Work-in-Progress Girl


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Mini Alberta Shop Hop

I went on a little two-day road trip with my parents up to Edmonton this past week. The last couple years they’ve taken me somewhere within driving distance for a day or two as a kind of birthday gift, I suppose. I had originally planned to head down south to Waterton, which is a very pretty spot right up against the border with… Montana, I think, but they had terrible forest fires and so I had to readjust. So I thought I’d go into the mountains and see what’s what in the Lake Louise and Banff areas, but the forest fires in the North-West part of the US are drifting so much smoke up into the mountains that as my cousin (who lives in Canmore) says, ‘The tourists are going to have to photoshop the mountains into their pictures.’ It’s incredibly smoky up here and I can’t imagine how people are dealing with it any closer to the actual fires – I don’t have breathing problems generally, but it hurts to breath when I’m outside.

Basically, I decided to go north – out run the smoke – and we went up to Edmonton. Along the way we stopped at the Danish Canadian National Museum and Gardens in Dickson, Alberta, which I thought was a nice little sort of… work in progress museum. They have some neat things there, including a replica Viking small ship (Gokstadf√¶ring) and some original buildings and exhibits of artifacts from the early days of Danish settlement in Canada. I come from the kind of nerdy family that likes museums and reading display cards explaining things and we’ve all been to practically every tiny, podunk museum in the Canadian prairies so this sort of thing appeals to us.

After that, we stopped in at Nuts for Bolts, a quilt shop in a barn on a farm somewhere in the Red Deer/Sylvan Lake area. It was a nice little shop with some pretty fabrics – lots of Tula Pink! – and I picked up a couple fat quarters:

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I was prepared to say these were Heather Bailey prints – though I’m not sure why I thought that, since I tend to recognize her for her bold colour choices and more graphic style prints than these sweet, pretty blossoms. They all are selvedge-free, though, and I can’t seem to figure out who it is that has done that fan print elsewhere. I’m certain I own some of it in another colour! (That fan print is the one that made me think it was Heather Bailey.) Colour-wise, I’d peg this as Fig Tree Quilts, except that this shop doesn’t seem to sell Moda fabrics. I don’t know – let me know if you know who/what this is!

After that, we stopped in Ponoka, Alberta to see if my cousin Auvrey was working at the quilt shop there, Prairie Points Quilt Shop – by chance she was, and we really lucked out because it was her second-to-last day before quitting!

Fabric

You can’t tell from this photo, but that white fabric is a text print! Naturally, I have no selvedge, so I can’t say what it is. The ghosts were my favourite thing I found in this shop and this seemed to be all they had left of it. No selvedge, of course. (I really fell down on the job of finding out what’s what.) I don’t often like these kinds of novelty prints all that much, but this one was cute and fun. The green is a print from P&B Textiles – I just liked that shade of green!

After that it was up to Edmonton. I spent too much money there, but mostly not on fabric! I went to the Muttart Conservatory, which by chance was hosting an exhibit called ZimSculpt of Zimbabwean stone sculpture. There were some really incredibly wonderful pieces, and I wish I had money to burn because I’d have come home with more than a few if I could have. These are some of my favourite, photographed inside the conservatory’s pyramids amidst the plants that are grown there.

Zimbabwean Sculpture - ZimSculpt

Seated Bather by Gregory Mutasa
Walking by Cosmos Chifamba
Daydreaming by David White <– This is the one I most wanted to bring home and place in my imaginary garden.

Zimbabwean Sculpture - ZimSculpt

Baboon by Wilfred Tembo
Bird Flock by Mike Katsvanga
United Women by Savi Chirwa

Alas, I couldn’t really afford any of the bigger sculptures, but I did pick up this smaller one:

Impala by Willard Bopoto

This is Impala by Willard Bopoto, carved from Fruit Serpentine. Lovely!

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Then I headed over to the Art Gallery of Alberta, which didn’t really blow me away. Only two floors of the gallery space were open and I’d guess that about half of it was devoted to the post-modern art, which isn’t particularly my favourite type of art. They had a few exhibits that I did enjoy, but I also got reprimanded by a guard for standing too close to a painting while I tried to see the detail – it was a very glossy painting and I was trying to look at it from an angle to see if it was actually behind glass or if there was some kind of glaze on it. (I really couldn’t say. I mean, I’m certain it couldn’t have been glass, but none of the other paintings had that kind of gloss on them that glared in the lights – seriously, it was THAT shiny.) Just a head’s up for everyone: accidents can happen to anyone, you don’t want one to happen to you. (I don’t blame the gallery person: it’s their job and it’s not untrue. But the lights are only good when you’re about 8 feet away and if you want to see any detail or even read the tiny type on the info cards, you need to be up close – it’s all shadow between that optimal viewing point and somewhere up fairly close. These also were Baroque era paintings, so they’re generally very dark anyway.)

After that it was one more quilt shop, Earthly Goods Quilting in Edmonton.

Fabric

I have never done English Paper Piecing, but know so many people who love it, so I thought I’d give it a go with this little pin cushion kit. The fabrics in mine are quite different from the pattern picture, but they really didn’t photograph well. They’re all from a Zen Chic line, anyway, in oranges and green and black and white. Very cute.

I also picked up a bit of these Cotton and Steel prints from their Black and White line:

Fabric

This photo kind of looks like I stripped out all the colour, doesn’t it? I had a chat with the shop owner (I think, anyway!) about Cotton and Steel and how she’d only brought in the the Black and White line because she was concerned it wouldn’t sell well and it was interesting to hear it from her perspective. Because I can see where she might not want to take a chance on, say, bowling score cards or whatever. That’s money and it’s going to take up space and it might be a really hard sell.

