Work-in-Progress Girl


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Sunday Stash: Low Volume Love

I was going to draw this out another two weeks, but I want to wrap this up, so this is the end of all the stuff I got from Hawthorne Threads back in March. I think most of this stuff was from a giftcard from the Fabric Fairy Michelle at Factotum of Arts, though some of it might have come from a fabric purchase before that.

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On the right is the only bit of Alison Glass’s Sun Prints Text I bought – I like it a lot, but it was never available when I was still buying fabric left and right, and then it started sticking around right when I wasn’t buying fabric so much. The other two are Heartfelt from the Art Gallery Fabrics line Littlest.

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Down at the bottom is another print from the Littlest collection, Dream Cloud. The stripe is Sunburst Stripe from Dear Stella… I’m not at all sure about the colour, turquoise maybe, but it’s so pale that I can’t really be sure that’s what sort of blue it’s supposed to be. That last one is Kyubu in Atmosphere from the Robert Kaufman line Satsuki. (I liked this one better before I saw it in person. I don’t like the metallic bit too much and I don’t know… it’s just one of those ones that worked better before I looked at it too closely.)

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Some familiar ones here again… more of the Satsuki, this time in Natural (and again I don’t love it, but there it is) and another stripe from Sunburst Stripe. Last here is Up in the Air in Pollen from Skinny LaMinx’s Up Up and Away line. Love this print!

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Oh look, it’s Up in the Air again, this time in Blue Moon from Skinny LaMinx’s Up Up and Away Line. Still love it. Up above it is a print from Lizzy House’s Catnap line, Chasing Butterflies, love that lime on aqua. At the bottom is an Angela Walters’ print from her Legacy line, Drawn Destiny in Denim. This was my favourite print in her Legacy line, probably because it draws out all the best parts of her particular long-arm quilting style. The shades of blue are great too.

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I also picked up that same Legacy print in Linen and another print from the Littlest collection, Teensy Weensy in Lotus. And finally Scissors in White from the Dear Stella line Do It Yourself.

So that was the end of that bout of fabric related madness. Tune in next week to see what I bought (in March) from Warp and Weft.

Linking up with Molli Sparkles for Sunday Stash. (Look for the pink sparkles on the column to the right!)


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Sunday (Scrap) Stash

So last week for Sunday Stash I started the slow reveal of all the stuff I bought from Hawthorne Threads in the month of Misbehaving March (I’ve decided it needs a name – February Fabric Fast Fail and Misbehaving March?). Part of it was due to a gift certificate from Michelle, but part of it was just me having grabby hands. Most of it was me having grabby hands, really, and I extended it by also buying some fabric from Warp and Weft, which remains one of the loveliest online fabric shops I’ve ever found. (Seriously, Esmari’s just got such interesting fabrics… things that you don’t really tend to find elsewhere. It’s a well-curated collection, I suppose.)

But today, I’m just going to keep on picking away at the Hawthorne Threads loot… I picked up a scrap bundle in the “Fresh” colourway. I’ve bought scrap packs from them quite a few times and for a long while now they’ve had them on sale – $6.99 for about 2 yards of scraps by weight – so it’s usually hard to resist. This time I got mostly larger scraps (some of these are over a quarter yard, close to a half yard I think, though I didn’t get out the ruler to check the width) and unfortunately I’m pretty split on liking it vs. not.

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Last week I showed you all those lime fabrics I bought… I felt a little like they continued the theme into my scrap pack choices! I am not the biggest fan of the Denyse Schmidt print, Pie Basket, from Hope Valley, but I think I’ve probably got a half yard of it in my stash somewhere! The print beside it, that lime green… poppy print feels like a Laura Gunn print, but I’m not sure that it is – the painted background says yes, but I can’t find confirmation anywhere. On the bottom left is Poppy Modern by Jane Dixon for Andover and on the right Turtle Parade by Patty Sloniger from her Les Amis collection. I just.. I wish Hawthorne Threads had separate packs for children’s fabrics. They’re cute, those turtles, but what on earth am I going to do with a 6″ x WOF strip of turtle fabric? A lot of that children’s fabric that I gave away on the last Sew Mama Sew Giveaway day actually came from Hawthorne Threads scrap packs.

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I really don’t like that big chevron top left. It’s from Riley Blake and the colours are probably significant to some American university or football team or both, but they’re horrible. That yellow and that green do not belong together on the same giant chevron print. Next up is a print from Rashida Coleman Hale’s Washi line… I don’t know what the name of it is, but I know it’s getting pretty hard to find. It’s cute, but you know… I never felt inspired to buy anything from that line. I’m certain I’ll use it, but I just didn’t care about it that much. And finally another chevron, this one from Robert Kaufman, though again I don’t know it’s name. I think I’m just bored of chevrons because meh. It’s rather too pink for me, though the green does liven it up a little, but on the whole I feel pretty meh about it.

