed in the quilting world, I've started to internalize that opinion. I'll go to Jo-Ann or Wal-Mart and find myself looking down on fabric that's too rough, or too thin, or has a pattern that looks pixelated. I've ordered designer fabric, and I've been delighted at the feel of real quality. 

I live in Wasilla, Alaska, and there aren't a lot of fabric options here. There's a Jo-Ann. There's a Super Wal-Mart that carries fabric. There's one quilt shop in town that I know of, and a few more in nearby towns. Jo-Ann will always be my first stop if I'm looking for costume fabric, batting, thread, or general craft supplies, but knowing what I know now, I don't think I'll be buying a lot of cotton quilting fabric there.

But like I said in my first blog entry, I started out my quilting journey on a super-glut of fabric buying, and buying from Jo-Ann was no exception. The storage boxes in my sewing room are stuffed with fabric, designer and other. One of my goals of my year-long challenge is to not only thin out my collection, but to use up the less desirable fabrics.

And I found the perfect project.

My oldest daughter is in kindergarten, and Valentine's Day is coming up this week. Participating in school activities is still fresh and fun for me, so I've still got the motivation to do things like this:

I'm sure by the time my youngest gets to kindergarten, those kids will be lucky to get a lollipop taped to a grocery store Valentine. But for this year, I decided to whip up 27 treat bags, using this great tutorial.

Not only are the bags cute (and I hope the kids will be thrilled!), but the project turned out to be an amazing fabric killer. I got the chance to use up a few vintage fabrics.

I was also able to say goodbye to a few novelty fabrics that I didn't know what else to do with.

My box of pink fabric is almost empty.

I even made some special treats to go in them:

Cookies made to look like tiny cheeseburgers! (I used instructions that I found here.) In the background, you can see some wrapped Rice Krispie treats that I dyed pink and red and cut into heart shapes.

Making the bags wasn't hard, but it was time consuming, especially when I had so many to do. Now, it's halfway through the month, and I haven't even started a quilt. I think I might take up some more small sewing projects and save the quilting for next month.

That's four projects from stash.

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