The Tree of Life Tote Bag - with Island Batik and AccuQuilt

This month, Island Batik ambassadors are celebrating Christmas in July with a project sponsored by industry partner, AccuQuilt.

AccuQuilt have recently released their Tree of Life BOB (which I just learned means Block on Board). It's a traditional quilt block with lots of pieces, but AccuQuilt have included instructions so that we can layer fabrics and cut all of the 73 pieces required, in one roll through the machine. Pretty amazing, right?

The first part of the challenge was to create a Christmas in July project and the second part of the challenge was to share the love and gift it to someone. I decided pretty early on in the process that I was going to make a project for my sister with lots of pretty pink fabrics. She is a mother of 3 boys, so she's always open to a little bit of pinkness in her life.

My sister loves playing with yarn. She crochets and she knits and always seems to have a project on the go. I decided that I'd make a large sturdy tote bag to keep all of her yarn bits and pieces together.

We were encouraged to play around with the AccuQuilt 'Tree of Life' die and even come up with a different way of using the pieces in our projects.

While I mention using the pieces to make up something new, you must go and see how Suzy of Webster Quilt used her Tree of Life die. Very cool and creative.

I played around on EQ8 and came up with a tree design that I liked and which showcased most of the pieces. It was time to start cutting out fabrics when I realised that the AccuQuilt die was too big for my GO! Baby machine. YIKES!!


I've had the small machine for years, but never really used it much as I only have a couple of dies for it. 

I put an SOS call out to Island Batik, who quickly got in touch with AccuQuilt in the US, who then quickly organised with the Australian distributor to send out an AccuQuilt GO! machine. Honestly, I was completely blown away by how fast the new machine arrived at my door. 


I got to work and created my version of the "Tree of Life" block. In the blink of an eye, I had a pile of little HST's ready to sew together. Best of all, no trimming was required after the HST blocks were put together. Winning!


I added a wide border of Island Batik Foundation fabric in "Ice" to have a finished block at around 22" square. I used this same foundation fabric for the back of the bag (along with a strip of left-over triangles). 

I sandwiched the bag front and back pieces with Hobbs Batting and quilted with a fun and rustic leaf design. I used Aurifil 50wt thread in my most favourite neutral shade for both piecing and quilting #6722. 

Tree of Life block and leaf quilting... hah! 


Can I just say how much I love the pink and purple combination against that white/grey background.


After quilting, I trimmed the pieces down to 20" square and then created a lining using Island Batik blender called Cat Scratch in Watermelon.


It was now time to think about the bag handles. In our boxes of goodies sent early in the year from Island Batik and industry partners, Hobbs Batting had included a 2.25" roll of fusible batting. 


For each bag handle, I cut (2)  2.5" x 16" strips of fabric. I fused one strip to the batting, placed the second one on the back and sewed a 1/4" seam along each long side. Once this was done, I turned them out (this took a little extra patience) and pressed well.

I then changed up my thread to Aurifil 40wt and top stitched lines on the straps to give them a bit of extra structure and strength. 

Though they took a little extra time to construct, I absolutely love how the handles turned out. A much nicer handle that the cotton webbing tape that I usually use.


I put the rest of the bag together and it's now finished and ready to give to my sister. I might even fill it with some yarn as another little surprise for her.


After more days of rain, we woke up to sunshine and blue sky. I dragged my daughter outside for a quick photo shoot with the Tree of Life Tote Bag. She's such a good sport.


Check out what the other Island Batik Quilters have made this month with their Tree of Life dies.


Anorina Morris – sameliasmum.com (you are here)

Brenda Alburl ~ Songbird Designs

Megan Best ~ Bestquilter

Pamela Boatright ~ Pamelaquilts

Elizabeth DeCroos ~ Epida Studio

Jennifer Fulton ~ Inquiring Quilter

Preeti Harris ~ Sew Preeti Quilts

Mania Hatziioannidi ~ Mania for quilts

Jane Hauprich ~ Stitch By Stitch Custom Quilting

Reed Johnson ~ Blue Bear Quilts

Connie Kauffman ~ Kauffman Designs

Emily Leachman ~ The Darling Dogwood

Denise Looney ~ For The Love Of Geese

Leah Malasky ~ Quilted Delights

Maryellen McAuliffe ~ Mary Mack Made Mine

Lisa Pickering ~ Lisa’s Quilting Passion

Claudia Porter ~ Create with Claudia

Gail Renna ~ Quilt Haven Threads

Brianna Roberts ~ Sew Cute And Quirky

Michelle Roberts ~ Creative Blonde

Gail Sheppard ~ Quilting Gail

Andi Stanfield ~ True Blue Quilts

Sandra Starley ~ Textile Time Travels

Jennifer Thomas ~ Curlicue Creations



Thank you to Island Batik for supplying all of the beautiful fabrics used in this project. Big thanks to AccuQuilt, Hobbs Batting, Aurifil and Schmetz needles for their generous support of this program.

11 comments

Ondrea said...

Gorgeous tote! Lots of preparation and stitching. Your daughter looks like she might want one.

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

that is so neat that Accuquilt got you a machine so fast! one of the things I love about accuquilt is how fast their shipping is - if you don't qualify for free shipping on an order and have to pay for it it is a little more expensive then some other places but you get it so fast it is worth it. I love that die will need to put it on my list!

Jeanette said...

Yay to getting the right size machine & so quickly. Love the bag, it's gorgeous.

Lin said...

Well what a splendid gift to receive! A great bag and I too love the colour combo. 'Proper' handles are always worth the effort. xx

KaHolly said...

Stunning bag! Everything is right about it. Didn’t it just make the best gift!

cityquilter grace said...

it's very beautiful anorina...lovely work and finish!

Gretchen Weaver said...

The bag is lovely, your sister is going to be so happy with it! Definitely make yourself one, your daughter too. Happy stitching!

The Cozy Quilter said...

Lovely knitting bag for your sister! I really like how you quilted it.

brenda said...

everyone else said all the things i was thinking. as usual you made a terrific project and added a lot of love in it for your sister. Lovely daughter.Will we see sister modeling it as well ??

Karen's Korner said...

Lucky sister scoring such a pretty and useful bag.

Quilter Kathy said...

What a fabulous bag... I love it!