Work-in-Progress Girl


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Sunday Stash: Odyssea

So I’ve been accumulating fabric for close to ten years and for the most part, I’d say I’ve gotten rid of the oldest (cheapest, ugliest) stuff I’d bought, but I do still have some fairly old things that have been taking up space, either waiting for Just The Right Project or things I’d bought just because or even things I bought with a particular project in mind, but then never quite got around to making. I bought this Odyssea fabric with intentions of making this quilt, designed by Charlie Scott for Moda Bakeshop back in 2010. But I never got around to it, and now the tutorial for the quilt is gone. (It can be found, photo free, on the Internet Archive Way Back Machine, but I’m more wibbly these days about using that much fusible web in a quilt. Well, also, I’m more wibbly about cutting out that many circles of fusible, plus fabric. I don’t have a circle cutter and don’t really foresee myself buying one.)

Odyssea by Momo

All my quantities of this fabric were intended for that tutorial/pattern — 2.5 yards of the fish damask for the backing fabric, 1 yard of the swirly seaweed for the inner border and binding, 1.5 yards of the seashell for the outer border. And the layer cake for the interior part of the quilt.

For a little while today I thought I finally had a use for some of it – I’ve already gone and closed the post or I’d link to it – but it was for a baby quilt that uses 36 charm squares (so I’d have had 3 (handmade) charm packs to sell/giveaway after and would have used most of the extra fabric as sashing, borders, binding, and backing. Perfect! Alas, the Mama of the baby in question thought there was too much pink and floral in the mix for a boy’s quilt:

Odyssea by Momo

Fair enough, I suppose! Maybe I should still make it, just put it up for some future baby, but I feel like I’ve got way too many things churning in my head that want/need to be made, without adding still another project to wind up languishing on the heap of In Progress projects.

Linking up to Sunday Stash with Molli Sparkles:

Molli Sparkles

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Sunday Stash: Heather Bailey and Hawthorne Hues Edition

So I was not a winner this past Giveaway Day at Sew Mama Sew or not a winner of stuff, anyway. Per usual, I found a bunch of new blogs to add to the rotation, even though some weeks I don’t have enough time to read all the blogs I already follow. (Fair question: how much more sewing would I get done if I spent less time reading about sewing?) Point being, that’s winning of a different kind, right? I like finding new blogs and new Canadian blogs (or just new to me ones). And also, I kind of won by finding this gorgeous pattern for the Infatuation quilt, which I bought right away (forget waiting to see if I’d win it or not… let’s face it, with 500+ entrants, I probably wasn’t going to!). I thought it would be perfect for using this bundle of Heather Bailey’s True Colors line that had stumbled into a Mad About Patchwork order some time ago.

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The bundle wasn’t quite big enough for the size quilt I want to make, so I started picking up some bits and pieces of Lottie Da, another line by Bailey, to add in with it. Here are a million and one (3) photos of the original line, plus the assorted Lottie Da prints I picked up:

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I didn’t plan it out very well because I got enough prints, but I didn’t get enough of the right sort of prints – I’ve got a spare one that doesn’t fit in, plus I need one busier print to go along with two of the blender prints. Each set of nine fabrics will make up three blocks – except the particularly leafy green one (in the bottom photo) won’t be in the quilt and… something else will be. It’ll probably be another butterfly print from Lottie Da, but I’ve ordered two choices so we’ll see what happens.

I was really undecided about what sort of background to use – I don’t want to pull in pure white (since the fabrics have an off-white background) and so I’d checked Hawthorne Threads to see what solids they recommended and they’d suggested a Michael Miller Cotton Couture grey as well as a few of their own Hawthorne Hues fabrics. I happen to know someone with a nice big stack of Hawthorne Hues in her possession – Michelle at Factotum of Arts – so I fired off an email to see what she thought of the fabric itself. You never quite know with solids – Cotton Couture and the Art Gallery Solids are probably the best feeling solids out there, Kona Cotton is nice to work with but less luxurious to touch, Moda Bella and I have had some tiffs in the past (omg the ripples in the fabric, even when I’ve neither pressed nor ironed), I’ve used solids from a local fabric chain store that was much thicker than quilt shop quality solids, but much more shred-happy… anyway, the point being, without actually seeing and touching the Hawthorne Hues, I was a bit nervous to buy 6 yards for a quilt backing.

