Modern Quilt Guild Riley Blake Challenge done!

Meet Massive Tote.

mqg front

I joined the Modern Quilt Guild as an individual member last year, in time for the Riley Blake Challenge.  Each person received 6 fat eights of great blenders, with the challenge of making anything quilted, plus other RB fabrics and solids.  I added to that my own rules — I had to use most of the challenge pack, plus I had to use them on the outside of my tote.  I bought a yard of Ashbury Heights by Doohickey Designs for the lining, and added Kona ash, coal, tulip (purple), lilac, azure, chartreuse, camellia (pink), curry, and school bus, plus some faded rose solid from my stash.  I also dug some Marguerite by RB yardage out of my stash and used it in one of the pockets. And here is what I had left.

mqg scraps

Scraps left over

I could have just done improv piecing, but I wanted to incorporate some actual quilt blocks, and you can read more about my process of designing and sewing these blocks here and here.

I had a great deal of fun designing and making this tote.  It is loosely based on a Moda Bake Shop Tutorial by Melissa at Happy Quilting (another individual MQG member!) and an iconic canvas bag.  There is one outside pocket (with a decorative stitch which was a total fail with my walking foot), and the bottom is Essex linen in black with heavy interfacing.

mqg fmq lines on the machinemassive tote inside

About the 400th time I changed directions on the quilt-as-you-go exterior, I switched to my open toe free motion foot, which sped up the finish immensely.  The QAYG panels were 24″x16″, with the base 24″ x 7″, and a 4″ cut-out for squaring the bottom.  The lining is interfaced for sturdiness, with 6 pockets — 3 slip pockets on one side, and 2 zip pockets plus a flap pocket (for my phone) on the other.  I also added a key loop inside one of the slip pockets.  Finally I used the blue gingham to bind the top edge, and added a tab closure.

And because I know you all will understand, here’s a picture of the twisted handle. Yes, I had to rip out 5 rows of top stitching and the seam between the base and the side to fix this. At midnight.mqg twisted handle
mqg back
I put three towels inside for the photos, and it’s not anywhere full.

Linking up to Sew Cute Tuesday with Blossom Heart Quilts, Let’s Bee Social with Sew Fresh Quilts, and Needle and Thread Thursday with My Quilt Infatuation, and of course TGIFF this week with M-R from Quilt Matters. See you at the linky parties!

Needle and Thread Thursday tgiff



  1. What a fabulous bag!!

  2. Love your massive tote! Isn’t midnight always “the ripping hour”? The little selvedge detail is perfect. 🙂
    Carole, from Fresh off the Frame

  3. What an amazing bag!

  4. I love the bag! 🙂

  5. It’s beautiful! And so big!!! Well your hard work certainly paid off. Sorry to hear about the twisted handle. What a bummer! But you sure can’t tell on the finish that you had any trouble at all! How nice to be a part of the MQG…. Please tell me more in an email!

  6. Well done!!! I love the colors and the blocks and the grays…just really wonderful, everything!

  7. I had a midnight ripping session myself last week! Your bag turned out beautifully, lovely fabric choices!

  8. Looks like you had great fun (except for ripping top stitching). I’m almost finished with my RB quilt–goal tomorrow.

  9. The Sassy Quilter · ·

    Love this Lisa! The quilting is great and the colors look so modern. Hate to do that ripping but cant seem to avoid it:) Worth it! Do you mind letting me know if I am coming up no reply? Having some problems with that. Thanks!

    1. I was very … annoyed .. to realize I had done that to the handle and not noticed! Looks like I can reply to you, and your email shows up in my dashboard too.

  10. I absolutely love it! gorgeous colours 🙂

  11. That is likely the best tote I’ve seen! Gorgeous and huge! Just the way I like it!

    1. Yes, I knew that if I was going to go to all that work, it had to be huge and have lots of pockets, I can’t wait to actually use it!

  12. I love this! There is nothing quite like a good tote bag in amazing fabrics! Well done.

  13. Isn’t it amazing how a bunch of fabric can come together to make a great colourful tote. I am always amazed how the colours combine so well

  14. It’s great! I really like the quilt blocks you incorporated.

  15. This is a wonderful bag! Your design is a true inspiration.

  16. Yay! What a great bag!

    1. And I’m relieved that I finished on time! On 2014-02-14 1:44 PM, “Lisa in Port Hope” wrote:


  17. Yay! Yay! Yay! You did a fabulous job with the challenge, Lisa. What a great tote!

  18. Oooh, this is delicious! And I think this is the first tote I’ve seen for the challenge, so bravo to you! LOVE! 🙂

    1. There were a few other totes or pouches, but this was definitely something I needed more than another quilt.

  19. cute bag! it shows off those Riley Blake fabrics so well!

    Thank you so much for sharing this at Needle and Thread Thursday!

    🙂 Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  20. WOW! So great! I love the quilting and your twisted handle picture makes me cringe. Argh! Very nice finish.

    1. Just keeping it real 🙂

  21. Your tote turned out fab! Well done!

  22. […] I did manage to finish my Massive tote on time for the previous MQG challenge, which I have realized is one of my finish-a-long for Q1 of […]

  23. Sandra Louise · ·

    This is so gorgeous! I love it! Thanks so much for following my blog.

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