|Happy Spring! A paper-pieced butterfly on a dumpling pouch|
I wish I was able to work on quilts and other extensive projects, but the truth is I just don't have the time. Fortunately, I've found satisfaction in smaller projects that require fewer minutes in a day but still allow me to challenge myself creatively.
|A paper-pieced Valentine's dumpling|
Pouches and small bags can be finished in a short timeframe, while still allowing you to customize based on your personal style. Patchwork, paper piecing, applique, and embroidery are all techniques that can be incorporated to embellish one of these sweet bags.
|A dumpling swap package should be thoughtful and personable|
My current favorite of these is the dumpling pouch, which is a free download by Michelle Patterns. There is a dumpling swap hosted by rockislander on Flickr, and she always chooses a fun theme. I have participated in two now...one for Valentine's Day and currently an Easter/Spring swap.
|Detail: Concentric Hearts, a paper pieced pattern|
For both dumplings, I elected to try paper piecing, which is a skill with which I had little previous experience.
|Paper-pieced butterflies in two sizes|
I found some lovely patterns by Juliet of The Tartankiwi. The first, a concentric hearts pattern, is free; the second, a butterfly, can be purchased on Etsy. I did reduce the size of both patterns to about 50% in order for them to fit on the face of the pouch.
|Paper piecing and matchstick quilting|
Both were fun to make because I was able to experiment with different color combos, while staying true to my partner's style and preferences. I also experimented with matchstick quilting for the first time, which was so enjoyable.
|Ready to fill!|
So while little, these bags still offer a huge sense of accomplishment once finished. Go on over to Michelle Patterns and try one out for yourself!