The rest of this post is going to be devoted to the fabric and scraps that Mari-Ann (@rockislander on Instagram) sent me in exchange for a bunch of Mendocino scraps I sent to her. I think some of this she sent me just because, but we both left feeling like we’d got the better end of the deal, so I think that’s a sign of a pretty good swap.

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I don’t know what almost any of these are, though if anyone is particularly curious, I might be able to find out if you ask. My single favourite piece is the second in from the right on the top row. Love that one. If you go see my March Gypsy Wife blocks, you’ll see a bunch of these fabrics in action — the swap was kind of set up so that she would send me things I’d be able to use in the Gypsy Wife quilt, either bright fabrics like this, or more muted ones for my Lower Volume version.

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Again, I don’t know the names of any of this stuff, but they’re going to be great for the quiet Gypsy Wife. When Mari-Ann was showing me fabrics that she could send, I was surprised by how easy it was to love love love the bright fabrics and how much less easy it was with the low volume. I like every one of these fabrics, but they sure don’t set me on fire the way that hot pink one up above does. Maybe that’s why I keep thinking I have no low volume fabrics – they just sink back into the background until I forget they exist, even when I think they’re lovely.

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Old School Tula Pink! So old school it’s printed by Moda, this print is from her Hushabye line and when it came out I kept wibbling over it because I couldn’t figure out why or if I liked it at all and I never bought it, in any case, but now I have a half yard of it, so I’m going to have to find something fun and interesting to do with it!

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And finally, the awesome and luscious and wonderful Hive in Turquoise from Patty Young’s Flora and Fauna line, another oldie but goodie that nearly passed me by back in the day. I bought a bunch of it in a couple of the colours, but for some reason never bought any of the turquoise. Clearly I was nuts because this is so awesome.

Linking up with Molli Sparkles for Sunday Stash!

Tune back in next week for even more from my March Hawthorne Threads purchases. I’m trying (trying!) to let it be enough to talk about fabric I bought last month, so that I don’t break down and buy even more fabric this month. I’ve sort of decided I need to adjust my goal as far as this fabric diet goes, so that instead of trying to buy nothing just for the pat-myself-on-the-back of it, I need to have a particular goal in mind. And that goal is a new sewing machine.

I’ve wanted a new sewing machine for ages, but for a long time I worried that I’d give up on the sewing and then I’d have an expensive machine I never looked at. And then I started thinking, well, the one I’ve got isn’t special, but it sure does work and I couldn’t justify buying a second machine when the first one was functional. But facts is facts and I’d like a machine with at least one or two bells and whistles. My current machine is like… wood blocks and hand claps, so even just one bell and one whistle… I could be happy with that. So the new goal is… try not to buy fabric until the end of August (my birthday is at the end of August, so it feels like a good time to treat myself), and if I’m successful, then I’ll buy the new sewing machine then, rather than waiting until next year, which had kind of been my loose plan.

When I say one bell and one whistle…. that’s because I want a machine that’s pretty low tech, compared to some of what is out there. I’ve been leaning more and more towards getting a straight-stitch only machine. If I still have my old machine, I can use that for zig-zag if I need it (and I rarely use it, to be honest). The couple straight-stitch only machines I’ve read about – I haven’t sewn on one yet – have more harp space and needle down functions and come with an extension table (a much larger one than my current machine has) and more useful to me accessories and so on. They require a little more fiddling – you need to oil them frequently and you have to do all the tension adjustments manually (which I already do anyway) – but I’ve never wanted to pay for a bunch of embroidery functions I would never use or 399 stitch combinations or whatever else. I like the thought of a machine that isn’t 90% computer because omg do computers cause problems or what? (Also, they’re a lot cheaper than machines with all the stitch bells and computer whistles.)

Locally I could buy a Brother PQ-1500S or I could buy a Juki TL2010Q from a store in British Columbia (I’d have to go visit my aunt in BC and bully her into driving me into Richmond to try it out). In general, I’d prefer to buy local, so I’ll likely go try out the Brother one day and see what I think, because I do want to try before I buy, and if I like it well enough, I won’t even bother about the Juki (where would I get it serviced? am I going to go back to BC if something goes wrong or pay shipping to get it back there every time?). I hope, when the day comes, that I wind up liking it as much as I’m hoping I will, because I sure do hate trying to learn anything about sewing machines online. There’s so much mixed information out there and without actually trying a machine, you can’t use online opinions for much… there are as many people who love machine X as people who hate it, and that seems to hold true across pretty much all brands and all price points.