Michelle was absolutely magnificent and didn’t just tell me what the fabric was like – somewhere between a Kona and a Cotton Couture in terms of feel – but also got out her own bundle of Heather Bailey’s True Colors line and photographed it up against a dozen or so different colours from the HH line and posted it for me on Instagram! She’s the awesomest! I can’t access IG right now (the last couple updates have made it so the app doesn’t function on my phone any longer), so I can’t show you all the photos she took for me, but from her selections I picked out three different Hawthorne Hues fabrics, plus a light grey Cotton Couture to audition for background fabrics.

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This orange solid from Hawthorne Hues, Pumpkin, was my total wild-card pick. I think it’s interesting and it lifts up everything and makes it all seem even brighter and happier than it already is… but oh my god does it scare me to think of 5 yards of quilt background done up in pumpkin orange. I don’t actually think I can do it!

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Jade, another Hawthorne Hues fabric, is probably my favourite choice. It’s lovely and not so overwhelming as I think orange would be… but I’ve got a finished quilt top that is almost this exact same colour (it’s done in cross-weaves, but it’s a very similar jade). It feels like I should do something different, just because I’ve done that colour before. (I should really get that quilt top basted and start quilting it…)

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Plum Azalea (I think? I’m questioning everything right now!) from Hawthorne Hues is my other favourite. It’s very, very similar to one of the colours from the True Colors line, which is a little scary, because I’d hate to piece it and have those purpley-pink prints kind of disappear against it, but look how the oranges and greens pop up off of it? Lovely.

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I keep calling this grey, but Michael Miller calls it Khaki. I picked this one up because I thought I’d be too scared by the bold colours and need something lighter to fall back on for the background… but it’s awfully dreary, isn’t it? Or maybe I should say that the only reason it doesn’t wind up dreary is that I cropped enough of the grey background out that you get drawn into the bright Lottie Da and True Color prints and sort of forget that background behind it.

But here’s the real issue with this colour:

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What’s that? You can’t tell what you’re looking at because it’s just a big sea of grey? Yeah. Kinda samey, isn’t it? Super duper samey.

I had bought these four colours so that I could do test blocks and see which I preferred, but then I got thinking about it and realized that if I do four test blocks, I’ll have sewn up a throw-sized test quilt! The blocks are 30″, it’ll be a 60″x60″ test! That’s an enormous test! (And yes, okay, I could do a maquette, quilt-style. But I’m not sure I could scale down the curved piece for a maquette.) So yeah, I haven’t quite decided what to do as far as that goes. I’ve got enough of the print and solid fabric to actually make 4 test blocks, so I technically speaking COULD do it… but if I put in that much effort just on the test, am I actually going to want to sew the quilt?

I do need to do at least one proper test block because there is curved piecing and that’s something I’ve never actually done before. Well, I say that. I’ve done it once before. I had gotten some swap blocks long, long ago and one of them was all curved piecing, but kind of badly done, so I pulled the block apart and sewed it together again, to fix the curves. But that was probably eight years ago and I was just fixing a block that had previously been sewn, it’s not like I was starting with crisp new fabric. And I think I did it by hand, which must also make a difference. Anyway, I do need to do at least one test, just to get a bit of curved piecing under my belt, maybe I’ll stop being so scared of it. But I’m not sure I want to do four test blocks. I dunno, I dunno.

Anyway, linking up with the always fabulous Molli Sparkles for Sunday Stash:

Molli Sparkles


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Ugly Stash

So last week I talked a little about having a stash of “uglies” that are fabrics I don’t like or want any more and so some of that was what I gave away for my Sew Mama Sew giveaway last week.

Sew Mama Sew giveaway day prize

I had a few people mention to me that the fabric wasn’t really ugly that they liked it quite a bit, which is fair enough. I didn’t even really think it was ugly, I just didn’t see myself actually using it because the colours just don’t work for me terribly well, nor the prints. It’s easier to lump them all in as Ugly though than to have a bunch of different categories for all my unwanted fabrics. Which is maybe what I should call them, just unwanted.

I have a huge collection of these things. Well, not huge, but huge enough. They sit on the window sill in my sewing room, absorbing sunlight and probably getting faded down the one side. My “uglies” pile is a collection of a bunch of different things – some of these are things that I think look fine, but that I can’t figure out how to use:

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These ships were too big for the quilt I wanted to use them in. I don’t often use this kind of novelty print, so I really don’t know what to do with it! Same with the squirrels. They’re cute, but I really don’t have the least idea in mind for them.

