First start – and finish – of 2020

It has become traditional for crafty bloggers to review their output at the end of the year.

I’ve decided to change things up a bit. No ‘here’s what I made’, because you’ve all seen it anyway, yes?

I have, however, chosen a word for the year ahead to inspire me, and my word is going to be FINISH. It’s a habit  I’ve got out of in recent years, and I’d like to change that. Finishes are good. Finishes make me happy, and they empty the cupboard (ready for more stuff, naturally…). And in that spirit, I began my first project of the year on 1st January, and today, 3rd January, it’s already finished!  Good start, eh?

Regular readers will recognise the fabric, particularly as I only finished the top I used it for a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t work to a pattern. I had only the amount of fabric you see, plus the odd small scrap. So I had to wing it. There was enough to make a nice bucket tote.

In the midst of nutting the process out and trying to avoid more unpicking than was strictly necessary, I have discovered an interesting fact. There is no way (short of a computer program and an A3 printer) to reliably produce an ellipse with a given circumference. There’s a formula for determining the circumference of an oval if you know the a and b values*, so in theory you could work back from a known circumference to get the a and b, but it’s many years since I did that much algebra. There’s a way to draw an oval with a pair of compasses, but it’s not the right shape for a bag base, too round. I needed an ellipse. So I winged it, as with so many other things.

The bag lining was two fat quarters from my stash and a spotted scrap for the base. The outer base is leftover fabric from another top, overlaid with a clear vinyl layer repurposed from the packaging from a set of bedding. It’ll keep the base clean and dry. The loop and clip are leftover commercial bias binding and the carabiner was liberated from the Husband’s basket of Useful Tiny Things. The bias binding around the top edge is home made bias binding, left over from yet another dressmaking project. Only the green leather handles are new and bought especially. It almost qualifies as scrappy, doesn’t it?

It’s going to be a gift for my friend Chippy, and she will have to wait until I see her in 57 days for our joint holiday down south. 


*In case any of you are in desperate need of this information, it’s C = 2 x π x √((a2 + b2) ÷ 2), where a is the major axis and b is the minor axis. No, I didn’t think so…. But isn’t it a pretty formula?


59 thoughts on “First start – and finish – of 2020

  1. it’s all lovely, lucky Chippy. You could sneak it in as scrappy, we won’t complain. Great idea for word of the year, I could/should change that a little and just spend the year finishing all the things started but languishing in a drawer or cupboard. I was a math major – many years ago – love the formula but don’t think I want to go there these many years later.

  2. I like your word – long may it continue! I also like your basket! Terribly impressed that you even knew you required algebra to help you out with the ellipse shape. Algebra did my head in when I was at school and I’ve avoided it ever since!

    As it is I’m antsy having to wait for the holiday…. now even more so knowing I’m going to get this beauty 🥰🥰🥰

  4. The formula you can keep tho as algebra gives me the shivers 😁

  5. knitnkwilt says:

    The bag looks great; I like to work from what is available sometimes. An additional challenge. I’ll accept it as a scrap project! One new piece–yep, that’s allowed.

    • katechiconi says:

      I’ll probably stick with my Days Gone By hexie project for ScrapHappy, but it’s good to know I can still get good results from leftovers and unpromising bits and pieces!

  6. I love your word which is one I need to use more. The tote is wonderful! What a lucky friend you have. Math scrambles in my brain. That’s why I was always afraid to quilt.

    • katechiconi says:

      I’m with you on the math, my brain just doesn’t work well that way. But I get round it by drawing detailed diagrams and measuring and marking and adding totals. So far, it’s worked!

  7. magpiesue says:

    I love this bag! Well done you, and all out of scraps too! Great word for 2020. I’ve selected one too but I’m waiting to reveal it next week sometime. 😉

  8. cedar51 says:

    I’ve not chosen a word this year, I’ve got other fish to fry and very little of it relates to a word…But I’m at a bit of a standstill with “making” – something that I have using says “dries clear” but it doesn’t so each time I have used it with fabric/card (which it’s supposed to be for) it leaves blobs…I’m in the process of rescuing it from it’s latest “I’m not gonna do clear, so there”

    • katechiconi says:

      Having a ‘word’ isn’t for everyone, and I don’t always do it, but reviewing my WIPs really drove the decision. I don’t know what you’re using for fabric/card adhesive, but I’ve always liked Elmer’s School Glue, which has always gone clear for me.