Anyway, yes. Running off at the mouth. So that’s my new goal – stop buying fabric, buy a machine sooner. Otherwise it’ll be August 2015 before I do and I’ll likely wind up changing my mind another half dozen times about all the potential sewing machines I could buy.


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March Gypsy Wife

Well, it’s only taken me until April, but I’ve finished my (brights) Gypsy Wife blocks!

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Here are all my blocks – February and March (plus one bonus hourglass from the future…) – so far. You can see a tiny bit of a couple of my lower volume blocks too down at the bottom, but I haven’t started on those blocks yet…

Gypsy Wife

I started out with the easy blocks, more pinwheels, tiny little pinwheels (I think those central units are 2.5-inches… or maybe they were 3… anyway, small). I really like the framed pinwheels – it sort of makes me want to add more to the quilt somewhere, but then I’d have to start adjusting the sizes of other things to make things fit. The lovely Mari-Ann (@rockislander on IG) sent me some scraps in exchange for some Mendocino scraps I sent her and I bunch of those popped up in these blocks! I’m mostly aiming to cut into larger pieces of fabric for the big blocks in the quilt, but to use scraps in the smaller blocks. There are a lot of little square in square blocks in the quilt, so I think they’ll be great for using up random triangles and weird bits like that.

Gypsy Wife

This is the block that I let hold me up for a long time, the Pershing block. It’s… not as a bad to put together as I expected. But you have to be very careful of all those bias cuts and it helps to sew scant seams throughout and then trim the unit down so that it’s square before adding the next round. It would be really helpful if the pattern had more instruction, like what size each unit should be as you construct it. I kept thinking throughout that I was going to wind up with a too small block and that I’d have to add a half-inch border around it to bring it up to size, but it only wound up about 1/8″ too small all around, which I can live with. It would also be useful to have some instruction on how best to piece the block. I’ve done a lot of traditional piecing in my years of sewing, so I didn’t have issues getting it together, but I think if anyone who was fairly new to traditional piecing were to try it, it would be pretty intimidating. I think pattern writers always have to find that balance between too much hand-holding and not enough, but even just a basic explanation of what to do and when would be helpful for a lot of people.

Anyway, I think I’m going to try to get my April brights blocks done first, then I’ll backtrack and get into the lower volume ones for March and April – I have a week’s holiday in April, so it shouldn’t be an issue, I hope!

Linking up with the Gypsy Wife Quiltalong, being hosted by Ashley at Wasn’t Quilt in a Day:

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This month’s prize is being sponsored by Fresh Modern Fabric:

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Why not come link up too! I know there are more of you out there stitching along than have popped by to link up!

While I’m at it with the link-ups, I better set this as my A Year of Lovely Finishes goal for April – I want to finish all my March and April blocks for my low volume version as well as my April blocks for my brights version. I don’t like being behind, so I better get myself all the way caught up!

A Lovely Year of Finishes


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30/30 Sewing Challenge: Month End

You know, I keep thinking I should have more to show because I’ve spent SO MUCH time crafting this month, but so much of it was absorbed in the beginning of the month with the Radiant Orchid challenge mini-quilt, that once I was finished with that, nearly all my time went into making things I had to make – bee blocks and swap projects. Which, hey, nothing wrong with that, but I still have so much more I wanted to finish this month!

It’s the last day of March, for example, [or the first day of April, even... I fell asleep before I could finished editing this post yesterday] and I didn’t even touch my Gypsy Wife booklet! Not a single Gypsy Wife block sewn in March! But if I get them done by the weekend, I’m still linking up with Ashley at Wasn’t Quilt in a Day.

Beginnings of two #quilts -- lowish volume and loud for the #gypsywifequiltalong

This (rather dreadful Instagram photo in a too-dark room) is where both my Gypsy Wife quilts are at. I’m really, really wanting to get working on these, but that Pershing block is really kind of scaring me – I’ve been having issues with details lately and none of my blocks lately have been working out quite like I hope. Pershing is not a good one for when you’re feeling wibbly about your sewing skills.

I’m also six blocks behind on the Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong! Six blocks!

Layer Cake Sampler QAL... so far...

