Work-in-Progress Girl


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Mini Alberta Shop Hop

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

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

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

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

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

Fabric

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

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

Zimbabwean Sculpture - ZimSculpt

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

Zimbabwean Sculpture - ZimSculpt

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

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

Impala by Willard Bopoto

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

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

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

Fabric

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

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

Fabric

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

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

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

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

Linking up with Sunday Stash, hosted by Molli Sparkles!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I spent a stupid amount of money here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

I started with Elizabeth, the newest line:

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then finally a little bit more of Fox Field:

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

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


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Sunday Stash: Tula Edition

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

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

At any rate, here goes…

Tula Pink Stash

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

Tula Pink Stash

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

Tula Pink Stash

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

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

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

Tula Pink Stash

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

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

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

Tula Pink Stash

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

Tula Pink Stash

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

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

Tula Pink Stash

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

Tula Pink Stash

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

Tula Pink Stash

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

Tula Pink Stash

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

Tula Pink Stash

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

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

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


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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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Sew My Stash 2015 (and add to it a little…)

So if you’re on Instagram you’ve probably seen a dozen or more reposted SewMyStash2015 pics in the last couple weeks – down on the right somewhere is the image I’m talking about. It’s an idea started up by Leasa of Project: Leasa. Every year there is some variation on the theme – last year was the (failed, in my case) six month fabric fast. The idea, always, being to use more and buy less. Last year I discovered that I really don’t react well to being told No, because as soon as I said No to myself, I just started buying wildly every time I turned around. What I like about Sew My Stash is that it’s focused more on doing rather than on not doing, if that makes sense. It doesn’t say Just Say No to new fabric, it says Try to Use What You’ve Got. I probably appreciate the distinction a little more because it means I can still buy 2.5 metres of Denyse Schmidt’s Simple Plaid from Chicopee if I want to…

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Granted, I might not have bought it if I’d realized it was going to come in five pieces. I bought this from a new-to-me Canadian shop called Flare Fabrics. When I was piecing together my hashtag quilt top, I had this moment of fear that there was going to be Too Much Brown and so I started thinking about fabrics I thought would make good borders. I settled on that plaid from Chicopee and went looking online for someone in Canada who was selling it. Google lead me to Flare Fabrics, which is a shop that focuses on batiks, but had a small selection of Denyse Schmidt prints and 2.5 metres of that very plaid in stock. When I was looking around their site, I did notice a few different fabrics that specified that the last x-number metres were pre-cut into 1/2 metres, but if it was mentioned with this particular fabric, I sure didn’t notice it. Thank goodness I didn’t buy it hoping for a backing fabric – can you imagine trying to piece 5 cuts of the same fabric into one sheet of not-too-terribly mismatched plaid?

Anyway, I also picked up an embroidery kit, which I didn’t photograph, and this quilt pattern, which is a chevron pattern I can get behind.

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I don’t ever foresee myself making a chevron quilt out of half square triangles. It’s not that they don’t look nice, but I suppose I’ve just seen a few too many. I thought this one was an interesting take on the chevron idea, though I’m not sure how keen I am on working with 60 degree half-rectangles.

Anyway, Sew My Stash has also not stopped me from joining up with Fabric Spark‘s Blogger Bundle subscription for the year. I dithered about joining it for a little while because I’d been signed up for Blogger Bundles from Fat Quarter Shop ages ago and quit when I had to request that I not be sent a couple bundles in a row – someone had put together a bundle that was 90% one line, plus the few solids (I forget how those bundles worked exactly, 12 prints and 3 solids? 9 prints and 3 solids?) and if I’d wanted 9 prints from that line, I’d have just bought the whole line, you know? – and when I hit the third “give it a miss” month, I decided I should just give the whole thing a miss and stop hoping it’d be something good.

But I did sign up for Fabric Sparks and this is the first month’s bundle, curated by Jolene of Blue Elephant Stitches:

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I find it both mystifying and intriguing. I’m not remotely sure if I like it, but I am curious to see if I can put those 12 fabrics together and come up with something I like.

