Mini (mini!) Calgary Shop Hop

I had family up last weekend (Thanksgiving in Canada!) for four days, but somehow that four day stay magically turned into seven days! Which seriously messed with my blog posting schedule! Sorry Mum and Dad, you’re too distracting! Why can’t you let me get on with my busy Internet-time-wasting schedule, like god and nature inten…. oh right. Anyway, my parents, younger sister, and grandma all came out for four days – a longer than usual trip because they were dropping my grandma off at the airport on the fourth day (Tuesday) so that she could fly further west to visit my aunt/cousins in BC. But then my sister was leaving for India for three weeks (work trip) on Thursday, so when my brother-in-law wound up in hospital on Monday (personal information short, he had a couple head wounds, one of which required stitches, and he was left with a concussion and some woozy-making drugs) for several hours, my parents decided to stick around until Saturday to make sure he’d be okay. They ended up leaving Friday because bro-in-law swore he’d be okay (they were concerned that he’d go to work and be too pained/tired/drugged up to drive home – it’s a very long drive to his work) and that he’s got several co-workers in the neighbourhood who could drive him home if necessary. (But then he’s solved the potential issue by just not going to work.)

In any case, since they were here for so long, they decided to spend Thursday doing whatever I wanted. Because I don’t have a car, there are a lot of parts of the city I just never get to (in fact, I don’t go anywhere more than about 2 stops beyond the train stop that gets me to work, 99 days out of 100), so they figured… hey, let’s take Kristel wherever. Well, there was no where I needed to go, so I decided we’d go to a couple quilt shops. Just two, because I had to work a night shift on Thursday and needed to get some sleep beforehand.

So first we went to Traditional Pastimes. I’d never been to this store before. Once, when I first moved here, but after I had a job and could afford to waste money on fabric (rather than just on food and shelter) my mom and I went on a day-long shop hop in Calgary, but we ran out of time before we made it to Traditional Pastimes – it was the last store on the list and traffic was so slow on the way up that it got too late and the store would have been closed before we made it there. With the whole no-car thing I never went there afterwards because I assumed the transit would be ridiculous – probably in the neighbourhood of an hour’s trip one way. Ridiculous!


I wasn’t going to buy much of anything, but I let myself talk myself into things. Too many things. Lovely things.


Two very different patterns. The stitchery one is very… not to my taste. But my mum loves it, so I’m hoping to make a wall-hanging for her with it. I’ll likely change the ‘Spring’ caption at the bottom to just ‘Welcome’ since I didn’t also buy the other 3 season stitches. (And they’re costly patterns, nearly $20 just for the one pattern! They do come with an iron-on transfer, but I think $8-15 is pretty standard any more, at least with more modern patterns, so $20 felt expensive.) The Canada flag… I don’t know. I’ve kind of wanted it and talked myself out of it before because it’s just raw edge appliqué and I feel ripped off (even at $8) paying for an appliqué pattern I could very easily draft myself. But I decided in favour of supporting Cheryl Arkison, even though I think it’s too simple a concept really to need a pattern.


These wool scraps are for a couple different things. The green is for a needlebook I need to make, like, last week. The rest is for the stitchery pattern up above – I decided to do the house and bee-hive with wool appliqué, though the yellow is too bright and so I’m going to have to figure out a way through using a darker colour in the stitching to make it more bee-hive-ish. The houndstooth will be the roof and the grey the house itself.


There’s a project I haven’t shown you yet (because my parents just. wouldn’t. leave.) which is actually finished and which my sister liked well enough that she would like me to make a larger one for her. I enjoyed making that project – which you can see on Flickr if you like, but which I’m wanting to re-photograph before posting about here – so I think I will make a version of it for her and these dots are going to be a part of the new fabric additions.

I find it quite interesting that Traditional Pastimes sells so many rolls of long quarters of fabric. The fat quarter has really taken over the world of small cut sizes, so it felt kind of strange to see so many long quarter cuts in the store. Still, without delving too deeply into the bolts they had on display, I would venture a guess that they tended to stock more in the small to (maybe) medium size print range, rather than anything very large scale, so the long quarter works out well enough. And for this quilt project, I need the full width of fabric anyway, so the long quarter was perfect.


I dithered over this for a long time, picking it up, putting it back, picking it up, putting it back. When Tula Pink’s Acacia line came out, I didn’t think I liked it very much. I made exactly zero plans to buy any of it (and I’m a long time Tula Pink fan), but seeing it in person, in this particular combination of prints/colours, I found myself liking it quite a bit more than I previously thought I did. And now I’ve got to figure out what to do with it! I think it’s pretty awesome, but… I need some plan. I can’t keep stock-piling all her fabric and never using it!