This is where I’m at though! Loving how this is coming together, although I do feel a little bit like it’s too pink. I’ll have to wait till I have more blocks together, but maybe I’ll need to sash it in a dark purple or burgundy or something. I think I have a bunch of yardage from this line (Eva by Basic Grey), which was meant to be used as backing for a different Eva quilt-in-progress, but depending what the fabrics are, maybe I’ll be able to use it for finishing the quilt.

So what have I gotten done since finishing my Orchid quilt? Well… a couple bee blocks:

Stash Bee Hive #12 March Block Stash Bee Hive #12 March Block

Neither one of them turned out exactly as I’d hoped – I don’t know… the first one came together pretty well, but that second one is a mess of bad points and it’s a little too small and I was really not happy with it. But I kind of love the colours – that domino dot was a great match for that centre print, although I think it’s a lot more green than the recipient was looking for. In any case, I had changed the needle (and thread) in between sewing the first block and the second and it was just a fight to get anything to work properly. I’m not sure what’s the culprit – maybe the bobbin is wound crookedly, maybe the needle has a bad point or it’s slightly misshapen or the wrong size or maybe I’m a poor craftsman who is blaming her tools. In any case, I’m going to start swapping things out and see if something helps.

I also finished a few things for the 4S swap on Flickr… I don’t want to write a full post about those yet, but here is a shot of the drawstring bag I created and the pincushion I tucked in along with some other treats (fabric and candy and chocolate…):

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I feel like there must be more, but I’m drawing a blank on it, so I guess that’s what I’ve been up to with all my 30 minutes (and more) of crafting every day for the last while! Truly, the majority of the month was taken up with this guy, time hog that it was:

Radiant Orchid mini quilt

Linking up with Sarah at Berry Barn Designs for the 30/30 Sewing Challenge. In general I was pretty successful with the 30 minutes a day thing, I think I only missed once on a weekend when I was unexpectedly working nights (but had expected to have time off). It feels like not very much stuff, considering the time I put into it, but crafting really can be a huge time suck. I enjoy it, don’t get me wrong, but it is not a speedy thing, even when something moves along quickly.

Berry Barn Designs

Linking up also to WIP Wednesday at Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced Sew Fresh Quilts


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Lime

[Edited to say: Is anybody else annoyed with Flickr for changing yet again? Where did all my pictures go? Note to self: it now overrides to an embed code automatically (or it is right now...) and I need to change it to HTML and the size I want every frigging time, instead of it remembering what I asked for the last time I got an html code from them.]

So last week in my Sunday Stash post I alluded to the fact that I had a package of fabrics coming from Hawthorne Threads, which contained I couldn’t remember what… well, I actually had two packages coming from them. The first one was illicitly bought (illicit because I was supposed to be fabric fasting), but the second was a gift from the ever lovely Michelle at Factotum of Arts – she sent thank you giftcards to her top commentators when she reached 500 followers. Even though they were ordered and sent about a week apart, they both arrived on the same day last week, and so I’ve gotten the two bundles of fabric all mixed up. In any case, I decided to spread out the sharing of these fabrics, so hopefully if I’ve got something new to photograph and look at all month, maybe I won’t keep wanting to buy more…

So this week it’s all about the greens. I was clearly feeling in a very lime sort of mood when I bought these. I had a bath yesterday that smelled like a pina colada (something from Lush) and my sister thought maybe I’ve turned into a secret drinker, downing cocktails in the bathroom on Saturday evenings, but maybe I’m just in the mood for something tropical. Because it’s snowing. Again. Or maybe I should say Still.

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From the left, we have Squared Elements in Lime and Nature Elements in Lime Sherbet both from Art Gallery Fabrics and Cherries in Key Lime from The Henley Studio’s Retro Bake line for Andover.

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Okay. I’m going to have to stop saying that I hate florals. Maybe I’m just picky about florals? Maybe I just like occasional roses? Whatever the case, from the left we have Vintage Rose in Lime and Featherleaf in Green from Heather Bailey’s Lottie Da and Delhi Blooms in Lime from Amy Butler’s Soul Blossoms.

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In slightly quieter greens, I picked up Finery in Cream from Heather Bailey’s Freshcut line, Confetti Dots in Grass from Dear Stella (I think I should have gotten lime, this is a bit of a dreary green in comparison to the others), and Boho Stitches in Sand from Pat Bravo’s Rhapsodia, which is nearly not green at all.