On the other hand, one of the things I tend to find frustrating about a lot of brick and mortar stores is that they tend to have a fairly narrow range of styles that they bring in (and this does certainly vary from shop to shop depending on the buyer and I assume their target market) and sometimes I think they focus too hard on their older clientele (not that I’m pinning that one on this shop, just a general statement) and don’t think about what might appeal to younger quilters or what might be kind of a gateway fabric for new quilters, regardless of age. There used to be a shop near where I used to live in Calgary, I can’t remember the name anymore, but they had a lot of florals and browns and reproduction prints in sweet, babyish colours or kind of dingy looking greyed out tones. And I’m not saying they shouldn’t bring in those things if they sell, but one the other hand, every time I went there I had to fight to find one or two prints that I felt could work in anything I was making (and I’m really not that modern a quilter!). When it finally closed down, it sort of made sense to me because I could imagine their shoppers aging or dying out of the craft and leaving no one to replace them. I mean, this is a lot of half-formed thoughts and I’m not quite sure what would happen if I were in charge of buying fabric for a shop. Probably nothing good!

Anyway, I think I should have suggested that the shop owner of Earthly Goods consider bringing in some of the basics – they really can go with nearly anything and there’s a nice range of colours and they’re not all weird prints that might sell only to the people shopping for the selvedges (because she did tell me that when she cut Fat Quarters of C+S prints for people, they’d always ask for the side with the selvedge) or for swaps.

Anyway, that was more or less my little trip! Not too much fabric, so I think I did pretty good at keeping myself restrained while still wanting to buy a little bit from everywhere I went!

Linking up with Sunday Stash, hosted by Molli Sparkles!


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WIP Wednesday: Rainbow Text Mini

I’m on vacation from work this week, so I’ve been trying to spend my time working on a mini that’s due to be sent out by August 31. It’s for a swap that requires us to use at least two text prints… I’m using quite a few more than that.

A mini I'm working on for an Instagram swap

I rotated through at least a half dozen options before finally settling on this pattern, Glam Garlands by Elizabeth Hartman from her book Modern Patchwork. My partner seems to be a fan of rainbows, so I dug deep into my collection of text prints to create (most of) a rainbow.

A mini I'm working on for an Instagram swap

I’ve got it all basted and have spent the last 4 hours not quilting it, even though I could probably be (nearly) done by now if I’d just get going on it. I’m a little torn about how to quilt it though – I had been thinking about long lines down the length designed maybe to look like crepe paper garlands or something like that. But then I wondered if that was too boring and thought about maybe emphasizing the garlands by stitching in the ditch round them and then densely quilting the background with pebbles or stippling, so that it sits back and the garlands pop out. I really just need to make a decision because I’m planning to be out of town for three days and it needs to be finished before that so that I’m not rushed in the last day before it needs to be sent.

Anyway, it’s my birthday this week, so it’s time for a giveaway. Basically the winner – who can be from anywhere – can choose from one of two prizes.

The first prize I haven’t really put it together yet, but I’m going to make a scrap bundle of text prints:

Fabrics for a mini I've been working on

This scrap bundle might include bits of all of these fabrics (or it might not – some of them I don’t have enough left to call them scraps really) as well as some of the rest of my giant collection of text fabrics.

And the second prize will be a charm pack of all the prints from Lizzy House’s Constellations line of fabrics.

Both prizes will contain similar amounts of fabric – I’ll aim to have them both approximately the same weight. To enter, follow the prompts on Rafflecopter:

(Deleting the Rafflecopter link.)

(Ugh. I clearly didn’t edit that well. Forgive the misspelling. And make sure you follow the prompt – I will be checking!)

Edited to Add: I can’t figure out how to make this work on WordPress. They do NOT like script based HTML. So let’s skip that.

Same deal, just with me using Random.org to figure out a winner! Please leave a comment below telling me which of the two prizes you’d rather win. That’s it! I’ll be accepting entries until 11:59pm on Tuesday, September 1st and will draw the winner the next day when I’m home from work. Anyone anywhere around the world can enter.

Also, please don’t enter this giveaway into any giveaway aggregate services. I’m happy for anyone at all to enter, but I’d rather it be organically found by followers and people who’ve also linked up via one of the below Wednesday Link-ups.

Linking up with all the Wednesday link ups – check the sidebar for additional links to Work in Progress Wednesday at The Needle and Thread Network, WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced, and Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts.


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Smonday Stash (A day late and, now, many dollars short)

It’s getting on a while since I updated last. Mostly I just kind of wanted a break and summer is always a good time for that, but also I was kind of tired of basically only posting entries when I’d bought fabric. It’s not that I’ve not been working on things – I have – I just couldn’t seem to work up the energy to write about them. And maybe I’m still feeling that way just a little, because I’m going to write today about the fabric I’ve recently bought.

Although I live in a fairly big city with a fair number of fabric/quilt shops, I pretty much never go to any of them. I live in the far north-east of the city and most of the stores are in the south part of the city… and since I don’t have a car that means transit. But yesterday, I sucked it up and took the hour long trip down to My Sewing Room to look for some text print fabrics:

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I don’t usually love Halloween (nor any other season) fabrics, but with these I can largely ignore their Halloween-ness. I don’t know the name of the line these prints come from, the selvedges just say they’re created by Echo Park Paper Co. for Andover fabrics. Oh, and they were from 2013. That purple is just gorgeous, though, isn’t it?

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The colour in this one came out really wrong – it’s a much darker colour than this, more of a bluey-green, something I wouldn’t call a teal, but… well, just not this. I’m not quite sure how the colour leached out of the photo – I photographed all of these in the same conditions and the rest of them came out really close to real life. Anyway, it’s a print from Piecemakers by Kathy Schmitz for Moda Fabrics.

