Thursday, September 1, 2016

SSG Rolfing Hero Bags

Hi There!
Long before I was a professional Long Arm Quilter I was a maker of some pretty fabulous bags. 

I have a story for you today. If you are in a hurry that is fine, just scroll through the pictures. there will be more wonderful quilts soon.

 I get asked all the time why I don't take orders for Camp Follower Bags anymore. Not too long ago I got chased down in the commissary by a lady carrying one of my bags that I made 9 years ago. She was shouting "Your Tia!!!" Indeed I am. Wow, that makes my heart sing. I know many of you did not know me during the days of Flickr so you may be unfamiliar with my Bags. (you can look at my Camp Follower Bags Blog if you like. It is still live, and you will see my cute kids when we lived in Australia).  I made bags from the uniforms of Servicemen (and women) for the folks who loved them. I didn't buy a bunch of old dirty uniforms and make bags from those, I only made bags from the actual uniform that that particular person had sweat (and often bled) in after the clients contacted me through my website. Each bag was totally unique. I think at my height of popularity I was making 12 completely different type bags that I had designed and created a pattern for. It was very difficult to keep up with demand with just me making them, but I hung in for a long time. My designs were being knocked off right and left. It was so sad to see something I worked so hard at being snatched away. I understand why it was happening...they were pretty awesome and I couldn't possibly sew for everyone. People would email me furious at my price point. Enraged I was charging for a product that took from 8 to 16 hours to make. First I had to figure out what the client wanted, what fabric to use with their uniforms, deconstruct the uniforms and then create something totally custom, beautiful and in most cases reversible. That's a tall order but I did it for hundreds of bags. And I did it with a glad heart.

 Well, not only did I make bags for service members who were alive and well, I also made the bags for the fallen soldiers' loved ones if they asked me to. I didn't charge for them because I felt it would be wrong. I was honored to do it.  I did it with love.

Well The Hero bags, as I called them is what ended up making my whole business come to an exhausted halt. Towards the end I started getting requests for Hero Bags from women whose husbands weren't dead at all. Heck some of the ladies had nothing whatsoever to do with the military, they just wanted a free bag. These people clearly had no clue what is was like to get the call or visit that would send your world crashing or to see a friend break. I suppose they were going to use it as a talking piece? Frankly I have no clue why they would want one. My market was as niche as they come.  It broke off a chunk of my heart when I got request after request that turned out to be false. I was just done. 

I changed lanes from making awesome quilted bags to quilting awesome quilts.

I just want you all to know why I quit. I loved it so much, but it became too much for one woman and quilting is so much easier.

This is the last part of a Hero Bag order that I started on over 2 years ago. Margie is the mother of SSG Rolfing. I have never met her, but from our correspondence she must be one of the most wonderful and patient people on the planet and my soul aches for her loss. If you have the time please go read about SSG Rob Rolfing.  Go read about Margie's son. Know that we all lost a fine man. 

Margie wanted me to make duffel bags for her grandsons. Rob's nephews. Out of the 12 type bags I have made in the past, none of them were duffle bags. The trouser leg just wasn't wide enough, there wasn't enough fabric. I started on these bags so many times but put them away because I just didn't have enough uniform to make them happen. Finally I forced myself to do it. I ended up using every single bit of the trousers to make these bags. The inside out pockets, the fly, the reinforced knee and rump. All of it got used. Frankly when I first spoke to Margie I did not have the skill to make this bag...or to figure out how to make it happen. I am a much better maker now.  This was the time for it to happen.

The bags are quilted just like all my other Camp Follower bags are, I even used variegated thread.

I used Rob's patches and one of his favorite shirts to make the sides of the duffel bags.

One of the bags turned out about an inch longer than the other and I couldn't find a zipper to fit. As a last resort I took one of the zippers from an old ACU and it fit perfectly. It was like it was meant to be. Maybe it was one of his friends? At any rate I started sobbing. Silly right? Many folks cry about zippers, but not for the reason I was.

Margie, thank you for letting me make these bags. I am so sorry it took me so long to make the time to figure them out. I hope the boys love them and wear them out after years of sleep overs, visits to you, hiking trips and just all out use.


Friday, May 30, 2014

SSG Rolfing Hero Bags

Hey there! It has been ages since I blogged on my bag blog. I finished this set of Hero bags and felt they needed to be shared on this space. 

I made this set of Hero Bags for the Mother and sister of SSG Robb Rolfing. He was killed in Iraq on 30 June 2007.

I made a Stu tote, with quite a few customizations from the blouse of Robb's ACU uniform to create this design.  I tried my best to fit in all that Robb's mom wanted to have included. I lined the bag with one of his shirts.

She also wanted some gold paisley fabric to be used.

Robb's Special Forces unit patch is on the back of the bag.

This bag has a tiny gold star on one of the straps with his name on the other strap.

I quilted in another gold star on the closure.

The inside of the bag has 5 pockets and the outside of the bag has 2.

I sourced some special magnetic closures for this set of bags that I think work really well.

The bag I made for Robb's Sister is an oversized Cather bag. I used one of the legs from Robb's ACU pants to create this design. This bag also has a heart magnetic closure.

The lower leg pocket is on the back of the bag. 

His Name is quilted into the strap of the bag.

The sides are improv pieced with scraps from his uniform, leftover bits of his green button down shirt and some Parson Grey fabric.

The inside of this bag has 4 pockets and is lined with one of Robb's shirts.


So, I haven't made any of my Camp Follower Bags / Hero bags for quite some time. I forgot how much of an honor it is to sew with the actual uniforms of men who have answered the call of their nation and sacrificed their lives for our freedom and so that our way of life can continue without oppression. This order took me forever to make. I am ashamed to admit. I was going through my own mourning after my husband retired from the Army. I know it is NOTHING like what Robb's family is going through, but to me it was pretty big. I have been in the Army all my life and I was so sad to not be part of it anymore. After coming to terms with retirement and realizing what a dork I was being I was able to return to my bag making. I still love doing it. Margie, I pray these bags give you some comfort. I still have 2 more duffle type bags to make. I need to design the pattern first of course since I have never made a duffle bag.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

New Blog

Hey there. I thought I could keep up with 2 blogs, but apparently that is a bridge too far for me. I now blog almost exclusively at

That is where you will find me and my quilting, and my family and my crafts. I hope you visit. I miss you all!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Long blogging here. But I am back and trying my hand at having backyard hens.

Hey there folks! How are you all doing? It has been ages since I blogged on this blog. I do most of my blogging on my quilt blog ( but I miss this space with so much of my life over the past years. So blogging here will again commence!

Our latest adventure is having hens in the backyard. We started with a couple Ameraucana hens and they did great. they happily lived in their little coop and grew and did very well. We made the coop larger as they grew and tried to keep it safe from predators.

The kiddos had a lovely time watching their hens. I guess we had them for about a month, and it was time to go on vacation. Our neighbor was watching our cats and had no problem watching our hens too (Stanley went to the kennel).

The Beach was wonderful! What a relaxing peaceful time! We really liked Fort Walton beach. It had its perfect moments and its stormy ones too...but it was great and I will take it any way I can get it! My husband did all sorts of fishing and the kids did all sorts of swimming. I did some painting and lots of reading!

We then drove up to the mountains and surprised my parents on their annual 4th of July reunion picnic. It was so so good to see everyone!

Happy Independence day! Well on the last 3 nights of our vacation all 4 of our cute little chicken girls got eaten by a raccoon. Sad....but coons are very sharp and no matter how our pet sitter tried to reinforce the battlements, it still got to the hens. Well, as they say life goes on! We are starting again!

But this time I couldn't find pullets so I decided to start with chicks. And quite a variety of chicks! Thanks to Alan of Heartland Hatchery This little lady (hopefully!) is a Silkie. She will look quite fuzzy when she is grown and be a small bird. This one is Sam's chick.

I have no clue what this one is, but I like the feathers on her legs

This is either a Cinnamon Queen or a Road Island red. I had 3 other sets of helpful hands popping chicks into the box.

This girl was a Polish hen of some sort...but I noticed yesterday after I got her home that she just didn't seem as healthy as her friends, and indeed she had passed away during the night. But she was a cute little thing

Here are some more Aracunas.

I know I got too many...but with my luck some won't make it. So my neighbors won't have to worry about giant mounds of chicken poo. They are crazy cute. My daughter has been out playing Mozart for them, we read somewhere that hens like music.

And I have been quilting like a fiend. Really, so much of my time has been spent down in my studio that I have almost no time to blog or market myself. This quilt is  QOV (quilt of Valor) made by lovely Raylene. I always love quilting her quilts. She has perfectly flat seams and she is a joy to be around.

OK, I have some work to go do. You all have a great day and I hope to see you here again quite often.

Do any of you have hens? How do you keep Racoons away? I do have a trap....but for now I am waiting for my husband to return home before putting it out. If he wasn't coming back this evening I would go ahead and do it myself...but he likes to do that sort of thing.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Wolons Molly and zip wallet

Hey there! I feel like I haven't made a Camp Follower Bag in Ages! It has been a long time. But I have been quilting lots and lots of quilts for folks. I sure love my job.

OK, lets talk about this order for a second. The request was to make a Molly purse out of both the green flight suit and the gray ACU.

I love this size zip bag. It can act as a clutch or a project bag for little hand stitching or a place to keep tech chargers while traveling....I have zillions of them around the house and I forget what is in each one so it is a little surprise when I find one under the couch...Ah ha! There is my lipstick.

I utilized on of the leg pockets for this Molly (just like almost any other Molly I make)

Airborne, air assault and flight wings on the side

Inside are 2 generous pockets


This one has a pen pocket (Mighty Pen).

OK, folks. The kids start their spring break tomorrow, so I will be busy for a while keeping my children entertained and mentally stimulated. I hope you all have a great spring break in your neck of the woods and find time for some sewing!


Thursday, March 7, 2013

My Middle Man

Good Morning! Yesterday was my middle Man's birthday. He is 10 years old. 10 Years old is a big birthday among Army Brat kiddos. They get an ID card when they turn 10. That is a big deal. For my kids entire life they have watched Stu and I show our card to do just about anything on the military compounds that we have lived on over their lives. To get on post, to go shopping to see the doctor to get get in special buildings...everything requires a display of an ID card. Well, Where does on keep an ID card? In a cool wallet of course! Ethan and I looked and looked for a wallet for him. I was disgusted by the "craftsmanship" and materials of the wallets we found, so I went home and made one. Actually this happened years ago. My husband carries one of my wallets, I carry one and I made one for my dad. They are the easiest things to make and are so simple and functional.

Birthday traditions are pretty simple around here. Whoever the birthday person is picks out their special meal and they get a cake. Ethan choose Steak, potatoes and grilled Bok Choy. It was pretty good. March has 2 birthdays 3 days apart, so the boys get a party together. Low key. Sam ( my youngest) has already put his order in for Sushi.

I know the pictures aren't great, but I was a fool and used top secret special fabric that I can't show until next month. You can go look at Carrie's blog (SuchitySuch) and get an idea of the fabric she gave me to make some things with for her. It is named Collage. It is pretty awesome.  I will go find Sam's wallet so you can see the structure of the item. I plan to make a tutorial for a simple leather wallet, but that may not happen until tomorrow. I have too many things to do today. Not the least of which is getting ready for another birthday and a birthday party on Saturday.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Quilt Almanac winner is!

Hey there I picked a winner at random from the comments left last week.

Blogger Jenny said...
you have been busy Tia!!
February 15, 2013 at 10:57 Am
I hope everyone is all warm and toasty where you are. We are snowed in for a bit. But such a beautiful snow. The kids are bundling up as I type so they can go out and play. I love winter! I will be sewing until out power goes out. If I am still on a roll I will drag out my hand crank machine.
Happy Sewing!
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