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And then finally, one very dark emerald green, Foliage in Fern from Carolyn Friedlander’s Botanics line. This one feels quite different from anything else I picked up in these two bundles of fabrics, but it was bought with a specific purpose in mind: to be binding on a quilt I’d eventually like to make, using the Botanics charm pack (and the charm pack of Kona cottons matching the Botanics line). I don’t know what size that quilt will wind up, but I’m thinking I should have bought 3/4 of a yard (instead of the half I did get) just in case. Ah well… I do have some other cuts from that line, so I could just piece it, if I wind up needing to do that.

Linking up with Molli Sparkles for Sunday Stash:
Molli Sparkles

Later this week I promise to be back with, you know… posts about things I’ve sewn, rather than fabrics I’ve bought.

Oh! Oh, also! I should say who won my giveaway from last week’s Sunday Stash! The winner was lucky #13: Cristina from Pretty Little Quilts.


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Sunday Stash: Totalling the Diet Train

If there’s anything I’ve learned from 15 years of failed attempts at dieting, it’s that I’m not really very good at dieting. Chocolate, fabric; it’s all the same. I did great in January, I crashed and burned in February, and now in March I’ve… well, crashed and burned again? I don’t know. Certainly the fabric diet train has been totalled by this second crash, if it wasn’t already written off in the first.

Well, this week I’m hosting Molli Sparkles‘s Sunday Stash link-up and giveaway – arriving a day early here because it’s already tomorrow in Australia ;) – so I guess it’s good that I’ve got a lot of things to show you…

Molli Sparkles

The Mad About Patchwork Stuff:

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I was looking for the pattern on the left and came away with it and the pattern on the right (which, omg, SO MANY PIECES… it turns out the answer to the Enigma – how to make this quilt without y-seams – is all the Half-Square Triangles EVER… seriously, making this quilt will use up your yearly quota of HST).

And somehow all this stuff hopped into the envelope as well:

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The top two are Anna Maria Horner prints from Field Study and as with so many AMH prints, whenever I look at them I wonder WTF I was thinking because I don’t have one sweet clue what to do with them to make them turn into something good. But then someone else will use them and they’ll be brilliant! and amazing! and I’ll have to have them! And so now I do, but right now… I kind of hate them. I suspect I’ve actually bought the bottom print before, one of the prints from Sarah Watson’s Indian Summer line… I really need to clean up my sewing room and get my fabric back in order by colour so that I can actually see what I have.

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There was also a bit of Joel Dewberry love going on because I also bought two different Tile prints from his Notting Hill line as well as the Frames print. Love the colours in these ones. I always say I hate pink, but I LOVE that pink print ridiculously.

The Hawthorne Threads Stuff:

This is still en route and I’ve deleted the email with the invoice so …. it’s a mystery. But I bet it’s good.

The Fabricland Stuff:
I shit-talk Fabricland a lot because mostly it has a lot of not terribly great fabric, but I went there looking for hardware to construct a bag and discovered that they have a new collection of fabrics they’ve got labelled “Anna’s Fabrics” and if you read the selvedges or even the bolt ends under the Anna sticker, they are actually designer fabrics from companies like Andover and Robert Kaufman. I don’t actually love any of the fabrics I picked up from that line, but I was so weirded out that I somehow walked away with .5 metres of each of these:

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Ric Rac Rabbits by Marissa and Creative Thursday for Andover fabrics

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Fiesta by Jennifer Sampou for Robert Kaufman.

They also had a section for fat quarters:

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I picked up a handful of different things, aiming mostly for ones that had the printed side of the selvedge. No info on the blue strawberries or roses. The blue and white is from Paris & Company by My Mind’s Eye for Riley Blake. The grey with dots is something Christmas related also for Riley Blake (the selvedge is too hard to read). No info on the elephants, I just thought they were sort of fun and weird. The next two are both Rocket Launch Club prints by Sarah Jane and the last one is Ombre Dots from Riley Blake.

And finally… The Craftsy Stuff:
It’s just that Craftsy is having a Tula Pink workshop and and and… I barely like most of the prints in this line, but it’s Tula Pink! I love Tula Pink!

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And it involves a lot of 2.5″ strips of fabric, which made me wonder if the mystery is going to be something like her pixelated Anchor quilt! Or maybe it’ll be something like the butterfly quilt! I do know that, no matter what, my quilt will have a lot of horse’s asses in it:

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A 2.5 inch strip is apparently NOT the thing to do with that print. Besides horses’ behinds, there are also hoppy bunnies, which feel like a weird addition, as they’re too sweet and simple and graphic compared to the more realistic style of the rest of the animals and the… busy-ness of many of the other prints. It’s like some kind of Easter novelty fabric that accidentally slipped into the mix. It’s pretty cute, though. Wouldn’t it make a great skirt for a little girl?