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It’s obvious what the through-line is with these – the colours in all the prints can be found in that one floral in the centre. But that chartreuse green sure does get over-powering in this grouping. I keep reminding myself that once it’s all cut up and sewed back together, those bright splashes of green will pull the eye around in a good way, but laid out like this I can’t help but wish I’d put it underneath something so that so much of it couldn’t jump out and over-power these peachy pink tones.

Where it gets weird, but also intriguing for me, is the addition of the blacks.

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I don’t, by and large, have an issue with putting black in with florals. I think a little bit of black gives a good contrast in a quilt and it can help ground things and blah blah blah. It maybe feels like a lot of black, instead of just a little bit? Maybe too much. I don’t know. What I do know is that in the spirit of Sew My Stash, I’ve already got an idea for sewing this brand new part of my stash. A magazine I recently bought has a pattern that I think could work well and would maybe make the most of that too bright green and maybe once I see it all paired together, I’ll even like all that black and white in the mix. So I guess I should get to working on that… or maybe to finishing something else, so that I can justify starting something new!

I haven’t decided if I’m going to track my fabric purchases vs use for real… but if I manage to make a quilt top with that bundle of fabrics before the year is out, I’m counting it as a neutral in the great fight to use more and buy less. I could add three yards and take three right back out of the tally for the year. It’d practically be like I hadn’t bought it at all.

Linking up to Sunday Stash with Molli Sparkles.


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Sunday Stash: Lime Flannel

So if you follow me on Instagram (@clumsykristel), you’ll know I’ve been working on some brown and green hashtag blocks. They’re going to be put together into a baby quilt for a friend of my sister who is having her first baby… sometime soon. She doesn’t know if she’s having a boy or a girl, but has been doing things up in browns and lime greens, so that was the direction my sister asked me to angle in. I love backing baby blankets in flannels, so I was fortunate to already have a flannel in my stash that I thought would work perfectly…

Flannel

This fabric is Erin McMorris’s Birds from Irving Street (if Irving Street is the name of this fabric line – it’s really tough to read the printing on the selvedge). I also have another chunk of it in yellow, which is pretty awesome too. But I’d kind of forgotten about the pink… We were going to go ahead with it anyway because even if she has a boy, what’s a little pink the grand scheme of things? And if you follow many fabric loving people on Instagram, you know there’s a big push to use stash fabric this year (tied to the hashtag #SewMyStash2015) and I was kind of excited about this because the whole thing was going to be made from stash – all the fabric on the front is straight off my shelves (and scrap bins) and of course this flannel was too. But I went to the fabric store for thread. And that was my downfall, because you know what I found at the fabric store? Fabric. Fabric without pink in it. And it was 50% off, so who can walk away from that?

Flannel

I’d been wanting this Ann Kelle flannel for a long time, but didn’t buy it because I didn’t have a use for it. But now I do! Sure, it’s floral, but what’s a little floral in a (potential) little boy’s life? Not much. But I was pretty sure my sister wouldn’t like it, so I had to pick up a second choice too. Give her some options, you know?

Flannel

My sister likes cute things for little kids (which I usually don’t – I generally avoid children’s prints though I have got a few), so when I found this elephant flannel, I sort of figured she’d prefer it to both the floral and the birds. And she did. I try not to buy these cheaper flannels because they shrink at a greater rate and are far more shred-happy than the nicer flannels you get from the bigger companies (the birds are FreeSpirit and the floral is Robert Kaufman), but I just bought a little extra and if I need to seam it, I’ll probably make a wider seam allowance than I usually would, just to combat possible shredding. Anyway, it’ll be a cute addition to the quilt (and there’s one hashtag block with elephants, so you know… it fits). Now I just need to focus (and get my Juki back from the shop) and get it quilted up so it’ll be ready for the baby shower.

Linking up to Sunday Stash with Molli Sparkles.


