Tag Archives: fabric stash

Here’s What’s Going On

Another Monday! The weeks just keep flying by. We are enjoying a sunny day today after an incredibly rainy weekend.  It was looking like we all might float away on Saturday. I think we got over five inches of rain which, for us, is a huge amount in a day’s time. Our basement took on some water but luckily Ray is good about keeping things that matter up off the ground. No damage to anything, just a mess.

We hunkered down on Saturday and enjoyed the rain. Then on Sunday we picked out our tree. Julia and I decorated it between her study sessions for this week’s final exams. Look – we are all Christmasy now!

Sunday was also the day that my kitchen sink decided to clog up. Not a whole lot of draining going on in there. That’s why we have plumbers. I have a call in and they are supposed to come late this afternoon. Kind of yukky but not a huge deal (as long as he can come today.)

This morning I had Julia pick a number between one and 262 for the winner of my Sew Mama Sew giveaway. Lucky Amanda is the winner of the bundle of three half-yard cuts. After a quick run to the post office, the package is already on its way to her in Texas! Thanks, everyone, for participating in this event.

Speaking of packages, look at the bundle of beauty I received last week!  This is my second installment of a gift subscription to Pink Castle’s Color Inspirations club. It is just as gorgeous as last month.

I think the blue piece in the center sets this grouping over the top. It will add a beautiful bit of depth to the project. Makes me really excited to use it.

The only sewing I have going on today is a few sets of burp cloths for my shop. I had a these sweet pieces of flannel from Connecting Threads that were calling to me. I couldn’t ignore that, right? The colors are wonderful. I made sure to prewash so I could check for any color bleeding issues. But all three were fine.

I think I will spend an hour wrapping gifts before Julia needs to be picked up. May this Monday allow you at least a few minutes in the sewing room and a kitchen sink with a clear flowing drain!

I will be sure to link up with a few bloggers – check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

The Kindness of Others

This week I had one of those moments that reminds you that there are so many nice people in the world. Here you go.

You might remember that last December I did a custom order for a woman from New York. (Story posted here.) This was my first custom order and it was really fun to work with this particular customer. She was so friendly within the confines of our email conversations about her order.  For the first time, I used a wax print, Ankara fabric to make her Chemex cozy. We chatted a bit and I told her how much I liked this gorgeous fabric. She told me she buys wax prints at an open market in New York.

Time passed. (Lots of time, seven months!) Last month, she emailed me and said she would be going to the marketplace soon and would I like her to pick up some fabric for me. It is really a good price there. I had looked on-line to buy some and wasn’t thrilled with the pricing. I have to be fairly careful with what I spend on fabric for my Etsy shop or my already meager profits become even less.  All about the profit margin, right.  😉  I jumped at her offer.

When she got to the shop, she texted me pictures of about seven or eight pieces she thought I might like. Jamie explained I would have to buy them in three yard pieces as they are pre-cut to this length. It was a tough choice but I settled on two. It was amazingly easy to be texting with this virtual friend and picking fabrics out based on a few quick iPhone photos.

As I wrote her a check and popped it in the mail it came to me that some might consider this a bit of a risk. I didn’t have any hesitation about sending the money. I knew the fabric would show up. It appeared that she didn’t have any hesitation purchasing the fabric for me and she even mailed it prior to receiving any sort of payment from me.

I received the fabric a few days ago. It is so gorgeous. Made by Vlisco, these wax prints are manufactured both in Holland and in Ghana. The company was founded in 1846 and has served a vast African market over the years. Their process reportedly consists of twenty-seven steps to achieve these prints and is a highly guarded secret. Because many textile companies attempt to create counterfeit Vlisco fabric, they are quite bold with printing their name along the selvedge and putting these (nearly impossible to remove) adhesive labels on the fabric.


If you look closely at the label, you might notice that this piece was actually six yards, not three.  Both pieces are huge, six yards each. Jamie was mistaken when she told me she was sending three yards of each. At $20 per piece, this was a steal.


