Work-in-Progress Girl


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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).

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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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Sunday Stash: Indie and Blogger Bundles

I keep writing posts in my head, but not actually sitting down to write them. Here are a couple things I want to talk about:
– the process of quilting the project I’m working on
– why people don’t like certain colours
– why I might never go to Quiltcon (or similar, even though I’d like to)
– creativity vs artistry

Today, though, it’s just all about the fabric. I’ve had fabric coming in by the truckload lately (well, not quite…), so I guess I could talk about that, since I can’t seem to coordinate thinking about those topics up above along with actually sitting down to write. This entry will be about two of the least recent arrivals and maybe next week I’ll do another two. (And by then, I might have another truckload coming, so this burst of spendiness might last me a while in terms of Sunday Stash entries.)

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So first up is my February blogger bundle from Fabric Spark. You probably know I was a bit conflicted about the January bundle – pink and orange and coral and floral and all those things I don’t usually use or pair together – and I think I’m a little bit conflicted about this one too, though in a fairly different way.

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The colours are good, the blender prints are good. The worst I can say about these are that the blue prints are larger than I typically buy in a blender print, but that’s not exactly a bad thing. Mixing up the scale is generally a great thing!

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I’m just a precious baby who never knows what to do with multi-colour prints. Even though I can look at this bundle and see how all the parts come together… I’m just not sure I really love it that way. Maybe it needs to have a few more fabrics added in each of the colours. Or maybe this needs to be a Split It Up and Mix It Into Stash bundle. (Which is exactly what I did with every bundle I got from the Fat Quarter Shop Blogger Bundle subscription, with the exception of John Q Adams/Quilt Dad’s bundle, which I made into a quilt top that I’ve never quilted. Maybe this year will be the year.) I haven’t put it away just yet, though, I figure I should leave it out and let it sort of marinate a bit… maybe I’ll wind up finding some kind of inspiration for it somewhere.

This next batch of fabric is kind of an odd collection in my stash because it’s all sorts of things I don’t like, and in fact I don’t think I like even half the prints in the bundle and there isn’t one single fabric that, if I saw it on a bolt, I’d pick up and buy:

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But damn, do I love it anyway. Pat Bravo’s Indie collection is a mix of a million colours and prints and it’s everything I generally avoid in fabric because it’s just Too Much. And yet it all comes together in some perfect weird harmony that works even though it shouldn’t. Every time I see the collection all together, I just want it completely and so finally I bought it.

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Of this lot, I think the red and green prints on the bottom right are probably my favourite. (Also, notice they’re probably the calmest of the prints I’ve shown.)

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Too much! But I just love the overall vibe of it. I love the richness of the colours. I think it’s got a Bohemian feel. It’s just perfect in some way that I can’t really articulate.

I am hoping to make the same quilt with these fabrics as I’m working on with my first blogger bundle from Fabric Spark; it’s a windmill type block and I think it’s one that will work well with all those crazy fabrics. The only thing is that if I want to use all the Fat Quarters in the bundle, then I needed another five fabrics to make the quilt a decent size. Each fat quarter can create 3 blocks, so I also bought 5 Art Gallery solids, so that I’ll have enough to make 72 blocks, resulting in quilt about 64″ x 72″ in size.

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If I remember right, I picked up Art Gallery Pure Elements in Honey, Fresh Water, Apricot, Nocturnal, and Spiceberry. And since this quilt will be all Art Gallery fabrics on top, I’m really going to need to get a AG backing too. I’m leaning a little toward the floral in the large photo above (probably in blue), but we’ll see what happens. I suspect in the long run I’ll be more interested in finding something a bit cheap, rather than having to order from the US (and pay shipping and exchange and possibly taxes/duty as well), so I might just get whatever Art Gallery fabric is a decent match that is sold by anyone in Canada.

Linking up belatedly to Sunday Stash with Molli Sparkles.


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Sunday Stash

This post has taken me a ridiculously long time to write – I spent half my day fighting with lighting and colour of the photos, as you’ll see below. Most of these fabrics came from Sew Sisters via a gift card from the very lovely Michelle at Factotum of Arts. Michelle had a giveaway for her top commentors and I was one of them! She gave me a gift card to a Canadian shop so that I wouldn’t have to worry about the shipping costs – how sweet was that?

Sew Sisters was one of the first sites to have Carolyn Friedlander’s Doe fabric in stock… but somehow I managed to avoid buying it from there and instead spent the card mostly on discounted fabrics. (You get a lot more that way…)

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On the left is natural light in the morning, from the north east and then on the right is natural light in the afternoon, from the south west. Neither of which is remotely close to the real thing.

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I started trying different settings in my camera, to see if I could sort something out. The left is was “vivid colours” – that bit of carpet left in the photo is actually beige, so you can imagine how much effect there was on the fabric colours. And yet it’s still not as egg-yolk yellow as the actual fabric should look. On the right was a “snowy scene” setting on my camera and it’s the closest I managed to come up with.

