Posts Tagged fabric fast

Final F2F Blocks Arrive and Virtual Quilt is Made

The last of my 36 blocks from the F2F block swap have arrived. With twelve participants in Australia, the United States and Europe, each sending three blocks off to one of the others every month, there’s a lot of room for mishaps concerning the various postal services.  Due to a mix up with my postcode, two parcels went missing for a while.  The weeks went by, then Avis in the U.K. got her parcel ‘returned to sender’ and  re-directed it back to me but the package from Annett in Germany seemed to be a lost cause.  Until it wasn’t!  It too turned up with the postcode having been changed to the correct one – presumably by somebody in France – but then sent back to her instead of to me.  A bit bizarre but a happy result anyway.  Just look at the lovely blocks that could have been lost forever.

Patchwork Block

Annett managed to find some of the bird fabric that I had originally used for the inspiration for my colours.  Due to my fabric fast, I wasn’t able to buy any myself but now I have some in two of the blocks she sent me.

Patchwork Block

It was the turquoise and flashes of pinky coral against the pale and dark greys that inspired me to make the colour choice for my eventual quilt.

Paper Pieced Patchwork Block

This one is my favourite.  I love the way Annett centred the two birds and the surrounding fabrics are just lovely.  I believe this is called a pineapple block but correct me if I’m wrong.  I thought this had been paper pieced but Annett has said she didn’t use that method.   I must try some paper piecing this year although it does look fiddly and I don’t generally ‘do’ fiddly.

In the likely event that I will take forever and a day to actually piece the blocks and then quilt them, I have amused myself by making a collage of (nearly) all the blocks as if they were together in a quilt.  I hope the other participants will forgive me if you notice one of your blocks missing but I only used the photos I was able to crop to a neat(ish) square.  It doesn’t mean the missing block won’t be in the final quilt – I intend to use each and every one.

Mock Up F2F Quilt

Mock Up F2F Quilt

It will actually be longer than it is wide when I put it together and I haven’t decided what colour to do the sashing yet but what do you think?  I really love the colours and the blocks are so gorgeous.

I am busy making my three blocks for Emmely who is ‘Miss January’ as far as receiving blocks is concerned and she has asked for green which I don’t normally use and, as I can’t buy any fabric at the moment, I’ve had to be very inventive with my scrap bag.  This swap has really got me enthusiastic about patchwork again and I’ve been trying hard to be more accurate and adventurous.  I’m not giving up making clothes entirely but I will be more fussy about what I make in the future.  I have so many clothes and not many opportunities to wear a lot of them in rural France so I have to rein it in a bit.  I think 2016 will see less dressmaking and  more patchwork and knitting but that could change once I can buy fabric again!!


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Oops! I’ve Fallen Off the Fabric Wagon

It’s true – but only a little bit – all is not lost – honest.

 Before I ‘fess up however, a bit of a distraction. It’s a bit nippy today but beautiful – they did predict some snow and they were right –  so,when I set out for our walk this morning, as well as a lead, a couple of tennis balls, a ball launcher and three dogs, I hauled my camera with me.

Snow Pyrenees

The view from halfway up my garden this morning.

Log Pile

These logs will need getting down to the bottom somehow.


Perhaps we could rig up some sort of dog sled thingy.

Anyway, back to my falling off the fabric wagon.  A couple of weeks ago, we held a fund raising event for Dog Rescue Carcassonne and the Twilight home for old and/or sick dogs where a wonderful couple here in France have dedicated their lives to looking after these dogs that nobody else will take on.  Anyway, I didn’t have a stall myself this time and just went along to chat and spend money help out.  Some of the stalls had set up the night before and one had some fabric ‘scraps’ for sale.  The stallholder hadn’t yet arrived and I went over to have a look and spotted a tempting bit of something that looked a bit vintagey and a bit storybooky .


Vintage Fabric

When I had a closer look , there was around a yard and a half of vintage Red Riding Hood fabric with such cute designs like this

Vintage French Fabric

and this


that, without thinking, I nabbed it and, when she arrived, paid the 2 euros!! and put it in my bag along with 20 euros of cakes I’d just bought (oops ).

Vintage Red Riding Hood Fabric

It wasn’t until a couple of hours afterwards that I remembered I was on a fabric fast.  But it was vintage.  It was 2 euros.  It was for Dog Rescue.  What would you have done?  I’m back on the wagon now, honest.

I had taken along a couple of little dog coats that I had knitted because I was hoping that – being a doggy related event – somebody might come in with the right sized dog that they would let me dress up and use as a model.  Sure enough, a couple came in with their cockerpoo (a cocker spaniel mixed with a poodle) a lovely girl called Saren and she was just the right size.  I must admit I’m a bit confused that, all my dogs are mixes of something or other but are generally called ‘mutts’ or ‘mongrels but cockerpoos, shihpoos, labradoodles, etc. all have their own names.  They all seem to include poodles.  I’m pretty sure none of my dogs have ever been near a poodle so maybe that’s why.  The nearest I could get with mine would be a bordador or a shepcol and even they would be a wild guess. Anyway, I digress, she was a lovely girl who patiently modelled my knitted coats.