As for the store, should any of you decided to hit up Calgary quilting stores: I think I might like it best of all the Calgary shops I’ve been in (I still haven’t been to all of them, but I have been to most). It sort of feels right to me, in an older building with creaky wooden floors and beautiful things everywhere and bolts and bolts of fabric. They stock a lot of fabrics that aren’t particularly to my tastes, but they did have a nice selection of lines I did like, as well as a fair number of solids, and a lot of books with pretty widely ranging styles. Neither of the ladies I saw working there came up to greet me or offer me help, but that’s not something that bothers me – I prefer to find someone if I need help, and one of them spoke at length to my Mum and the other was helping someone find The Perfect Fabric, so it’s not like they weren’t occupied (at least part of the time). When I did go to pay for my purchases, I talked for quite a while with the lady at the till, which was nice. We commiserated over not much liking Cheryl Arkison’s newest book (sorry, but lifestyle books from pretty much anyone are not my thing, they just make me throw up huge Eff Off signs because oh, for fuck’s sake, get over yourself and your favourite recipes. I’m happy to see a blogger post things like that, but I don’t ever, ever want to pay anyone to offer me tips on how to live my life) and talked about how compelling Acacia is even though we didn’t much think we’d like it (she liked it better once she saw it in use, I liked it better once I saw it in the real world rather than just online). Anyway, she was nice to talk to and that was a bonus.

After that, we went to a quilt shop I’ve been to before, Out of Hand. If you’ve ever been there before, I’m about to make the most obvious of puns, but their stock situation is entirely out of hand. The first time I went there, I was afraid to walk down the “aisles” because there was so much fabric EVERYWHERE that I felt like the entire store was going to collapse in on me. This time it was a little more pared back, but still pretty, um,… overwhelming. I couldn’t tell you what types of fabric they sell there because there was so much to look at you could go down the same aisle three times and see something different each time. One of the ladies who was working spoke to me twice to see if I needed a hand, which was fine, but then she kept wandering by where I was looking at things and staring at me, which sort of made me feel like she thought I was either hiding an ice cream cone in my pocket and intending to maliciously drip all over everything or else like she thought I was planning to steal a bolt or two and felt she had to keep an eye on me. Maybe it was nothing nefarious, but who knows where thoughts come from, they just appear, and that’s the thought that came to mind with her. The lady at the till also seemed… I don’t know. Off in some way. She didn’t greet me, she just took my fabric, wrote out the receipt, then put it on the counter and said “there’s that then” and then rang the total into the debit machine and put that on the counter and said “there’s that” and then put all the fabric in a bag and put that on the counter and said,.. you guessed it, “and there’s that.” She didn’t say goodbye or thank you or fuck off and never return or anything at all. Just “and there’s that.” I don’t know if someone had a burr up their bum, but I certainly didn’t feel welcomed (which wasn’t the case the first time I shopped there – the owner was present that time and she was lovely). And I rather regretted spending nearly $80 there. (Which, as I said, the owner wasn’t present and when I met her, she had a nice long conversation with me about finishing projects and using long-arm quilters and all sorts of things. I’m can’t remember what if anything I bought on that first visit, but we still went away feeling we’d had something enjoyable out of it besides the adventure of possibly dying in a fabric avalanche.)

In any case, fabric:


I started out just with these red and blue fat quarters and I was planning not to buy anything else, but I found (down an aisle I’d been in twice) the 1 yard remnant of the green comma fabric. And then .9 yards (metres?) of the grey pin dot fabric (also from Comma, I think) and the fat quarter of the grey comma fabric. Then I found a rather pretty stack of green and blue fat quarters:


I didn’t think I liked Florence very much, and I still think some of the prints are kind of ugly, but they’re the kind of ugly that plays really well together. I think it could turn into something quite interesting, if I can figure out how to use it. So purchase wise, it was a pretty successful trip. Even if it was kind of unsuccessful from a comfort level. And unsuccessful from a Stop Buying Fabric Until You Start Using Fabric perspective. I think I need to take an inventory of all the fabric I own, and then start keeping a Fabric In, Fabric Out chart.

Finding Fifth

Linking up with Sunday Stash at Finding Fifth:

16 thoughts on “Mini (mini!) Calgary Shop Hop”

  1. I’ve a local store that I have mixed feelings about. 1st time-horrible, 2nd time owner was there and I explained what had happened the 1st time and she was all that was kind and gracious, 3rd time-Same owner berates me for not understanding the rewards program after I ask a question about it (was only the 2nd time is even heard or the program and had no idea how it worked!). Am hesitant about going to the store as it seems 50/50 the treatment I’ll get there. I got some acacia for a Tula Swap I’m in and like it much more in person 🙂

    1. I often wonder what the deal is with things like that, especially in specialty type shops like a fabric store where every bit of business probably really does count! I mean, sure, maybe those people are just having a crappy day, but also, we pay their wages more directly than at, say, a McDonalds where they’ve constantly got a huge influx of people and being crappy to one person won’t affect overall business that much. When I lived in a different part of town I was relatively near a fabric store and I don’t think anyone ever offered to help me in the half dozen or so times I went there, I always felt like they were looking at me like I didn’t belong, which sure didn’t make me want to go spend money there. They’ve closed since. I feel like I heard that the owner was ill, but I’m not really certain about that. I could believe it was a lack of business though, and they sure didn’t encourage new faces!

  2. Well, I’m glad you didn’t get lost in there, but you did pick up some nice pieces! I’m always completely astonished when I find “modern” prints at my local quilt shop, since 90% seem to be traditional, but Denyse Schmidt I always feel is more traditional patterns in modern (unusual?) colour combinations.

    1. I had a thought about how brick and mortar shops (in my experience anyway) seem to focus a lot more often on traditional prints. And, well, vast generalisations ahoy! But I’m wondering if the majority of their shoppers are still people who don’t do a lot of online shopping (and blogging and all the rest of it!), and thus more likely more older quilters, with a more traditional sensibility. Most of the people I know who align themselves with a more modern sensibility “know” that our local shops don’t carry modern, so we buy online where you can find anything somewhere, which unfortunately doesn’t encourage shops to bring in more of those types of fabrics, either. I don’t know, anyway, vast generalisations, as I said. (Because I know young quilters who are quite traditional and older quilters who love modern, and fat quarter shop doesn’t stock all that civil war fabric and batiks and reproductions just in case the modern movement decides to expand its reach, so I’d guess they’ve got plenty of online shoppers in both categories…)

      Anyway, I definitely agree about Denyse Schmidt. She’s found an interesting way to straddle the line between two worlds (which really kind of blend a lot more than a lot of people want to admit anyway).

  3. I’ve been meaning to get to Traditional Pastimes sometime when I’m in Calgary, happily it’s rather near my parents so I won’t have to get to far into the city and now I know not to waste my time anywhere else. Thanks for the perfect review! 🙂

    1. If you want to explore the wilds of Out of Hand, it’s not too far from Traditional Pastimes – if you get on Crowchild and go south for a little ways, you’ll get there. (It’s in a mall plaza, on the right side of the road if you’re heading south — when you turn into the lot, you have to drive to the north end of the parking lot. There’s a Dairy Queen at the south end, a Sobeys to the west I think, and they’re to the north.) I’m going to guess, based on the fabrics I bought (and wanted to but didn’t buy), that they probably have a bigger collection of modern stuff, but it’s probably harder to find. And also, chance of avalanches 😀

  4. I thought I was the only person who didn’t love Cheryl Arikson’s new book. I mean, I like the quilt patterns that are in it. Crossword in particular, but I didn’t like the lifestyle stuff either. I wasn’t prepared to see that in there, since I hadn’t really realized it wasn’t entirely quilt stuff. Oh well. I’m glad to see that you got nice stuff though. 🙂

    1. I only really flipped through it, but it didn’t grab me like the previous book did, that’s for sure. I’m waiting till they get it at the library and then I’ll look more closely at the quilts in it.

      It was nice to pick up some things in person rather than over the internet!

      Sent from my iPhone


  5. Must be kinda cool to play “visitor” in your own town. I like to do that here, too. Just plot out an adventure that I’ve never had time for before. I’ll have to check out some of these spots next time I’m in Cowtown.

    1. It was fun! There’s so much of the city I never see because everything is so spread out here (and then there are multiples of practically EVERYTHING so you can live in a little corner of the city and never go outside of it most of the time).

  6. I sooo appreciate your posts, they are always entertaining and I feel like I’m having a enjoyable (one-sided) conversation with a friend. Ok I’m just guessing here, assuming really, that you’d be of the opinion that we are so different (’cause of the kids thing, the proximity thing, my ineptitude when it comes to sewing thing, my overuse of emoticons and cheerful phrases, etc.) that we couldn’t possibly be friends in real life, but I’d heartfully disagree! You are exactly the kind of real, down to earth, not-afraid-of-throwing-out-an-effenheimer-where-needed kind of mate I keep my eye out for.