I don’t even know how the same piece of fabric could come out so wildly different! Anyway, it’s a Living Elements fabric from Art Gallery Fabrics, and if you go here to their website you can find their picture, “Old Yellow,” which is certainly a better representation.

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When I’m buying fabric without a specific purpose in mind (buying a certain line because I like it or buying for a particular project), I tend to look for fabrics that will fill gaps in my stash – colours I don’t have a lot of or print types that I don’t tend to buy. Considering the size of my fabric collection, I have a surprisingly small amount of orange fabrics, so that’s how this print from My Sunshine by Zoe Pearn wound up in the purchase.

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This orange wasn’t from Sew Sisters, I forget where I bought it, but it’s adding to the orange collection too. This one is from Petal and Plume by Bari J. Really great print.

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But back to the Sew Sisters fabrics, here’s a bit of Pepe in Paris from Riley Blake Designs. I picked it up in two different colourways. I was drawn first to the blue one, below, but I liked this low volume version of it too. The one downfall I would say is that the print is quite large, so I think it’d be hard to really showcase the print in a quilt. It’ll work just fine in small pieces, but it’d be harder to show off the whole row of houses.

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Anyway, I really love it in blue. I should have photographed the selvedge – it’s so cute on this line! The colour marks (why can’t I think what those things are called?) are of a little man in a beret. So cute.

I also picked up a bit of sale priced Carolyn Friedlander, from her older lines Botanics and Architextures. This blue didn’t come out so well in the photograph. It’s a tough one to capture:

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Just like the yellow print, I tried photographing this one in a few different locations and levels of sunlight. It just didn’t take well to photographs. I probably already had some of this (I haven’t put it away yet, so I haven’t even checked!) but Botanics is such a great line and it’s so usable in pretty much everything. So you know. Why not? Despite my enormous collection of blue fabrics, I don’t have a ton of dark blues. Actually dark anything – dark orange, darker yellows, dark purples, etc. This one is probably a bit of a medium blue, but it’s still darker than my usual sky blues and aquas.

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These stripes are some of the best low volume fabrics out there. Love love them.

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And of course a bit of text fabric from Architextures.

I think I’d also got some Aurifil thread, but I can’t remember where I put it, so I didn’t photograph that!

Anyway, it was a pretty good fabric shop. I don’t really love Sew Sisters that much – their fabric focus just doesn’t line up that closely with mine (which is fine, I’m sure there are hundreds of quilters who’d turn their noses up at my favourite fabrics) and their website is also unwieldy at best. I think I’ve been spoiled by sites like Fabric Spark and Mad About Patchwork and Hawthorne Threads that let you search in several different ways – colour, designer, fabric line, etc. Anyway, they do have enough bits and bobs I like that I’ve bought from them a handful of times – most recently during a 20% off yardage sale (which might not be over yet, depending when I get this entry posted), when I ordered a few metres of some Kona cottons and a little bit of Cherie fabric – and I’m certain I’ll be back again in the future (especially with the Canadian dollar so low – I don’t see myself buying from American sites, anyway!).

Anyway, I’d shown an orange print above, which didn’t come from Sew Sisters, and when I bought it, I also picked up a few dark blues. (I forgot where I got it from! They were all in the same plastic bag though.)

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This is one of Art Gallery Fabrics new Prisma Elements fabrics. It’s got a metallic silver print over the blue. Very pretty! I like that the metallic is pretty minimal – I find it makes for slightly stiffer and less comfortable feeling fabrics when it’s applied too heavily.

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This is Metro Living Diamonds in Navy. I’ve had a few different Metro Living prints over the years and they’re always great. And good solid colours – navy, orange, red, etc.

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And finally we’ve got Deco Geo in Navy from Michael Miller. Another good navy, though there’s a lot of white in that print.

So that’s kind of an enormous collection of fabric being added to my shelves instead of taken away… I almost hate to add up the yardage and see what it comes to!

Linking up with the always fabulous Molli Sparkles for Sunday Stash. (Link and blog button on the right.)


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30/30 Sewing Challenge: Month End

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Radiant Orchid mini quilt

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

Berry Barn Designs

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

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced Sew Fresh Quilts


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Lime

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Linking up with Molli Sparkles for Sunday Stash:
Molli Sparkles

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

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


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Sunday Stash, Saskatoon Edition

Well, it’s not quite the Saskatoon edition, more cross-country, I guess, but I did go spend a stack of money at Periwinkle Quilts (Quilting? Quilt Co.? I forget the name…) in Saskatoon. Every time I’m in the city, which is only once every 12-18 months, I stop by and spend some money. When I was first learning to quilt, I did most of my shopping there, so I still like to support them when I can. At the time they had a basket of 5″ charm squares that you could buy individuals from, and that was usually all I could afford – I was a starving student at the time, saving my pennies to buy food, so buying things like yardage was pretty much unheard of for me!

