Work-in-Progress Girl

Last December Stash

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Okay, so… usually Sunday Stash posts are fun ones to write – who doesn’t love showing off brilliant new fabric?

Here’s some brilliant new fabric:

Joel Dewberry Bungalow

It’s a gorgeous bit of Bungalow by Joel Dewberry. (Did you see what I did there, letting part of the selvage show with just that bit of info? Inspired, says I.) This, as with everything I’m going to show you today, came from Craftsy. It was the fabric selection for the December Stitch-along workshop. I don’t know if I’ll use this for the intended projects, but if I were still buying fabric, I’d be buying a whole lot more of this. Love it. The fabrics, from the left, are Swallow Study in Teal, Doily in Grassland, Zigtone in Grassland, Dainty Daises in Lavender, and Empress in Grassland. The daisy print isn’t my favourite, but I love the colours so much (and how it fits in with the rest of the prints) that I really don’t care that I don’t like the actual floral print. It just works together.

New rotary cutter...

I also picked up this rotary cutter. I’ve been a Fiskars user my entire quilting life and I love my Fiskars cutter, but a lot of people really seem to love the Olfa products so I decided to try one out. I’d tried Olfa years (and years!) ago and hadn’t liked the way the handle felt in my hand, and I think I still prefer the shape of my Fiskars cutter, but this one isn’t so bad really. My biggest issue with it is that I find the locking mechanism kind of… counter-intuitive, maybe. Whatever it is, I never remember to close it after using it. And I dropped an open rotary cutter on my foot once, so I’m usually extremely careful with closing the blades. Maybe it’s because the button on my Fiskars cutter is right by my thumb, so it’s just instinct at this point to shut it, but this one I have to kind of go out of my way to close and it just doesn’t happen a little too often.

Anyway, you may have had the impression from my opening line that this wasn’t going to be a good happy fun post full of good happy fun fabric. And your impression would be right. Because at the same time I bought the gorgeous Bungalow fabric and that nice cutter, I also bought a 50 fat quarter Mystery Box.

Worst ever fabric purchase?

I don’t, as a general rule, buy things that I can’t see first. If I don’t know what I’m getting, generally I’m not going to bother. Too much risk, and I’m not much of a risk taker. But Craftsy had them on for a good price and I thought… well, I like most of what Craftsy sells, fabric-wise; not all of it, certainly, but more than enough. It didn’t seem like such a bad risk, because even though I assumed they’d be selling 50 FQ they hadn’t otherwise been able to sell, surely it’d be part crap, but also part good.

It wasn’t.

What I didn’t know, and what most people probably don’t know, is that Craftsy doesn’t compile their Mystery Boxes themselves. They come to them from their manufacturers, with a set value. This box contains X-amount of fabric/products, but no guarantee as to what those products actually are. So even though I think I probably like, say, 80% of the fabric Craftsy is selling, the Mystery Box might not actually contain anything Craftsy sells at all. It comes from the same manufacturers as their existing products, but that doesn’t mean there is ANY overlap at all. This is what I got:

Mystery Box Fabric

Mystery Box Fabric

Mystery Box Fabric

Mystery Box Fabric

Mystery Box Fabric

Now, the particularly detail oriented among us might be thinking, But wait, didn’t you say it was a 50 FQ box? There weren’t 50 FQs there! And you’d be right, not only did I get fabric so ugly not even a (grand)mother could love it, they also sent me 6 fewer ugly FQs than I was supposed to get.

(Okay. My grandma would probably love some of this.)(I don’t despise all of it. Most of it, but not all of it. The aqua with white circles from Laura Gunn is okay and the elephants are cute enough. Some of the more blendable fabrics will be usable chopped up and mixed into other things.)

You might be wondering what became of this. Did I contact Craftsy to complain, how did they react, etc. I did contact them and let them know how disappointing it was to not only get a box full of fabric I didn’t like, but that there was less of it than there was supposed to be. It took a day or two, but they did get back to me and had this to say:

Thanks for taking the time to reach out to Craftsy, I hope your having a wonderful day! I would love to answer any questions your having regarding your recent purchase of the Craftsy Mystery Box.

When customers buy our Mystery Boxes we can’t guarantee that every customer will be 100% satisfied with the colors and patterns of the fabric. We can guarantee that the fabric will be of the highest quality from our manufacturer. Our manufacturer puts these Mystery Boxes together so even we don’t know what colors and patterns they contain. They do try to add colors and patterns that they feel people will enjoy and use.

That particular Mystery Box did come with 50 Fat Quarters for you to use for any of your future projects. I have mentioned your feedback to our ecommerce team who will follow up with our vendor to ensure this situation doesn’t happen again. We do want to make sure that our members are getting exactly what they paid for. If you’d like I’d be happy to send you 6 more fat quarters to complete your order.

Typically, we do not accept any returns on Mystery Boxes. But if you are totally unsatisfied with the fabric in general I will make a one time exception and accept a return for you.

[…]

In the meantime and as a token of my appreciation I would like to offer you a free class. If you could please let me know if there is a course you are interested in I would love to enroll you in it for free. Please let me know and if you have any other questions, I am always happy to help.

I found myself in a bit of bind after that because one of the things my parents were very big on was Personal Responsibility and in this case, I paid a lower price based on the higher risk of not getting any choice on the contents of my Mystery Box. Personal responsibility says that I need to accept the consequences of my actions, so long as I get what I actually paid for, and they did offer to send out an additional 6 FQs to complete the order. Which is why, as tempting as it seems to return the box full of ugly, I didn’t. I requested they send out the fabric (if it’s en route or not, I don’t know – the specific person I was corresponding with has said that he will “do [his] best to pick out something more to [my] liking that way it’s something [I’ll] want to use” but didn’t mention a timeline) and accepted a free class. (Which might be the easiest offer they’ve got, when a customer is unhappy. I picked the most expensive class on my wishlist. Because I might believe in taking responsibility for my actions, but at least I’m going to get something hopefully good out of the deal!) Another part of the reason for keeping the box was just the shipping costs – it was $15 to have it sent to me and it would have been about $20 to send it back. If I had taken the return option, not only would I have felt guilty for not accepting the consequences of my decision to buy, but I ALSO would have spent $35 for guilt plus nothing concrete. That’s a lot of money to spend on negative feelings – I can generate that kind of stuff for free!

So that was my exciting Craftsy purchase that I was so anxiously awaiting all those weeks after Christmas. Sigh.

But hey! Come back next week to see what the Gods of Gift Certificates and Quilt Backs brought for me. Because that, at least, was a fun purchase, and I love every bit of it.

Which is a good segue into the How Am I Doing on My Fabric Fast portion of this entry. Answer? Not bad. I did make one really big purchase in January — come back next week to see it! — BUT I didn’t break any of my rules to do it. I had a gift certificate from Christmas to spend, so I did that, and I bought the backing for a quilt I haven’t shown here. It’s a completed top, and my rules allowed for purchasing border and backing. No border necessary, but I did need something for the back and now I’ve got it. I think my February goal will be finishing up that quilt. (I might tie it. Probably.)

Linking up with the Fabriholics Anonymous January Check-in at Making Rebecca Lynne and Sunday Stash at Molli Sparkles Sarah Quilts:

FabAnon Molli Sparkles

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Author: clumsykristel

I'm a 30-ish quilter, and occasional sewist and embroiderer. I mostly talk about crafty things I'm working on, or wish I were working on.

34 thoughts on “Last December Stash

  1. So sorry about your mystery box. Quite the let down after your patient wait. Can’t wait to see the finished quilt.

    • Thanks! It’s one I’m excited about, though my excitement always wanes when it comes to the basting part of the process πŸ˜€ (I do it on a table, but it’s just so awkward anyway!)

      But yeah, the distance between the anticipated result and the actual result was kind of ludicrously large.

  2. Oh that mystery box is really something……… are some of the prints even duplicates?! That’s a bit sneaky. Maybe you could group them and sell them off? I’m sure someone would like them lol!

    • There are some duplicates – they do say on the site when you buy it that it may contain duplicates, so I wasn’t too worried about that. But some of the unhappy Mystery Box buyers that I discovered via Google had far more than a few duplicates like I did.

      I suppose its possible someone might buy some of this stuff – some of it is pretty traditional and that does appeal to some people – but I don’t think I really run in the right internet circles any more because I can’t think who those purchasers might be πŸ˜€ (Also, a couple of the less egregiously awful ones might have a life in a quilt my sister wants me to repair for her. (It was made by my Grandma, so it’s got some pretty awful fabrics in it already.)

  3. I love that daisy print and thank goodness the Joel dewberry saved you from the other fuglies! I can’t believe craftsy even sells that box!! I won’t be buying one and thanks for the heads up!

  4. Thanks for sharing your experience with the mystery box, I was considering buying some fabric from Craftsy but with the shipping and duty, it hardly seems like a good deal. I guess you could also see if someone local would swap you for the more traditional patterned fabric.

    • Their shipping rates were fairly reasonable – I paid $15, but it probably would have been ~$30 from most online shops based on the quantity/weight of stuff in the box – and I didn’t wind up paying duty (despite the expense of what I’d bought – I nearly never get charged though, regardless of what I’ve bought). But it was on a good sale, so if it had been good things in the box, it would have been more than worth it. Cheaper still than paying the equivalent from a Canadian shop.

      Anyway, I may wind up donating the most traditional of all that stuff. We’ll see what happens. (I don’t really foresee myself using it, but who knows what can happen, I suppose.)

  5. The elephants are cute. Too bad they didn’t duplicate them. I think I would seek out a local, traditional quilt guild and give that stuff to them. I’ve always been wary of mystery boxes and now I know why. Thanks for the warning.

    • Haha.. yeah, if they were going to duplicate any of them, the elephants would have been the best choice! I think probably I’ll wind up donating some/most of it, whenever I get myself to a store that takes donations. (I travel by transit and the one that’s nearest me is about 1hr by bus and train. So I don’t really go often, if at all. There’s usually more than a year between trips.)

  6. Wow, thanks for the heads up on those mystery boxes! I’ve been tempted a time or two as well and will definitely steer clear now!

    • I spent a while google searching their Mystery Boxes and found quite a few unhappy recipients. I wonder how many emails they get from people like me who aren’t very impressed. Oh well…. I guess I’ll know better for next time I see something like that.

  7. I saw the first photo and thought, meh, but you could use that chopped up and mixed in with stuff. And the. I scrolled down. Wow. That is a box do ugly fabric. Just how many ugly brown fabrics can you fit in one box?!? And it’s heartbreaking when you’ve been waiting for it, with high (ish) expectations.
    The elephants are cute though!!! No sorry. Nothing can save it. Maybe you could give it away as a prize? Or gift it to the local nursing home…?
    Looking forward to seeing what you got with your gift certificate.
    E xx

    • Yeah, it was pretty bad. Here’s hoping the six more FQs won’t be nearly so ugly πŸ˜€ Right now it’s feeling kind of funny, the whole anticipation, build up, massive let down, but it’s possible I may swing back around to a more extreme sort of disappointment over the whole thing.

      Anyway, the new stuff is pretty good (or maybe it’s just looking really good in comparison?) so that’s something to look forward to at least πŸ˜€

      I haven’t decided yet what I’ll do with the fabric. Most of it will not be useful to me at all, even chopped up into bits, so some of it might be donated somewhere. It’d be nice if I could trade it somehow, but most people who like stuff that traditional probably won’t have things I’d want to trade for. >We’ll see.

  8. *you’re, Craftsy Guy. *you’re.

    Because I don’t buy that much fabric, I try to see the good in all fabrics. But that box. Good gracious. Some of those florals are making me cry. What a waste of cotton.

    Maybe hold a giveaway/challenge to see who could transform such atrocities into something lovely? I dunno.

    So sorry for the disappointment. I’m excited to see that quilt that we haven’t seen yet, though!

    • Haha… seriously, eh? I mean, I tend to make a fair number of mistakes typing, but when I send an email I usually wind up checking it several times before hitting the send button! It just looks bad when you’re representing a company… (or yourself).

      I like this image you’re giving yourself of being like… the fabric whisperer or something, coaxing beautiful results out of something not very good at all πŸ˜€ I do have one or two ideas about one or two of the less horrible of the bad fabrics, but I’m still thinking on those. The rest of it… I don’t know, I’m leaning toward donating somewhere.