This blue and purple piece has more of an African look to the pattern. It is really bold. I chose it because I want to utilize the curve of those spirals when I cut the curve of the Chemex covers. But now that I have six yards of it, I need to think of another project to use some of it!  The fabric is 48″ wide. Lots of fabric here.


This red piece is my favorite. I love the birds. Do they look like a peacock? I think so but I’m not sure. It has a green border running the length of the piece. It is just gorgeous. I have several ideas for projects to use this piece for so I need to make some decisions.


What most impressed me was that this was just an act of kindness. She had no compelling reason to do this, other than to be a nice person.  Yep, there are so many really kind people out there and she is certainly one of them.

Linking to this week’s Sunday Stash.


An Unlikely Find

This morning was, as it has been all week, too hot to work outside. My husband and I were cleaning up our basement (it stays nice and cool down there!) As we went along, I made a huge pile of items to donate at one of our local thrift shops. I came across a bag of odds and ends and thought it best to take a quick look before adding it to the pile. I’m so glad I did!

In the bag was a pile of fabric that I had purchased some time ago at a garage sale. It was the sort of thing where you buy an entire bag without being able to take it apart to see what is really contained in the bag. I threw caution to the wind and spent my $3.00 on the mystery bag because that’s the kind of person I am. Most of the fabric was not my type of thing (lots of shimmer and shine.) So it ended up in the basement. This morning I took a closer look before donating it and found a set of African wax print fabrics! Score.

I hand washed them as I was fairly certain the bright colors would run a bit (and they did.) They looked so pretty hanging on my line in the way too hot sun. They dried in about five minutes!

imageTwo of the four pieces are marked as being Sotiba prints, made in Dakar, Senegal. There are conflicting accounts of the status of Sotiba. When I was googling the company there was reference to it going out of business in the late 1980’s and also some reference to current production. I honestly don’t know if they are still making fabric. Anyone out there have any info on this??
imageThe pieces aren’t large – they measure about 14″ x 25″. Not quite a fat quarter in size. The colors are so bold.



I was first introduced to African wax prints last November when a customer requested a custom order through my Etsy shop. She sent me this beautiful fabric and asked me to make a Chemex cozy with it. I posted about that project here. The fabric she sent me was Ankara, and it felt like a higher quality weave than these pieces. It was wonderful to sew with.


I think I will use these pieces to create some items for my shop. These pieces are not large enough to make Chemex cozies so they will probably be used for French Press cozies instead.  At any rate, I am so glad I took a minute to scan that bag one last time.

Linking to Molly Sparkles Sunday Stash.



Sunday Stitching

Ahhhh….. what a great Sunday. Never got in the car once. That is the best sort of day. After a little bit of housekeeping in the morning, I spent the majority of the afternoon in my sewing room. Life is good.

I finished the sixth row for my Classic Stitches BOM quilt (hosted by Mari over at Academic Quilter). The color for RSC15 in June is light blue. Mari wisely chose the water wheel block (what is better for light blue?) The block was very simple once I got the pieces cut. The previous five rows that I made consist of 6″ blocks. This month I made 7 1/2″ blocks. Kind of fun to see the difference in size. I need to vary the sizes a bit. Maybe I will make a row of tiny blocks next month and some oversized blocks in a later month.  Here is my row for June.

IMG_20150628_3489Somehow this row is a bit longer than 60″ so I may have a challenge on my hands when I stitch the rows together. But that won’t be for months, so why worry about it now?? It was too hot out to really hang all of the other rows, but here it is with two others.


This is going to be such a fun quilt to finish up. Looking forward to seeing what color and block are on tap for July.

Last week I spent most of the week in Sacramento with my daughter. While she was in class I did what any other self-respecting quilter would do and hit up a few quilt shops. Actually of the three stores I went to, only one was a true quilt shop. The other was a huge sewing machine store that sells fabric along with machines and long arms. The third was Hobby Lobby, only because I had never been to one before. Visiting these three businesses confirmed the fact that this obsession has turned me into a fabric snob of the worst sort.