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Sometimes I have no effing idea what I was thinking when I bought them. I mean, I know what my original idea was.. but it was a terrible idea and now I’m stuck with mass amounts of such a terrible print. (One of those I have enough for a quilt back!)

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Speaking of no idea… the manzanita print? Ugh. The couches? Fun, but… what can I possibly do with them? The owls and spiders? So not my style. Some of these aren’t horrible, exactly, but I just can’t work with them. Sometimes it’s the colour (like that yellow print) or the texture (like that gingham, which is heavier than a typical quilting cotton) or the quality (like the pink lattice).

This is a never-ending and un-fun Sunday stash because these are all things I don’t love in any way, so who wants to talk about them?

The rest of these are all things I bought before I could afford to buy nice fabrics, so I’m wary of using them because they’re not maybe the greatest quality.

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Well, there’s the quality issue, but then there’s also the faux tapestry look. I can’t imagine any scenario in which I thought that was a great print, yet I’ve got a couple metres of it in two different colours! The celtic prints… yeah. I originally had the idea of using the Celtic knot prints… in a Celtic knot pattern. That’s not too obvious an idea AT ALL. When I first started sewing, I lived in a town with only one fabric store – Fabricland – and I was working part-time at a place that paid $8.50/hr. I wasn’t ordering fabric online, I couldn’t afford to go into the city to get nice stuff. I just had to deal with what was on the racks, and this was the kind of stuff they had. Fabricland quilting cotton has definitely improved in the last ten years – they sell big brand names now (usually relabelled, but if you check the selvedge you’ll find Robert Kaufman and Riley Blake and so on), but they didn’t back when I first started.

People always tell me I should donate fabrics like these, but honestly someone would have to drive up to my house to get them or else to pay to have them shipped, because the nearest place I know of that takes donations is an hour away by transit (and also, some of this stuff I would donate, but some of it I’d rather trade for). I got rid of about this amount of fabric just before Christmas – mostly florals that my mom had bought me and some childrens prints – and then in my last stash clean-up found this many more. I wonder how much my tastes will have changed in another five years or ten? I guess I should get start using some of my stash, save myself winding up hating it all!

Linking up with Molli Sparkles for Sunday Stash:

Molli Sparkles


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Sunday Stash: Strawberry Patch

Winter for a Year

So I don’t know if you know this about Canada, but sometimes we get snow. And sometimes it lasts forever and ever and ever and ever. It’s May, yes, but it’s been snowing again. Normally when we get snow in May it hits the ground and melts, but it’s only melting on pavement and sidewalks, so the trees and grass are all white and wet and it’s gross and depressing and this winter just won’t end. A month ago I kept taking pictures on Instagram and labelling them #ohmygodawinterforayear, which was a reference to an Arcade Fire song, Winter for a Year:

But the other day I had some mail arrive from China with various different cuts of strawberry print fabrics. Summer in a brown envelope! I’d ordered it because I was participating in a Strawberry Dumpling Pouch swap on Instagram/Flickr (#strawberryswap or Dumpling Swap), but it didn’t arrive until after I’d finished sewing the project with non-strawberry fabrics. Sigh. Thanks, Canada Post, for holding it in Richmond for a couple extra days after saying it’d been processed through customs!

Strawberry fabric

Now that I don’t have a need for strawberry print fabric, I’m wondering what the heck I’m going to do with the stuff! I need a second strawberry swap just to use it up… But then again… WordPress is telling me that yesterday was my 3 year anniversary on WordPress and this is going to be my 222st entry (which I’ve been watching/waiting for), which means it’s time for a giveaway!

Per usual, I’m going to do two giveaways and they’re going to be as follows:

1. A $25 giftcard to my favourite Canadian fabric shop, Mad About Patchwork. You could pick up this Mormor bundle from the Designer Bundles section or Spring Forecast from the Curated Bundles section or, you know, you could get five-sixths of that Shot Cotton Sampler from the Stash Bundles section. (It’s really too bad there’s not a $30 gift certificate option – it’d open a few more doors!) Or you could do like I always do a throw in a little of this and a little of that. I recently picked up a selection of Essex Linen blends and you could too!