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Love that geometric print too. I’ll have to dig through those jelly roll bundles and see what I think of the other fabrics, because I didn’t really like Acacia much either until I saw it in person and then suddenly all those bits I thought were weird seemed to come together.

Anyway… that’s it for this edition of Kristel Has No Self Control. Except that there is a giveaway to go along with the link up! Link up any time this week and you’ll be entered to win…

A fat eighth of the only sparkly fabric I own, something or other from Kokka:

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Two charm packs of Parson Gray’s World Tour line (they only have 12 charms each! why so stingy, FreeSpirit?!), because we all know how Molli feels about David Butler:

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And one charm pack of Amy Butler’s Belle line:

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Now, show us what you got!

1. Link up a blog post welcoming any new sewing supplies to your stash.

2. If it is fabric from your existing stash that you’ve showcased before, please use new photos with as much natural light as possible, and provide as many manufacturing details about the fabric.

3. Try to leave a comment on at least two other links. We want this to be a safe space for sewing supply collectors, after all!

4. Grab the button from Molli Sparkles, and proudly proclaim you endorse Sunday Stashing!

Sigh. I wish WordPress would let this be hosted on site, rather than sending you away to link up! In any case, I’ll let Mr Random pick a winner – you can be from anywhere – after the link up closes at the end of the week. Best of luck and can’t wait to see what’s new in your stash!


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Radiant Orchid Mini-Quilt

It took me a long time to warm up to making a project for the 2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge – I didn’t have many purples in my stash, even fewer of them in that sort of reddish-pinky-purple that Radiant Orchid seems to be, and I just didn’t have any ideas. But then I read a blog post at Mary Corbet’s Needle ‘N Thread that introduced me to the hand over-dyed threads produced by Colour Complements. Mary was running a giveaway for threads from their Etsy shop and I got sucked into thread heaven, a place filled with pretty, pretty cotton and rayon, and I forgot the giveaway entirely: I just had to buy some thread immediately.

2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge...

I paired up my sampler pack of threads (three sizes of perle cotton, a rayon chainette, and another very fine rayon thread) with three shades of Kaffee Fassett shot-cotton – Grape, Granite, and Lilac. I choose very quiet fabrics because I wanted to try out something called Kantha quilting and I wanted the stitching to pop, rather than blend into a busy print background. Kantha is a type of embroidery used in parts of India and Bangladesh to give new life to old saris – women would stack up several layers of old, worn saris and stitch them together using a running stitch which could be done in long straight lines or could used to create patterns or pictures. Most of the newer kantha quilts I’ve seen are done exclusively with the running stitches running across the quilts with little extra decoration, but if you do a Google image search or even go to Wikipedia, you can see pictures of some of the more decorative patterns that can be made with Kantha quilting.

Radiant Orchid mini-quilt

I did a little bit of both types, I suppose, since I did largely just straight lines, but also interrupted myself to include a very literal interpretation of the Radiant Orchid challenge. (So literal that I also brought an orchid home so that I could do a triple orchid take – plant, representation of the plant, colour named after the plant.) Because I was working with a sampler pack of threads, I had a little of a lot of varieties of thread, but not a lot of any of them, so I did five repeating rows of (six) different threads, which I also hoped would give it a nice texture and maybe kind of draw the eye around with the different shades of purple and pink (and little splashes of gold) .

Straight Stitching

I stitched the whole thing without a hoop or pins or anything – it was small enough it didn’t feel like it needed much support to keep it together, though I did start with the rayon thread and stitch it every 1-inch or so to help stabilize it enough that I really really didn’t have to worry. I was surprised by how much (overall) I enjoyed the process of stitching – it felt like it should have been tedious, but I didn’t get tired of it until I was near the end and using the worst of the threads – a 100% polyester (which feels scratchy and horrible) and the very thick perle cottons, which my needle was resistant to threading and which then didn’t want to take more than a single stitch at a time. The sparkle chainette (the one with gold flecks) was also a bit difficult because it was incredibly stretchy: I started with a piece of thread the width of the cloth and somehow managed to stitch TWO full lines without starting another length of the stuff.

Orchids

I free-hand stitched the orchids following a tutorial from Drago Art. For the flowers, I used another variegated perle cotton, this one in a blue-green-purple blend, but I found it sunk back into the background too much, so I outlined a lot of it with a very pale lavender DMC floss. Unlike the rest of the stitches in the piece, that back stitch does NOT travel to the back of the quilt – it’s all on the surface. A third thread was used to stitch the stem – it’s maybe a little too bright, but I like it anyway, so we’ll pretend I didn’t say that.