Hobby Lobby was exactly what I expected. Low end fabric and so many novelty prints. I suppose this is the right place for moms that are sewing clothes for their littles. The fabric is of a lower quality and I wouldn’t put it into a quilt but for an outfit that will be outgrown by summer’s end, it is probably just fine. Didn’t buy a single thing there.

The sewing machine shop, Meisner’s, had a smaller selection but the fabrics were good quality. They had a 40-60% off section which sucked me right in. I found the backing that I will use for the 1940’s vintage double nine patch quilt that I am just starting. It was a steal which is nice because I needed 4 1/2 yards.

IMG_20150628_3495I had the most fun at a little shop called Quilter’s Corner. I had been here once before during a Shop Hop. Their selection is fairly extensive so I had fun looking through the shop.

I found a piece of Kaffe Fassett that I wanted to go along with a jelly roll that has been sitting on my shelf for a while. I have an idea for a quilt but that is on the back burner for a bit while I get the double nine patch going. It is going to be so pretty tho! Love Fassett’s shot cottons and these colors are wonderful.


Also from Quilter’s Corner, are these two pieces. The print is from American Jane’s newest line. Several months ago (maybe last fall?) Sandy Klop, the designer of American Jane fabrics came to speak at a guild meeting. It was interesting to listen to her and even more fun to look at the quilts she brought to show us. After the meeting, I purchased a set of 1/2 yard cuts and started a quilt with them. It is maybe 1/3 of the way complete. Looking at it coming together, I thought it lacked yellow so I was happy to find these pieces.

The nice thing about the American Jane line is that pieces from different collections work so well together. These will fit right in. Again though, this needs to wait a bit. I want to get going on the vintage blues quilt and if I pull any of these other projects out I will only distract myself.

Hope everyone had a great Sunday. I am so glad I found time to sew today because tomorrow we are headed back to Sacramento. When my daughter had her birthday in May we didn’t have time to celebrate it with her friends. She invited three girls and I am taking them to a water park tomorrow. For them, it will be a day of bikinis and squealing which she is really looking forward to. I plan to find a bit of shade and bring a good book to pass the time while they do their thing.

Linking to Molli Sparkles’ Sunday Stash and Monday Makers over at Hug-a-Bit Quilts.





Vintage Collection, Part 2

Last week I wrote a post about the amazing gift of vintage fabrics I was given by a woman I met up in Downieville. There is so much to the collection that I decided I would divide it into a couple of posts. Here we go with part two! Again, this is post is a bit longer than usual.

I was up at the house in Downieville one day last week. While I was there, I visited with a few of the women in the quilt guild. When I told them about this gift, they were all smiles. Knowing my love of vintage pieces, this fabric had found a good home. I asked about the history of the woman the fabric originally belonged to. They gave me a bit of information. Her name was Cornelia but everyone called her Nela. She had two daughters (one of which was the person that gave me the fabric.) Her husband, Dewey, was the sherrif of Downieville from sometime in the 1940’s to the 1960’s. I like having this bit of history. Kind of nice to be able to imagine where all of these little lovelies came from.

As I mentioned last week, included in the bags of fabric were these little bundles. Nela took all the pieces of a particular fabric and rolled them up, tying them with a strand of that same fabric. I have been unrolling the bundles and have been surprised to find she had taken apart “ready-made” dresses, probably to use the fabric. The first dress could almost be reassembled. I am missing the back of the bodice but all of the other pieces are here. The gores of the skirt, the top bodice, two sleeves and the sash.  It is really tiny.  Take a look.


I held the bodice up and quickly realized that this would have been made for a very slender woman. The fabric is adorable, though faded in parts. Clearly, this dress was worn a great deal.


Here is another dress that had been taken apart. The fabric is in much better shape. I am thinking it was made for a young girl. The sleeves are small and didn’t wrap around my arm or Julia’s.

IMG_20150425_3169Again, the most of the parts to dress are here, less one piece of the collar. The dress reminds me of the uniform I wore when I was a volunteer “candy-striper” at the local hospital during high school. I love the bodice with the trim pieces.


In addition to these two dresses, there were a few items that had not been taken apart. There were also pieces that were cut and bundled but never sewn. She had a lot of projects going on here!  I love this little apron that was in the bag. Julia was modeling for me here. She looks good in an apron!


Here is a skirt that I found. The waist is about 23″ so it’s certainly not fitting me!!  Very tiny.

IMG_20150425_3155The waistband buttons in the back and then there is a sash that wraps and ties in the front. The flowers are huge and bright. I would guess this is from the 1950’s?

Finally, my favorite. This sweet little dress looks like it would fit a girl of about five years or so.


The sheer fabric that is inserted into the bodice is a mystery to me. It is very, very thin and the fabric is definitely compromised just from age. It seems an odd choice for a child’s dress. I suppose she would have expected the child to wear something underneath the dress.


I love the sash that ties on the back side. I haven’t found the rest of the pieces, though I still have a large pile of scrap to sort through. It looks like Nela was making this dress. The neckline is still unfinished and while she put the placket in for the buttons on the back, there are no button holes. Only one sleeve is in place and the bottom of the sleeve is not in place.

I have accumulated quite a bin of vintage fabrics as a result of this awesome gift. It is going to be so much fun to make something with it. Now how to decide what pattern to use and which fabrics to put together. I need to sort them into colorways which will help me to get a plan together.

Linking to Linda at Coastal Charms and Molli Sparkle’s Sunday Stash.


Happy Mother’s Day to Me

Last year I got such a cool Mother’s Day gift. It may strike you as odd that I am writing about it 10 months later, but bear with me. In April of last year, my son and daughter-in-law were home for a weekend to attend a wedding. Andrew overheard me talking about wanting to learn to use a long arm. There is a shop about 40 miles from my house (everything is 40 miles from my house) and when I was there I found out that a person could take a class on their long arm and then rent it for $20 per hour. This sounded great to me. Just seemed like a fun thing to learn and a nice way to see if I would like to work on a long arm. Being a thoughtful guy, Andrew decided to send me a gift certificate to cover the cost of taking the initial class. I was so surprised to get this in the mail the following month at Mother’s Day.

In theory, this was such a great idea. I just could not get it to happen. Certainly not for a lack of trying however.  This shop is more than a bit flaky. I won’t mention any names, but it is basically the only LQS in the Marysville/Yuba City area. There, now you can avoid it if you are ever in the area. When I got the certificate I scheduled the class. I called them at the end of May and was told I would have to wait until August for the class. Ok, no big deal.  Come August, they call me and tell me they are so very busy that they have to reschedule to October. A bit frustrating but I am nothing if not patient (ha!). So I schedule for October 22nd. October rolls around, and guess what? I get a call on October 21st telling me that they have just returned from a huge show and the long arms aren’t set up and blah, blah, blah.  They cannot actually reschedule me during this phone call and could they please call me back? Fine I huff at them, call me back. Are you surprised that I never got that phone call.  Five months have now gone by and no call.  I did leave a message or two between then and now, but I am fairly certain I am not going to get to take a class.

Now there I was holding on to this gift certificate to a quilt shop. Hmmm…. what to do, what to do? I called a quilty girlfriend last week and asked if she wanted to come along to this oh-so-poorly run LQS. Always up for a quilt shop trip, she agreed.  My mission was to splurge on a pile of 1/2 yard cuts of solids.  My stash is woefully low on any solid fabrics.  I was pretty darn excited. I told myself I could not go over the amount of the gift certificate though. (Remember, I have incredible will power when it comes to fabric shopping.)

