around and around and around it goes.

my brain is fried. mush. fried mush. like bad hash browns. i have been cutting and sewing circles for a million days now and i swear if i see one more circle i am going to cry. like a baby. i guess i could handle looking at some circular shapes. say a corn tortilla or a donut or the top of a bottle of a good cold beer or the sun. well, maybe not at the sun, unless i want to go blind. hmmm…if im blind, then i can’t see. if i can’t see, i can’t cut circles. however, if i can’t cut circles, i can’t pay my rent. if i can’t pay my rent, i have to sell drugs or prostitute. this is a really bad thought process. i will just cut the damn circles.

i have been cutting these circles for 3 new sets of tote bags made especially for the artstar craft bazaar this weekend. 65 bags. 13 circles per bag totaling over 800 circles. all hand cut and stitched by yours truly. i realize there are interns for this sort of work but i’m too much of a control freak to let anyone else attempt the task. trust me, its just easier if i do all the work as to not hurt anyones feelings. here is the warm colorway on a turquoise bag.
here is the cool colorway on a slate grey bag.
i also have been feverishly organizing my existing stock in preparation. tees, totes, scarves, skirts, hats, cuffs, vests, pillows and some super cute change purses my sister janet made using my new fabric line HABITAT.
here are the details:

WHAT: artstar craft bazaar (
WHERE: penn’s landing great plaza. on columbus boulevard between walnut and chestnut streets.
WHEN: saturday may 14th and sunday may 15th from 11am to 6pm.
WHY: because you love me and my stuff and you want me to be able to pay my rent so i don’t have to prostitute.
PS: the forecast is calling for rain so come prepared but don’t let it stop you from coming out and supporting your local hardworking artists and craftspeople!

18 thoughts on “around and around and around it goes.

    • i think thats the secret. your hands just start to move like a machine after the first 50 or so. well that and the fact that i’ve been sewing for 25 years.

  1. Hi Jay: My hand started hurting as I read about the number of circles you needed to cut. I’ve attached a link to Olfa’s website. I suspect you’re aware they’ve created a rotary cutter geared just to making circles. I’ve not used it, but I wondered if a tool like that could save you from a repetative stress injury. I’d hate to see your circle push you into a painful hand and a life on the streets. Best regards.

    • Wow! I didn’t know something like this existed! Thanks for the link! I’m totally going to get one and let you know how/if it works! Thanks!

  2. They’re gorgeous circles anyways. Beautiful work. I’m hoping you post a picture of the finished bags. I make shopping bags, purses and aprons for a local farmer’s market. It’s starting up soon and I’m really behind. You’ve inspired me to get to work. soon

  3. LOVING my new dress! Do you know how many people stopped me yesterday and asked if I was wearing “A Jay McConnell”? I felt so glam & funky! Who knew I could feel this good at 40! xo

    • terribly sorry, I meant McCarroll. It is monday morning and I”m surrounded by 6 year olds. Someone help me.

    • i’m so glad to hear you like the dress! i appreciate your support and thanks again for braving the unpredictable weather this weekend. i hope you had a great time at artstar. i certainly did!

  4. I sincerely love your work, I wanted to get another of your stripey men’s shirts (I have gotten countless compliments on the one I have) but your online shop’s down 😦 Let me know when you’re up and running and not cutting a gazillion circles so I can more.Thanks!

  5. Hi! Um ok I shall try not to gush on you like the crazy fangirl I am but I sort of adore you.
    I just started a Project Runway marathon to get me through a god awful cold and it gave me the courage to stalk you. So yeah… I’ve been mad for you for like .. 3 years ( the magic of you was postponed due to a lack of cable. Thank god for dvds!)
    I just wanted to say how amazing i think you are especially since you refused your winnings due to the contract clause . I found that very brave. the large chunk of me that loves money thought you were insane but that part of me would sell my grandmother for something shiny so it really shouldn’t be trusted. So I’ve spent the past half hour reading this blog and I love it. like in an insane crazy way, Like if it were a baby and i was the kind of person who wasn’t put off by the thought of a small person getting more attention then myself i might be one of those crazy ladies and steal it. But its not I’m not and theres no way in hell i’m letting someone else get the spotlight.

    Now if you will excuse me I must drool over these amazing fabrics you’ve been making!

    P.S do you do custom orders? I’m in love with your stuff but as a plus size girl I can’t really wear it. Also Custom work = more money= Jay not having to prostitute= less syphilis and more happy good times.

  6. Hi Jay—
    I just came across your blog—WOO! I’m thrilled. I loved you on Project Runway but what I really loved is Project Jay (I’m watching as I write this).

    Every time I feel totally stuck in my (graphic) design work, uninspired, uncreative, frustrated to the point where I can’t budge with it, I pop in this handy Project Jay disk and it ramps me up for another round of work, even if I have no sense of where it’s all going.

    Thanks for being such an inspiration and a good honest PA guy who’s not afraid to put himself out there! No hooking and much luck to you! xo


  7. TRIPLE LOVE the circle fabrics!! Would love to see what you’re going/have made with it….

    Bless your heart for all the cutting and sewing, but I love it!

  8. on a lark i thought ‘well what is he doing these days i remember loving everything he’s created” and then i saw your last blog post and realised you were at my back door practically, then i realised i missed it, now i’m mad 🙂 do you still live in pa? i’m a born n raised NYer but been living outside of philly for a while now. i want to buy your stuffs yo! hopefully you’ll be doing another show in the tristate area soon. heart you!

  9. Hi Jay,

    Thanks for letting us in on your design process! I am a fashion designer over on the west coast that teaches Illustrator and Photoshop for fashion. That said I am a bit of a tech geek. I know someone posted about the rotary cutter, but that would still require you to sit there and do it… Have you ever thought about using the cricut?
    You can stabilize your fabric with steam a seam fusing (ahem that is why I am on your site tonight) and then have the cricut cut all your circles (different sizes even) for you.
    Even in the future if you would like to cut out a custom design over and over again you can use the cricut. I blog about it with pictures while I had this idea for a mommy & baby elephant fabric applique

  10. LOOOOVE the colors! These bags look fantastic! Incidentally, I am currently watching Season 1 of PR right now while I sit at my machine and sew (for about the 5th time) and you rule, Jay! I am a big fan. Don’t know how you survived Wendy Pepper. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger lol! Hope you sold out.

  11. I would lose my mind cutting all those circles. Have you heard about the AccuQuilt Go? I don’t have one but if I had to cut all those circles I would definitely invest in one. Looks great by the way!

  12. Ditto on the Accuquilt! 🙂 Jay, I am starting the Charlotte Modern Quilt Guild down here in NC and we are psyched about the Habitat Challenge. It will be our guild’s first challenge, and we can’t wait to work with your amazing fabric. Hated to miss your talk in Philly. Bet it was great. Loved you on Project Runway. Glad you are having such great success!
    PS: Those bags are fab!!!

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