Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Fabriholics Anonymous - Fabric Fasting in 2014

Have you seen that Jess of the Elven Garden and Rebecca of Making Rebecca Lynne are hosting a six month fabric buying ban starting January 1? For me, the timing on this is pretty well perfect. 

Now I'm on holidays from work and doing the end-of-year mad-dash cleaning and organising, I'm reflecting a lot on the concept of simplicity and having and needing less. I'm a stuff person, as is reflected in my stash, so this is not an easy road for me. And I can fully justify that most of my discretionary income is spent on craft supplies... but if I have more than I need (honestly) then why not save that money instead? 

I haven't bought a massive amount of fabric this year, but I have bought some. I am not obsessive about new lines and particular designers, but I am a sucker for a good sale. I have cut back on my blog reading this year and this has helped a lot with not knowing about all the latest lines and wanting them - ignorance can be bliss.

So here's the stash.... 
And yes, I am super anal-retentive about the organisation of my stash. 

The multicolours and warms
The cools
The neutrals
Scraps sorted by colour
Random little scraps and solid scraps
So that's what I have to work with.... plenty. Even with not buying much this year, I also haven't had a lot of time for quilting this year, so the stash is growing faster than I can get through it. I still have a huge pile of UFOs kicking around the craft room too. 

In addition to quilting, I also scrapbook, which has been taking most of my creative time this year - I am making good progress on my albums and can see a time in my future when I am pretty well 'caught up' which is really exciting. But of course, I also buy scrapbooking supplies too, and my buying ban would extend to that. 

So with this in mind, I am pledging to stop buying craft supplies. Full stop. Which is scary as hell. I am following the fabric fast rules, below. 

The only exceptions to the fast will be to buy batting and maybe backing fabric (big maybe as I have yardage of some solids and should be able to pull something together) and possibly thread, though I have plenty. On the scrapbooking front, I am allowing myself to buy adhesives, blades and page protectors and I will continue to print photos regularly.

- To use the Stash I already have!
- Finish UFOs without distraction by shifting to other new beautiful fabric.
- Stop the insanity of constantly buying the latest and greatest fabric.
- Save the $$ I spend on stashing.
- Destash the fabrics that I realize I am never going to use.
1) No fabric purchases for 6 months beginning January 1, 2014.   
2) At 6 months reevaluate status and decide whether to keep going for full year.  Evaluation July 1, 2014.
3) Create a UFO list and complete them!
4) Exceptions
  • Backing: purchasing a backing to finish a quilt top is permissible.  However, attempting to use fabric in your possession for a backing is preferable.
  • Books and Magazine purchases are allowed as they are not fabric.  Notions acceptable too.
  • Swap Mama Fabric: if hosting a swap you are permitted to by fabric to execute swap duties, but you may not join a swap simply for the sake of being able to buy fabric!
  • Quilts for Publication: if you are making a quilt for a publication and need certain fabric to execute it correctly then that is a major exception - who can blame you?

I'm joining up to the linky party and will report back regularly. Wish me luck!

- Jane

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday Stash - One Last Big Haul

I have been pretty good with fabric buying this year and actually only did two big internet orders - one from the US and one within Australia. As fate would have it, they arrived a day apart, which meant for a very big fabric week!

These parcels were both bought on very good sales, and lots of the fabric was clearance - my goal was to do some stash building. I bought from Hypernoodle Fabrics in the US, who not only had a significant discount on all stock, they also offered international shipping at domestic rates. I'd never bought anything from there before, but their service was great and I found their website very easy to navigate. I also bought a nice selection from Craft Depot in Sydney, who I have visited IRL a few times as they are two suburbs away from my dad's place. I usually stop in there when I'm in Sydney and check out their extensive range of $9.99m fabrics. Their website is also nice to navigate and the postage was pretty good too.

Wanna see what I got?

I'm always looking to add to my low volume collection.

Some Jennifer Paganelli goodness. In all the colours. And on sale no less!

Random warm tones for stash building.

Random neutrals for stash building.

Random cool tones for stash building.

I don't often buy multi-coloured prints, but these were all irresistible.

Dandelion goodness in my girls' favourite colours.
Girl #2 love purple. Since good purples are hard to find, I always, always buy it when I see good stuff. 
More neutral goodness.
And a few more pretty little stash builders.

Chevron meets sketch... what more could you ask for? 
 A lot of these prints are typically me, blenders in geometric patterns seem to make my heart sing. But one thing I'm pleased with is that a lot of them are a bit lighter or darker than I would usually choose, and I am really glad I am extending my tonal comfort zone.

This will be the last Sunday Stash post out of me for quite some time... now I've had this little binge I've decided that next year will be time for a fabric diet - but that's something for another post.

Meanwhile, I'm linking up with the lovely Fiona, who is hosting her second last Sunday Stash before handing the reins over to Molli Sparkles in 2014.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Stash - Blender Love

Just a little something for Sunday Stash this week. I spotted these basics at Spotlight the other week for just $10 a metre (cheap for Australia!) and decided when they went on sale I'd get some - as Spotlight always has sales I didn't have to wait long, all fabric was 30% off this week. So for $7 a metre, I scored me some useful little blenders.

They had a few more colours, but I just grabbed the colours I liked most and needed in my stash. (*Cough cough*, like I NEED anything in my stash).

I can't resist a good oversize dot, or a chevron. Even it's just to hear my 11 year old say Chevron over and over again - for some reason it amuses her.

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE a good blender. A huge amount of my stash is made up of blender prints, because they are so very versatile.

 In the past I have got a lot of colour and white blenders, but I'm really happy to also me some more modern tone-on-tone prints coming out.

I'm linking up with Sunday Stash, over at Lisa in Port Hope this week.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Working On My FMQ

Last weekend, when I was meant to be cleaning up the craft room (oh, how I love to get sidetracked), I finally decided to do something with the adorable teeny weeny mini charm pack of Sweetwater's Noteworthy that's been sitting on the shelf for about a year.

Yup, a year on the shelf, unopened, and suddenly I had to play. That's so me. But as I am working very very hard to break my UFO habit, I started and finished my new project all in one day. The end result was this sweet cushion:

Excuse the crappy photos - no rain in six months and this week we've had afternoon thunderstorms every day. No outdoor photography for me this week!

Really, this was an excuse to test out the new generic sewing machine feet I bought off eBay (here). Ever since I first saw a 1/4 inch foot that was the same width on the left and right, I have coveted one (some girls like shoes... what can I say?). And I have also wanted a nice, sturdy darning foot for free motion quilting. I looked for Brother ones that fitted the bill with no luck, so I decided to try generic. Naturally I had to piece something that allowed me to use both sides of my 1/4 inch foot, and then stretch my FMQ skills.

To be honest, I have been unhappy with my (not cheap) Brother's FMQ performance lately. Maybe it is my skill level and confidence, but it was getting me down. Since a new machine is out of the question right now I decided to try a few different things to see if I could improve results. Enter the sturdier darning foot and new thread - I used a Rasant, though I recently bought some Aurifil and Isacord to try too. I have been using Connecting Threads thread which is fine for piecing, but I don't think my machine likes it for quilting since much shredding, breaking and swearing seemed to accompany every quilting session. After a few troubleshooting tips from Gemma last week (really, who knew thread was meant to come off in a certain direction?) I was ready to go.

I am excited to say that this was my best free motion effort to date. It's not perfect, but in terms of running smoothly, using only one strand of thread until I ran out of bobbin, and a distinct lack of swearing, I am super happy with the results. The only thing I regret a little is my thread choice - it blends in so well with the fabric range that the quilting is hard to see. Sometimes this is good, but in this case I wanted it to pop a little more.

I quilted each plus with a different quilting pattern, pretty much just making it up as I went along. Old standbys - stippling and pebble quilting - featured, and I added a few more new designs, turning to Pinterest for inspiration, of course. I did organic lines for the border.

Pebble quilting is my favourite.

But organic diagonals has a place too.

Lines, lines and more lines the other way.
Stippling I can do, but I so want to move beyond it.
Loving the loop the looping.
I love the texture the organic stripe border creates.

Gemma is talking about confidence over at her I Quilt linky this week, and this is something I'm really working towards boosting in my FMQ. I know it takes practice, but I really believe the other factor is tools. Regardless of your machine, it is important to consider needles, thread and machine feet - these little things are making a big difference to my quilting. I love m new darning foot and I am enjoying playing around with threads to see what works and doesn't work in my machine.

 And on that note, I'm linking up to I Quilt for the very first time this week!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Phoebe's Faux Drunkard's Path

Once upon a time, about a year ago, there was a tweenage princess whose father had a tendency to spoil rotten. When the time came to look for a new bed, and she discovered a four-poster, canopied, double bed fit for a princess, daddy was taken in by those puppy dog eyes and the bed came home, despite the princess being a little on the pint-size and certainly not in need of a double bed.

I, of course, never miss the opportunity to make a new quilt, and what better excuse for a new quilt than a new bed? So princess and I consulted the royal experts (Pinterest) and the princess was invited to choose whatever design she wanted. What a princess was doing choosing a Drunkard's Path, we will never know.

After I picked myself up of the floor at the prospect of sewing 400 curved pieced blocks, the decision was made to try a new technique and create a faux Drunkard's Path block. There may or may not be an official tutorial for this somewhere but I couldn't find one, so I winged it somewhat and made up my own pattern - there will be a tutorial coming soon.

The Princess consulted the royal stash and scrap bins, and managed to pull 100 different prints in various shades of blue, aqua and green. What this says about my stash will not be discussed, okay? (SABLE, anyone?)

Serendipitous was the discovery of the perfect Denyse Schmidt print on sale at Spotlight for the backing.

This quilt top actually came together pretty quickly, but the kicker came when I looked at the finished top and decided it needed hand quilting. Did I mention I'm not a fast hand quilter? Even with Perle, it was slow going and this quilt spent about nine months at the quilting stage.

When I finally finished quilting and was binding this, the princess snuck out of bed unable to sleep. When she realised what I was doing her eyes grew as big as saucers and the second I finished stitching down the binding, she pulled the quilt off the table and wrapped herself in it. She can still often be discovered dragging this quilt around the house.

She reluctantly let me take it out for photos, but was very quick to take it back when I was done photographing it. It's a wrap, okay Mum?

Linking up to the Blogger's Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side, where the talent and amazing work is, as usual, incredible.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday Stash - And She's Back

Oh my, what a long, unintentional, hard to get back in the game blogging break it's been! Oops!

No real excuses, aside from life got the better of me. It's been a crazy busy year and I decided to step back from blogging and even reading many blogs, but that messed with my productivity (though it did make me less likely to buy fabric). But I really need to get back into the swing of quilting and actually finishing stuff, so I'm jumping back into the blogging thing.

What better way to dip my toes back in the water than with a bit of fabric shopping? I'm linking this up with Finding Fifth's Sunday Stash, which is being hosted by Michelle of Squeak Crafts.

Spotlight had 40% off all quilting and dressmaking fabrics this weekend, so I headed up to get some solids for a new project. Turns out that solids weren't included, but fortunately I found a coupon for 25% off solids with their patchwork magazine.

I added a few little pieces to my stash....

Some solids and a few coordinating prints for something skill-pushing I've got planned.

Some low volumes because apparently you can't have enough of those babies.

Some stash builders, because apparently my stash isn't big enough already.

And this little pretty, which is just because it's so pretty and in my favourite colour and embroidery hoops and that's enough reason.

I also bought about 8 metres of light grey homespun, to add to my bolt collection. Really feel like a quilter when there are bolts on the top of the shelves.

And some seriously cute metallic dotty fabric that is super darn cute for skirts for my girls - can't show you that fabric because I've already sewn them into skirts... MIRACLES WILL NEVER CEASE!

Oh, and another couple of bits for my Wombat Stew Secret Santa swap, but I can't show you those either because they are hopefully so just right for my recipient that she'd guess if she saw them. Hopefully.

And that, my friends, is my stash building for this week. Hope your week is full of fabricy goodness too!


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday Stash - Hatches, Matches and Dispatches

Just before Christmas I put in two fabric orders from the US, my last big orders for a while, what with me being on a fabric diet and all. Timely too, though this was before I heard about the very steep price increase on flat rate envelopes from $16.95 to $23.95! Sheesh!

I had been eyeing off Ann Kelle's Remix Ovals for a while, and decided to grab them when they were on sale. The colours are just so beautiful and this is totally one of my kind of prints.

The plan was to combine shipping with my other Must Have, Lizzy House's Pearl Bracelets, but disaster of the first world kind struck when the shop sold out of the Pearl Bracelets! I ended up getting a bundle of this Spot On, another fabulous stash builder. And Kristy helped me fill the bag to maximise postage.

Fortunately I found Pearl Bracelets over at Westwood Acres for a great price and I snapped it up before anyone else could even think about it and even before my morning coffee. Oh my god, this fabric is as perfect as I'd hoped. Serious fabric love.

In the interest of filling a bag I also added a bundle of Alison Glass's Lucky Penny Bike Path. These are colours I wouldn't normally choose, but I am trying to diversify my stash a little further and I really love the fall colours.

Now, I shop at quite a few online stores and I've never been unhappy with any service I've had, but I would note that Amanda at Westwood Acres' service is exceptional. After going trigger happy on my order of Pearl Bracelets, I emailed her to ask if I could add the Bike Path without shipping coming up again - not only did she reply promptly but with a link to a special order just for me! And she popped a teeny weeny mini charm pack of Sweetwater Noteworthy into my parcel, squeal! I am saving that for something special just for me, and I have had to put it on a high shelf because my daughters are both desperate to open it up!

Also in the mail this week were a couple of parcels from the destash page I should avoid - two scrap bags that contained lots of great quilting cottons and some vintage sheet goodness, and also a ribbon scrap bag, which is just heavenly. I spent a good bit of time pressing and sorting the fabric, and winding the ribbon, and in all that I forgot to take any photos. Duh.

As I'd hoped, a few of my Bike Path and Pearl Bracelet prints go nicely with my Domestic Bliss bundle, so they've been added to that pile.


I've finally got my act together and I'm selling some fabric on the abovementioned destash page. I am trying to be a bit ruthless, particularly with dressmaking fabrics. There is much craft room organising happening at the moment.

Linking up to Fiona's Sunday Stash, which is over with Audrey at Hot Pink Quilts this week.