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:

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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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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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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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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: OOP HTF

When I first started buying fabric online, I wasn’t remotely aware of designers or even the different fabric companies or really anything – I just bought things I liked. One of the first places I shopped was Fat Quarter Shop and Fabric.com (which I won’t shop at now – I’ve tried to take myself off their mailing list probably a dozen times and yet I still get their daily emails!) and then Etsy.

From Fabric.com I bought the first and largest chunk of my collection of Mendocino prints; they were selling them for $6/yard, which wasn’t a spectacular sale at the time (I would guess fabric was about $8/yd then), but was still significantly cheaper than buying from a local shop. (I think the place nearest to me was selling their fabric for about $22/metre, though I’ve noticed lately that most brick and mortar shops sell for around $16-18 now – I don’t know if that shop was particularly expensive or if everyone in town was selling that high… I took transit and that was the only one I could get to very easily). From there, I found myself on Etsy, looking for more to add to my Mendocino collection. Fabric.com only had the bronze and brown and orange prints, so everything else I was going to have to get elsewhere. And that’s when I found myself tumbling down the OOP HTF rabbit hole. (If you don’t know what that is, it’s “Out of Print, Hard to Find.” That’s a thing that took me a while to work out when I was a fabric newbie.) I may not have known Heather Ross’ name back then, but sure as shit, I learned it fast.

Fabric Glutton

Mendocino, back then, was OOP but not terribly HTF, so I was able to get the bulk of my collection for $10-12/yard, but then over time I noticed prices going up and up and up every time I went onto Etsy. It was $15-20/yard and then more and more. Right now you can buy one Fat Eighth of Presentation Mermaid for $25. Some of the more “reasonable” sellers are asking $50/yd for some of the mermaid prints. I’ve seen it as high as $100/yard. (I hope nobody buys these because I think these fabrics are going to be reprinted in 2016, though I suppose we don’t know if it’ll be the whole collection or only part of it or different colours or substrates or…)

My collection of Tula Pink’s Neptune fabric happened in a similar way – it was already OOP but only mildy HTF. I was kind of broke during the buying of both these collections of fabrics, so I did have to be relatively choosy about what I bought and how much I was willing to pay for it, and that’s a fortunate thing because I do love both those lines of fabric a lot and I might have been more of a dumb-ass and spent way more than that fabric is worth if I had had more money.

Fabric Friday: Tula Pink's Neptune

For the low, low price of $180, you can buy your own Layer Cake of Neptune. Yeah. That probably cost that buyer less than $35 and now they’re trying to sell it for nearly $200.

I generally don’t sell my OOP HTF fabrics for a couple reason. One, I don’t know what to charge. I know what people on Etsy and Ebay are charging because I can look, but I can’t stomach that. Maybe I’m not cut out for that kind of capitalism, but it makes me feel dirty to think of charging someone $20-60/yard for something that cost me $8-10/yd. It feels wrong to me and it feels disrespectful to the designers (who, after all, make their living off what we are willing to buy and if they’re making a small percentage off the original price, well, they’re making nothing more off that $180 layer cake) and to fellow crafters. (Maybe I shouldn’t care about showing respect in that way, but I do and that’s my choice. I don’t expect anyone else to share my ethical concerns about much of anything.)

Tula Pink

My second concern with selling these fabrics is that if I sell them at what I consider to be a reasonable price (ie. my cost including shipping, plus a small profit), then someone might turn around and resell it again at those insane prices that I’m trying to avoid. And I don’t want to be taken advantage of like that. If I’m selling it, I’d like to believe that it’s going to someone who intends to use it rather than to someone who intends to profit from it. And there’s really no way to control or combat that.

Tula Pink

All of this by way of saying that I sold some of my OOP HTF fabric this weekend. I mostly sold off Tula Pink fabrics, well, exclusively Tula Pink fabrics, both from the Plume and the Parisville line. If I take Etsy sellers at their word, I undercut myself. A lot. I sold my cameos for $20 a yard (Etsy currently has prices ranging from $65-75/yd). I sold a jelly roll for $40 – that one was basically no profit, as I bought it for $38 at a local shop, and I remember it so specifically because I was making $12/hr at my job at the time and I really questioned the purchase because it was THREE HOURS WORTH OF WORK. And I never used it in all these years. I sold some other bits and peices for $10-20/yard and some scraps for basically $0 (because I didn’t take into account how much money PayPal takes for the transaction and thus didn’t build that into the price in any way).