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2. The second possibly more boring giveaway will be a hand-made pouch or drawstring bag made with some strawberry print linen, as seen above. It’s not made yet, so you’ll just have to imagine it in your mind’s eye! The winner can choose between a zipper pouch (likely the wide-open pouch from Noodlehead, but it could be a dumpling pouch if you’d like something tiny) or a drawstring bag from the In Color Order tutorial. I will also include some charm squares, cut from my own stash, in the colours of your choosing and, well, who knows what else… something, surely.

I’ll be drawing two names, the first one drawn will get their choice of prize, so if you prefer one giveaway over the other make sure to mention it in your comment. (If the first winner doesn’t mention a preference, than the second name drawn will get their first choice.) Otherwise just leave a comment of some kind and something other than “thanks for the chance!” You could tell me about the weather where you are (though maybe I won’t want to know, if this snow doesn’t go away…) or you could tell me why raspberries are better than strawberries or you could give me your favourite strawberry-based recipe or you could tell me about your favourite place to shop online or what kind of swaps you like to participate in or share some of your favourite music with me or whatever….

The winners will be drawn on Saturday, May 10 and will be announced on Sunday, May 11 in my next Sunday Stash post, so enter the giveaway by Friday, lest you miss out! You don’t need to be a follower of any kind of be entered, so if you’re popping by from Molli Sparkle’s Sunday Stash or from Fabricholics Anonymous, feel free to enter.

Molli Sparkles FabAnon

And speaking of Fabricholics Anonymous? Well…… this was an April purchase and it’s not something I pre-planned and it’s not something I “needed” to finish a swap requirement (I’d planned to use it for a swap, but I got by without it when it didn’t arrive in time and would have got by without it if I hadn’t bought it at all). So I guess that’s another month in the failure zone. (And if you’re a close reader, you might also have noticed I mentioned recently buying some Essex Linen blend fabric. So you know. There’s that.) I’m really not very good at this not-buying-fabric thing. Maybe May. Actually, no, not maybe May, because Pink Castle Fabrics had a big sale on all their bundles and I am weak. Maybe June.


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Fabric Friday?

Just a quick one today – a Fabric Friday post, since I don’t foresee myself making anything you can actually look at until Monday or Tuesday at least. (Maybe Sunday, if I can manage not to sleep the whole day away – I work nights this weekend.) I was going to write about a quilt my sister wants me to repair (which I think might be too difficult a task), but that seems like too difficult a task to write about right now! So many pictures! So many details! Maybe next week…

Fabric Friday

Anyway, all of that came in the mail this week from Hawthorne Threads, which remains my favourite shop to buy fabric from, even though I’m generally speaking avoiding buying fabric because the cost to ship has gotten so astronomically high.

All the fabrics on the left are from Lizzy House’s Constellations line. From the top, they are Star Charts in Blue, Supernova in Purple, Constellation in Blue, and (just barely peeking out from the bottom) Asterisk in Black. I’ve been wanting to buy some of this fabric for ages, so I’m glad I finally bit the bullet and ordered it. The rest of it is just random oranges – ZigZag in Orange from Dear Stella’s Garden Party, Robert Kaufman’s Metro Living Tiles in Marigold, and Circle Stitch in Orange from Michael Miller’s Mod Basic. I never seem to have much orange around, so I bought those to fill in a few corners on that neglected section in my fabric stash.

What have you been buying lately?


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Fabric Friday: Anna Maria Horner’s Innocent Crush Velveteen Queen of Hearts in Plum

This is the first time I’ve bought velveteen before and it has such a nice feel. But I made a really foolish mistake that I ought to know better than to make at this point in my sewing life: check the scale of the print.

I bought this online (at fabric.com, where it’s currently on sale) and their photo does have a ruler along the bottom for scale, but the picture was tiny and I wasn’t paying attention and I assumed the hearts were probably about 3-4 inches across/high. Well. Try seven. Yeah… oops.

I’m not sure I’ll be able to use this for what I intended. I might, maybe, be able to fussy cut the print into place so it doesn’t look too ridiculous, but I’ll almost certainly wind up losing most of the really beautiful plum/red colour. Well, I guess we’ll see.


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Fabric friday

Fabric friday by clumsy chord
Fabric friday, a photo by clumsy chord on Flickr.

I haven’t done a Fabric Friday post in a while, so I thought today I’d do one.