Serene Dog Coat

I wanted some photos on a model in case I decide to add them to my dog collar shop as another item I can sell to raise funds for Dog Rescue Carcassonne.

Cockerpoo Modelling Dog Coat

Or, I have asked if Twilight might be able to use some for the old dogs to wear this winter.  I’d better get a move on with my boyfriend cardigan then in case they say ‘yes’.

Off to re-light the log burner.

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Second Stab Shale Blazer

Some time last year I made a knitted jacket called ‘Shale’ from Kim Hargreaves’ Storm collection.  I wasn’t 100% happy with how it turned out, mainly because I had substituted the wool and it came out too big for me but also because I wasn’t keen on some of the features such as the back vent, buttoned cuffs and one too few buttons (to my mind anyway) on the front.  I blogged about it here
BlackberryShaleJacket (1)


 Despite those things, I really liked the texture the stitch created and the style of the jacket so, nothing daunted, I bought more yarn and made it in the XS size, omitting the fancy details and adding a button a little higher up.

Shale Jacket Storm Kim Hargreaves

I’ve used these vintage buttons for now because it’s hard deciding what to use but, if I see something I like better, I’ll change them.

Shale Jacket Storm Kim Hargreaves

I really like the texture and it does actually feel like a jacket rather than a cardigan.

Shale Jacket Storm Kim Hargreaves

The mannequin is sporting the buttoned up version because I’m such a lazy baggage I couldn’t be bothered to change so I pulled some jeans on under my dress and then just folded the hem of the dress up a few times to make it look like a top with the result that it made me look hippy when I buttoned the jacket up.  So I’ve just used the photo of me demonstrating the open version.

This is the next thing I’m doing from the same pattern book and this really is supposed to be a ‘boyfriend’ cardigan.

Drew Boyfriend Cardigan Kim Hargreaves

I promise I won’t accessorize it like this. ( If only I could get away with such things any more).

I decided to knit this using the Rowan wools recommended but as you use one strand of Kidsilk Haze and one strand of Kid Classic throughout it worked out rather expensive.  I scoured Ebay until I came up with somebody who, miraculously, had the 11 balls of  Kid Classic I needed in a soft grey colour so I bid quite high as I was determined to get it and it still worked out a lot cheaper than any of the other sellers.  I found somebody selling the Kidsilk Haze to go with it at £4 a ball – which is about half the price of everywhere else – bought and paid for it and then they told me they were waiting for stock.  The next day they refunded my money.  I threw a bit of a hissy fit as I probably wouldn’t have embarked upon this project if I’d had to pay full price – or I’d have found substitutes – now they’re saying it is still in the system and, when it comes in, they’ll send it to me anyway without charging me again.  If that happens it’s a good result for me but, if it doesn’t, I’ll be naming and shaming them as I don’t like the practice, becoming more and more common, where sellers take your money for something they need to order from another supplier without always knowing they’ll be able to get hold of it.  Rant over (for now).

Do you think I’m compensating for not being able to add to my fabric stash because of my fabric fast by knitting like a woman possessed?  I must confess that I nearly fell off the wagon on Thursday.  I went to Ikea in Toulouse with a friend and, as we were walking round, I spotted the curtains and blinds section and noted again the fact that their fabric selection is diminishing.  My friend realised she needed the loo which we had just gone past so she backtracked, leaving me alone and unsupervised.  I vaguely wandered over to the fabrics and wasn’t interested in any of the home furnishing weight stuff but noted the plain cottons they have for 3.99 euros a metre and, as my stash is sadly lacking in ‘plains’, I thought I’d buy a metre of the black cotton.  If you have ever bought fabric in Ikea you will know that you cut your own and then weigh it and stick the resulting ticket on it.

This is how far I got – literally –  the scissors were open and the fabric was between the blades – before I remembered that I have 11 months to go until I can do such a thing again.


Scissors cutting cloth

Still, I’ve cast on for another one of my huge blankets.  The weather has an autumnal feel in the mornings and evenings now and I think I can bear to be covered in wool from time to time and this will be for my Mum’s Christmas present.  It’s a funny colour – lilac mist I think – it’s beige with a lilac fleck in it but, to be honest, it’s mostly beige unless you look very carefully in good daylight.

Erin Black's Cable Blanket Cast

Do you do ‘research’ when you’re making something?  By which I mean trying to find the materials at the best possible price.  It does take up a lot of time and sometimes I think I’d rather just pay the top end price and be done with it but, to be honest, I secretly enjoy it.

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Fabric Fast – Day One

The time has come. I’m really going to do it.  I have pledged to buy no fabric – of any sort – for one whole year.

Some of you suggested six months would be more achievable but I fancy a challenge and I ‘m going to go the whole hog and do the year.  Although I have called this ‘day one’ I am actually going to count it from the beginning of September as I haven’t bought any fabric yet this month and it feels good to be one week in already.