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I don’t know what this print is – I bought a half metre of it and there’s not a scrap of text on any of the selvedge! But I sure do want to fussy-cut some scissors and old-fashioned shoes out of it. The blue in this print is actually the same colour as the blue in the print above and they were stored on the same shelf, so maybe they’re from the same line, but I’ve never known Moda not to print info on their selvedges.

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And finally a bit of Daysail from Bonnie & Camille for Moda. This one doesn’t exactly fit in with the colours of the previous bits of fabric. But I was after text, not matching colours.

I decided also to head to another store, one I’d never been to before, which turned out to be located almost immediately beside one of the train stations, Along Came Quilting.

I spent a stupid amount of money here.

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Hey look – more text prints! Well, first up is the one non-text print in this batch – the red print in the top left is from L’s Modern Basics for Lecien fabrics. Such a great colour. The purple one is an unknown – no info on the selvedge. I don’t really love the blah blah part of it, but it’s not easy to find really purple purples with text on them, so there it is. And then the red text print is from Pat Sloan’s The Sweet Life for Moda Fabrics. My cold dead heart doesn’t like all the uplifting messages on this one either (I rather text that’s random or is largely unreadable or is in another language), but again: it’s a very red, red. Finally, maths. My selvedge is incomplete, but I can see enough to tell this is called Math Genius and it’s been made by Benartex.

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I let myself get sucked in by some super sweet Hello Darling by Bonnie & Camille. I’m not quite sure what it is about their fabrics that makes me buy them, because generally I dislike all things sweet girly pink and floral, but this is at least the third line of theirs that I’ve bought. I’d have bought the green strawberry print if this shop had had it, but they only had two bolts from the line so I guess sometimes you take what you can get.

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An in-store made charm pack of whites and greys. (Love me some low volumes…)

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I didn’t photograph this one particularly well, but it’s a kit for a blanket called a Burrito Baby Wrap. Hopefully I’ll get it made quickly and then you’ll be able to better see it – it’s a very cute idea. (Alternatively, you can see a different version of this blanket here at Along Came Quilting’s website.)

So that’s that fabric binge! I don’t like writing Sunday Stash posts on days other than Sunday, but I was too busy watching Border Security for hours (and hours!) yesterday to get it done. (And today I’ve been listening to the Lore podcast while writing, so if there’s any random asides in here about werewolves or huldufolk, it’s because I was splitting my attention between fabric and the supernatural.)

Linking up with the ever-fabulous Molli Sparkle’s Sunday Stash.

And check back Wednesday. If I’m not too lazy, I’m hoping to update with a work-in-progress post (because I’m working on lots of things!) and it’ll be attached to a giveaway… it’s my birthday week (obviously I deserve a whole week – it’s one of those big, every five years, birthdays) and that means a giveaway for anyone who might still be thinking I might update again one day.


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Orphan Block Adoption

NOTE: This giveaway/orphan block adoption is now over and the winners have been contacted! Here’s hoping they’re all able to make beautiful things about of these unwanted projects!

Do any of you have old works-in-progress or works-not-in-progress that you don’t love and that don’t make you want to make anything? Cynthia of Quilting is More Fun Than Housework is hosting a link up for sending those old unwanteds out into the world where they might be used and loved. I’ve got three.

I will send out the BLOCKS for free, but if you want the extra fabric (where it exists), I’d ask that you pay shipping (or rather, the portion of shipping above what I’d pay if it weren’t included). And you have to understand that I’m in Canada and shipping rates here are often ridiculous. If you ask, I can let you know approximately what it will be. Try to remember that even if it seems high… You’re getting a bunch of free blocks and fabric,.. so it’s probably not that expensive after all. (Don’t worry. I won’t hold you to it, if you’d rather not pay shipping in the end.)

Here’s the thing. I would like it if these blocks were turned into quilts or whatever for charity, but it’s not a requirement. The real requirement is that you’ll use them and hopefully love them. I’m going to keep this adoption post open until Saturday, June 13. If you’re interested in any of the three things I’m posting, let me know by number which you would like to have. If there is more than one person interested in any of them, I’ll draw names for each project.

1. Amy Butler Midwest Modern Sampler

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Fair to say these blocks have spent a few years in a ziplock bag waiting for me to do something, anything, with them; sorry about the wrinkles! There are 12 of the blocks, all of them different, using three different prints, plus the pale pink background.

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I think I need to try this photos again later when the sun comes around the side of the house because they look awfully dreary, don’t they?

I believe I had planned originally to do 20 or 30 blocks and there is quite a bit of fabric left if you have thoughts in a similar direction. (This is the part where you’d pay to shipping, if you’re interested in the extra fabric.)

The print on top right was never used in the quilt blocks – it always seemed too big to cut up. It might work if you wanted to expand the size by alternating blocks with “plain” squares and using this instead of a solid? There’s 1 metre of it. There is approximately half a metre of the floral print to the left, plus assorted off-cut scraps. There is a 12″ x WOF strip of the dotted fabric, and 15″ + 6.5″ x WOF of the stripe. The darker pink wasn’t used in the blocks, but it’s a good match and I think I’d intended to use it for sashing or cornerstones or something to do with a border perhaps. It doesn’t need to be included, but it’s a 1 metre cut. And then finally, I’ve got a huge quantity of the pale pink, about 3 yards. It’s an Amy Butler solid. Again, if you just wanted some rather than all, I’d be happy to cut it down for you.

2. Orange and Green Batik Sampler

I started this sampler at the same time as the last one. They both were part of Crystal of Sonnet of the Moon‘s 2009 Modify Tradition sampler and I didn’t wind up loving either of them very much. (No knock on Crystal – I loved her blocks way way more than mine!) For this one I have 9 blocks, plus a 10th with a different yellow background that I thought made it look too much like my grandma’s kitchen.