    And I agree about Florence… it’s got an old lady kind of thing going on, but it seems to work together. That’s the point, of course, so that’s a pretty obvious statement. And Acacia… that’s one I was excited to see and then… seriously disappointed in. I think I may go for the tone on tone prints and maybe I’ll change my mind altogether as well once I see them in person, too. Oh and for what it’s worth, I think you certainly CAN stock-pile Tula fabric for as long as you like. But that’s coming from someone whose middle name is Hoarder.

    Hope your brother-in-law is better now. Head wounds plural – yikes.

    1. Haha… okay, I’ve never heard that effenheimer thing before, but that’s awesome and I’m almost certainly going to steal it 😀 I do TRY to restrain my f-bombs (both at work and on my blog), so, you know… options are good. Isn’t that one of those good/bad things about the internet? You find people you connect with in some way, but then they’re so far away. Anyway, I’ve never though we’d be too different to be friends (though as a general thing I always assume that I’ll be too shy in person to be friends with people I know online!); I often feel a bit of an odd one out because I never got married/had kids, which everyone I know/in my age range has done or is doing, but if I let that exclude me from being friends with people, I’d never talk to anyone 😀

      Florence, yeah. Old lady for sure. It seriously appealed to me when I saw it in person though! Now I’m questioning my general dislike of Shelburne Falls – maybe I’d have liked it better in person too!

      Haha… I’m scared of turning into a hoarder! I can be very ruthless about throwing away/recycling/giving away things out of that fear 😀 (Haven’t gotten throw-away-happy with my fabric yet, though. That one seems to be one area I can’t talk myself into trimming back on what I’ve got!)

      1. Yeah, I think if I met any of my online friends in person (which I have done, come to think of it) I’d end up being really nervous and therefore overly chatty. I HATE awkward pauses. Anyway, I’m glad to know you’d agree that we have rlf potential. 🙂 I think we all have things we feel exclude us from our peers – for me it’s my height, my weight, and my age. Everyone here seems to be a tall, thin, and young mom, whereas I am the complete opposite. Of course I’m sure I’m not *actually* being excluded, but it does feel that way sometimes. Insecurity is a bitch.

        I wish I had a ruthlessness when it came to purging excess (be it belongings or weight!), but I’m far too sentimental and hang on to everything. Except Christmas cards. They pretty much go right in the trash after the holiday ends. And my weight, well, I’m not at all sentimental about that, but I seem to hang on to it like it’s another child haha!

        1. I get nervous and overly chatty too with strangers 😀 And with people I don’t know well, if I’m one on one with someone. Put me in a big group of people, though, and I just fade away into the background. Sometimes I think it’d be interesting to go to some kind of retreat or con or whatever for quilting, just because there’d be people who are interested in the same things as me. But then I think I’d probably have a terrible time because I’d feel like I had no one to talk to and I’m not good enough at just finding people to talk to. Insecurity, right?

          Oh man, purging excess weight. I wish. After so many years of trying and failing, I’ve decided that maintaining is my goal because I can’t stand how much I wind up obsessing about food when I’m trying to lose weight. It’s just depressing. Anyway, that makes me laugh about Christmas cards – I’m the same, and then I wonder if people would be offended, but meh. Bits of paper, you know? Can’t keep it all!

          1. I prefer to just “blend” as well. I recently attended our local sewing… club, I guess it is, and I was so nervous! I can come across as outgoing, but I’m definitely not. It’s an absolute struggle, or at least it is when I’m face to face with someone. Online is a different ball of wax as I can hide behind my screen. I could never do vlogs as you do – you’re so brave! I loathe trying to make friends. I’m absolutely horrible at it and I’ve been left looking a fool more times than I care to remember which only perpetuates the problem. So there you go! Wow, all sorts of deep thoughts and confessions going on in this thread! Perhaps we should move over to FM LOL!

            Seriously love your goal of maintaining weight. It’s so simple yet brilliant and an option that never occurred to me. I OBSESS about my weight when I’m dieting (and when I’m not for that matter)… maybe I’ll just chill about it and just sort of be ok with it. Maintenance. I like it.

            Total side note, I happened upon an old video of yours and noticed you have a drool-worthy stash of Mendocino. Yeah, um, if you ever want to sell any of it, do let me know. 😀 I’d be happy to take a piece or two off your hands in exchange for one of my arms or legs. 😉

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