Work-in-Progress Girl


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Last December Stash

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

Here’s some brilliant new fabric:

Joel Dewberry Bungalow

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

New rotary cutter...

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

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

Worst ever fabric purchase?

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

It wasn’t.

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

Mystery Box Fabric

Mystery Box Fabric

Mystery Box Fabric

Mystery Box Fabric

Mystery Box Fabric

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[…]

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

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

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

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

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

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

FabAnon Molli Sparkles

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Sunday Stash, Old and New

I feel like I’ve been posting too often for someone who hasn’t actually accomplished a whole lot of anything in the last couple weeks. But there was the year end wrap up and various year ahead type things and I couldn’t not talk about Gypsy Wife and and and… hopefully my next post will actually have something to look at besides unused fabric. But in the meantime, here’s a bit of old and a bit of new.

My second to last 2013 purchase finally arrived (and I’m still waiting on Craftsy for my last 2013 purchase to arrive – I don’t know how they ship things, but both times I’ve ordered from them it’s been a brutally long wait) with a couple random bits and pieces that I picked up to round out a purchase of cat fabric:

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Oh god. It practically gives me nightmares! (Actually, it doesn’t. But years ago I swore – swore! – I would never again own cat fabric and now I do again and so I’m haunted by the ghost of a quilt block cat I made OUT OF CATS. Much like feeding ground up cow bones to cows just seems wrong, so too does making a cat out of cats.) (It was for an exchange and the recipient requested cat fabric. I tracked down some Laurel Burch cats and my mind has never quite shaken the horror.) (Also, sorry if you find it offensive that I don’t like Laurel Burch. I got an email notification the other day from someone who thought it was terribly rude of me to talk about not liking Liberty fabrics, as if I think there’s something wrong with people who do like it. Well, the world is large and there’s room for a lot of opinions. Mine is that I hate Laurel Burch prints and am pretty iffy about Liberty. But you’re welcome to like what you like and while I might find it weird, I hope you’ll forgive me for having an inordinate love of paisley and the colour brown.)

Anyway, that’s Here Kitty Kitty in Jewel, from Michael Miller and it’s destined to be the backing of my Catvent quilt, should I ever finish making the blocks.

Since I was there, which is to say here at Bobbie Lou Fabric, I also picked up some of this stupid gorgeous Art Gallery print:

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Flora’s Oasis in Naranja from Leah Duncan’s Tule line. Lovely. I want to buy enough to back a quilt, but since I don’t have a specific quilt to back with it, I probably shouldn’t… It’s just so pretty!

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Pattern Dancers in Yellow from Michael Miller. I often find it hard to find yellows I like, and I thought I was going to like this one, but now that I have it… I don’t really like it much at all. I’m hoping it’ll be improved by chopping it up into bits.

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And finally, another one of Joel Dewberry’s surprisingly large prints. I LOVE this print; it’s gorgeous. Just surprisingly large. (It’s Primrose in Aquamarine from Notting Hill.) It didn’t photograph particularly well, but I wish I’d bought more from this colour grouping of Notting Hill, as it’s spectacular.

Anyway, in the old side of things, I was cleaning up some stuff in my sewing room and making a pile of stuff to get rid of – unwanted orphan blocks, some fabrics I don’t want to keep – and I found the very, very last of my batiks. I had cut enough strips out of all my batiks to make 4 baby quilts of the Scrappy Trip-Along, but after making two, I crapped out on it and eventually gave away every single bit of batiks I had left to one of my coworkers who loves batik fabric. Except for one print, which I haven’t been able to talk myself into giving away or using because it’s just that gorgeous:

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Yeah, there are a lot of muddy looking batiks out there, but then there are ones like this, which are just stunning, with rich, vivid colours, and simple, but striking prints. Who couldn’t love a print like this?

Here’s some more old stuff, also unearthed in my attempts to organize my sewing room:

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Feel free to gasp in horror, I know I am. Thing is, when I first started sewing I had practically no money and only one place to buy fabric, Fabricland. I’m not sure if it’s a Canadian company or not, but it’s a chain scattered across Canada and sells all sorts of fabrics, home decor, clothing, quilting, etc. It’s relatively cheap (with quality to match) and it’s found even in small towns like the one I grew up in, where it’s the only option you’ve got (unless you shop online, which wasn’t so much of a thing 10 years ago). When you’ve only got, say, 50 bolts to choose from, and you just had to go and choose an orange and yellow asterisk print… sometimes you just wind up with ugly. Affordable. But ugly.

When I wrote up my WIP list, the quilt blocks I have made out of these four fabrics were described as stupendously ugly:

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And ugh, they really, really are. I’ve got 8 of them (it was a BOM that I quit part way through) and there is an incredible temptation to just throw it all in the trash, fabric, blocks, and all. People keep telling me I should donate the things I don’t want to somewhere that can make use of them, but I just can’t imagine a scenario in which these blocks create a quilt someone will want. I don’t think the asterisk fabric is 100% horrifying, but just generally, ugh. (Haha… I just went way back in time and space to the BOM boards on Livejournal where I had this to say about these fabrics: “So do you ever filter through your fabric stash and find things that you actually despise and wonder how on earth it appeared there and why on earth you’d have ever bought it? Yeah, well, it’s time for me to use some of that fabric.” Did I ever like this stuff?)