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These blocks used a mix of solid gold, orange, and brown plus the orange and green batik for the main fabrics and then a very pale yellow for the background.

If you’d like to pay to have some or all of the extra fabric shipped out, this is what I’ve got left. Of the batik, there is 24″ x WOF. There is about 10″ x WOF of the gold, 14″ x WOF of the pale yellow, 31″ x WOF of the orange, and about 31″ x WOF of the brown. Plus scraps of all.

3. Pink Bento Boxes

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This was originally intended to be a charity quilt that would have been auctioned off at my work for the Breast Cancer Foundation in Canada, but my work has changed the way it does charities and so it isn’t going to work for that any longer. I didn’t photograph it, but if you most solemnly swear to me that it will be used for charity, then I will include a metre or two (whatever I’ve got) of fabric with pink breast cancer ribbons on it, no additional charge. (But seriously, only if it’s for charity.)

There are 16 blocks and they were made by a variety of women across Canada and the US. The particular problem with that is that they’re varying in quality a bit – both in terms of their workmanship and their fabric.

So yes. Check out the other Adoption options at Cynthia’s Orphan Adoption Event. And remember all of this.

1. This post will be open for offers until June 13.
2. If you would like any or all of the things above, leave a comment telling me which, by name or by number.
3. I will draw names if there is more than one person who wants something.
4. I will pay shipping for the blocks only.
5. If you would like some or all of the additional fabric (to be worked out later, once a winner has been chosen), you will have to pay the remainder of the shipping costs. Shipping from Canada is expensive, but our dollar is weak right now, so try to remember a Canadian dollar isn’t going to cost you a full American dollar (or whatever – maybe you’re from a country with a weaker dollar than Canada, though, in which case you should keep that in mind too).
6. If you pay for shipping extra fabric, please remember that YOU are responsible for the cost to send money through PayPal, not me.


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A bit of a belated Sunday Stash: Tula Pink Volume 2

So two weeks ago I posted about my Tula Pink stash, a stash which is probably larger than some people’s entire fabric stash. It’s pretty ridiculous (by my standards, which say that all my fabric should fit into 9 one foot cubes, except that my stash in general has grown rather beyond that, and all my Tula fabric doesn’t even fit inside of one of those cubes!). When I was going through all that fabric a few weeks ago, I had this moment of weakness where I hated the thought that one of these days I won’t be able to get any more of so many of the newer Tula lines – I hadn’t bought much of it before (or so it seemed) – because all these very savvy fabric companies are very good at getting sewists to hoard fabric against the day when it’ll no longer be available and some very savvy fabric buyers are very good at hoarding it all up until just the right point where they can start letting it out in dribs and drabs at insanely inflated prices. (All that Heather Ross Mendocino fabric I bought for $5/yd sells for $25-125/yd if you know where to look.)

And my income tax return came back from the government right around the same time. So, you know. Shopping spree.

I started with Elizabeth, the newest line:

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I really picked and choose with these ones – the stripes I bought mostly because stripes are always useful. There’s nothing about them that reads as especially Tula Pinkish, but that’s okay because they make great bindings. The other three prints, I just picked my favourite colours (except for the pink one, which I couldn’t get in my favourite colour from the shop I was buying from). I wasn’t really sure if I was going to like them or not because I didn’t have a great idea of the scale of the prints from the photos I’d seen online. I like them better than I thought I might, but not so much that I think I’ll buy more of them.

Then I picked up a bit of each of the Selfie prints. I wasn’t really sure if I’d like them because there’s something… a little dead around the eyes, but I decided to buy a bit and see what I thought in person. I like them better than I thought I would! The colours are really great – I particularly like the shades used in the bottom one – and I think I’m warming up a bit to the print itself… they don’t seem quite so flat, or something, in person as in pictures.

And then finally I picked up enough of this Astraea print for a quilt backing. In fact, by mistake I bought the same print twice, so now I’ve got enough to make two quilt backings of it. (I’d wanted a different colourway, and somehow on the same day bought the same print twice from two different shops. When the second one showed up I kind of had a moment of outrage, thinking the shop had sent the wrong thing. But no. It was all me.)

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After that it was rounding out the collection with bits from older lines. These Hummingbirds from Acacia are great blenders.

Cotton Candy Cloud from Bumble is a great kids print that’s still usable in non-children’s projects. (I always prefer subtle when it comes to making things for kids – I’d rather use things that are useful in projects for adults because kids grow up and I don’t want them to grow out of liking something because it’s got babyish prints in it.)

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And then I picked up this little bit of the True Colours line. (Sorry, True Colors.) There was a part of me that really wanted to get a Fat Quarter bundle of the whole line, but honestly I’m not sure if I like the colours in some of the prints! And I’m not sure I like the prints, either. I don’t know. I wish there was a shop near me that would sell these sorts of things so I could at least see if I really liked them or not! Black and red and grey though… those were easy sells and these are really useful prints.

And then finally a little bit more of Fox Field:

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I think it’s pretty obvious how heavily I lean on blender prints in my stash. I think those stars will probably be the hardest for me to use! I don’t really love love love the big wavy prints (I forget what they’re called..) in the top row, but I think the beige/grey one will be good for backgrounds and the red… well, I like the colour less than I’d hoped. But maybe five years from now, someone will want to pay me $20 to take a FQ off my hands… (Probably not. I could be wrong, but I find it hard to imagine the blender prints being the big sellers. It’ll be the 16th Century Selfies and the weird owls I didn’t buy from True Colors and all the other big prints that don’t sink back into the design.)

