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 (Gokstadfæring) 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:

Fabric

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 Fabergé 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!