Here is a one (Kaufmann) collection that I purchased.



I love the texture in these pieces. The colors are so deep. Look at the violet piece on the right. Gorgeous.

imageOn to another aisle for more traditional solids. These are all Kona solids. Since I don’t have projects lined up for these, I just selected colors that I like to use. I have no doubt that I will find lots of fun quilts that will include these hues.



Sooo pretty. I just love the way they look all stacked up. I don’t really need to sew with them, I can just look at them sitting there in my sewing room and it brings me pure joy.  😉

Now another funny thing about this shop is that their pricing was wildly erratic. The first batch of textured cottons were all the same price and they were a bit spendy. But the selection of Kona solids varied in price from $4.00 per yard to $9.99 (crazy high, in my opinion) per yard. When the owner was cutting the fabrics I pointed out the price differences to him and asked why Kona solids would vary like that. He had no real answer. He said, “I guess the cheaper ones have been around the shop for a while.” What? It made no sense to me. But really, it didn’t surprise me considering my experience with this guy over the past ten months.

No matter, I got to indulge in a stack of gorgeous fabric and celebrate Mother’s Day 2014 all over again!  And get this, I nailed the cost! I was over by eight cents! Thank you Andrew.  🙂

Linking to Molli Sparkles for Sunday Stash (even though it’s already Monday!)


Lacking Willpower

This fabric fast just isn’t working for me. It’s a lot like when you are on a diet so you decide to give up dessert. Your mind becomes consumed with dessert. Pictures of brownies, ice cream, chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate fill your brain. Selective attention, it’s all you think about. So, that is me and fabric. Friday on Instagram I saw a post in my feed about an anniversary celebration giveaway at Doe Street Fabrics. I don’t enter these very often but for some reason, I went for it. I reposted the picture and threw my name in the hat. Saturday afternoon I was looking at Instagram and saw that I won a $25 gift certificate. Yay for free fabric!!

I went over to Doe Street Fabrics (an Etsy shop) to browse her inventory. The shop is owned and operated by Angie Metessa of Plain City, Ohio. I think Angie was as excited as I was when I won her giveaway. She has so many cute pieces to choose from. She also has fabric listed on Instagram as well as her Facebook page. Choices, choices, choices. It was hard to make up my mind especially since her prices are really reasonable. My mind went right into rationalization mode. Well, said my mind, you could really pick several items. Since you have a $25 certificate, this will be such a deal!! Oh, yes… you know the routine. We’ve all gone there.

First I selected this fat quarter bundle from Joel Dewberry’s Nottinghill line. The colors are wonderful.

Quilter's Fat Quarter Bundle of Joel Dewberry Notting Hill- Poppies, Kaleidascope, Hexagons and Square Petals

Then I grabbed a set of 1/2 yard cuts from Riley Blake’s Floriography Line.

Willpower? Nah. Self-control? Nope. Gorgeous fabric coming my way from Ohio? You bet! Can’t wait.

I did try something new today! Kitty Wilkin of NightQuilter.com released a cute pattern for a paper pieced heart. She posted a tutorial for it on her site on Friday.  I have always felt intimidated by paper piecing but this pattern looked really simple so I gave it a try. It was really fun. I watched this tutorial by Connecting Threads on basic paper piecing so I had some idea of how to do it before I got started. I didn’t have the quarter inch ruler she was using and tried using a quilting ruler but it was cumbersome. Her ruler with the 1/4″ lip looked pretty handy. Love learning something new!IMG_20150117_2754

The process is simpler than I thought (though this pattern was mainly just straight lines.) This block was like piecing a log cabin block and then cutting a heart shape. One piece of fabric (the red and cream stripe on the left) was a little bit too narrow so that side of the heart is less than perfect. I think I will make another one for practice. It is a cute little block. I appliqued it to a 9 1/2 inch square. Not sure what I will do with the blocks but I’ll figure something out.

Linking to Molli Sparkles Sunday Stash.