Category Archives: fabric

This and That.

I’ve been doing some crafting but nothing is finished yet so the big reveals are yet to come but since I haven’t blogged in a while I thought I’d post some progress pictures of what I’ve been doing.

First up some beauty shots to brighten your day. These are some roses that I got for my birthday and Valentine’s day, which are one and the same day. The grandkids came over and we had a wonderful romp and some yummy tacos for dinner.

white and pink roses

yellow and orange roses

Next up is the current project I’m working on. This is a little lap quilt kit that I bought from the Fat Quarter Shop about four years ago, hard to believe the time has flown by so quickly. I thought I would make it up and give it to my mother-in-law for her 95th birthday. The kids are having a special party and get together for her this April so it should be done by then.

01 laundry basket block

02 more laundry basket blocks

020 laundry basket quilt kit tag

And finally a couple of goodies arrived in the mail this morning. It was somewhat puzzling given that I had two parcels winging their way to me, ordered a week apart but the second one arrived first. This is some backing fabric I ordered to complete a quilt that I’m putting together for my grandson and the theme is dinosaurs. The other item is a quilt kit called Ada’s Prairie Stitches quilt.

03 dinosaur backing fabric

04 Ada's prairie stitches quilt kit

Hopefully I’ll be able to get pictures up of the finished quilts soon. The hubby is going away on a golf trip so I’m torn between having a craft-fest or cleaning, you can probably guess which I’ll end up doing.


Turning fabric into mini bolts.

I was cruising Pinterest this morning originally looking for ideas to make a portable ironing board when I had the thought of looking at some storage solutions for my quilting/sewing room and came across some references to storing fabric on comic storage boards.
comic storage boards 2

These storage boards (basically cardboard) are acid free so handy for wrapping fabric onto without having to worry about chemicals transfering to your material, at least that’s my take on it. They come in packs of 100 usually and the one pack cost me $9.95 (less in the States). I picked mine up at the local comic book store.

You take your fabric, which is already folded in half (22″) and then fold it again so the width is now around 11″ and then you roll this onto the comic storage board.

folding fabric on board

rolling fabric on board

I just used straight pins to fasten the ends.
pinned mini bolt

Stack of mini bolts.
stack of mini bolts

I’m not sure how much space I’m saving by making the mini bolts, in fact I know that I’ll have to find another spot for my fabric other than my drawer, a bookcase I guess but the advantage of having these little mini bolts is that I can now see what colours I have at a glance rather than having the material stacked in a pile in my drawers. It will save me from having to haul out the material every time I want to find a particular colour.

Material stacked in a pile in the drawer.
fabric in dresser drawer

Material in the same drawer sorted into colour gradients.
bolt in colour order

Same drawer another view.
fabric on bolt in dresser

A lot of people have these little bolts stacked into a bookshelf and they’d fit nicely. The only problem I have with that is light can degrade the fabric so I’d worry about the edges fading and I have had some fading on some of my fabric and this was fabric that was not in direct light. I think if I use a bookshelf I’ll probaby have to find a space for it in a closet or make some kind of blackout curtain to go over it.


More Goodies

Well I know I was supposed to cut back this year but the best of intentions got blow by the wayside. The Fat Quarter Shop put on special some Thimbleberries Border Blast grab bags for $50 for a 12-pound box. I’ve ordered the grab bags before and they are not bad. I wasn’t too sure about the Border Blast fabric line but decided to go for it anyhow.

Largest Priority Box that you can ship from the United States to Canada – $33, yikes this fabric better be good.

Opening the box, the anticipation…

The goodies pulled out and beginning to sort to see what I have.

Turns out there is more than Border Blast material in this shipment. Most of this is from the Autumn Sunset line (never heard of it).

Smaller cuts of the Border Blast materials. The smallest cuts of all the fabric sent were 9″x45″ in other words a quarter yard of fabric.

Larger pieces of Border Blast.

All the fabric stacked together.

And for anyone that’s done a search for these fabric grab bags (I have) and wants to know the statistics here we go.
12- pound grab bag
– minimum cut is 9″x45″, maximum cut was 2-yards 28″.
– There were a total of 56 pieces of fabric of that 11 pieces were a quarter yard and 14 pieces were well over a yard in length.
– the total amount of fabric was 38.26 yards. The Fat Quarter Shop will tell you that on average you will get 2.25 – 2.5 yards of fabric per pound, it all depends on what the weave of the fabric is as some are heavier than others. I’ve ordered these grab bags before and I’m usually over this estimate but I have been bang on as well.
-cost without shipping in U.S. dollars worked out for my order $1.31/yard.
-cost for myself with the whopping $33 shipping fee, exchange rate, visa fee, worked out to $2.28/yard.

It’s not bad $2.28/yard if you’re willing to work around what you’ve been given. I have to admit that this colourway was more of an autumn/winter set so there is a lot of browns, rusts, greens in this mix and I’m not really fond of those colours but then again that’s Thimbleberries for you. Lynette Jensen usually goes for the country feel.

I was surprised at how many big pieces of fabric that I got. I don’t think that this is typical although I will admit that the Fat Quarter Shop usually sends at least a couple of larger pieces with the smaller ones. I’m pretty sure they do this so that you can use the fabric for borders. It’s almost like getting a quilt kit the only difference being that you have to come up with the quilt pattern – 38.26 yards I should be able to fudge something up.

The pieces of fabric were also uniform in cut. For example I received three pieces of “rust scattered flower buds” at 48.5 inches. Another example was an off-white, again three pieces all 22.5 inches. I know that the store was trying to sell some block of the month kits and I’m wondering if they gave up and broke the kits down and made grab bags out of the components, clever.

When I’m looking at a sale on the site I type in an amount in the order column to see how much of one item is on sale. If there are a lot on sale then I know I have time to sit and think about the item before buying it. This helps me to cut down on impulse buying. I know there were well over 30 of these fabric grab bags. Normally Thimbleberries or any other name brand designer grab bags retail over $100 for the 12-pound size. This bag was $50 so it was a very good deal. The bags sold out in a day and a half.

Sorry if this is boring but as I mentioned I’ve done Internet searches on what comes in these bags so thought I’d share.

***Edited to add that I’ve bought a second scrap bag but this one was a random pick instead of a theme. Lots of scraps but definitely not as nice as the thimbleberry bag. I wouldn’t recommend this one unless you’re a big fan of scrap quilts and even then….


Vacation Tie-Dyes and Homemade Pillowcase.

I have to admit that I’ve played hooky for the last few months from this blog. Part of the reason was we went on vacation and then the big catch up in the garden, which I admit is an excuse but sometimes it’s just nice not to have to do something.

Anyhow, we went on holiday – 4 days in Rome and then 11 days on a cruise to various ports of call. The hubby has always wanted one of my lemon yellow and turquoise t-shirts so I made up a batch of tie-dyes to take on holiday. It’s always easier to pick out family when they are wearing tie-dye simply because the colours are so bright and no one else is wearing them.

Tie-dyes batching in plastic ziplock bags in the sun.

More batching tie-dye.

Black, seafoam green and grape adult tee for my niece.

Grecian rose, Island green and grape for my sister-in-law.

Matching socks.

Rainbow shirt made for my husband it looks fantastic on him, very nice.

Scaly dragon shirt, Tom and Martine’s pattern from TrueTieDye It hasn’t found a home yet.

More socks.

Black and turquoise shirt.

Turquoise and lemon yellow, this is a fantastic combination and you can see it from half a mile away, trust me.

Turquoise, black and seafoam green. The green was rather muted on this one. The black was a solid on one side when applied as opposed to being applied in pie shaped wedges on both sides. This is why you get spirals of black in between the other colours unlike the black and turquoise spiral previously.

I saw this neat idea for a pillow on the Moda Bakeshop site and adapted it for my own use. I’m sure there have been lots of pillowcases made like this but it’s my first one and I’m rather proud of it. I like to use feather pillows because you can fluff them up nicely. The only problem is I like a lower loft pillow and the ones I buy from Costco are big. They say they are queen-sized but my pillowcases are several inches smaller than these pillows so when I force them into the case it gives me a really fat pillow. Anyhow, long story short I decided to make my own.

Pillowcase made with Kona percale cotton and various fabric’s from April Cornell’s Nature’s Notebook collection.

Close-up of the material. I really like these colours and when I get around to it I will be making a quilt probably dresden plate out of the fat quarter bundle I bought. I just need to buy some larger yardage for borders before it all gets sold out.

And lastly because I took a couple of before and after pictures:

Junk from desk top.

Clean desk, needless to say my desk is messy again but not quite as bad as before. A never ending flow of stuff migrating on and off the desk like a tide washing in and out on the beach.


More fabric…

Well I received the second half of the shipment from Hancock’s today so it was a nice morning to wake up to.

Here are the other two bundles of fabric that I’d ordered:

The William Morris Workshop fat quarters from Moda by designer Barbara Brackman.

I was lucky to get these as it was the last bundle on their site. I’ve since gone back and don’t see any more so I guess that’s it for William Morris fat quarters unless Hancock’s get some more in. This isn’t the full line of Morris fat quarters. There may be a few other websites that have the full bundle for sale.

The next three photos are from the Nature’s Notebook fat quarter bundle from Moda by designer April Cornell.

First sixteen fat quarters.

Second lot of sixteen fat quarters.

Last fat quarter for a total of 33 fat quarters in the bundle.

The fabrics are a bit more muted than what I’ve posted. I took the photos in low-light so darkened them a bit in photoshop. Very nice fabric, not sure what I’m going to do with the Morris prints but they were so beautiful I couldn’t resist them. For the blue and yellow I may try a wedding ring quilt or some other cottage type of quilt.


Island Batiks

I had a birthday recently so indulged and ordered some fat quarters from Hancocks of Paducah. The second half of my order appeared in the mailbox, this was the part that was back-ordered and was shipped three days later. Who knows where the first half with most of the fabric is, probably stuck in customs waiting to be assessed for taxes. It doesn’t pay to order in large quantities but if you order over $100 for international orders using the special coupon you get shipping free, which of course will go to help pay the taxes.

Anyhow thought I’d post a picture of the fabrics so people could get an idea of what there like in case they want to order some.

Island Batik in the colourway “Island Batik Blues”, ordered from Hancock’s of Paducah.

Very pretty but it’ll be a while until I figure out just the right project for them but probably some kind of lap quilt.


Moda Scrap Bags…Part 1.

I have to apologize for not keeping up with the blog lately. Aside from being very busy over the holidays the case of tinnitus I developed in August (antibiotics) has still been bothering me and I find that it gets worse on the computer so I’ve cut back the computer time compared to what I used to spend on it.

Anyhow thought I would share some goodies I ordered in the mail a couple of weeks ago. I cruise the fabric sites frequently, place my orders and then cancel them out as I realise I have way to much fabric and not enough time to use it all up but I have to admit that I’ve taken a fancy to the Moda pre-cuts because there is something about their line of fabrics that really appeals to me.

Long story short, I’m too cheap to buy the jelly rolls but I discovered a site Fabric Depot that gives a good discount on all of their fabric and pre-cuts and in the jelly roll section they have Moda Scrap Bags. These bags contain the waste ends of the bolts of fabric they use to make up their jelly rolls. There is a description of these bags on the sites that sell them so I won’t go into any detail but thought I’d post a few pictures.

Oooh, what goodies can be in here?

Love it when a retail site makes an effort to be efficient in packing items that will cost the customer less in shipping fees.

Moda scrap bag jelly rolls.

From the Spring Fever line by My Sister and Me for Moda. Not all of the fabric line colours are included in these end pieces. There are pinks, purples and turquoises as well. I didn’t bother to lay out all the strips, about 33 or just over 1/2 pound of fabric.

This scrap bag contained creams and beiges from three different lines maybe four, anyhow they all co-ordinated. Aster Manor, Parlour, Ferny and another.

This bag contained the same fabric lines as the creams above but had pinks, chocolate browns and reds. Also every strip was a different fabric just like a real jelly roll whereas the others had repeat fabrics. I can combine the two bags I think and get maybe a double-size quilt out of these two. I just need to figure out what my co-ordinating fabrics will be to make my blocks.

All in all I was very pleased with my three bags and will probably order another three. I’m working on a quilt using the Spring Fever bag and just have to finish putting it together and then binding it. Hopefully in a couple of days it will be done and I’ll post the finished quilt.


Towels and Pillows

Well I haven’t been blogging much, I’ve been doing stuff but not much that I felt was blog worthy. I finally got around to finishing up a couple of pillows for the basement couch. I’d bought this material when I went searching for fabric for my batik fish pillow. Our local Walmart’s fabric department was closing down and the fabric and trims were 75% off so off course I just had to buy something and did. The pillow forms ended up costing more than the fabric and cording but having just finished stuffing the batik pillow with left-over fibre-fill I felt it would be cheaper buying the forms and it was. Besides which no matter how carefully you stuff a pillow it always ends up being somewhat lumpy. I’m pleased to say that the pillow forms worked out beautifully.

Olive pillows made from upholstry fabric and cording.

Olive pillows made from upholstry fabric and cording.

I’ve also been working on the annual Christmas oven towels (tutorial at right). I take these (and my scarves) with me whenever I’m waiting for an appointment. That way I’m not resentful of the wasted time while waiting to see whomever (I can however waste plenty of time on the computer and am not resentful at all).

Christmas oven towels.

Christmas oven towels.

Last week while waiting in the optomitrist’s office with my son I was crocheting an oven towel and this senior started a conversation with me and placed an order for four of the oven towels. I thought it quite funny because she didn’t ask me first if I took orders, just assumed that I would. She was quite pleased with them and wants another two or three next week and by the way did I do any other crafts for Christmas? LOL, I said I did tie-dye but the long and short of it was that her niece needs a size M ladies and I don’t have any. I can get men’s white T’s quite easily but the ladies shirts I have to special order from the States from Dharma. It’s surprising how hard it can be to get a 100% plain white cotton shirt at least not at the price I want to pay.

Anyhow, I’m finally working on my Christmas tree skirt. Last February I bought some fabric (on sale of course) that I intended to use for this project. The kicker is that I’m only using a couple of pieces of that fabric. The fabric I ended up choosing I already had in my stash. Perhaps a good reason not to buy on spec.

Fabric choices for Christmas tree skirt.

Fabric choices for Christmas tree skirt.

I have an order coming in from “Thousands of Bolts” that has a piece of Christmas ecru in it so hopefully that piece works out with the rest of the fabric. It’d be nice if the package arrives in the next couple of days but if not I have lots of other goodies to make for my secret sister swap and a bunch of crayon rolls to get finished by Christmas as well. There never seems to be enough time does there no matter how early you start?


More material

Thought I’d post a picture of the yardage that came in the mail today. This was the matching material to the fat quarters I bought at the Toronto creative craft festival I went to a couple of weekends ago.

Gardener's Touch, Thimbleberry line.

Gardener's Touch, Thimbleberry line.

The fabric is really nice up close and in person especially the floral one. I ordered 2 yards each so I have a total of 6 yards plus the fat quarter bundle so that should be enough I would think for some type of top. I just have to figure out what quilt pattern to do it in that will make good use of the fat quarters.


Toronto’s creativ’ festival – Fall 2008

I went to the craft festival yesterday. The main reason I went was to look at sewing machines, material, wool and a spindle.

I have been looking at Husqvarna’s Sapphire sewing machines. These machines are a step down from their top of the line quilting/embroidery machine but I don’t really want an embroidery machine although if I get some of those features with a machine it’ll be nice. The machine I was looking at was the 905 Sapphire, which on sale is around $1699.00. This price range is still a bit too steep for my budget or rather my husband’s so I thought that maybe the machines on display at the festival would have a cheaper show price or maybe come with an extra bonus package. Unfortunately this was not the case and I believe that the machine was $100.00 cheaper at my local sewing shop. Oh well I met the owner of the company (awesome man) and Joyce Hancock who is local to my area where I live. She has a fantastic studio/store and after talking to her I decided the best way to figure out what machine I would need would be to take a couple of classes and get a feel for a machine. It just might turn out that I don’t like machine quilting so we’ll see how it goes.

I’d also dropped by to visit the Janome exhibit because I’d researched those machines as well. What a difference in the way the two exhibits operated. The Janome sales clerk was all for selling me the show special which had this and that features and was only XX amount of dollars. She didn’t really want to listen to what I wanted. I compare the two experiences to going to a used car lot and BMW. One is pressuring me to buy, the other is confident in their product and willing to let me find the right machine for my needs knowing that I’ll be back. Nice “Glad to meet you Karen.” and shake of the hand from the president and Joyce. These people know how to treat a customer, very classy.

Anyhow after looking at the machines I headed on over to the Len Mills exhibit. Now for years I have been going on and on about Len Mills and the deals they have on their cotton quilting fabrics. For years I’ve bugged my husband to stop off at any nearby outlet as we’ve driven by, not any more. It was a shock to see the price of the fabric knowing that these were the sale prices. I guess I’ve gone beyond retail pricing. I am quite bluntly an Internet online shopping junky. Every exhibt I went to I knew where to find the product at roughly half the price online. For the Len Mills prices I could buy 2 yards online for the price of 1 from them.

This extended to the hand-dyed wool I saw at the fair as well. At one exhibit the wools/yarns were exquisite. They had some fine Alpaca yarn for $40/hank. All I could think of was that I could purchase the same stuff for $19.98 at Dharma. At one exhibt I saw some hand-dyed cotton fabric that was $28.00/yard. This is the same stuff I make up in the laundry room using my Procion MX dyes. The cotton fabric costs me about $4/yard and the dyes, water, electricity a bit more. I guess I’ve been undervaluing my work.

I’d pretty well given up on buying anything at the festival until I came across a booth that came all the way from Chilliwack British Columbia. I spotted some Thimbleberries fat quarter bundles. I adore Thimbleberries and these ones were marked down from $99.00 to $54.98 – sold done deal with tax at $63.23! And yes I checked, I couldn’t find a cheaper price for the bundle anywhere on the Internet.

Thimbleberries Fat Quarter bundle "A Gardener's Touch" Thimbleberries "A Gardener's Touch" side view.

The really neat thing about this bundle is that when I came home I realised the top fabric looked familar. I went and checked in my shopping cart over at Thousands of Bolts and sure enough I’d had a yard of it in the cart. I ended up ordering six yards of the Gardener’s Touch line. Two more each of the floral cream, green and raspberry prints. That will give me seven yards from the bundle plus the extra six yards I ordered for borders, should be enough for a decent sized quilt. LOL, the fat quarter bundle is still sitting on my desk top as I type. I feel like Gollum in the Hobbit, picking it up every now and then and muttering “My preccccious”.

One of the spinning exhibtors had mentioned that she’d seen some spindles at one of the booths but darned if I could find it so I gave up and just as I was about to go out the doors I discovered Gemini wools and several beautiful spindles. These were beautiful but at $65.00 did not fit my budget for having a go at trying to spin my own yarn. After talking with one of the sales ladies I came away with a basic beginner spindle from Ashford at $21.00. I have some carded wool stashed somewhere so I’ll give it a try and see how it works out.

Ashford beginner spindle.

Ashford beginner spindle.

Well I’ve written an essay so time to go. Final thoughts on the festival – glad to have made a connection with Joyce Hancock, bought my fat quarters and spindle – but no, wouldn’t go back again; I’ll stick to Internet shopping.