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Peridot

When I was a kid, I was a little bit jealous of my sister and mother for having Amethyst for a birth stone because theirs was purple and mine was Peridot and it was this terrible yellow-green (Mountain Dew reminiscent…) colour that I hated. It didn’t look – to me – like a real gemstone: amethyst, sapphire, aquamarine, ruby… those were the good ones. Peridot, not so much. I’ve eased up on that yellow-green, lime-y olive-y colour since, but now I not so secretly wish my gemstone were Aquamarine instead, I mean… c’mon! Put on your inner princess and tell me which tiara you would most like to wear? This one or this one or this one or this sublime beauty? Or are you going to pick this sad looking green-stoned tiara? Well. Okay, it’s not ALL sad in the peridot jewellery market, but it’s none of it sublime either. (Feel free to prove me wrong, though. I mean it. It doesn’t even have to be a tiara!) I don’t know a lot about tiaras, but I can’t think of a single famous peridot tiara out there. Even turquoise has gotten its due, and that doesn’t even sparkle!

Anyway, all this by way of saying: it’s nearly my birthday. And in honour of myself, I bought a bunch of vaguely peridot coloured fabrics from Mad About Patchwork to remind myself that it isn’t at all a bad colour and in fact I kind of like it a lot. (Seriously, the lime/olive green stack in my stash is one of the largest I’ve got. I really didn’t need to buy another 18 FQs of it because I’ve probably already got thirty or forty.)

Greens

These fabrics are a mix of the green Stash Bundle from Mad About Patchwork and a bunch of random other greens that seemed like they might fit in.

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I wanted fabrics that felt like they belonged together in some way (largely because they mostly have a yellow tone to them), without actually being part of the same line. I wasn’t completely successful – that Anna Maria Horner True Colours print, for instance, is not a very yellow green, nor is the polka dot print directly above it.

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What I want them for is to make a quilt using the Stripping technique from the Craftsy class Strip Your Stash (not an affiliate link), which I’ve recently been watching. I think it’s important to have variation in the colours you choose, so I probably won’t filter out any of the darker colours – they’ll add some depth – and I’ll probably add in some more that have other colours and shades for that same reason. I have a few things to finish up in August, so I probably won’t get started on this any too soon, but that’s one half of the plan for these fabrics. The other half of the plan? Well… tune back in on Wednesday to find out. (Hint: it probably rhymes with shmive-amay. There will also be a second sponsored rhymes-with-shmive-amay from Mad About Patchwork that same day, so don’t forgot to stop by!)

(Also? I was supposed to be born in September, so really I could claim Sapphire for my own… I’d be happy to claim the Leuchtenberg Sapphire Parure as well, if the Swedish royals would care to sell it for a song. Or a stack of peridot-coloured fabrics.)

Linking up with Molli Sparkles for Sunday Stash:

Molli Sparkles


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Saturday Surprise Sunday Stash

I lived in Saskatoon when I first started sewing and I didn’t have a sewing machine to begin with, so I stitched everything by hand. Then for my birthday one year I asked for a sewing machine, and I mostly wanted one so that I could participate in a block swap in a Livejournal group. It turned out I was basically terrible at sewing, even with a sewing machine. I didn’t know the first (or last!) thing about accuracy or how piecing worked and I didn’t know basic sewing terms, so when the swap group said we’d make 9.5″ blocks, I thought that meant the finished size was supposed to be 9.5″ and did you know there aren’t any blocks out there that come out to 9.5″… (strangely enough), so I sized up a shoo fly pattern with an extra half inch in the centre units. (No lie.) And I also didn’t have any money, so I was using cheap and (worse) ugly fabrics from Walmart. The blocks I sent out were appalling.

So I learned to paper piece, but I still wanted to learn to piece properly and I let myself get sucked into buying Saturday Surprise Sampler blocks from Periwinkle Quilting. In 2005/2006, the Saturday Surprise Sampler was done using primarily Robert Kaufman’s A Thousand Flowers line. It was 20 blocks and they were really tough, but I learned A LOT about accurate piecing (all of which I think I’ve forgotten since):

A very old UFO...

I kind of forgot about this project, but I was down in the basement the other day and decided to empty some drawers of crap I have down there, and what should I find but my 20 pieced blocks, all the setting squares and triangles to put the main part of the top together, and fabric that I think I intended to be borders.

