Work-in-Progress Girl


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Fabric Binge

So I haven’t really talked about it yet, though I’ve kind of hinted around it I think, but I’m going to try to challenge myself to a six month fabric diet. I’m still not going to talk about it much, because I’ve got a half-written, insanely long draft post on the subject that I need to weed down into something manageable before I really do. But there’s a button off to the right that reads Fabricholics Anonymous, and that’s what I’m talking about when I talk about a fabric diet. (If you’re interested.)

The funny (and slightly pathetic) part of this whole proposed fabric diet is that I’ve spent the last month or so in a vague sort of panic about What I’m Going To Miss (Botanics! Which, yes, I know can already be bought, but I don’t know of any Canadian shops that are already selling it and I do try, generally speaking, to buy from Canadian sites if I can) and What If I Need Colour X and all kinds of ridiculousness. So there’s been a little bit of binge shopping.

This is the first wave.

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Oh look, it’s more quilt patterns! Just what I need! But I REALLY love that Gypsy Wife pattern and I’ve seen a small quilt-along for Midnight At The Oasis, which is producing some really interesting quilts and and and… I just couldn’t help myself. Every year I have lots of little goals about how I hope my crafting will go for the year – 2014 is meant to be the year of One Step Closer – and making myself a Gypsy Wife quilt is one of them. What I love about it is that it’s slightly crazy, but it should never be boring because it’s made up of a pile of different blocks (so none of the repetition that turns into work instead of play). Midnight at the Oasis? Well…. I liked it better when I was reading about it but not realizing that those Churn Dashes are actually 52 churn dashes, 3″ tall each. ACK. That’s a hell of a lot of work right there! And then after that comes the million and one Nine Patch blocks, also, I think, 3″ tall (I’d have to go fish out the pattern to be sure, but that’s A LOT of 1.5″ squares to be cutting out – and it doesn’t even recommend strip piecing! Which I’d totally do, just with lots and lots of colours, so as to minimize the amount of bitty little squares to be piecing). Anyway, if that one ever happens, I think it’d have to be a in a leader and ender type project, where all those little squares get pieced as you’re doing other things.

This next group of fabrics is really the fault of Sarah at Sarah Quilts because, you know, she held a gun to my head from all those miles away and MADE me purchase this fabric:

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Sarah made a Pushme Pullme cushion cover featuring this fabric and if you read through the comments there, you’ll see me asking her just what that fabric is… See. Her fault. I just kind of love that it looks like an illustration in an old encyclopaedia. I bought two yards of it. Sarah’s fault. Also her fault? I had to fill up the shopping cart to Make The Shipping Worth It.

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I always feel like I don’t have enough neutrals for using in the backgrounds of blocks, so there’s this bit of fabric from the Little Black Dress line (which I think was produced by Moda). It’s not true that I don’t have neutrals for backgrounds… I just tend to use solid neutrals all the time instead of prints, so really I’ve got a metric tonne of unused neutrals going back to the dawn of my quilting career, as it were. Just one more for the pile.

Three yards of fabric does NOT a full shopping cart make, so I added a few pre-cuts as well:

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Two Simply Style honeycombs. The Confetti-Go-Lucky quilt pattern, Confetti by V and Co., was designed to feature this particular pre-cut. I haven’t decided if I’m going to make another Confetti quilt to use it in that way (although, the temptation is there, so long as I’ve got enough background material because I won’t be able to buy it, come January) or if I’ll make something more traditional with it, like hexagon flowers or whatever. The two mini-charms are Road 15 – another thing I’ve not no particular plan for. I just thought they were cute. There was also a third mini-charm pack of Kate Spain’s Sunnyside fabric, but it’s already pulled apart for use elsewhere.

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Then I had to hit up Hawthorne Threads because they sell Emily Herrick’s Technicolor line and I wanted to get a little bit more of that green and navy tile print on the right side of that photo. That was my favourite print in the Double Hourglass quilt I made and so I used it as binding, but then I didn’t have any left! Since I was buying just that little bit more, I also picked up the same print in orange and then the two leaf prints, also from the same line.

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And I thought, well, since I’m here… maybe I’ll also pick up those two Joel Dewberry honeycomb prints I’ve been wanting for ages. (Actually, it might have been the other way around: stopping by for the honeycomb and adding all the rest.) These were another case of being surprised by the scale of Joel Dewberry prints – somehow I’d imagined them being quite small and actually the overall print is quite large. It’ll work either way; it just surprised me. And, well, since I was there, I also picked up those four prints from JD’s True Colors line. (Man does it hurt to take the U out of the name of these fabrics! Technicolor. True Colors. It just looks WEIRD.)

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And then finally it was the sale section. Subway tiles! A gorgeous purple print! Chartreuse! And some grey variegated Aurifil thread for a future project. I’ve used Aurifil off and on for a few different projects now and I’m still not convinced it’s the best thing since the rotary cutter and self-healing mat. It’s fine and has a nice sheen and my machine likes it well enough, but it makes WEIRD fluffy lint in my bobbin case. (I mean, all thread leave some lint, this is just sort of… different textured lint.) I’ve always had good results with Guttermann thread and it’s cheaper and I can pick it up at a store two stops down the train from my work, so I’ll probably mostly go on using it for regular piecing and if I need to colour match. I’ll use the Aurifil if I’ve got it or if I find a good deal for it (or if I someday buy a new machine and it doesn’t like the cheaper thread!).

Linking up with Sunday Stash at Molli Sparkles:

Finding Fifth

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Stress Shopping

A couple of weeks ago I said this: “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.”

It’s all showed up now (well, it had earlier this week/last week, but I chose to spend my time stitching, rather than talking about it), so I thought I’d do a picture post and kind of hash out some of my thoughts. (Buyer’s remorse? Not exactly, just not quite Buyer’s Super Excited Awesome either.)

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My first purchase was 4.5 yards of fabric from a Canadian shop on Etsy, Kloth Shoppe. The text print up top is Merci Beaucoup from Stof and the one on the bottom is from the Bon Appetit collection for Michael Miller. The green and blue is from Amy Butler’s Lark line. I wish I’d bought more of that one because I really like it, it’s a lot less busy than a lot of Amy Butler’s prints these days.

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What I was really needing was fabric for a baby quilt for an old friend of mine; she’s having her first baby in fall/winter and I wanted to make something for her even though we haven’t been in contact in years. (Her mom and my mom are friends, and occasionally my mom sees this old friend of mine, so I still hear bits of news. When I was living in Saskatoon, the friend was in Regina, and then I moved out to Calgary, and now she’s living in Saskatoon. We haven’t been in contact since we lived in the same city, though, so it’s been probably 6 or 8 years since we’ve really spoken.) Anyway, back in the day she wasn’t really into anything very cutesy, especially for boys, so I wanted to make something that has a slightly masculine colour-scheme, but wouldn’t be particularly cute about it. No animal prints, no little boy robots or animal prints or whatever. So the thought was to make something using only striped fabrics, using a red, navy, light blue, and green colour scheme. (Yes, please do scroll back up and see how well I stuck to that thought.) I figured I’d make a double hourglass block with either white or a light grey as the solid.

Since I didn’t find anything on Etsy (from Canadian shops) and since I didn’t find anything from any of the non-Etsy Canadian shops either, I went to Hawthorne Threads. I love Hawthorne Threads, their shipping rates are relatively reasonable even to Canada (they undercut themselves on large shipping amounts because it’s gotten HELLA expensive to ship to Canada), they have a TON of options, and their colour matching tool lets you have a reasonable idea about how things will work together. I figured with them I’d be able to find a dozen prints for the top, plus a backing fabric. And that is what I bought, but…

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Two of my fabrics are flannel and the rest aren’t. It’s not that HT doesn’t say what type of fabric it is, I just wasn’t paying attention. (Did I say I was stress shopping? I was. I wasn’t paying attention to ANYTHING as closely as I should have been.) Fortunately the chevron print was meant for the backing material, and I’m definitely okay with flannel as a quilt back. It can shrink A LOT though, so I usually buy extra just in case, but I didn’t. Which I guess means it’s okay that the dot fabric is flannel too because if it does shrink too much, I can still piece the back a bit and keep it up to size. Still, that’s one fewer fabric for the front of the quilt (because I’m not going to mix flannel and cotton on the top.) The Chevron fabric is Medium Chevron in Boy for Riley Blake, and I think the dot is Circle Dot in Medium Blue by Alpine Fabrics.

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Anyway, I got distracted from my plans pretty quickly because one of the stripes I found was in a kind of aqua, red, orange, yellow and grey, and it matched to a bunch of other fabrics that also had blue and green. And then I expanded my definition of stripe to allow rows of cars and then I found a grey star print and and and…

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And hey, if I’m letting cars through, why not ships. And ships lead to a text-in-rope print and then dots. And if I was breaking all my rules, why not a cute squirrel print anyway? It fit the colour scheme, right? And that tree fabric is kind of stripey and it’s just awesome, so why not? Well, throw away the ships because they’re too tall for the hourglass pattern! And once all this fabric arrived… I don’t really want to use the ones with the orange in them or the grey star because they’ve got that sort of dingy colour scheme that I often find (and don’t really love) in Japanese fabrics and the squirrel and tree are too far off message.

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Which all means that of the batch, the only ones I really want to use are the four in the middle row. Maybe I should just try shopping my stash to see if I can scrounge up enough fabrics in that red, blue, grey and orange scheme to make a quilt top. I’d still like a good variety of prints, twelve if possible, and I’d still like to keep it fairly simple (meaning no floral, no animal, no modes of transportation, but yes to stripes, dots, and other geometrics), but I don’t want to have to buy another 4-6 yards of fabric (HT only sells in half yards and larger) in hopes that this time I’ll be happier with the outcome. (And maybe I’ll be able to slip in a little bit of those striped ones, but not the car ones, in the dingy looking fabric, if they’re present in smaller amounts rather than making up 4 of 8 fabrics.)

Anyway, the fabrics are:
Top Row: My Favourite Ship in Sky from Out to Sea by Sarah Jane; Crazy Stripe in Multi from Boy Crazy by My Mind’s Eye; Crazy Cars in White from Boy Crazy by My Mind’s Eye; Stars in Grey from One for the Boys by Zoe Pearn; Stripe in Cream from One for the Boys by Zoe Pearn
Second Row: Sailors ABC in Flame from Out to Sea by Sarah Jane; Pirate Stripe in Flame from Out to Sea by Sarah Jane; Small Dots in Navy from Riley Blake; Small Chevron in Boy from Riley Blake
Bottom Row: Squirrels and Nuts in Navy from Get Together by David Walker; Birch Forest in Aqua from Backyard Baby by Patti Sloniger

While all this shopping was going on and I was still looking around on Etsy, I found a shop that sells Sewline Supplies. I’ve previously bought all my Sewline stuff from a Canadian Shop Which Shall Not Be Named (because of a bad experience earlier this year while trying to buy some refills for my glue pen, I don’t think anything malicious was going on, but certainly a big bout of laziness/not having enough staff maybe and some misfortune getting their products across the border, but it was still a piss-off for me) but haven’t found a lot of shops that sell it, and so when I did find Our Epoch, I thought I’d better buy enough to make the shipping worth the while.

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So the necessary stuff was the Sewline Glue Pen refills (I only bought one package, but they accidentally sent me two, which they’ve told me just to keep – I was willing to mail it back because I don’t use SO much glue that I need four refills right now) and the Ceramic pencil leads, in white and pink. (I’ve been using white and green, but I don’t think they had green, so I figured I’d try out the pink for a while.) The Magic Bobbin Washers are always recommended by Leah Day of The Free Motion Quilting Project, so I’ll try them out. The lime green ric-rack is just because I liked the colour, and then two honeycombs of Happy Go Lucky by Bonnie & Camille, who somehow manage to break past my general dislike of florals. I always love how their collections look when they’re all together, they’ve got a great colour sensibility.

I bought all of that in the space of maybe 45 minutes online, but I wasn’t done. Nope! The next day I went stress shopping to Fabricland. I don’t know if Fabricland exists outside of Canada, but it’s a chain that sells all sort of fabrics (quilting cotton and a lot of clothing fabrics, home decor, etc.). I find most of the quilting fabrics to be somewhere in the poor-to-middling quality, but they occasionally get in big name fabrics. And if you’re a member, they’re the cheapest place to get batting, locally, because it’s really expensive to ship something as bulky as quilt batting. They’re good for notions too, though only if they’re on sale. (If you’re a member you get an automatic 20% off notions, which tells me that their mark-up is 20% higher than it needs to be. Subtract 20% and you’re probably at the price that it SHOULD be set at.) They fairly frequently have 30-50% off notions, so I tend to buy all my rulers from them and cutting mats and that sort of thing. Anyway, they didn’t have any big sales at the time, so I didn’t get the ruler I wanted (a while ago I mentioned losing my good 12.5″ square ruler – I still haven’t found it!), but I did pick up some more thread and some other interesting looking things:

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Okay, looking at that photo… Fabricland doesn’t sell Fiskars, so I’m not sure where I bought the blades (probably Michaels, for 40% off), but I’m glad I did because I accidentally ran my most recent blade (and it was REALLY new!) over a pin yesterday and now it’s skipping a thread every turn around when I cut. The thread is just basic Gutermann thread, which I use for piecing. I know everyone online has drunk the Aurafil koolaid, but I haven’t tried it yet and my sewing machine likes Gutermann, so I’ll go on using it. (I do have one spool of Aurafil thread that I bought a while ago to try. I haven’t got around to it yet, and I’m a little scared to try because maybe my machine will purr like a kitten and produce the World’s Most Amazing Stitching Ever if I do and then I’ll have to start buying more expensive thread that has to be shipped to me because nobody nearby sells it.)