Linking up to Sunday Stash at Molli Sparkles — check the sparkly button in the column at the right. And hopefully next week I’ll have the last of my 2013 stashstravaganza to show off. Something more beautiful than the bottom half of this entry, anyway!


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Sunday Stash Magentas

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

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

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

Sunday Stash

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

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

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

Just a bit of inspiration from Flickr… So pretty!

Linking up to Sunday Stash at Finding Fifth:

&34;Finding


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Pretty Pretty Pillowcase

So, you might remember from a couple years back the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge set by All People Quilt. I hadn’t heard anything about it in a while, but recently I saw someone somewhere mention that they’d reached 500,000 and were starting the push for the next half million. (Which, holy cannoli, half a million handmade pillowcases!) Back when that started, I set out to make as many pillowcases as I could using mostly unwanted fabric from my stash – I made 19, which I donated through a local quilt shop, My Sewing Room. At the bottom of this post, I’m going to drop in photos of those 19 pillowcases, because I think they’re mostly pretty awesome. While I was on that pillowcase kick, I also made 2 for my older sister and 1 for a pillowcase swap set up by the lovely Ofenjen of Sewhooked.

In that pillowcase swap, I sent away a pillowcase that I didn’t photograph for some reason, though I’m fairly certain it was using the same fabrics as in these two cases that I donated:

Million Pillowcase Challenge - #5, 6

And in return, I received this pillowcase from Jennifer herself:

Owly Pillowcase

I’ve used this pillowcase every day since I received it and this weekend when my parents and younger sister were here, my little sister (who I sometimes call Squirtus, even though she’s nearly 30, and even though her name isn’t Curtis, which is really the only name deserving of the nickname Squirtus) thought it was cute and wanted to know where I got it from. So blah blah blah I told her I’d make her her own pillowcase, so long as she picked out her own fabric. (And so long as I had enough of the necessary fabric, I didn’t want to go buy anything.)

Today was another in a line of stressful and crappy days in my house and so I did some sewing therapy and made Squirtus’s pillowcase, even though I have other things I should have been doing. These pillowcases, made (like all the others) using Ofenjen’s Hotdog Pillowcase Tutorial, are so easy to make that it’s just the kind of thing you can do without thinking too hard when your brain is focussed elsewhere on other things, and it’s just the kind of thing that if you get lucky, you’ll eventually start focussing on so that you can get your brain off those other things.

Pretty Pretty Pillowcase

Woo! Action shot!

The two main fabrics are from the Cloud 9 Fabrics’ line Across the Pond, with the flange in a Joel Dewberry herringbone print (from Aviary 2?). It was dark and rainy out when I took the photograph in my bedroom, but I found a bit of natural light in my sewing room and this photo is a little less flash-happy than in the previous, if you’d like to see the fabric a little more like it’s supposed to be:

Pretty Pretty Pillowcase

As I mentioned, I made all these pillowcases using the Hot Dog Tutorial from Sewhooked, and I’ve always made them using the proportions mentioned in the tutorial – 24-26″ for the body and 9-12″ for the cuff – but I’ve also found them just a little long for my pillows. Most of my pillows are from IKEA and I’m not sure if they’re a different size from whatever is standard in the US, but they usually wind up with several spare inches of room in the pillowcase. This time I made the pillowcase using 24″ of the body fabric and 10″ of the cuff fabric, making 34″ rather than the recommended 36-38″ fabric, and it worked PERFECTLY for the IKEA pillows. (Though now I wonder if it’ll go home to Squirtus and be too small for whatever pillow she uses!)

Anyway, here’s a parade of pillowcases I made back in 2010. The first two, with the creepy faces, were made for my older sister, but the rest were donated for the Million Pillowcase Challenge.

Factory Girl pillowcases Million Pillowcase Challenge - #1-4
Million Pillowcase Challenge - #7 Million Pillowcase Challenge - #8, 9
Million Pillowcase Challenge - #13, 14, 15 Million Pillowcase Challenge - #12
Million Pillowcase Challenge - #10, 11 Million Pillowcase Challenge - #16 & 17
Million Pillowcase Challenge - #18 & 19

(Psst… if the numbers don’t add up, it’s because two are in the shot up top – I didn’t include them down here again – and there were actually three of the green ones in the third row. I had A LOT of that dark green solid. It’s the same fabric in the cases on the bottom row.)

[ETA: I can tell I’m stressy because after ages of not spending money on anything unnecessary and especially not on fabric for my stash… I spent like $150 on fabric/notions today without really noticing it. I hope I don’t have buyer’s remorse when it all shows up.]


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Fabric Friday: Joel Dewberry

I’m too lazy and tired to look up the name of these prints – I ordered them on the off-chance they’d match my Mendocino/Mod-Times quilt so that I could use a print for the back rather than a solid (no way do I have enough Mendocino to go using it for a backing fabric). Not a match though, a little too plum in the purple and a little too green in the aqua.

I should really be sleeping – I worked a night shift last night and I work one tonight – but I got woken up by a co-worker calling me to gleefully recount the day’s news: our boss is retiring in a couple weeks. I can’t seem to fall back to sleep, but I really, really need to sleep.

One of these days I’ll even update with something other than Fabric Friday. I have much more interesting things to talk about – some brilliant mail that arrived yesterday, the Mod Times quilt, other WIPs – but it’ll have to wait for another day when I’m not so tired.