Linking up with Sunday Stash, hosted by Molli Sparkles –> sparkly link to the right. (Or regular link right here.)


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Sunday Stash: Tula Edition

So about three weeks ago, QuiltsFromTheAttic on Instagram posted a request asking people to share photos of their Tula Pink stash. Because I’m slow, I hauled all my fabric out of my closet, but then took a week to take phots, and then took two more weeks to finally write about it here. (How long will it take me to hit the “Publish” button? Who knows!) Oh… hey, Nicholas has a blog, too! Once upon a time everyone I followed on Instagram was someone whose blog I read, and now it seems I follow all kinds of people who have blogs I don’t even know exist.

Anyway, for Sunday Stash this week I thought I’d give you the complete picture of my Tula stash. I think if you’ve followed me for long, you probably know I have a sometimes complicated relationship with my fabric stash. Meaning I love it and I’m constantly adding to it, but I feel horribly guilty about having and not using so much STUFF. I have a slight aversion to using my Tula Pink stuff too because… what happens when it’s gone?! What if I make something and it comes out ugly?! But it’s pretty ridiculous to own fabric and just… shelve it with no apparent intent to use it. It exists with a purpose in mind, so I’d really like to get it there, you know?

At any rate, here goes…

Tula Pink Stash

When I first started buying Tula Pink fabric I didn’t really know who she was or what she was about – this was when Plume came out. I was in love with the feathers and I’m almost certain that I got my first credit card specifically so that I could buy some Plume fabric online, since I couldn’t find it anywhere in person. Because I was less afraid then of ruining something that already seemed perfect, I whipped most of it up into a quilt top right off the bat (note: I’ve specifically said “quilt top” because I’ve never actually quilted that quilt…), and the bits shown here and in the photo below are about all that are left of it!

Tula Pink Stash

I think of these two photos as sort of the ‘leftovers’ of my Tula collection, by which I mean that they’re bits and pieces where I don’t have anything nearly approaching the whole line. One or two pieces of Prince Charming, a little bit of Hushabye, scraps of Plume. These are pretty much all fat quarters or less, except for the pink birds in the top photo, which I’ve got something closer to a yard of and the red Plume fabric, which I’ve got half a quilt backing of (I sold the other half and then it disappeared into the ether, along with a full shoe box of Tula fabrics). I gave away nearly all of the Moonshine fabric I’d bought, except for these FQs here and some below, which I bought to make into a particular quilt top.

Tula Pink Stash

These four Moonshine fabrics will eventually be a Bright Sky quilt, using the pattern from Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts. These are my most favourite prints from this line – even though there were some cute bits and pieces in some of the other prints, I really didn’t like them much. These butterflies, though? I could keep a bolt in each colour they’re so lovely.

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I’ve actually had a lot of mixed feelings about most of Tula’s newer lines. Foxfield. Not a big fan. I bought that ubiquitous Craftsy kit and then when I saw all the troubles people had putting the quilt together, I put these three jelly rolls and bits of yardage into the closet and didn’t really look at them again. There were a few blender prints that I liked from the line, but by and large it left me cold.

Of course… I also felt the same about Neptune, back when it was still readily available. It took me a long time to come around on Neptune and then I frantically started buying it up once I realized how awesome it is.

Tula Pink Stash

It’s not all in these photos, but I think I added it up once upon a time and discovered that I’ve got around 17 yards of Neptune fabric. Crazy cakes. And yet I won’t share a scrap of it, even with people I really, really like because I haven’t decided yet what I want to make with it and what if I give away some crucial piece that I can never get back?

I am, in all ways, completely irrational about this line of fabric.

When I was buying this fabric, I really hated the coral colourway most of all and so I hardly bought any of it, but now I feel like it’s really important to the collection as a whole – it helps tie everything together and gives spark and life and why didn’t I buy more of it?

Tula Pink Stash

So 17 yards and this isn’t even the complete collection! I know I didn’t buy some of everything, I came late to the party so some things were already getting very hard to find and I wasn’t willing to spend stupid amounts to get it. The only thing that could pry any of this fabric out of my hands is the prospect of trading for the prints I haven’t got. So if you recognize anything that’s missing and want to trade some of something you’ve got for some of something I’ve got… give me a shout! I might (might!) be persuaded.

Tula Pink Stash

I always felt like Saltwater was an attempt to return to the awesomeness of Neptune. I don’t think it got nearly there, though I do largely like it. When I pulled this one out to photograph I discovered that one of the prints is missing! I mean, I think there’s one missing anyway. Shouldn’t there be a green life saver ring? What the heck?!

Stuff

Parisville has long been a favourite of mine. Another one where I’m paralysed by indecision… how can I possibly use it and make the most of it? Because there’s got to be some awesome way of making use of the portraits!

Tula Pink Stash

Because these are sublime. But I’m not even sure that I’ve got complete faces for each of the three looks (ship, lion, and mouse). I sold most of the yardage I had (it was part of that lost shipment) so I haven’t got a lot left to work with, should I ever figure out how best to make use of these.

Tula Pink Stash

This line and Plume made some of the earliest “girly” in-roads into my life. I never liked feminine, girly, pretty things so I was a bit dumbfounded to like this so much, but I really did fall in love with it. When I was a kid I was obsessed by the decadence of some of these earlier time periods – I poured over library books about Faberg√© eggs and royal jewellery collections and the clothing of the late 18th century France – so I suspect this line sort of appealed to that part of me.