In any case, this was the most recent haul, photographed on my Grandma’s lovely, luscious olive green paean to 70s carpeting:

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That little hedgehog print was the first thing I picked up, and then the others around it were bought because I felt like they sort of went together, somehow. I don’t know what any of these prints are because I didn’t get the side of the selvedge with the name printed on it. (The red is just a Kona cotton. I was pleased to see that Periwinkle had a nice selection of solids – I’m always surprised by how many places don’t carry much in the way of solids, when at least solid white has been standard for years.) The one on the left didn’t photograph very well, but it’s just a pale yellow stripe on white.

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I really liked the one on the left and was hoping it’d match the hedgehog above, and it doesn’t, really, but I think they could still be used together, especially with the one in the middle – it kind of bridges the gap between them. Then again, they’ll all get filtered into my stash and maybe will never be paired up again. More again with no words on the selvedge.

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I was all gung-ho about peach when I was there and I don’t really know why. It’s not really a colour I use much of, but then I wound up putting most of the peaches away and just kept the dot. Love me some dots. (I still am wishing I’d bought some of those Confetti Dots, but never did and now it seems too late with the upcoming fabric diet.)

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These little guys made an appearance the other day – a couple mini-charms of Color Me Happy. I’m half wishing I’d bought myself a couple more of these, since I’ll be into the fabric diet by the time this line is properly released. I really like the green and blue prints in the line (but am not a particular fan of the floral on top or any of the pinks – just not my shade by a long shot).

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And then the last was this little pile of remnants. They had a bucket of these things, which I always like finding in a store. These will be useful for the Gypsy Wife quilt, which uses long strips of fabric for the striped portion.

The cross-country portion of today’s Sunday Stash (being published on upsidedownmagicland’s Sunday, I think) (Upsidedownmagicland is me and some friends’ speak for Australia and New Zealand) was my last purchase from Mad About Patchwork. Rumour has it that I’m going to be getting a gift card from MAP for Christmas, so there’ll be another purchase sometime in the future, but I might wait a little while and really deliberate before I make up my mind what to buy with that.

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I really made this purchase just because I wanted this rainbow bundle of fat eighths (which I think is still available here) and thought I’d better do it now because it probably won’t still be around 6 months from now. So pretty and mostly destined (probably) for the Gypsy Wife quilt to be.

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This was a little bit of yardage I picked up – the olive one is destined to be borders for a proposed Acacia quilt (to do with my 2014 goal of actually using a Craftsy class) (or maybe it was meant to be binding? I can’t really remember and I’m not at home to measure the amount I bought) and the other is just a half yard of a pretty fabric that I liked but had never bought.

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And then last up are these two bundles of 5″ stripes of Nordika and Carnaby Street, both from Art Gallery Fabrics. So lovely to work with! These are also bought with the Gypsy Wife quilt in mind. I want to mix in a fair amount of black/navy blue with various jewel tones, so these will work well for that. Again, this is wanting long strips for putting it together, so I think it should work out, though I guess I can’t be sure what the length is supposed to be for those long strips – hopefully I’ll be able to cut them from these anyway!

Ugh.. okay, the clock has very nearly ticked over into tomorrow (ie. Sunday in my part of Canada and not just in upsidedownmagicland) so I guess I better get this published. On the road again tomorrow, this time for hours and hours and hours and hours to drive back to Calgary. We had a fast flight out – 45 minutes – and now I’m in for a long cold drive with four other people. Ugh. Should have paid the $150 and flown! It might have been worth the saved six hours travel time!

Linking up for the second to last time with Sunday Stash at Finding Fifth. In the new year, the link up will be hosted by Molli Sparkles — there’s a button on the right side of the screen. Look for the sparkles!


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Little Things

I’ve made a lot of little things in the last little while, so here’s a big photodump of an entry talking about all of them.

I guess I should go back in time to the thing I made longest ago, back in September or October, I think, which was a little mini-quilt, based on the Ravenclaw house crest:

Ravenclaw Mini

I made this for Mari-Ann/RockIslander, who is a Ravenclaw. I took a picture of the Ravenclaw crest from online, blew it up a fair bit, traced around the edges of the eagle and transferred the pattern (in reverse) to fusible web. So then I cut it out (using the sharpest cuticle scissors ever, which are so much more awesome for cutting delicate fabric bits than for mangling finger tips) and fused the bird to the background. It’s actually two layers of fused fabric – the background wing was done separately, so that I could use a darker portion of the fabric, which I hoped would give some depth and sort of visually separate the two wings. Then I stitched around the bird, creating feathers in the wings and tail. (You can see a photo of that here from Mari-Ann – my own picture of the back turned out terribly, but I’d already sent it away and couldn’t try for another shot!) In the crest, the stripes run the opposite direction, but I paper-pieced that portion as well, and forgot to reverse that pattern! Oh well.

