New Fabric and Lobster Pots

Cuts of Fabric

Yesterday my neighbourhood sewing/fabric shop was holding a 50% sale – how could I resist? I went in early to pick up a few notions I knew were there, but the shop was full of women buying fabric, so I left. I returned around 3:00 to see if there was anything left that might be interesting – not really thinking about buying fabric but the black “William Morris” like fabric caught my eye and I started looking for bolts to complement that fabric. This is the pallet I came up with. When I got home I pulled the beige with cranberry dots from my stash to add to the collection.

Now the question is – what do I do with this? Some kind of drunkard’s path assembly? Is seven fabrics enough to do that – I’ll have to see what I can come up with.

Saturday, the day before, I joined a couple of friends on their annual excursion up the eastern shore Christmas Craft excursion. We made a bunch of stops. We saw lots of well executed woodwork, pottery, sewing, quilting, jewellery, painting. The arts community is alive and well in that part of the province! I didn’t buy anything – I don’t bother with Christmas shopping, nobody needs anything.

Lobster Pots

It was tricky finding a reasonable location to get a photo of this row of old lobster pots without the cars, or the road, or the house. A bit of cropping and editing – this is the best I could come up with.

San Francisco 6

The sewing retreat ended around noon today. People who live closer to the west coast have already departed the city. I couldn’t make connections all the way to the Canadian east coast work so I don’t leave till 8:10 tomorrow morning. 

Had lunch with another gal who has to spend the night here, then we went fabric shopping. Linda wanted to purchase some, I was happy to tag along. 

Britex does have some lovely if expensive fabric. A week ago I saw this silk panel that reminded me of the paintings of Gustav Klimpt – the colors and detail are simply gorgeous. Each 60″x60″ panel was priced at $125. I thought it stunning but couldn’t think what I’d make with it – my present life style is more LandsEnd than Tiffany. So I walked away. I was hoping when I returned today it might have sold – nope, it was still there. Again, I looked at it but in the end I walked away – I had no idea what I would want to add to my wardrobe.

I stopped on the third floor to look at the petersham (a softer, more pliable version of grosgrain). I was expecting a few colours – I thought I’d pick up a yard of a couple – forget that! The adjacent shelves held rows of shades from white through grey and beige to black. With no specific project in mind it was impossible to choose any.  I left Britex empty handed this time which is just as well since there is no room in my suitcase for one more item.

I love this window display. It caught my attention two years ago. It’s still there. It’s a clothing store next door to Britex. There are garments in a window further along but three of the windows are filled floor to ceiling with these antique machines. Wonder where they’ve found so many.

I can’t imagine walking in anything like these shoes;

Or these.

The Apple Store is wide open to the street on this sunny afternoon. The Apple people in their green jerseys are just waiting there to help you. I had no questions or concerns today so we walked on by. I wonder whether there are any other Apple stores so easily accessible.

I have had a great week, the women were all experienced sewers, all were deeply involved in learning more about fitting and sewing technique. Sandra Betzina is a whiz at fitting. I followed her most of the morning just watching as she spotted adjustments that people could make to their garment muslins then grab a pen and make the corresponding changes to the paper patterns – 3/8″ here, 1/2″ there, opening it out, taking it in. Several modifications to each pattern. At this point in the week those muslins were fitting pretty well.

An early night tonight. I have to be ready for the Airport Shuttle which is picking me up at 5:45 in the morning. I haven’t looked at Halifax weather all week. Hope it’s not snowing when I get back!

San Francisco 4

It was a late start this morning due to car trouble but once underway we crossed the Bay Bridge to Berkley to visit a couple of well stocked fabric shops.

At the first stop I bought two yards of this black and white fabric – to make something like this top which will look great with black pants as a summer outfit. 

This dress also offered some interesting possibilities – I picked up a yard of dark blue and white Indian ikat fabric for the front and back panels with a matching white linen for the yoke and sides. I am thinking of a tunic length (with sleeves) which will be another useful summer outfit with white pants, rather than a dress.

At our second stop I found a gorgeous Donna Karan subtle wool plaid in red, purple and black, which I did finally walk away from – it was not a bad price, but I’d have needed at least 3 yards for matching the plaid plus another yard of a complementary purple wool for contrast, not to mention a lining fabric and buttons – the cost of which would have pushed me well over my duty-free limit! So, regretfully, I left it behind. 

We’re setting up this evening, then start in earnest tomorrow morning. 


San Francisco 3

Sheila and I started our sight-seeing day with a bus tour of SF – through the well known areas of the city. We picked up the bus at Union Square

Down Post Street past the needlepoint shop

Through Chinatown

Past the financial district

Up Telegraph Hill

A brief stop at Fisherman’s Wharf

Through the city back to Union Square

We stopped for lunch at Lina’s Diner

Then walked slowly back to the hotel

Past a woman singing Puccini beautifully

Our last stop a walk through Tiffany’s (both floors)

We also made a stop at Britex Fabrics where I bought more fabric

Our day ended at Sandra Betzina’s home in the SF hills for a lovely dinner and conversation

Today Sandra takes us fabric shopping!

Bali: Contrasts

I’ve tried and tried but can’t get photos to upload! (It’s the slow wi-fi connection that’s the problem.) I’ve tried on my iPhone and on my iPad. No luck on either device. But I want to record my impressions – so here goes without benefit of images.

This morning after a lavish breakfast buffet, I walked to the pool and the beach just beyond. Its what you’d imagine Bali to be – lovely sunshine on a sandy beach with waves lapping the shore and breakers in the distance, great for surfing. The pool and the grounds with lush tropical foliage (both trees and gardens) typical of a South Pacific island setting.



Early this afternoon we went by taxi into Kuta – a gazillion motor bikes weaving in and out of the dense traffic narrowly being missed by the cars – some carrying cargo, some with passengers, all traveling at high speed. I’m a courageous driver but you couldn’t pay me to drive here!


Then there are the streets lined with small shops – their owners persistently trying to entice us into their particular establishment.

We were in two groups – we had planned to meet at Tommy’s Cafe. Our taxi driver had no clue where the cafe was located. He dropped us off at least two kilometers from our destination! Cheryl our guide didn’t have the actual address with her; the four of us stopped frequently to ask directions – nobody knew what we were looking for. Finally Cheryl phoned her Balinese friend, had her explain how to find Tommy’s to a shop owner who had never heard of the place. Cheryl did this twice more before we were able to see the Cafe sign in the distance. Once there, four very hot and tired women were in need of what was billed as the “best iced coffee in Bali”. I have to say, not being a coffee drinker, that the milkshake consistency drink hit the spot.

After lunch at Tommy’s, we went a few doors down the street to shop for rayon batik fabric. A wonderful, colorful selection. It was frantic in the small shop as each of us made selections, had the fabric cut to length, wrapped and paid for it. Great fun! I ended up with 2 1/2 yds of a deep teal with a lighter design in shades of pale blue – it should be enough for a dress or loose shirt.


We returned to the resort in rush hour traffic. If we thought traffic has been bad earlier, it was simply hair-raising on the return trip. I bet though all those people made it to their destination.

It was still hot so a number of us went to the pool for a relaxing dunk! That followed by dinner – I ended up at the Japanese restaurant in the hotel with two other of the gals (both from the Boston area). The rest ended up at the pizza place in the hotel.

The adventure continues tomorrow!

Some new Kaffe Fassett fabrics


Last evening I attended a lecture by Kaffe Fassett. Three of the local quilt guilds decided to work together and sponsor his visit to Nova Scotia. His talk was about “colour” – I’ve been following his work for years, beginning with his knitting books. His latest work has been quilts using fabrics he designs for Westminster Fabrics.

After the purge of my house last week, including the sewing room (I got rid of a lot of fat quarters and scraps I knew I was never going to use), I promised myself I was NOT going to buy any fabric — NO FABRIC, until I saw those luscious flowers in gold, pink, pale green, turquoise. And beside that bolt was the green dots, and then the pink houses… I added in the strong pink circles and a couple of others, bought a half meter of each. Then I came home and went through my Fossil Fern fat quarter collection (I still have about half of them unused) and picked out eight that I thought would work with the Kaffe Fassett prints.

These are more subtle than my usual quilt fabrics in shades I don’t usually gravitate toward, but last evening they called out to me.

I have no idea what kind of quilt I will make with this fabric collection. It might be several months before I think about using them but something interesting will get made.

Kimono Silk I


Two of the three “bolts” of kimono silk I ordered from Ichiroya in Japan arrived this morning. Now I’m just going to have to look at them for a while before I have any idea what to make from the silk. I ordered the silk after the visit to Ann Williamson’s studio in Portland. I will make some kind of pieced jacket like one of Ann’s. The bolt still to come is in navy which should go with either the brick or the pale blue.

It Arrived – Benartex Fossil Fern Fabric

The box of fabrics arrived this morning – 90 fat quarters in all the colors of the rainbow. They’ll be fun to work with, combining them with other fabrics I have in the stash. The collection, made by Benartex, is called “Fossil Fern”. While the fabrics are in a “family” there is quite a lot of variation in the batik pattern.