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Anyway, this project absorbed a lot of my time throughout the first couple weeks in March, so much so that I feel like I should be sick of it now, but I’m pretty proud of how it all came out. It kind of dresses up that weird little nook in the strairwell/kitchen along with that print of one of Rodin’s Cambodian dancers and the actual orchids. My sister will likely hate the purple, so it won’t last there too long, I don’t imagine, but eventually it’ll go dress up my Mum’s house for spring.

This was finished on 17 March 2014 and stitched entirely by hand, by me. The binding was sewn to the front and hand-stitched to the back. The fabrics are all Kaffee Fassett shot cottons: the binding is “Grape,” the front is “Granite” and the back is “Lilac.” The threads are all from Colour Complements, except for one shiny purple one (directly above the gold flecked rayon) and the orchid outline, which are both DMC, though one is cotton and the other a horrible, scratchy Polyester. (Seriously, I don’t recommend it.) The quilt measures 15.5″ x 19″ and it is nameless, as are most of my quilts.

This was also my Lovely Year of Finishes Goal for March (goal post here), so success on all fronts!

2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge My Button


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30/30 Challenge – Week Two

So the sewing for 30(plus) minutes a day thing is going over pretty well! Unfortunately, I spent most of my time working on the same project, so it’s not a very exciting show and tell for the week:

More Radiant Orchid

It is done now, though, so it should be more interesting from here on out! But yes, this is my Pantone Quilt Challenge project… but I’m still keeping it under-wraps, a bit, because I want to stage my photos a little bit and I need to either do it at work (where I have access to some props, and thus I need to do it in the middle of the night while no one is there to wonder WTF I’m doing and why they’re paying me to do it) or I need to buy one prop in particular and bring it home and do it on a sunny morning. So.. all you get to see still is some rows of stitching and my four finished corners. I love when stitching binding and you round that last corner and there’s just a few more inches of binding to go. Best part of a project.

I also stitched up another two blocks for the Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong:

Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong

I LOVE this block. (I don’t love the wrinkling, though.)

Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong

I had a slightly more frustrating time with this block – it just wanted to wrinkle all over the place and the corners wouldn’t line up and it drove me slightly made in general. But I’m trying to just let it go! It won’t be horrible in the finished quilt, it’ll just be another block.

I’m still two blocks behind and I was going to stitch them up on Monday, but I got distracted by the prospect of making a sample drawstring bag for the 4S Swap (Simple and Sweet Scrappy Swap) on Flickr. I had some purple fabric in a heap near my sewing table (rejects from early in the Pantone Quilt Challenge process) and really, really wanted to use that Anna Maria Horner fabric from Dowry:

Drawstring Bag

It’s such an easy little project to make, and I think every single one I’ve seen has looked great. I added a little flange to mine to emphasize some of the blue in the print and to tie it all in to the lining fabric. It might have been a slightly brighter blue than it needed to be — the perils of choosing fabrics in a mostly dark/ill-lit room — but I love it anyway. I don’t know what I’m going to do with this bag, probably I’ll give it away eventually, but making it was all for my enjoyment, and I did.

Linking up to The Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and 30/30 Sewing Challenge at Berry Barn Designs and Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced Berry Barn Designs Sew Fresh Quilts


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Books books books

One of my greatest weaknesses in life is books. I love books. I love owning books and reading books and using books and all of that. But they take up so much space and I’ve moved a lot, so I’ve hauled around so many boxes of books that my back hurts just thinking about it. So a year or so ago I decided to quit buying them, unless it was by an author I really love or unless I knew it would be something I’d make a lot of use of. I live in a big city with a big library, so I started borrowing library books instead. (For years I wouldn’t borrow library books because I hated how dirty the books felt, so let’s not talk about the time someone tested library copies of Fifty Shades of Grey and found the herpes virus on it. And let’s remind ourselves that that happened in Antwerp.)

Anyway, I’ve been pretty good on the book buying front – I’ve only bought a couple craft books in the last couple years – Camille Roskelley’s Simply Retro, Ayumi Takahashi’s Patchwork, Please!, Cherri House’s Urban Views, Cheryl Arkison and Amanda Jean Nyberg’s Sunday Morning Quilts… – up until the last couple weeks. I blame Tom and Lorenzo of TomandLorenzo.com because they’ve been talking about their new book, Everyone Wants to Be Me or Do Me, and so I got sucked in to Amazon to buy that because I didn’t want to wait for the library to have an available copy. But, you know… free shipping if you just spend $10 more dollars or whatever…

Recent Crafty Purchases Recent Crafty Purchases Recent Crafty Purchases

I only needed to add one more book to hit the shipping quota, but who can decide? Obviously the proper answer is to not decide at all, just go ahead and get them all!

