Wednesday, August 31, 2016

SSG Rolfing Hero Bags

Hi There!
Long before I was a professional Long Arm Quilter I was a maker of some pretty fabulous bags. 

I have a story for you today. If you are in a hurry that is fine, just scroll through the pictures. there will be more wonderful quilts soon.

 I get asked all the time why I don't take orders for Camp Follower Bags anymore. Not too long ago I got chased down in the commissary by a lady carrying one of my bags that I made 9 years ago. She was shouting "Your Tia!!!" Indeed I am. Wow, that makes my heart sing. I know many of you did not know me during the days of Flickr so you may be unfamiliar with my Bags. (you can look at my Camp Follower Bags Blog if you like. It is still live, and you will see my cute kids when we lived in Australia).  I made bags from the uniforms of Servicemen (and women) for the folks who loved them. I didn't buy a bunch of old dirty uniforms and make bags from those, I only made bags from the actual uniform that that particular person had sweat (and often bled) in after the clients contacted me through my website. Each bag was totally unique. I think at my height of popularity I was making 12 completely different type bags that I had designed and created a pattern for. It was very difficult to keep up with demand with just me making them, but I hung in for a long time. My designs were being knocked off right and left. It was so sad to see something I worked so hard at being snatched away. I understand why it was happening...they were pretty awesome and I couldn't possibly sew for everyone. People would email me furious at my price point. Enraged I was charging for a product that took from 8 to 16 hours to make. First I had to figure out what the client wanted, what fabric to use with their uniforms, deconstruct the uniforms and then create something totally custom, beautiful and in most cases reversible. That's a tall order but I did it for hundreds of bags. And I did it with a glad heart.

 Well, not only did I make bags for service members who were alive and well, I also made the bags for the fallen soldiers' loved ones if they asked me to. I didn't charge for them because I felt it would be wrong. I was honored to do it.  I did it with love.

Well The Hero bags, as I called them is what ended up making my whole business come to an exhausted halt. Towards the end I started getting requests for Hero Bags from women whose husbands weren't dead at all. Heck some of the ladies had nothing whatsoever to do with the military, they just wanted a free bag. These people clearly had no clue what is was like to get the call or visit that would send your world crashing or to see a friend break. I suppose they were going to use it as a talking piece? Frankly I have no clue why they would want one. My market was as niche as they come.  It broke off a chunk of my heart when I got request after request that turned out to be false. I was just done. 

I changed lanes from making awesome quilted bags to quilting awesome quilts.

I just want you all to know why I quit. I loved it so much, but it became too much for one woman and quilting is so much easier.

This is the last part of a Hero Bag order that I started on over 2 years ago. Margie is the mother of SSG Rolfing. I have never met her, but from our correspondence she must be one of the most wonderful and patient people on the planet and my soul aches for her loss. If you have the time please go read about SSG Rob Rolfing.  Go read about Margie's son. Know that we all lost a fine man. 

Margie wanted me to make duffel bags for her grandsons. Rob's nephews. Out of the 12 type bags I have made in the past, none of them were duffle bags. The trouser leg just wasn't wide enough, there wasn't enough fabric. I started on these bags so many times but put them away because I just didn't have enough uniform to make them happen. Finally I forced myself to do it. I ended up using every single bit of the trousers to make these bags. The inside out pockets, the fly, the reinforced knee and rump. All of it got used. Frankly when I first spoke to Margie I did not have the skill to make this bag...or to figure out how to make it happen. I am a much better maker now.  This was the time for it to happen.

The bags are quilted just like all my other Camp Follower bags are, I even used variegated thread.

I used Rob's patches and one of his favorite shirts to make the sides of the duffel bags.

One of the bags turned out about an inch longer than the other and I couldn't find a zipper to fit. As a last resort I took one of the zippers from an old ACU and it fit perfectly. It was like it was meant to be. Maybe it was one of his friends? At any rate I started sobbing. Silly right? Many folks cry about zippers, but not for the reason I was.

Margie, thank you for letting me make these bags. I am so sorry it took me so long to make the time to figure them out. I hope the boys love them and wear them out after years of sleep overs, visits to you, hiking trips and just all out use.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

More Quilts

Hi there Everyone!
I hope you are all doing well. I have been busy these last few weeks of summer. My website is up and live. Thank you all so much for visiting it and looking around. The feedback has been great and I am so happy it has been helpful to you all to be able to pick your own e2e designs from the multitude that I have available. I will be adding more, so check back often. I had to stop for a while because they all started looking the same. 

My kids went back to school this week and I have been feeling a little lost without their racket and squabbling. The Long arm has been stitching away though and I have many wonderful quilts to work on and a couple patterns to get finished up and published on the website. My husband is in charge of the technology side of our business and is eagerly awaiting me to put on the finishing touches so he can hit the publish button.

Lets look at some pretty quilts! This is a chevron that I finished a bit ago for Nancy. I may have already blogged about it.But lets look at it again. I quilted another gorgeous quilt for her, but I failed to get a single real picture of it before giving it back to her at KCMQG last week.

I LOVE these vines. They are so wild and whimsical. Easy and quick to do too. In the Kaffe Fasset fabric I did rather simple quilting.

Here is a little wall hanging I quilted for Lori. Don't these flowers look like a pretty bunch of  ranunculus? It was very fun to quilt.

I especially love that last border quilting. This design is in Jodi Robinson's little book. I just love how fun it was to quilt.

This will be the first quilt pattern I publish independently. I have many patterns in books and magazines, but I am excited to offer exclusive ones on my own. I didn't choose contrasting flowers/background very well and that is frustrating, so I had to try to outline the appliqué with black sketchy quilting.

This is a custom job I did for Kelly and the quitl shope she works at The Modern Quilter in Omaha, Nebraska. It will be a Block of the Month. The pictures don't do it justice, but I was loosing my light and had to take some quick pictures before I jumped in the car and dashed off to Kansas City for guild.

I had this massive blue open space to quilt. I chose a big blue vine/feather and some swirls.

Its so hard to see, but the main blocks have echo quilting or some curved cross hatching.

This was a really fun quilt to work on. I have also been flying through edge to edge quilts too. I did 3 yesterday and 4 more over the last 2 days.

Well I hope you all enjoy your last bit of summer and if your kids are in school too I hope you can get some sewing done just for the fun of it!