Tula Pink Stash

Acacia is another line that I had a bit of mixed feeling about. I didn’t love it immediately and hadn’t planned to buy any, but then I saw it in a store and couldn’t stop myself from buying a bunch of Fat Quarters of the line. I whipped it up into a quilt top straight away, but then never did baste and quilt it. I’m loosely planning to use it for Free Motion Quilting practise, but I guess I need to turn these raccoons into a quilt backing if that’s going to happen…

Tula Pink Stash

My favourite prints in this line were these blues and greens. I’m not quite sure why because the purples are pretty great too. I really love the blenders from this line, but the focus prints – the raccoons are oddly appealing, but those flowers with the weird stems? – are not my favourite. I don’t really get the pineapple slice prints or those butterflies made of plants or the little triangle/butterfly things (what are they?!), which just seem so stiff and angular and geometric compared to the rest.

Tula Pink Stash

The last thing I’ve got is this collection of “bricks” of Tula prints. I took two places in a group that swapped 5×10 pieces of Tula fabrics, so I got two each of all these prints, which I think might get turned into a plus quilt, someday. But then again, maybe not… maybe I’ll just use bits and pieces as the urge takes me. We’ll see, I suppose.

So that’s pretty much the collection. Except that when I hauled these all out of the closet to take photos, I had a minor little panic about all the prints I didn’t buy and how much I might someday regret never having bought them. And then my income tax return came back from the government and… well. I went on a bit of a binge. In fact, I went on a fairly spectacular binge. So next week, if I can get my ass in gear, I’ll post the NEW additions to my own little closet full of Tula fabric. There are yards worth. Yards.

Linking up with Molli Sparkles for Sunday Stash — see the link in the right hand doobly-do, you’ll know it because it sparkles!


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Strawberry Dumpling Pouch Swap

My goodness I’ve been bad about blogging. What I’m going to show you today was in the mail more than a week ago and has already arrived with its new recipient! I participated in another dumpling pouch swap on Flickr/IG, this one with a berry theme. (I’ve previously done a strawberry themed one, which I seem not to have posted about, and also a Christmas one, which you can see near the bottom of this post.)

I was torn for a really long time about what to make for my partner, but I decided to try to make something that kind of… looked like a strawberry. Leaves on the bottom, red all through the top. Here’s the bottom:

Untitled

Not one of my smoother moves. I forgot how much of the green would get swallowed up by seam allowance, and so not too much is peeking through!

Even if I’d shot the photo head on, at dumpling pouch height rather than from above, you still only see about 1/4-inch of the tallest green bit! Oops.

I’m not too upset about it though because I love red (and so did the lady I sent it to) and I love the fabrics I used. I set out mostly to use solids, but I wanted a little extra bit of prints in there too, so my rule with those was that they couldn’t be white on red, but had to be kind of red-on-red prints in some way. I used a Liberty of London print for the lining – it’s not berry related, but the colour was just perfect and it’s one of the very few Liberty prints that I really love.

I wanted to send along something else, so I also made her this potholder, using this gorgeous strawberry girl print that I’d bought a year or so ago on Etsy. I just used some of the extra strips and bits of red that I’d already had cut for the dumpling and kind of cut off the excess bits of linen from around the print. It’s pretty clear I went into it with no plan at all and I quilted it at the same time as I sewed on each strip, so there’s no visible quilting on the front. The binding was actually leftover binding from sometime else I’d made once upon a time (I can’t remember what.. I’m at a loss as to what I might have bound in red!), which was pretty convenient!

Here’s the back. I was all about using scrap fabric with this, so I fished this gorgeous Laura Gunn print out of my scrap bins. The colours all seemed to work, although in the long run it doesn’t match the binding terribly well. I’m not quite sure why I decided to make this into a pot holder (with insulated batting and everything) rather than making a mini quilt to hang, but it made sense at the time.. Pretty much as soon as I was finished though I’d wished I hadn’t put in the insulating stuff because it’s too pretty to put a pot of spaghetti sauce (or whatever, really) on!

Untitled

And then finally, on the day I was sending this away, I happened to pick up a magazine that came with the materials to make a cross-stitch pendant necklace and a cross-stitch… brooch (I think…). I decided to bang out one last little thing to tuck in, chopped the chain for the pendant down to a little keyring size and stitched that up. I was aiming for something slightly berryish, but I thought it was too plain and added in the blue crosses, which turn it all into something much more abstract. I thought it was kind of cute (if maybe probably definitely useless) so in it went.

I also sent some other bits and pieces, but I didn’t photograph them first. Here’s a photo which I stole from Jan, who received this package:

Dumpling swap from Kristel

So I sent a couple roles of baker’s twine in red and green, a strawberry flavoured lipgloss, raspberry balsamic ganache chocolates, fufu berry Jones Soda candies, and a bit of strawberry related fabric. The fabrics aren’t especially visible because of the way I wrapped them up, but there is about a Fat Eighth each of that jam jar print, a print with tiny little blue strawberries, and a Heather Ross strawberry print, which was the one with the white background and kind of orange berries. I had just a single strip of the pink background version, so I wrapped it around the little stack and pinned it closed to keep them in a nice little bundle.

I really hope Jan loves everything I’ve sent her – it was a fun package to put together. (And I got to taste test some delicious chocolates while in pursuit of a berry flavoured chocolate to include… There’s never any complaints from me about chocolate.)


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2015 Finish-A-Long Quarter 2

Finish Along Quarter 1 Dreams

So for Quarter 1 of the finish-along, I had 9 items on my list – the seven in this picture, plus a bonus two, which were Jelly Roll Race quilts made using Sunrise and Sunset Robert Kaufman jelly rolls. Here's where everything is at:

1. Brown and Green Quilt – Finished!

2. Hexagon quilt (Confetti-go-lucky) – Didn’t touch it all quarter.

3. Jelly Roll baby quilt – Didn’t start it.

4. Pink and Orange Windmill Quilt – Finished!

5. Bunny Cross-stitch Mini – Didn’t touch it.

6. Deer Economy Square Mini – Didn’t touch it.

7. Botanics Patchwork Quilt – Didn’t touch it.

8,9. Not pictured in the mosaic above, two jelly roll race quilts – Started on the Sunrise version, shown below.