  9. tialys says:

    An excellent finish – the KF fabric works so well on that tote.

    • katechiconi says:

      The fabric and handles have been sitting on my work table since I finished the top, so I decided it was a short project to start off the year. I didn’t think I’d get it done so quickly 🙂

  10. nanacathy2 says:

    I now have bag envy, it’s gorgeous. Finish is a good word, I shall try it for size! Lovely formula by the way!

    • katechiconi says:

      The bag was really pretty easy, and it’s a good use of the pretty fabric, isn’t it? I’m proud of the vinyl base and key fob, too. Glad you like the formula. I’m not sure how useful it’ll be to anyone, but I thought it looked good!

  11. that’s gorgeous, and I’m nicking that formula, thank you very much.

  12. knettycraft says:

    Beautiful tote… what a fulminant beginning! Happy New Year though!

  13. Terri says:

    Very pretty bag. I love that fabric and you did a good job of winging it.

    • katechiconi says:

      I confess there was a certain amount of unpicking, particularly the bit where I attached the lining base to the top instead of the bottom and couldn’t work out why it was too big… until I noticed the pocket was upside down!

  14. kathyreeves says:

    That’s a great tote, lucky Chippy indeed! Did you keep the pattern for the base? I love that you used some of that vinyl from a bedding bag. I’ve kept some of those, now I have an idea for their use; great tip. Finish is a good word for 2020!

    • katechiconi says:

      No, I didn’t keep the pattern, because in the end I had to trim it out a little more and it was no longer correct for size. Another time, I’ll start with the base and work up from there, which will be much easier!

  15. Dayphoto says:

    It is always, always fun to see what you are working on!

  16. gwenniesgardenworld says:

    Beautiful tot !! Your friend will be over the moon !! I hope you don’t finish your blog though !!

    • katechiconi says:

      No, the blog is quite safe! Glad you like the bag. It was pretty easy; I might make another some time, and this time, I’ll make a pattern and instructions for doing it properly!

  17. craftycreeky says:

    Love the bag, very pretty and a lovely shape. I used to like algebra too but I’ve clearly lost that skill 🙂

  18. Emmely says:

    Best wishes for the New Year and yes, finishing things feels so good! I sometimes even make something small just for that “I made something useful/pretty” feeling. It can do wonders to my mood.

  19. The bag is adorable – so bright and cheerful. I got caught up in the choosing a word thingy and went for Malarkey and Serendipity!
    Of course FINISH is an excellent word and one that I do need to have in mind, but right now i’m in the mood for skipping about in child mode rather than doing what ‘should’ be done! So naughty!

    • katechiconi says:

      If I hadn’t already promised it to Chippy, I’d be keeping it myself! I like your two words, being a big fan of Serendipity myself, but it had to be Finish because I’ve caught myself on numerous occasions muttering “I’ll do that later/ next week/ next month” and it never gets done because I’m chasing after the next bright and shiny thing. With two finishes under my belt already, I’m really enjoying the getting down to business 🙂

  20. Now that is an utterly charming tote. And I like not only your word for the year (one that should also be my motto) but also the metaphor of your first project — a cheery, roomy means of taking what needs to be carried wherever it needs to go —- also a good approach to the year.

  21. I like you word and your bag… your creative-design-skill is amazing. Last year I did ok but there’s always room for improvement and anyway it’s good for the planet so for my 2020 word I’m going once again with frugal, which your creative efforts fulfil also.

  22. The outer fabric is beautiful and the lime lining sings!

    • katechiconi says:

      I love a bright lining in a bag; you’re far less likely to lose things in the bottom, and the colour picks up from the outer fabric nicely. You have to love Kaffe Fassett, even if some of his brights are too strong to use in large quantities.

  23. Kate, what a gorgeous bag! It screams “summer” and “beach” along with “clever you” for using a scrap of vinyl to protect the bottom. Nicely done.

  24. […] had a good few largish scraps left over from making the bag for Chippy. When I say large, the biggest piece was about 12 x 5 inches, the others were smaller. But there […]

  25. rutigt says:

    I´m a “baglady”. I love bags in every size and shapes! Your fabric is fantastic!!!

  26. My eyes popped right out of my head – THAT FABRIC !!!!!!!

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