The Grip Disks are just for a couple of my cutting rulers that don’t have very good grip and slid all over the place. (The absolute worst is a Dresden plate ruler I’ve got. I’ve had it for years and it’s so slippery it’s a wonder I’ve never chopped off a finger tip while trying to cut with it. Then again, I’ve never made a Dresden plate because every time I’ve tried cutting the fabric, it’s slipped all over the place and I’ve not gotten appropriately sized units.) And last up are the oval quilt clips, which just seemed like a neat idea: when you’re quilting a large quilt in a home machine, you can roll up the excess quilt and hold it together in a roll with those clamps. Seemed like it might be worth a try.

Anyway, that’s it for my ridiculous shopping extravaganza. Now I just need to reevaluate all the fabric choices for that baby quilt in the making. (And why couldn’t she have a girl? I’ve got a spare girly quilt top that just needs to be quilted!) And then get to work.


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2013 Goals

Sometimes I don’t know why I set myself goals because I pretty well never meet them. I think I managed two things from my list of twelve last year. (I don’t quite want to go check for certain because it’s sort of embarrassing and sort of sad and I don’t like to feel guilty about my hobbies, but I WILL if I think too hard about it.) But it’s good to have goals, to have something to aim for, so here are mine for the year.

1. Simply Solids Bee blocks. (Aeneous group.) This will be one block a month, 11 over the year, plus my own, and it’s a mystery what block I’ll be making each month. (I know what February will look like, but since we send out our fabrics to the other participants in time for our month, I won’t find out until the fabrics/instructions show up each month.) My month is August, and I know what I’m asking for… the same thing I’m asking for in my goal #2 group…

2. Birthday Blocks. There are 11 participants, so I’ll be making/receiving 10 blocks. I requested churn dash blocks in bright solids, which is exactly what I’ll be getting from the Simply Solids bee (unless I change my mind before August). This is a pretty big mix of stuff, again, and some of it is giving me fits already. (Namely one block requested in batiks, and hard to find colours. I think I might have to go use non-batiks, which I hate to do since she did say she prefers batik, but it might be that or else blocks too pink or blocks too purple, rather than blocks just right.)

3. Finish quilting all the finished tops in my closet:

Posh Tot quilts The Poppy Quilt
First Project Ever Checkerboard Quilt
Vintage Modern Wonky Star

There is also a half-quilted Amy Butler quilt, a blue and orange big block quilt, and a Plume quilt, which I don’t have decent photos for. I’ll try to fish them out and take a better picture soon. I think this is all of them, but I’m not 100% certain.

4. Don’t start anything else new (except a wall-hanging or two for my mom).

5. Work on some of my unfinished projects.

On the embroidery side of the fence, I have four things to work on (no photos, sorry):

1. The ABCs sampler – nearly done, just not quite
2. The fandom project (Moss’s fuzzy hair)
3. The Illustration-along project (Edward Gory’s limerick cousins)
4. The bird needle-book
5. The crewel twists project

Of all these, I’d really like to finish them all, I can’t seem to come up with an order of what is most important to me, which suggests they’re all important. If I can keep it to these five projects, then I could aim to finish one every other month.

And that’s it. It seems too long a list – I didn’t think I had quite so many quilt tops laying around! – but I’d like to do as much as I can, while still having fun with what I’m working on. I need to find a better way to balance work and crafting because generally if I’m tired after work, crafting is the first thing I set aside, and it shouldn’t be because I find it relaxing and why not use it to wind down after work?

Edited to add that although I’m late for this month, I’m going to start linking up in the future with A Lovely Year of Finishes at Fiber of All Sorts. I only just stumbled across it today (via Pretty Lady Baby), but I like the idea of it. (I liked it last year too, with the 12 in 2012 idea, but we’ll see how it goes!) How it works is there will be a link up from the 1st through 7th of each month, you’ll link up a post about what project you intend to finish that month (finish meaning finish a top or finish a quilt totally), mid-month will be another link-up where you can link another post talking about your progress, and then the last seven days of the month will have a third link-up where you can link to a post about the finished project.

A Lovely Year of Finishes