Saturday, January 24, 2015

Fabric Clubs - A Boom or a Bust??

Welcome to Sunday Stash over at the Splendiferous Molli Sparkles!!

This week I wanted to talk a little bit about Fabric Clubs, and whether or not they are the thing for you.

So, what makes a fabric club worth joining? In general, fabric clubs send out fabrics of their choosing, once a month, for a predetermined subscription fee. Most can be cancelled at any time, and many offer a discount over the retail price found in the online store through which you are obtaining your stash additions. I have experience with fabric clubs through Karen Lewis Textiles, Westwood Acres Fabrics and Marmalade Fabrics

I have to tell ya, it is super wonderful, addicting, fabulous, addicting, time saving, oh yes, and addicting, to have fabric show up at your door as if elves had read your thoughts and left it there. What is more appealing than coming home at the end of a long day, to happy mail filled with gorgeousness that you never knew existed, and which is curated by queen bees with an enviable eye for color??! 

Oh My GOODNESS! See what I mean??!

I chose to participate in Karen Lewis' (@karenlewistextiles) half panels club because she hand prints her own designs onto Kona cottons, and selects colors that really appeal to me. Now that I have been online shopping for awhile, ahem, I have seen the light and will be changing my subscription to a larger size as soon as it is available. Karen has clubs in 5" Charms, above, (Deelish!), Half Panel bundles, and Full Panel bundles. Click the link to check them out, if you like.

It is my opinion that if you can find an artist who is printing their own fabrics, and who is working their tail off to ensure quality and customer service, you should patronize them. I chose Karen because of her designs, her color selection, and her personality. I just adore her! Now, I'm not gonna lie, buying fabric from the UK if you're in America, is not for the faint of heart. But like I said, I am actually going to change around my subscription because I have discovered that it is more valuable to me as a stash addition than other fabric lines that I could buy, Stateside. I will be doing an entire post on Karen's work, but with MUCH better pictures. For now, here is a sample from her website. 


Next up is WestWood Acres Fabric. Now, I love me a mom and pop store, and this one just takes the cake. Amanda (@acraftyfox_amanda) and her husband run their shop from their home. I have yet to be disappointed with their product, their price or their customer service. And I have bought A LOT (Alot alot!) of fabric from them!! Their newsletter occasionally has an additional percentage off of fabric in their store, but be warned... once you turn that corner, you won't be able to go back!! 
I was a member of Amanda's Low Volume Club (Inside Voices club! Lol! 10 Fqs), 

and her Liberty Club (FQ, F8, F16th). 

Ohhhhh Yessssss!
Both were excellent. I am no longer a member because I have a limited budget (I know, gasp!) and I wanted to try out some other clubs featuring other styles of fabric not available here in AK.  Thanks to these clubs, my stash is now very nicely filled with fat quarters of perfect low volume fabrics, and fat eights of liberty lawns. No! You can't have any! 
I am booking through them at a very respectable clip, so I'm sure I will become a member again. In the meantime, I'm pretty sure they're naming their unborn child after me due to the sheer volume of purchases I make. Hey, any way I can support a child's education is good with me! ;)

Now, Marmalade Fabrics has been one of the best purchasing decisions I have ever made. And I'm no newbie to the Halls of Commerce! 
I am a member of their Around the Color Wheel monthly bundles. I like it so much, they are on perpetual auto-pay. Each month, I receive a FQ bundle of 12 FQs. My bundle is half solids and half prints. I love it because not only do I receive the entire new range of Kona cotton solid colors without having to hunt them down, but I also get coordinating prints from the latest hot trends and designers. And these are not your joe schmoe matchings. They are brilliant! I just made an entire quilt with 25 different solids in it, and all of the ones I chose were from my Marmalade Fabrics club! Man, they should hire me!! Lol! 
Another thing that they do is label each solid FQ with the name. So handy!! Then when you've gone to the stash and hunted up the perfect color for the background of your next masterpiece, you just look right there and the name is ready for ya. Brilliant, I tell you, brilliant. I have a Kona color card, and it is surely handy, but with the name right there on the fabric, I don't have any of those low light guessings to do. Know what I mean?
This year, I will up my subscription to half yards, as I find that a FQ is not enough fabric for my needs. I like to make a coordinating pillow or other doodad to go with my quilts, and my scraps look like squirrels chewed them by the time they get picked up off of the floor, put in a pile, spilled over onto the floor again, and finally put under the cutting table for later sorting into storage. I know you know what I'm talking about. 

So, now that you know WAY too much about my spending habits, what are the downsides to participating in a monthly fabric club?
Shipping is sometimes additional. That may break your budget, as every little bit counts. 
You may find that you forget that you have fabric coming, and buy more, and then have too much. 
But who am I kidding?!
Check carefully to be sure that you can cancel at any time if your needs change and you no longer wish to participate. 
Every now and again, your taste does not match with the person's who is choosing the bundles. Shops should have representative pictures of bundles from the past, like you see above for Westwood Acres, but if they don't, email the shop and ask what the names are for the upcoming fabrics in their bundles. They should tell you and hopefully also send along a pic. If they don't know, choose another club. 
Sometimes having a fabric club come to your door, blunts the thrill of the chase of finding fabulous deals. If this could be the case for you, set aside a specific amount of money to spend only on fabric detection. The rest can go for chocolate. 

Check out Anita and Cynthia's fabric club suggestions in the comments. Excellent! What are your experiences or opinions about fabric clubs?? Weigh in below!! 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Quick Picnic Quilt

It's Finish It Up Friday over at Crazy Mom Quilts, and boy, do I have a finish for you!

This was originally a Quilt for Sarah. Sarah passed away this last Memorial Day. She is sorely missed! But this isn't a post about missing and sadness. This is a post about celebration and remembrance. A sharing among friends. Friends near and far, here and gone, but never absent.
This last week, I attended a retreat with my quilting ladies, the Gold Stitchers. It is always so lovely to get together for a long spell of stories and sharing. So come on in and join us!

Check out this splendid runner that Donna is making! Precious!! She's inventing it as she goes along. I mean really, people are amazing!!

Do you think she will adopt me?? I would really like that!

And Susan just has such a way with color!!! Everything, I mean EVERYTHING she makes is just wonderful! 

And Cleary has organized a drive for small quilts to go to hospice and pediatrics at our local hospital in honor of one of our ladies whose husband just passed away very suddenly and wrenchingly. The hospital staff were wonderful and the ladies just feel that anything they can do to make someone's day just a little bit better is the least we can do to thank them, and the world. Isn't Cleary something else?!! She has also arranged artisan days at the library wherein the library show a movie, and have a demonstration or display involving local artists. One of Susan's quilts is on display right now, and the Bee-Inspired Quilt and one from Rebecca Cleaver (@Cleaverr) will be on display soon. How cool is that?! You go, Cleary!

Whenever we go on retreat there are always visits to local quilt shops...

And little gifts left surreptitiously in the night

And a visit from Julia (said with your worst French accent and a pinkie in the air!)

And discussion about when we are going to make our own Calendar Girls calendar... and exactly what we are going to wear...

And fabulous Eats. Oh the EATS!!!

And Stories!! Stories of this and that, travels and triumphs, good times and bad... and stories you never knew about such as this one about the Northern Lights...
No S**t, there she was...! So, Ally is a Kiwi. There are lots of Kiwis in Alaska, I think it must be the splendor and the wanderlust. I love hearing Ally's stories of the Alaska that was here when she first arrived some 30-odd years ago... 
So Ally and her mate were driving up the AlCan (unpaved), and approaching Dawson City. Now, Ally tells me that a Kiwi just cannot resist a road less travelled or a secret byway beckoning (handy to know if you ever want to catch one!), so she and her bud turned off the highway and onto a narrow track leading out into the back of beyond. Several miles later, they came upon a large creek, a lone gold miner, and a dog. The creek was Eureka Creek, the miner is still a friend, and the dog, well, that's another story. So there are Ally and her mate, and the dog and the miner and a whole lotta nothing around, and he asks them if they would stay to help him protect the gold claim, and watch the sluice. A sluice is used to wash down the tailings from that day's digging in the creek. A section of the creek is dammed off, filled with water and let sit. And if you're the guard, you do some sitting too! And some mosquito swatting, and some long hours of thinking and just being, all whilst holding a rifle in case someone decides they need your gold more than you do. You have to watch the sluice and let water out every now and again, or it will overflow and wash your gold right on down the creek to the next guy. And trust me, he does not deserve it. 
So here's Ally, at 3 am or so, sitting out in the Night by herself, fresh from New Zealand and the surf, listening to the wolves and wondering about Bear, when over her head these Massive green and white and red shapes appear and reach down at her, shifting and squirming and growing.... What would you do?? Well, I can tell you, she ran like wildfire, hair streaming behind, to the bunkhouse to wake the guys to save her from the skies!! And so would I! 
Isn't it grand how big the world is, and how many things there are out there that you just don't know exist, or haven't thought of in real life? 