I like to think that if I were a Hogwarts student, I’d have been a Ravenclaw myself, but I bet I’d have wound up in Hufflepuff because I was really far too lazy a student to have made Ravenclaw when I was in high school. Hufflepuff sometimes seems to be the fall-back house: you don’t fit anywhere else? Well, Hufflepuff it is, then.

Children's Wash Cloths

About two weeks ago I was clearing out some stuff from the plastic cabinets in my sewing room, and I found a pile of children’s fabrics I didn’t even remember I had. I tend to avoid buying children’s fabrics because I never know what to do with them and I don’t have children, so no particular need for items made using children’s fabric. But I do sometimes buy scrap packs of fabric, and I’ve started to amass a fair collection of children’s prints from those scraps and from the occasional times I’ve bought children’s fabrics to make gifts for friends who are having babies. When I found this particular print, I just got the urge to do SOMETHING with it, but it was a small piece of fabric – about 8 to 8.5 inches wide at the largest point by width of fabric – and I couldn’t decide what to do with it. Then I remembered having seen a tutorial ages ago for making wash cloths out of terry cloth and cotton. Well. Terry cloth I’ve got. Several years ago I had the genius plan to make little hooded bath towels for babies. Which, needless to say, didn’t happen. So yeah. Wash cloths. (I didn’t go look for a tutorial because… it’s just not that complicated.) I’m torn between making wash cloths till the end of time (or just the end of that million miles of terry cloth) to use up all the ginormous pile of children’s fabric I didn’t realize I had and just giving away the fabric. I was thinking about getting rid of it all on Sew Mama Sew’s December giveaway day, but to be honest, there’s such a big pile, I’m not sure I’m going to want to pay to ship it all away!

Liberty Pincushion

This is another slightly older one. Back in September I bought some Liberty of London fabric to try it out and see if I’d like it as much as so many people seem to. I don’t. I find most of their prints to be fussy little florals (which is pretty high up my list of dislikes) and while I’m sure it’s wonderful for clothing, it’s so thin that I can’t understand why (some) people want to use it for quilts. Yes, it’ll last for a while, but it’s kind of delicate stuff: I don’t think it’d stand up to continual use in a bed quilt. Anyway, in the pincusion, I blended the slightly thicker than quilting cotton Essex Linen with the slightly thinner than quilting cotton Liberty Tana Lawn, so I used interfacing on the Liberty fabric to give it a little more heft, which probably did it some good. The edges of the cathedral window, particularly near the bottom ends of it, are kind of loose and open in a way I don’t love, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to make them crisper, tighter corners. Maybe putting in a few whip stitches or something to join one edge to the other? (And also, maybe using a thinner fabric than the Essex linen.)

Anyway, you can make your own Cathedral Window pinnie using this pincushion tutorial on YouTube. The first one that I made, above, I made a little larger than the tutorial recommends. She says 10 cm squares for the patchwork back, which is about 4 inches, but I made mine 4.5 inches, and I shouldn’t have because it looks much nicer on the second one, which (though you can’t tell without scale in the photos) I made at the recommended size:

Liberty Pincushion

Okay, the tutorial creates a pretty great pincushion (I think) – I love the cathedral window look and it’s a pretty easy way of creating it – but it’s not the best tutorial out there. The words don’t always line up with what’s being shown in the video and there is one crucial bit of information that doesn’t get talked about that is only shown in text on the sidelines of the video (and if you’re watching the woman’s hands, as I tend to do, you might just miss it). So here’s the most important bit of information: the section that you leave open to turn the pincushion is in the patchwork portion of the sewing NOT when you sew the top to the bottom.

Liberty Pincushion

My stitches are pretty well hidden in the back, but that slightly rippled edge in the top right seam is where I left it open. When I made the first one, I sewed shut the patchwork and left open part of the side, which Did Not Work At All. I had fused on interfacing after stitching the patchwork section, so I had to rip it open and rip through the interfacing, and then restitch it closed by hand after stuffing it. Pain In The Ass.

Anyway, I made this pin cushion (and the following two projects using Liberty fabrics) for Cathy of Blueberry Patch, who won a giveaway prize from me alllllll the way back in August. Yes, it really took me until now to make and send it out. Cathy and I both own shoes made with Liberty fabrics, and I know she’s a fan of Liberty, so when her name was chosen for the prize, I decided to pick up the a Liberty scrap pack (and a couple Fat Eighths) from Pick Click Sew on Etsy so that I could try it out and have some fabric for making the prizes. At the time, I didn’t know what I was going to make with it, but I kind of love all the things I did make.

Liberty Fabric Bucket

The next thing I made was the good old fabric basket from Ayumi’s tutorial at Pink Penguin. This is a great tutorial and a great size and a great way to pull together some of the smaller scraps of Liberty that I’d gotten. The scrap pack had a real mishmash of colours and prints (because I used up all the good red ones in that first pincushion) and I had hard time figuring out how to make them all work together.