Tula Pink scraps

I think the ideal transaction of this type is one where both parties come away feeling like they’ve done well – I think that’s how this went down. I don’t feel bad about any of my choices and I think my buyer is happy with what she’s getting as well. She certainly seems excited, in any case! (I suppose I don’t know that she isn’t excited about some amazing re-sale possibilities. But if she is, I hope I never find out about it.) Still, I don’t think I’m going to want to do this again for a long while. That influx of cash is nice, but I don’t think I’ll ever see myself turning into one of those Etsy sellers who’ve spent the last five years doling out $30 “last one” scrap packs of Mendocino, all composed of bad and awkward and small cuts with one or two nice large ones of the prints that are still relatively easy to find. I guess they’ve got to get their selling done while they can (even though probably the bottom won’t drop out of the market when the reprint drops – people still sell “original” vs “legacy” Flea Market Fancy for stupid prices) though. 2016 is coming!

Linking up with Molli Sparkles for this week’s Sunday Stash:

Molli Sparkles


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Sunday Stash: Neutrals

I’ve been getting myself in the bad habit lately of writing half an entry, saving it for later, and then never finishing it up. The last one was about batting (and I’d still like to come back to the subject) and included a link to a then active Massdrop for wool batting… but I’ll save the rest of that conversation for later. Instead, fabric.

I haven’t been posting Sunday Stashes very frequently for a while because I’ve actually been much better in this latter half of the year about not buying fabric I don’t have a specific purpose for. I mean, not that I’ve stopped mindless buying entirely – I never fully got on the Fabric Fast Wagon at the beginning of the year and I still haven’t quite got on it now – but I’ve cut my fabric buying way, way back. It was a bit of an awkward summer for me and without getting into all of it (as most of it is not my story to tell) there’ve been quite a few moments when I’ve thought I might wind up rather suddenly having to move. And my DOG the thought of packing up all that fabric (plus all the fabric that was coming in) and finding somewhere to put it in a probably much smaller apartment was a bit daunting. The kind of daunting where my practicality finally got the better of my desire to buy All The Fabrics I Love And Some That Fell In The Cart When I Wasn’t Thinking Hard Enough About It.

But here are some new things…:

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I generally try to avoid people’s posts where they talk about What’s On Sale in the online fabric buying market, but I went and read one somewhere and then tumbled blissfully down the rabbit hole of a sale at Green Fairy Quilts and found myself walking away with a Fat Eighth bundle and a jelly roll and a pattern (not pictured for reasons of I kept having too much glare on the packaging). I think that was my first time buying from Green Fairy Quilts and if the Canadian dollar keeps taking it’s long downward stumble against the American dollar I may not shop there again for a while, but it was a good shopping experience and I’d definitely go back. The package came really quickly, which is not a requirement – I do grasp the realities of international shipping – but still is great. (I mean, generally it takes almost exactly 14 days for me to get mail from the US, and so that’s always what I gauge things by, but it was exactly 7 days instead, so woo!) I found their website a bit busy (appearance-wise) for my tastes, but if you’re looking for Moda or Riley Blake pre-cuts, you really can’t go wrong. (They do have yardage and notions and Aurifil and Superior Threads and all sort of other things, it was just the pre-cuts that really stood out to me.)

Anyway… fabric. I was looking for some more masculine pre-cuts when I stopped in and I think both my selections delivered.

My first selection was Amy Ellis’s Modern Neutrals:

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This line covers a nice range of blue, grey, brown, something I call taupe, but is probably better described as tan or latte, and then… an unfortunate bit of salmon/coral that I’d thought/hoped was a little more orange coloured than it actually is. It has no florals, so I figured it would work for something more masculine. (I’m hoping to make a couple quilt tops for a friend’s Linus group which is in need of quilts for older boys – they get a lot of baby quilts and a lot of things for girls, but less that are appropriate for older boys.)

These are my favourite three prints of the bundle:

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I’m always kind of drawn to the quieter tone on tone and geometric prints, I think. I mean, occasionally I’ll like some wild floral print, but mostly this is the stuff I go for.

Here are the rest of the prints:

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I just really don’t love those corals. Any how, I’m trying to remind myself that probably they’ll look good mixed into a quilt with the rest of it, just that little pop of other colour. (But the pattern I’m intending to use only take 18 F8s and I’ve got 28, so more likely I’ll abandon most of the corals and include only a little for some interest.)

And here is the jelly roll I bought, A Field Guide by Janet Clare:

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This one again has a really neutral colour palette and I think a fairly masculine one.

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There is a butterfly print in this line and a floral, but I don’t think it’s going to stand out when it’s rendered in these neutral tones. I’m actually kind of interested to get this one opened up and see what I think, but it might be a while yet before I get there.

Linking up with Sunday Stash at Molli Sparkles:

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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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