I wish I hadn’t. They’re all lovely books and I haven’t finished reading them all, but there’s somewhere between very little and almost nothing that I actually want to make from these books. I mean, in a way that’s fine, because craft books aren’t always about finding patterns you want to replicate, so much as finding ideas or inspiration, but I didn’t need this books to get the inspiration I’m likely to take from them. (I might need to exclude the Quilt Lab book from that. I haven’t done more than flip through it yet, but I have a feeling it’s going to be very different from most quilting books I’ve read. I’m still not sure I’ll want to make any of the projects from it, except maybe that Fractal quilt, which I love, but it is a very different take on the quilting thing.)

Speaking of things I’ve bought but probably won’t use,.. is there anyone still out there who hasn’t picked up the newest Quilty magazine?

009

If you’d like a copy – my copy, which otherwise will be recycled on Tuesday – leave a note below. If there’s more than one person, I’ll draw a name on Wednesday, March 19 when I get home from work. I’ll send it wherever – might as well get looked at again before it does get recycled! (I can’t promise anything about anyone who handled it before me, but I can promise I haven’t left any herpes virus or cocaine behind on this one.)

Linking up with Molli Sparkles for Sunday Stash:

Molli Sparkles


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Work in Progress Wednesday

I have been working on things, but you wouldn’t know it, following my blog – I’ve been so quiet lately! I’m having time management issues. I’ve been doing so much crafting I haven’t had time for anything else. Seriously: I had over 100 blog posts to catch up on today (I’ve got it down to 87 at the moment), I’ve got several open tabs for things I want to be doing or linking up to or commenting on… but when I don’t spend time on the internet, I get a lot of stuff done! (Sometimes I think I should cancel the internet for a couple months, see if I could blast through some of the piles and piles of unfinished things I’ve been adding to my WIP collection. But I’d probably just spend more time on my phone…)

Berry Barn Designs

For the 30/30 Sewing Challenge, I’ve been working on my Pantone Quilt Challenge project.

Pantone challenge project...

These pictures are quite old – there’s a whole lot more done than I’m showing here, but all the other pictures I’ve got are Instagram photos – and since taking this picture, I’ve made use of all the threads in this picture, as well as one new one that I had to buy because I ran out of a couple of these. (Sampler packs are brilliant for getting some of a lot of different threads, but not so brilliant when you want to make extensive use of them!) All these threads came from Colour Complements and were one of the sampler packs. I’m really enjoying working with these (except for the sparkle chainette, which I have been using stitched through fabric, but which is too stretchy really to be a good stitching choice. I went and checked out Lorraine’s blog today for more information about it and she doesn’t recommend stitching with it, but using for surface decoration, like weaving through other stitches. It doesn’t surprise me!

Pantone challenge project...

I used this green because it was included in the bundle of threads I’d bought (it wasn’t part of the sampler pack, just an extra little bit to play with) and it’s a little too bright, really, but I’m also not going to pick it out and change it for something different! Since taking this photo, most of the bottom half of the quilt has gotten another 3 rows of stitching between each of the rows you see here. It’s taking forever and ever and ever…

…but it’s keeping me going on the 30 minute challenge thing! And in fact, I’d say I’ve spent significantly more than 30 minutes a day working on it. (It’s almost scary to think about just how much time goes into the making of things. And this will eventually be hung on a wall to be occasionally exclaimed over and then someday put in a garage or estate sale for a couple bucks before disappearing into the ether like it never existed.)

I’ve also been working on Material Girl’s Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong, though I’m currently two blocks behind:

Layer Cake Quiltalong

Layer Cake Quiltalong

I’m using a layer cake of Basic Grey’s Eva line, which came out several years ago. I’ve had this layer cake (and a charm pack) sitting around in my sewing room for a long, long time and since I had enough of that white fabric in the background to cut up into 10″ squares for these blocks… I thought Why not? It felt like a good time to use that pretty fabric. Best to do it before I someday stop liking it, right?

Layer Cake Quiltalong

Layer Cake Quiltalong

I’m really enjoying the process of making these blocks. I’m going to get the next set done today or tomorrow and can’t wait to add to the little pile of finished blocks. Love these things!

Linking up to The Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and 30/30 Sewing Challenge at Berry Barn Designs and Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced Berry Barn Designs Sew Fresh Quilts

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