Liberty Fabric Bucket

In the end, I just went crazy with the colour combos and didn’t try to match things up at all. I added the little flange of green between the patchwork and linen portions to tie in the lining fabric a little more (especially since there was none of that fresh spring green in the rest of the prints). Some of these prints are just kind of crazy – scroll up to the other photo and look on the far left side at that little carriage print, can you imagine making clothing out of that? who would want to? Anyway, I think it all comes together better than I thought it would, even though there’s nothing in particular tying one print to the next. I used the Essex linen here again, which I think is nice for the base, since it gives it a little extra heft, which helps hold the shape of the basket. (I also put a fair bit of quilting into the basket bottom because I think that helps give it some structure as well. Though really at this small size it doesn’t need too much help. The one larger one I made was too loose and kind of floppy and really could have used a few layers of a nice stiff interfacing.)

Anyway, part of the reason I didn’t have a good grouping of colours to go into this was because I used up most of the red/pink prints on the first pincushion and then I set aside most of the “good” blues (all my favourite ones, anyway…) for making the next item I sent. I don’t have a good photo of this because we’re all light-shunning vampires at my house and I couldn’t find enough sunlight anywhere to photograph it properly, but a Tiny Tree Garland (tutorial/pattern by Noodlehead):

Tiny Tree Garland

I so wish I’d had some blue perle cotton to string these up, but all I had was gold, white, pink (sashiko thread), and red. I went with red because it was the most vivid colour (and white just looked… wrong).

Tiny Tree Garland

I made these using the aforementioned Liberty scraps, but also bamboo felt from TaDaa Studio Felt. I like the bamboo stuff – it’s as soft as nice wool felt, but doesn’t have the allergy issues I know some people have with wool (or the animal ethics issues some vegans have with wool — not that I’ve got that issue myself, but I’ve made things in the past for people who have).

Tiny Tree Garland

I was trying to leave enough space between trees that Cathy could cut it down into a set of seven hanging ornaments if she’d rather use the trees that way (garlands can be awkward! and I couldn’t figure out a NICE way to end the dangling strings – I was sure I had some giant shiny gold beads that I was going to string onto the ends, but I couldn’t find them for the life of me), but looking at the photos, I’m not sure I really left enough string for loops. Anyway, it’d be pretty easy to pull out what’s there and swap in something else. (I did knot the thread on either side of each tree, but… that’s what scissors are for :D)

Anyway, that was my special prize package for Cathy, who received it excitedly yesterday 😀

Okay, jeez. Epic length post here. One last thing:

Flannel-Voile Receiving Blankets

I’ve been all about using things up lately because I’ve been going through another crisis of OMGTOOMUCHSTUFF and these receiving blankets were a way of using up some voile and flannel I had laying around. If I had more flannel in the right colours, I’d use up the rest of my (small) voile stash on blankets just like these. These were made using a Self-binding Blanket tutorial. Mine are a bit smaller than in the tutorial because I only had 1 yd of each cut. I think I cut them in the end to 34″ square for the voile and 30″ square for the flannel, but I can’t quite recall. (I do know neither of the voiles were very well cut yards because I couldn’t get the full 36″ out of them!) Anyway, it came out to about 32″ square for the blankets. They’re not perfect by a long shot – the top-stitching is pretty appalling (I couldn’t find matching thread, so I just went for contrast, but ugh, every flaw is magnified) – but I think they turned out pretty cute anyway. And they’re so lovely and light-weight. Almost makes me want to make a giant bed sized one. (Not that I’ve got a source for extra wide-width flannel or voile, but.)

Okay. 2000 words. That’s longer than some essays I wrote in university. Time to wrap it up.


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Bits and Bobs

I had a to-do list this weekend that felt a mile long. It really wasn’t, but it just FELT like it and it’s all because I left all my sewing commitments for October until the Very Last Second, which made it feel like work instead of fun to finish them up. And they should have been fun! Some of what I was working on I won’t be showing for a few more days, but here are some of the blocks I finished up:

Tall Shoo-fly Blocks

I sewed up four Tall Shoo Fly blocks for my Livejournal Birthday Blocks group. These blocks are quite small (6.5 x 9.5″) so even though we didn’t have to make more than one I’d always planned on doing three or four. I found these hard to photograph, largely because the wall and the background fabric were pretty much the exact same colour. I kept thinking shadows would be a good thing for once since it would help distinguish the blocks a bit. It all looks a bit dingy and underlit, though, doesn’t it? Oh well, I think the blocks came out well, and that’s all I could ask for.

I’m still behind one block for the month for the LJ exchange, but I will get that one done in the next couple days, I hope. But also, I have a quilt I want to get quilted! I’m torn! (Commitments to other people really should come first, though, shouldn’t they?)