I don’t have as much fabric as a lot of other people but I still think I have too much and, instead of using what I’ve got already I too often buy new supplies when I have perfectly good stuff to hand. My daughter asks why I don’t do as she does and buy the fabric as needed for each new project.  There are many reasons for this, three of them being:  She is a student.  She lives in a small space.   She is more sensible than her mother.

By my reckoning, I have in my possession at the moment, enough fabric to make around 10 dresses, 30 tops and/or skirts, about 20 patchwork quilts, 4 rag quilts, 100 cushions, 10 bags, 50 coin purses, 20 cartonnage boxes and numerous other things I can’t think of at the moment.  When will I have the time to make all this stuff and, if I do, why can’t I use what I’ve got?  After all, I bought it all originally so I must have liked it.  I know familiarity is supposed to breed contempt but if I get the fabric out, open it up, stroke it a little and imagine what I can do with it, maybe my first feelings about it could be rekindled (oo-er Missus!).

Cupboard and Drawers

A cupboard holding lots of Ikea home furnishing fabric, some oilcloth and a basket of large scraps.  The drawers hold flannel fabric, scraps of linen and some vintage kimono silk.  Nobody can say I’m not eclectic in my choices.

Patchwork & Crafts

Liberty yardage and patchwork/craft fabric.

Jelly Rolls and Charm Packs and Fat Quarters

Fat quarters, charm packs and jelly rolls.

Dressmaking Fabrics

Dressmaking fabric and some patterned linen.

Plains & Linens

A few plains (hmmm….. I’m a bit short on plains)  and some more dressmaking fabric.

Towelling, Polar Fleece, etc.

A basket of cotton flannel, towelling, polar fleece and stretch lace all watched over by a scary baby mannequin and topped with a basket of selvedges (selvedges? Don’t ask.  It seemed like a good idea at the time)


Even my yarn stash – which may be a fast for another day – has pieces of fabric peeping out from beneath.


One of my many scrap bags (others, without skulls, are concealed in the attic).

By next September :

I hope to have more space in my workroom and the stuff that is still there will be arranged more tidily.

I hope to have become more disciplined in what I choose to buy in future.

I hope to have spent less time on the internet lusting after  looking at fabric.

I hope to have completed every project I undertake – be it craft, home decor or dressmaking with fabric already in my possession.

I hope to have more money.

So, I pledge to buy no more fabric of any sort until 1st September 2016.

I will be blogging about my progress from time to time so I’m hoping, now I’ve announced my intention, the shame of failing will keep me on the straight and narrow.

Would you ever consider a ‘fabric fast’ or have you done one in the past?  How did you cope?  Did you over compensate when you finished with a buying spree?

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After Porto, A Pledge


I’m back from my holiday in Porto in North West Portugal which is famous for its port wine production (see touristy boat featuring the Sandeman man above)  and its bridges across the Douro river.  I know all about the bridge below because we were on one side of the river and, even though we had all the port wine cellars on our side and the most amazing view of the city, the more interesting (and cheaper) restaurants were on the other side so we regularly crossed that bridge – and after drinking all that port too!

Dom Luis I Bridge Porto

                                                                            Dom Luis I Bridge Porto

Of course it is always necessary to keep an eye out for the local arts and crafts


Barcelos Pottery

                                                                                    Barcelos Pottery

Those cockerels were everywhere!

Buttoned Up Vespa

                                                                             Buttoned Up Vespa

We sampled the local cuisine and had to try the famous Franceshina which is a ‘sandwich’ made with bread, wet-cured ham, linguiça (I don’t know either!), fresh sausage, steak or roast meat and covered with melted cheese and a hot thick tomato and beer sauce served, if you can believe it, with french fries.


and, just in case you can’t (or don’t want to) picture it, this is the beast sliced down the middle

Francesinha Porto

(the fries were on a separate plate!)

Porto Buildings

It was a good job we had to walk up a lot of hills afterward

and could have a swim in the infinity pool on the fifth floor of our hotel

Infinity Pool The Yeatman Hotel Porto

Now I’m back and my workroom is rearranged and almost tidy.  At least I can see my sewing machine and overlocker again.

I was shocked at the amount of stuff I had in there.  I moved out a sofa bed, a large wooden chest and a big wicker hospital laundry hamper which didn’t create as much room as you would think as the contents of the chest and hamper and the things thrown over arranged on the sofa bed had to be accommodated elsewhere in the room.

I have too much fabric.  There’s no getting away from it.  I have upholstery fabric.  I have dressmaking fabric.  I have soft furnishing fabric, vintage fabric and patchwork fabric – so much patchwork fabric.

I have pledged to buy no more fabric of any kind for one whole year.  Or do you think that’s too ambitious?  Should I say six months?  I might be able to manage it then.  I’m hoping it will encourage me to use what I’ve got – and I’ve got plenty – then at the end of the ‘fabric fast’ I will reward myself with a bit of stash rebuilding if necessary.

So.  Six months or a year? What do you think?

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