I’ve been washing and sorting my fabric over the last while, trying to get through the last batch of some stuff that got an odour while it was stored away for too long. I still haven’t made it through my collection of beiges and off-whites, but I finished the greys and blacks and browns a little while back. Stumbling across this fabric again was such a pleasure. I’ve had this for a few years, but still love it immensely. (As opposed to some of my long-term fabrics that kind of make me go ‘eh’ or make me wonder what on earth I was thinking.)

I have a couple metres of this fabric, but the selvedge has no markings on it to give away who produced it or what line it came from. I sometimes wish I had more because I think it’d be a beautiful quilt back, but I think too that it’d be great in some sort of old-fashioned geometric block, like a tumbling block, maybe.


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Fabric Friday: Anna Maria Horner’s Flower Go Round

It’s been half an age since I last did a Fabric Friday post, so finally here is one again. This fabric was a remnant in a scrap pack I bought from Hawthorne Threads (they’d had a sale) and, well, I don’t really like it.

I’m so very hit and miss with Anna Maria Horner’s prints. I bet the next time I go looking around the quilting groups on Flickr, I’ll find a half dozen quilts with this very print involved, and I’ll think it’s fabulous. Somehow it just doesn’t speak to me on its own, though.

Which is why I’m offering this up to someone who wants it! Leave a comment here, and next Monday I’ll do a draw to see who gets it. (And if nobody wants it, I’ll just add it to my bag of Fabrics To Get Rid Of, which maybe someday I’ll actually get rid of…)

Anyway, it is flannel, which feels utterly delicious, and it’s about 12″ by width of fabric. I’m not at all sure what to do with a strip like that of flannel, but maybe someone reading will collect the stuff?


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Fabric Friday

Fabric Friday by clumsy chord
Fabric Friday, a photo by clumsy chord on Flickr.

This is some unknown fabric from a project in the works for several years now. (I’m not actually sure how old this project is. I’d say five years as a guess, but it could be more like seven.)

It’s funny how tastes change. This project is full of things I’d change if it weren’t so much work to change them – all this sashing would come out, I’d use a different border method, different fabrics for the borders even. I’d have bought a different colour for the binding… At the time though, I was somewhat uncertain about the sashing and the border, but in general I liked it and thought it would turn out well in spite of my uncertainties.

It’ll make a nice couch-quilt though, for watching tv (once it’s no longer so hellishly hot in my house – 4 degrees hotter inside than out right now), so I’m choosing to just let go of the things I’d like to change. Just a few hours work and it’ll be ready for public viewing.


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Fabric Friday: Innocent Crush

Anna Maria Horner is a very well loved fabric designer, and when I look at her prints I often wonder what on earth I’m missing. Because I don’t like her fabric. I look at this collection and I see garish on the left and bland on the far right. And the only print I really unabashedly love is the blue one second from the right on the top row, and I like the one just to its left and the purple versions just below. The rest? Meh.

And yet.

And yet, I own these fabrics. In fat quarters only, I didn’t buy more, but I still own them, because when I see them in use… god are they fantastic. I think of, say, this quilt from Film in the Fridge. Or this diamonds quilt from from the blue chair, which uses both palettes from the Innocent Crush line. Or this disappearing nine-patch from A Little Red Ribbon. Or deconstructed down to a postage stamp quilt.

I love all those quilts (and several others besides, which I wish I would have marked as favourites on Flickr back when I’d seen them) even though none of the fabrics really speak to me on their own. I think AMH has a great sense for colours, even when I don’t like the way she’s put them together, because once they’re in use, they somehow turn into something better than they are on their own.

Another designer like that (for me, obviously) is Jay McCarroll, in particular his recent line Habitat. If you look at the swatches here, I’d be hard pressed to say I really like any of them. The green leaf print is fine, and the dots are fine. But put into use? Wow, is it ever a fun line. Look at this postage stamp/pixel quilt (which is helped of course by that gorgeous green and the pink binding) or this garden fence beginning or Oh, Fransson‘s Mod Sampler take on it. I’m doing my best not to buy fabric I don’t need right now, but the new quilts I’m seeing using this line makes me want to buy it for someday, just in case.

(I wish I knew how to make those mosaic things people often do for blogs, so I could have put the pictures in small at least directly on here, but I got bored trying to figure it out the one time I went looking for info. First world problems. Maybe someday.)