Anyway, I also did up my Simply Solids Bee block for October:

Road to Fortune

This is a paper-pieced Road to Fortune block, made for Shena of Apple Pie Patchwork. I don’t know why, but I kind of spaced out the making of this one, doing a unit two days ago and two units yesterday and finally finishing them all up tonight. Somehow I got all discombobulated about where my colours were going to go and it all came out a bit clumped up instead of nicely spread around. Oh well, I think it came out okay and it should blend in with the rest of the blocks by the time it’s all done anyway.

I also finished up my needlebook for the Sweet & Simple Scrappy Swap on Flickr. I’ve shown a lot of pictures of this already, but here are my finally finished shots. And if any of you can find my opps! error, the first one to get it right in the comments will get sent a Fat Quarter in the colour of your choosing. (Things which don’t count: the shoddy stitching on the snap, the not quite round felt, the not quite centred felt, the not quite straightly stitched felt.)

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I said before that this is a taco shaped needlebook, and here it is snapped shut and holding its taco shape all on its own. Yay! The pattern for the needlebook came from Suzuko Koseki’s Playful Patchwork book, but I wound up making it a bit larger than the pattern suggests. You’re supposed to shrink the daisy pattern down to 80%, but I wound up preferring it at full-size. It’s about 8-inches in diametre, I think, but the larger size made it easier to modify the interior a little bit.

028

In any case, the exterior is kind of paean to Japanese design because not only is a pattern by a Japanese designer, but the green fabric is a Japanese print, from a Yuwa Kei line, which might or might not be called Newsprint and Roses. The stitching was done with Sashiko thread that I had in with my embroidery supplies. It’s nice and thick so it leaves a lovely line around the petals. Of which, the yellow fabric is a Lakehouse print, from the Annie’s Seed Catalog line and the off-white is actually a Moda Grunge fabric, though I forget the colour name of it. It’s a kind of off-white or winter white with very pale strokes of green and red brushed through in the grunge pattern.

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The interior has two leaves of wool for storing pins and needles. The green came from a local fabric shop, Traditional Pastimes, and the off-white wool was a gift to me from Jennifer Ofenstein, when she passed off a collection of mostly hand-dyed wool pieces.

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I modified the interior a little by adding this zipper pocket on one side (and if I’d had a second matching zipper, I’d have probably added a pocket on the other side as well). It wasn’t a complicated change, but I do think it made the needle-case a little more useful since otherwise scissors or a skein of thread would just slide out and possibly get lost.

So that’s my needlebook that I sent away for the swap. I was pretty happy in the end with how everything came together, and I really hope my swap partner will like it as lot as well.


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Sunday Stash Magentas

Things are a little upside-down at my house right now, so I might only be posting intermittently until things go right side up again. Or alternatively, I might do nothing but post mindlessly to try to escape the upside-downness. Anyway, a post about fabric, because fabric is fun and what I need right now is fun.

I’ve been a little obsessed lately with this one quilt someone made in the Star Surround quilt-along – you can see it here, and when you go (because you MUST go look!), you should click on that top photo and see it all closer up. Gorgeous. And then there was this beginning, which leans a little more in the magenta realm, rather than the more purple side of the berry tones. So I’ve got this raspberry/magenta + black/grey thing on the brain and it won’t quite go away.

I’ve never been a particular fan of pinks of any shade, which means I haven’t got a really big collection of pink fabrics. What I do have tends to lean more heavily in the just the right direction. But still… if I’m ever going to make a quilt with it, clearly I’ll need more fabric than the little bit I’ve got. So I bought myself a nice selection of magentas and greys to supplement what I’ve already got:

Sunday Stash

In columns, top to bottom from the left:
1 – Trellis in Tulip from ‘Floressence’ by Art Gallery Fabrics, Ladder Dot in Black from ‘Chicopee’ by Denyse Schmidt for FreeSpirit Fabrics, Sonnet in Ruby from ‘Poetica’ by Pat Bravo for Art Gallery Fabrics, Scratched Lines in Grey from ‘Scraffito’ by P & B Textiles
2 – Ladder Dot in Fuchsia from ‘Chicopee’ by Denyse Schmidt for FreeSpirit, Bicycles in Raspberry from ‘Uno’ by Stof, Crosshatch Sketch in Grey from Timeless Treasures, Ribbon Lattice in Fuchsia from ‘Heirloom’ by Joel Dewberry for FreeSpirit
3 – Scribbles in Grey from ‘Scraffito’ by P & B Textiles, Crosshatch Sketch in Lipstick (or is it Berry?) from Timeless Treasures, Beaded Wave in Raspberry from ‘Uno’ by Stof, Crosshatch Sketch in White and Black from Timeless Treasures

Because there is always a disappointment, I’m a little disappointed by the Joel Dewberry print. On Hawthorne Threads website, the photo is taken from such a distance that it looks like a teeny tiny print, when clearly it is not. It’s not that it’s a bad fabric, it’s just that it’s more difficult to use when the blue (or is it periwinkle? it’s hard to tell in the yellow light of my bedroom) pops so prominently. I much prefer the background layering of the blue in the Art Gallery print from the first column, but who knows… when I finally figure out the depth of colour (and the pattern it needs to be used with) for this imagined quilt, maybe that bit of blue/purple will be exactly the extra colour it’ll need.