April Goal - A Lovely Year of Finishes

I don’t know if you’ve ever made a jelly roll race quilt, but you sew together all the strips end to end, then basically fold that super long strip in half and sew it together down the length, and then keep on doing it until it’s longer than it is wide, proportionately. In this photo I’ve got all the strips sewn together, but since then I’ve trimmed off the extra triangles of fabric, pressed everything flat, and gotten started on sewing the strip together for the first join. It is so so so so so boring to sew.

So anyway, my goals for quarter two aren’t too different from quarter one. But I am taking a couple projects off the list – the jelly roll baby quilt and the sunset jelly roll race quilt – because I haven’t started either of them and I’m hoping to finish some of the things I’ve started – but I’m also adding a couple things. The Vintage quilt is one I’ve recently begun cutting out and the others are all swap projects that are due in the next couple months. I may as well add them here since they are things I need to finish!

1. Hexagon quilt – Need to finish quilting it, then trim and bind it.
2. Bunny Cross-Stitch – Figure out a setting to make it into a mini, then sew, baste, quilt, and bind.
3. Deer Economy Square Pot Holders – Figure out how to finish it, get three more made, sew, baste, quilt, bind.
4. Botanics Patchwork Quilt – Baste, quilt, and bind.
5. Sunrise Jelly Roll Quilt – Sew, baste, quilt, and bind.
6. Vintage Quilt – Finish cutting, sew, baste, quilt, and bind.
7. Berry Swap Mini and Dumpling Pouch – Cut, sew, etc.
8. Lizzy House Mini Swap – Cut, sew, baste, quilt, bind.
9. Cotton + Steel Mini Swap – Cut, sew, baste, quilt, bind.

Quarter II Finish Along Mosaic

The photos for the last four aren’t exactly very revealing of anything. The Vintage quilt is cut out a little further than in that photo (which also contains the book photo of Camille Roskelley’s finished quilt). The Berry Swap photo is just a paper-pieced strawberry I found on Instagram. I forgot the maker’s name! (Which is awful! Usually I save the photos for mosaics with the name intact so that I can doublecheck – I don’t know why I didn’t this time!) I don’t have any real intentions of paper piecing a strawberry for my dumpling pouch, I just haven’t quite… worked it out yet, so that’s a placeholder image for sure. The Lizzy House and C+S photos are just fabrics that may wind up involved somehow. Or may not. We’ll see where those projects go…


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Pink and Orange Windmill Quilt

Well, it’s been a lot longer than I meant to be! But I’ve got a finish to share:

Pink and Orange Quilt

I’ve finished my pink and coral and orange and black quilt made using fabrics from Fabric Spark‘s January blogger bundle, which was put together by Jolene of Blue Elephant Stitches. Back in January when I first got the fabrics, I talked a bit about how I found it sort of mystifying collection of colours.

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I expect it was a bit mystifying to me because I’m not generally a very big fan of pink and I don’t really like pink and orange as a combination and I don’t generally like florals and even though I think a splash of black is a good addition to almost any colour palette I sort of found it hard, mentally, to slot this much black in with such sweet colours and prints. But I decided to do something with it straight away and decided on a pattern from McCall’s America Loves Scrap Quilts Winter 2014/2015 magazine, Dutch Breeze by Susan Guzman. I didn’t follow the pattern except to see what width to cut my strips; it was designed for scraps to create a larger quilt and I didn’t want to use more than my original 12 fat quarters, so my fabric strips weren’t going to match up with the pattern in any way (other than width).

008

Twelve Fat Quarters turned out 36 blocks (with very, very little fabric waste) and then I had to figure out how to make it all a little bigger and also not square. I didn’t want a square quilt or a baby quilt, but I didn’t want to add too much fabric either, so I figured out that if I used a centre block with 5×6 blocks, then I could put my remaining 6 blocks around the edges to squeeze another 16″ in width/length out. And I could do it using only 1 yard extra fabric.

Pink and Orange Quilt

It took a little creative piecing of the borders, but I did it! Originally I was going to put five blocks up in the top corner and just one in the bottom left (well, this picture is sideways, because I hung it sideways on the fence, but if you turned it clockwise to stand it on end, then this explanation would make sense…), but I would have had to piece the border fabric in chunks and this way let me use 4 panels cut to 8.5″ x 40.5″ – no extra seams necessary! (Other than adding on the blocks, of course…)

I had wanted to use one of the 12 original prints as the border fabric, but I wasn’t able to get enough from Fabric Spark of any of the prints I was leaning towards, so I wound up choosing this Honeycomb in Marmalade from Bonnie Christine’s Sweet as Honey line. This was probably the better choice in the long run, since it’s uses the colours from the bundle, but also didn’t blend in with any of the blocks that might have butted up against it around the edges. And it had a lot of white, which I thought might help tone down some of the PINK ORANGE FLORAL-ness of it. I’m not sure that it worked in that way, but I can live with that anyway.

Pink and Orange Quilt

I constructed the back using yardage of one of the prints from the front, split up with pieced together scraps left over from making the blocks. I’m not sure why, but somehow I convinced myself that the scraps strips were going to be enough seperation that it wouldn’t matter if I lined up the back when I pieced it. Hahaha no. It looks terrible! But I’m reminding myself that it’s on the back of the quilt and most of the time it’s going to be hidden. What does it matter really, in the grand scheme of it all if the back side is a bit ugly?

Pink and Orange Quilt

I tried to think of this project as a practise piece for free motion quilting, since that’s something I’m always wanting to get better at but rarely willing to really practise. I wouldn’t say I did a great job – there’s lot of little jigs and jogs and I’m not very good at regulating my speed and stitch length or the scale of my quilting.

Pink and Orange Quilt

But I tried to have fun with it. I like spirals, but it took me a while to figure out how to deal with the weird awkward bits where one spiral didn’t fill in to the next space. I’ve still got a long way to go in perfecting them, but I like how it looks finished and I’m just not going to worry too much about the bits that didn’t turn out “perfectly” (because done is better than perfect).

Pink and Orange Quilt

I bound this quilt using a black and white dot from my stash (and a little scrap of honey comb in the corner).

I still haven’t washed it, so it might shrink up a little bit yet, but I think it’s going to look good finished (even if I am a bit iffy about pink and orange still!) And I’m just glad to have it done – it wasn’t a project that should have lasted 3 months, but I guess I’m pretty good sat distracting myself!

Some quilt stats
Name: Pink and Orange Windmill Quilt
Pattern: Dutch Breeze by Susan Guzman
Size: About 56.5″ x 64.5″
Fabric: A fat quarter bundle chosen by Jolene of Blue Elephant Stitches, including fabrics from Cotton + Steel, Jeni Baker for Art Gallery Fabrics, and… others. The border is Bonnie Christine’s Honeycomb in Marmalade from her Sweet as Honey line.
Batting: Quilter’s Dream Wool
Thread: White Aurifil (piecing and quilting)
Backing: Amy Butler’s Pressed Flowers in Carmine from her Cameo line.
Binding: A black and white dot.

This was my March goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes, so I’ll be linking up there and with Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday, hosted this week by Janet at Simply Pieced.


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A Lovely Year of Finishes: March Goal

Okay, so my goal from last month is now my goal for this month. To finish – quilted and bound – my pink and coral windmill quilt. I did get it all basted and I even started quilting it, but I got hung up somewhere along the way because I didn’t like how it was looking… and I unpicked four blocks worth of quilting. (Which was not that much, but still felt like A LOT.)

practise not perfection

The thing was, I was trying to do very large spirals, so that I could do one per quarter block, which is a 4-inch square space. And while it wasn’t a bad idea in theory, it’s actually pretty tough to make a spiral that big! Not just to make one that big, but to make one that big that looks good! I was ending up with a lot of squarish bits on my spirals and jerks because I had to move my hands too far to get the outer ring the right size. (It’s different when you spiral out from the centre, that’s not as tough – you just have to maintain a consistent space between quilting lines, but this is a the kind of spiral where you spiral in and then spiral back out in the empty spaces.) And it was leaving too much of a gap in the centre of the block, so out it came.

Quilting Swirls

This time I’m doing a more organic spiral, trying to fill in the spaces with different size spirals that fill at approximately the same scale. I’m not that good at it – there are bits where I forget to leave room to spiral out and so have lines nearly touching that shouldn’t at all, and then there are some bits where there’s a solid inch between quilting lines. But this is practise and I’ll never get better if I don’t just practise.

Quilting Swirls

I’m still having a pretty hard time with regulating the speed of my hands and speed of my machine… so I’ve got some giant stitches (along the lines of 1/4-inch length) and some very, very tiny ones. I have a tendancy to jerk just a little bit when I first start quilting again after I’ve paused to reposition my hands. And sometimes I panic while trying to decide where to quilt next. I’m trying to work in a fairly logical progression around the quilt (working out from the centre, essentially spiralling around that centre block), but I think just figuring out where to go next might be the hardest thing about free motion quilting.

Quilting Swirls

Seeing this quilt in the machine in the sunshine is kind of making me like this quilt again, which hasn’t always been the case. I’m bouncing back and forth with this one. I bet when it’s done I’ll like it better than I ever thought I would.

If you can see that dangling thread in this photo, that’s because I had to stop here when the bobbin thread ran out. I didn’t feel like picking back my stitches last night (so that I’d have enough thread to buy), so that’s on tap for tonight, if I ever make it off the computer and into the sewing room. But before I go, I wanted to show you some of the more amusing (to me) parts of my quilting set-up.

I sew on a cheapie kitchen table which is taller than standard with shorter than standard kitchen chairs. With the machine on the table, it’s a bit like trying to quilt with my elbows at my ears, so this is my height solution:

Quilting set-up

That would be an Ikea neck support pillow, which was too stiff for sleeping, but is remarkably comfortable for sitting on while sewing, topping a double stack of quilting books (my bum is big – one stack of books isn’t going to cut it, comfort-wise). I don’t always quilt with the pillow on top of the book pile, because it sometimes feels a bit too much like I’m hovering over everything.

Quilting set-up

These books are pushed way too far back on the chair, normally they’re up closer to the edge of the chair so that I can sit on them more comfortably. They add a nice 4 inches or so of height! Some of the books in this stack… it’s the most use they’ll ever see. But the two up top – Sunday Morning Quilts and Shape by Shape – are two of my favourite books in my quilting collection. I’m sorry author-ladies: the fact that I park my ass on your books is not a reflection of my opinion at all! It’s just an added dimension of usefulness in a pair of already magnificent books.

Quilting set-up

Since I’m lifted so far up from the floor, I also need to lift my foot-pedal up from the floor – I’m a short person, so I can’t stretch down to the floor all that comfortably. The plastic box is a rather old piece of Tupperware that I probably inadvertently stole from my mom about 15 years ago. I’ve got it turned the long way now so that there’s more space to rest my foot, but that’s the basic set-up.

The things we do for our hobbies.

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