Ally is thinking of making a quilt from this gorgeous selection of indigos and white on white swirls. I think she should, don't you?

And this is the view from out the back door,

And Celebration! A quilt to celebrate friendship, and Sarah, and women in a group, and all that is good and right with the world so long as you have love,

And although we miss our friends when they are not with us, just the thought of them brings us joy,

And when we're together, there is so much laughter and love that you cannot even sew a straight seam!!

So, Cheers!!!
I'm so glad you stopped by! 

Here is the Pattern PDF, share it with friends and Enjoy!!

Linking up with:

A Lovely Year of Finishes

Quilting is more fun than Housework

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Sew My Stash 2015 Throwdown!!

A New Year and new beginnings! 
I'm gonna list my goals for 2015, and you can help me stick to them! 

For the blog, I want to up the friendly and helpful factor. Make a menu bar, make pages for Tutorials and have more links to fun stuff for you and the fam. 

For me, I want to take more walks just to explore. Walks in moonlight, walks with the Dawg,

and The Hubster, 

Wee Wanders, you know! 
Denali From the trail in our backyard
Out wandering, exploring and seeing this beautiful World in which we live. 

For Sewing, well... 

There is Sew My Stash 2015 (#Sewmystash2015) over at Project Leasa
But it's too easy to set simple goals, post them, and then hope to win a prize, so Anita at Day Dreams of Quilts and I got together and we're hosting a THROWDOWN!!! (#sewmystashthrowdown) 
Oh no, This is not all of it... Not by a loooonnngg shot ;)

That's right!! You and a friend get together and challenge each other to actually, really, no foolin', finish the project that you said you would, in that month. The one who doesn't, sends the one who does, a little somethin' somethin'. What do you think?? Want to join us??! I'm pretty sure many of my gifts will be bawdy, but yours can be anything you like, sweet and pretty, thrifty, silly, whatever delights your imagination! 
So, here it is. My January list. You heard it here first. 


  • Complete piecing the top of my quilt for Fat Quarterly Curved Piecing Issue. This is SO exciting! I can't wait to fill you in on it more! 
Hmmm! Liking where this is going!
Will the final project bear any resemblance??

Check your inboxes for the February Paper Piecing Issue, cause I have a Fun project for you in there, too!! Woot!! 
  • Continue to stretch and grow and enjoy design.
  • Begin to design Maui Dreamin' Quilt
  • BitchesGetStitches Swap. I have a great idea for a sweet mini quilt. Now's the time to put that idea into action! Slightly rude, but mostly calming...
  • Microwave bowls. These are so handy!! Why didn't I see them sooner??! I am forever reaching for a kitchen towel to get hot soup/beverages out of the microwave. Why not just microwave the bowl of goodness right there in the transport device??! Brilliant!
  • Hashtag blocks for Molli Sparkles
  • Tutorials for Fat Quarterly Paper Piecing Issue - super point by point pics of paper piecing my project for beginners. I hope you'll love it!
  • Book Reviews. I have some doozies you're gonna LOVE!
  • Lots more stash love
OK, Anita!! Here it is! In writing!!! 
I am already beginning to make your gifts... LOL!
I will also be participating in:

Fresh Sewing Day at Lily's Quilts

ALYoF, A Lovely Year of Finishes over at Sewbittersweet Designs
A Lovely Year of Finishes

WIP Wednesdays at Freshly Pieced

Finish it up Fridays with Crazy Mom Quilts

Scraptastic Tuesdays with She Can Quilt

Sunday Stash, with Molli Sparkles

And the Let's Bee Social party over at my friend Lorna's
You can always find these websites by clicking on the buttons in my sidebar. Have FUN!!!!
What are your goals for this year??