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1. Alexandra’s magnolias, 2. LIFE PATTERNS MAGENTA, 3. magenta rush, 4. Magenta and Gray II

Just a bit of inspiration from Flickr… So pretty!

Linking up to Sunday Stash at Finding Fifth:

&34;Finding


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Work in Progress Wednesday

It’s work in progress Wednesday and I’m a little torn on what to post about because the thing I’m actually working on is something I don’t really want to talk about! It’s a project for a swap and if the recipient sees it she’s going to look at it and know immediately that it’s for her. But I’m pretty sure she doesn’t read my blog, so I’ll just lock the photo on Flickr (where she might see it) and post it here:

Untitled

What is it, I wonder? Well, not much to see there, but I like it that way. For now anyway!

I’m also thinking about working on my Star Surround quilt, but no photos because I haven’t gotten past the thinking stage yet. (Haha. That’s how I am with everything. My work has decided not to give me the boost in pay that my new job requirements entitle me too, which means I SHOULD be emailing the guy at the union so that he can have that fight with them – which I anticipate losing, but feel the need to fight anyway before stepping down and thinkingreallyhardabouttellingthemwheretoshoveit going back to doing my old job because hell no they don’t get my work for free – but I don’t like making phone calls so I’ve been sitting on the info for a week now and just thinking about calling the union guy.)

Instead, let me tell you about the work-in-progress that is 1. the spending of all the money ever and 2. the acquiring of increasing amounts of stash. And stuff. We can’t forget the stuff, no. Stuff like these shoes, made with Liberty of London fabric:

Liberty Shoes

Cutest shoes ever. Am I wrong? Because I don’t think I’m wrong. As a general rule I don’t like Liberty fabric all that much – it might be the bomb to work with and feel better than any substance known to mankind, but I find so many of their fabrics to be stuffy little florals that just don’t appeal to me. But this stuffy little floral is so sweet it could rot my teeth. Also, they were 70% off at The Bay and for $23, I didn’t have to work hard to talk myself into buying them. (I didn’t have to work too hard to talk myself into buying Lush’s Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub or their Sweetie Pie shower jelly or a Stila eyebrow pencil either, yesterday. It was a spendy day. I got my hair cut and coloured too.)

It’s a good thing I didn’t get over to the Japanese store full of weird and wonderful things like paper balloons and washi tape because a couple weeks ago I found a couple great Canadian online sources for washi tape, Omiyage, which has gotten even more and an even awesomer variety since I bought the tape below, and GreenMunch, which I haven’t bought from yet, but which has some of the coolest eco friendly things I’ve seen in ages alongside a fairly impressive collection of washi tape and bakers twine.

Washi Tape and thread

The thread didn’t come from Omiyage, but from Hawthorne Threads. It’s more drinking-the-koolaid: Aurafil thread. I still haven’t tried either of the spools of it that I’ve got, but I bought this one for quilting a project that I haven’t started yet. (A quilt for my mom, using honeycombs of Happy Go Lucky fabric.) I didn’t order the thread on it’s own. No. No… I bought another pile of fabric to try to put together that baby quilt for an old friend that I talked about in the early days of this bout of stress shopping. On the last go around, I started with 12 fabrics plus a backing material and then only liked 4 of them enough to put them to use in the quilt top. And I’d said I was going to try “shopping my stash” to fill out the rest of the quilt, but I didn’t do that even a little bit. Nope. These were the 12 fabrics, of which only the four in the centre row were going to get used (and four of which have since been re-purposed into the aforementioned Star Surround quilt):

009

And these are the new purchases, of which… some, but not all, will get used:

Fabric Stash

The obvious outs are:
– the white with green loops, Bekko by Trenna Travis for Michael Miller, which feels more like home decor weight (and is 50+ inches wide, so probably is) (and I have no idea what I’ll do with a half yard of home decor fabric in those colours, it doesn’t match anything in my house!)
– the blue and white cross-hatch fabric, from Mini Mikes for Michael Miller, which is just the wrong sort of blue, somehow
– the aqua text print, from Remember by Carina Gardner for Riley Blake, which is also the wrong sort of blue
– the blue running stitch print, from Michael Miller (I forget which line), which is also (say it with me) the wrong sort of blue

I’m left with this batch of fabrics (including the original four):

Fabric Stash

…which does come out to 12 fabrics and which, despite it’s range of blues and reds (the rope letters one is a very orange red compared to the more blue reds in the rest), somehow feels a little more cohesive to me. I may yet dig through my stash for a third green and another orange to tie those colours in a little better or maybe I’ll throw in a scrap or two here and there of fabrics that play with two or more of these colours, so that it’ll all feel a bit more like it fits, but overall, I think it’ll work (with all the extra white fabric that I’m planning to introduce). Now I just have to get it started!