      If you have time to pop in on TTMT, there may be a pretty crappy view of the finished top…

  9. You made the right choice and you never know when you might need a particular fabric you thought wasn’t much use! Maybe you can swap them in the future too!

    • In my worst case scenario, someday I’ll wind up donating the fabric to someone who can make better use of it than I will. It’s never fun to spend money on something that turns out to be useless to you, but I guess that’s the luck of the draw.

  10. That was ugly fabric….mystery boxes make me nervous too. I went smaller when i tried it and got a bundle I would say it was a little more positive…I got only 2 out of 10 I think I did not like. Craftsy, I feel generally does not cater to the modern fabric at least not largely.

    I hope you got to pick the other 6 FQ. I agree with your choice, though a hard one πŸ™‚

    • Generally I stay away from Mystery Boxes for that exact reason, but it was cheap enough that I let my dumb side get the better of me πŸ˜€ I’ll remember it next time I see something like that, though, and not make the same mistake a second time.

  11. That’s disappointing about the Mystery Box. 😦 There are a few nicer prints there for sure, but nothing that would warrant needing so much of the other stuff. Love the Bungalow stashing though. You can’t go wrong with Joel Dewberry.

  12. That mystery box was even worse than I imagined. I do love those Joel Dewberry bungalow prints though.

  13. i can’t believe they sell this! good lord. so sorry that you were so disappointed. i would have been so sad after getting so pumped up about this! thank god for the bungalow πŸ™‚

    • Yeah, it’s pretty awful, eh? I’m surprised they’d sell something sight unseen like that too, it doesn’t seem like a very sound idea to me, anyway! (I guess they’re big enough that if only a few percent of people are unhappy enough to send in a complaint, then it’s still worth it to sell the occasional bit of ugh.)

      I’m so wishing I’d bought more Bungalow! I had bought half yards of the two honeycomb prints, but especially seeing these ones in person, I just want more more more! πŸ˜€

  14. Ugg. I have to admit that’s pretty bad. :/ I’m so glad you shared this because it’ll definitely make me think twice before buying anything with the word “mystery” in the title… I didn’t really care for the tone of the Craftsy response either.

    • They’re weirdly bubbly about everything — all my correspondence with them started with “I hope you’re having an awesome day” or something similar, which just gets my eyes rolling right off the bat.

      Anyway, the mystery thing…. I usually do avoid them, and I probably will be more careful about them in the future. But I think if it’s a small shop, say someone on etsy or something, and if its someone I know won’t have manufacturer created boxes and I know that I like most of the stuff they sell…. I might go for it. I dunno. I’ll definitely be a lot more wary, anyway.

  15. Obviously you were not having an awesome day, lol! And did he tell you that it “did” come with 50…but he will send you 6 anyway, that’s sort of insulting. Oh, well. I always thought those sounded so exciting and have almost bought one several times. Good to know to just skip it. Thanks for sharing. Glad you got a class….ps, I like the black with white polka dots and roses:)

    • Do you want that black polka dot with roses? Because I haven’t looked at it, but I’m thinking it’s already got your name on it. (Seriously, send me an email with your address and it’s yours!)

      I think he meant that it should have come with 50 (because in my email to them I’d said that I had thought it was supposed to be 50 but that the listing was no longer available, so I couldn’t double check to be sure I’d read/remembered it right). I find the guy I was corresponding with to be sort of weirdly chipper. (Every email started with some variation on hoping I was having an awesome day! I don’t know. Do you ever watch those entertainment tonight shows, where the hosts are always Super! Excited! About! Everything!? That’s the vibe I got off his emails. Like they’re all just sitting in some Craftsy call centre/email response cubicles with extra huge grins on their faces, drinking sunshine from cups made of rainbows and diamonds.)

  16. Ugly fabric happens!;)

  17. Pingback: Random Thursday | Work-in-Progress Girl

  18. I know this is an old post, but maybe not as old as that yellow. Seriously, I think I bought some of it in 1992….shows my age, but still, I figured I’d mention. I think Craftsy is great at making things right. I’d have taken them up on their return offer. It’s not your fault that they mis-represented the mystery packs. They should have said “mystery uglies”.

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