A Thousand Flowers

There is about a metre of the orange fabric, but only 2 fat quarters of the purple. I also found a bunch of notes and a drawing of the border treatment I intended to use, but man are they some nonsensical notes! (Seriously: my notes on block placement included things like, “really hard mostly green one”.) All this fabric was from 2005 or so, so I doubt I’d be able to find any more. Here’s hoping 2 FQs and a metre of fabric will be enough to finish the job…

I also fished up the beginnings of the next year of Saturday Surprise Sampler blocks, of which I only bought 9 (and never made any) before stopping:

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The patterns look just as complicated – yikes! But the worse problem was that the fabric wasn’t remotely to my tastes. I bought these first nine block kits and had thought to make something for my Grandma, whose house was (still is) decorated in avocados and golds.

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I just don’t foresee myself ever making these blocks, though. They’re just… too much not what I like to make. If anyone out here would like these block kits, please just leave a comment below and I’ll mail them out to whoever asks for them first. The patterns all come with just enough fabric to cut out all the pieces for one block, so if you mess up your cutting, you’d have to swap in something with a similar colour palette, but it’s pretty well just autumn colours, so I don’t think it’d be a terribly difficult thing to do!

Linking up with Molli Sparkles:

Molli Sparkles


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Sunday Stash…

Edited to add: The winner of the July Gypsy Wife Quiltalong giveaway was Crafty Kat, who is doing a very lovely blue and orange and grey version of the quilt that I’m really liking a lot!

So it may have been a while since I posted much, but it hasn’t been a while since I added more fabric to the hoard. (When I die, I think I need to be buried with all of it, like the Sutton Hoo, but maybe in a giant sewing machine or something.) I did have little bits and pieces of things coming in while I wasn’t posting, largely things for projects in progress, rather than actual stash additions, but then there were also one or three purchases, like this one below, of things I didn’t really need, but kind of wanted, and splashed out for. See… Pink Castle Fabrics had a big 50 Fat Quarter mystery bundle on a decent price and even though the last time I bought a 50 FQ bundle (from Craftsy), it didn’t really work out for me… I took the chance anyway. And I think it was mostly successful! I’m more happy than not, certainly.

These are my least favourite of the bundle:

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Yeah. I know. Heather Ross. I wasn’t as blown away by this particular line as some people, and these are a couple of the prints that I liked the least. I’m pretty meh on zombies in general, so that one didn’t speak to me. And the dots… I don’t know why the dots don’t work for me, but I tend to have a harder time liking multi-coloured fabrics than I do with tone-on-tone. Also, I just don’t like the colours in it – I like dots, just not in these particular colours.

New Stash!

That little pink and white floral near the bottom here is my least favourite from this grouping of fabrics. The rest I’m pretty okay with, even that novelty jam jar print, which I can’t imagine myself actually ever using. I didn’t check for names on any of the selvedges, because 50 prints would be a lot to identify in just one post anyway, but if there is anything you want to know about, please ask and I’ll check for the name or see if I can figure it out.

New Stash!

It feels like they sent me the entire collection of that solid colour with the white silhouettes of daisies print. I’m liking the pez prints more than I ever thought I would. I’ve seen them used well in a lot of children’s quilts, but that’s not something I sort of aim my sights toward making very often, so I try to avoid buying those kinds of prints in general. But I do like them, it turns out. Maybe it should be inspiration to make another kid’s size quilt again. Maybe I’d actually finish something if it were smaller!

New Stash!

I love dot fabric, so I like that they sent so many of them, but I wish the green ones hadn’t been quite so close together in colour. It doesn’t look like it quite so much in the photo (because it was a bit more shadowed than I thought) but the one up top and the one in the row below it are nearly the same shade, just with different sized dots.

New Stash!

Do the blues feel sort of boring, here? I feel like they are. I love blue, it’s probably my favourite colour (blue, green or red,.. well, who can really decide, anyway?), and I feel like there are dozens of great blue fabrics in the world, but they sure picked some dull ones. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with them,… they’re just sort of meh.

New Stash!

I haven’t really got much to say about these neutrals either, but they’re all pretty decent choices. All in all, I think it was a pretty good collection of fabrics, and I think I only actually owned four or five of them before buying this mystery bundle too, which is pretty awesome. I could have done with a bit less pink, but that’s a pretty minor complaint over all.

Linking up with Molli Sparkles:

Molli Sparkles