[The unnamed fabrics, for the curious, in that last circle photo are, from the centre, then up and around clockwise from the green/navy circular print: Spot On in Red, wide width for Robert Kaufman; Tile in Navy from Technicolor by Emily Herrick, Michael Miller; Stamen Stripe in Navy from Pure, Stof; Half Moon Stripe in White and Navy from Uno, Stof; Medium (?) Chevron Tone on Tone in Navy, Riley Blake; Small Dots in Navy, Riley Blake; Medium (?) Chevron in Boy, Riley Blake; Bubbles in Orange from Full Moon Lagoon by Mo Bedell, Andover; Small Dots in Red on White, Riley Blake; Sailors ABC in Flame from Out to Sea by Sarah Jane, Michael Miller; Pirate Stripe in Flame from Out to Sea by Sarah Jane, Michael Miller; Side Step in Green from Ikebana, Dear Stella.]

Does that seem like 1. Spending all the money ever and 2. acquiring increasing amounts of stash? Well, the second, certainly, but the money situation hasn’t shown itself to be too out of hand yet… but that’s only because that’s not the end of it all!

This also came from Hawthorne Threads and Bobbie Lou Fabrics, an Etsy shop that happened to have the elephant print in blue:

Fabric Stash

I stumbled over the elephant fabric on someone’s blog a couple weeks ago when I was checking out various Work-in-progress Wednesday posts. I am not a particular fan of elephants, I mean.. I’m all for elephants being in the world, but they affect me not at all. (Except that I really, really loved this elephant statue at the Calgary Zoo and I wonder how it fared in the flood in June.) But I have a friend who has an elephant obsession. She’s one of those people who owns jewellery and figurines and cookie jars and napkins and table trays and every other thing with an elephant on it. She loves them ridiculously, but only if their trunk is facing up. So I stumbled across that fabric and thought, Mandy will love that, I should make her some pillowcases.

All of the prints are from the Madhuri line by The Quilted Fish for Riley Blake. The two solids are Michael Miller’s Cotton Couture, in two colours who’s names I’ve forgotten. (Aqua and…?) I don’t know why I had to get SO MUCH of that fabric, I only needed two yards (one each of two prints) and a bit of something else to make two pillowcases, but instead I have two yards each of the elephants and one yard each of the prints and a half yard of the solids. Whatever thought was rolling through my brain at the time, I really can’t say. (And you’ll note I still haven’t made the pillowcases. So. Go me all around.)

That still still wasn’t the end because one thing I actually needed was enough fabric to make the binding on a quilt I’m working on, so I bought that from Mad About Patchwork, and since I was already there, I added a little more fabric to make it worth the shipping price. (That’s an old, old trick of mine. “I should just add a bit more to make the shipping cheaper per yard of fabric.”)

Stash

I forget what colour it is, but that beautiful red Kona Cotton is going to be a binding (maybe a boring binding, but it’s going to look stunning). The stripe is Kortek from Glimma by Lotta Jansdotter and the yellow is Dandelion from the same line. I saw a guy walking up the street wearing a windbreaker that inspired a mini quilt I intend to make with these two fabrics. (I have it drawn out an everything. Just need to get around to it…) (His windbreaker was not yellow, but black and white. Yellow felt more interesting.) And the final print is that lovely Pebbled Path from Indian Summer by Sarah Watson. That one was just because I like it and because it feels like it’d work for a low volume quilt.

Anyway, 1600 words later, I should really wrap this up. (I talk too much. Mostly its because I don’t have people in my day to day life to talk to about fabric and quilting and to spend time with on these hobbies, so I spew it all out here, where even if people are skimming they’ll still get it in a way the people I know don’t.)

Also, if you’ve made it this far, you should know that yesterday’s post about the Flags for Lac Megantic was my 150th post here at WIPGirl and as such, I’m going to run a give away. If you’d like to be entered, just leave a comment. Maybe you can tell me about something you’ve stashed recently – yarn or fabric or thread for some future project – or… whatever really. Just a comment of some sort. You don’t have to be a follower or anything, if you’ve popped by from one of the Work in Progress link-ups, you can feel free to enter as well. You’ll have to put in your email address to comment, so I’ll be able to contact the winner that way. The giveaway will likely be for something I’ve made, but to be honest… I haven’t really decided yet. (Let me know if you don’t fabric craft – if the winner doesn’t, I’ll make sure not to send fabric :D) Edited to say: I’ll draw a name next Wednesday, so you’ve got a week to get entered, if you’d like to be.

And finally, I’m linking up to The Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced