This year was the 40th anniversary of the North Country Fair. I’ve been attending this annual solstice celebration on and off since I was 16. It’s a music fest that’s all about community, with plenty of food, craft vendors, workshops and all around good vibes. The music goes till dawn and guaranteed you’ll make a friend or two.
This was the inspiration for my patchwork hobo bag. I wanted to make a comfortable crossbody bag that was large enough to stash all my fair paraphernalia in, that also fit the bright and eclectic hippy scene.
I discovered the perfect tutorial on susies-scraps.com. Her QAYG Hobo Bag Pattern (QAYG stands for Quilt As You Go) is easy to follow and an excellent use of scrap fabric. Projects where I can use materials I already own are the best! Susie’s tutorial suggests machine sewing an X across each square to quilt the fabric and batting together. I wanted my bag to have a more homemade look so I decided to handstitch each square in a variety of patterns using 3 different colors of embroidery floss.
Handstitching was the most time consuming part. And I was trying to go quickly, not caring too much if my lines were straight! The finished result turned out better then I thought so it was worth it in the end. The only other change I made from the original tutorial was to add one more square to the strap. After basting the strap together I found it sat just a bit too high on my tall torso and adding that one extra square puts it in the optimum spot.
For the closure I didn’t want to keep tying the strings together so I threaded on a toggle so I could cinch the bag opening tighter when needed. I added the bead on the end to give the string some weight. It’s made out of Sculpey.
It took me awhile to pick out the fabrics. Creating eye catching color pallets is something I find challenging, and I’m happy I rose to the occasion. Not only was my bag a win at North County Fair, but it’s also been on heavy rotation all summer. I prefer fabric bags over leather on hot summer days (I find leather can feel sticky), and this one is washable and will also fit my water bottle!
I’ve just started dipping my toe into quilting this summer, but with the success of this project I may have to take the plunge!