Wednesday, July 28, 2010

LQS - The Remnant Warehouse

I should start by declaring this is my LQS, and I love it. And while the shops I have been visiting recently have opened my eyes to some other great stores out there I always feel a little like I’m cheating on this store.

Location and Parking
494 Botany Road


Located reasonably close to the city Remnant Warehouse is on Botany Road, easily accessed by several bust routes, and, if you don't mind a walk, the Airport line train. Parking is on the street (I usually end up parking on the road parallel to Botany Road behind the store)

The fabric section of this store has a large of great designer fabrics. There are usually several bolt of many of the Moda ranges and there is also a healthy stock of Amy Butler and a good range of Kaffe Fasset. Prices ranged in store from $20-$30 on non sale stock.

Much of the range fabric is displayed on shelves in the middle of the store in ranges (including some great novelty fabric) and the walls of the shop are lined with other fabric sorted by colourway.

There is a sale section in the rear of the store where you can pick up some great bargains.

Fat Quarters
The store has two major displays of fat quarters (cut to Australian dimensions). One has a range of fat quarters in the $5-$6 dollar bracket and includes some great fabrics. The other tray has mostly 'blender fabric' but still great quality for between $2-$4.

There are also tubs of extra stock under the counter, so if you find one of something and really want more it is worth asking the staff.

The best of the fat quarter section in this store is Friday, or should I say Fat Quarter Friday where you can buy one, get one free. I love Friday's here.

There is usually a healthy range of Moda (and sometimes other brands) precuts in the store, including Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes and Charm Packs. There are also increasingly fat quarter packs put together in store with complementary or range fabrics.

There is a small but quality selection of books in the store. On my last visit there were several of the Amy Butler books, Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings and the Jelly Roll Series as well as a range of others that usually tempt me.

There are some patterns in the store, A few Make it Perfect, some Me and My Sister Designs, Amy Butler and a few others. (In addition to some regular brand sewing patterns I will mention below)

Rulers, Notions and Potions
There is a section of notions and potions on the right hand side of the store including rotary cutters, cutting mats, rulers (brands include Matilda's Own specialty shapes as well as some regulars). The section isn't huge but it has all the basics in good quality. If you were looking for something particular and were to travel a long way I'd call first.

Shopping here is a joy. The staff are knowledgeable, sewers themselves and very friendly. Occasionally there are lollies on offer from the jar behind the counter and always a smile.

Classes and Services
Classes are on offer, check out their website for details. It is also possible to hire the class area for your group at a minimal cost per person.

Other Stock/Information
The Remnant Warehouse also stock fabric or dressmaking, notions and patterns for this as well. There is a second store next door (recently located) and part of the same business that has an even larger range.

Good sales are held twice a year. Sign up online for the newsletter for advance warning of these not to be missed events.

The store also operates a loyalty card for stock purchased at full price. Spend $200 and receive a $20 voucher. I have earned more of these than I care to think about! Ask for more details in-store.

The Remnant Warehouse
494 Botany Road
(02) 9698 7855

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Quilting for Peace - Bink Patrol

Followers of the precursor to this blog, my facebook page, will have been familiar with my series of projects inspired by the book 'Quilting for Peace'.

The final project on the list was a twin size quilt for
Binky Patrol.

I wanted to make something a little larger than the earlier projcets and wanted to use scraps. I also really wanted to make something I thought would appeal to boys.

The quilting reflected the striped pirate sections, I was hoping of a little interest but something simple enough to appeal to many.

The quilt is backed in a cozy flannel.

Now for my next set of charity projects. I came across the book
Craft Hope: Homemade Crafts for a Cause and think it might now be on the inspiration booklist!

Do you craft for charity too?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Calico & Ivy - A LQS review

Location and Parking
10 Glyde Street
Mosman Park

Located in the Western suburbs of Perth just north of the beautiful historic Fremantle this LQS is not central for all Perth metro residence but makes a great destination store for a Saturday drive or a jewel in the LQS crown for the lucky residents of the area.

Just off Stirling Highway, close to the Fremantle train line Calico & Ivy is accessible for many. Parking is on the street out the front. Although it is near a busy shopping strip I had not trouble finding a park on the street out the front, twice.

The fabric section of this store has a large but not massive range of great designer fabrics. They stock a larger than normal range of Japanese cotton/linen blend fabric including a whole shelf of echino and Kokka. There is also a lot of Kaffe Fasset, Heather Bailey, Amy Butler and Anna Maria Horner. Prices ranged in store from $20-$40.
I could not see a sale section (even although it was End of Financial Year sale time)

Fat Quarters
Dotted throughout the shop are several trays of fat quarters. Cut from the bolt in store I can see these being matched with yardage from the same range or other fabrics in the store.

I didn’t see any Moda precuts in the store the day I was there but there were several displays in the store complementary fabrics cut into packs and kits.

I could have spent a lot of money on books in this store, thankfully for my bank balance I knew I could make my luggage limit stretch to accommodate them. There are quilting, general craft and dressmaking books galore.

Then store had displayed the largest range of Oliver + S patterns that I have seen to date in an Australian store. Also spotted were some other artisan patterns. Interestingly there were not a huge number of quilt patterns in store (as separate from the books).

Rulers, Notions and Potions
The was a small section of rulers and notions and cool tools down the back in a small alcove but the focus was not on this section and there was noting there that I haven’t seen many other places.

Along with the Japanese fabric this was perhaps my most positive impression of this store. People, regular customers obviously, were chatting with staff about recent trips, projects and family events. I am sure that one or two people came in just for a chat. Staff were also more than happy to assist people with their crochet skills (there is a large yarn section at the front of the store). The only slight down side to this friendliness is that I had to go and seek service when I had finished wandering but this was readily provided and was a friendly and helpful as I had seen with more regular customers.

Classes and Services
Calico and Ivy offers classes. Check out their
website for details.

Other Stock
As mentioned above there was also a significant yarn section (with a whole other library of books). It isn’t my craft of choice so I didn’t have a good look around here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Local Quilt Shop

image from

In my last post I mentioned that I belonged to a couple of online quilting bees, as I said then one of these is locally based, all members are from Australia and New Zealand.

During the time we were waiting for the bee to fill so we could get started with the fun, hilarity and sewing there was a discussion post started about where we buy our fabric from.

The question was as general as that but the post really ended up being about buying fabric from online suppliers or from the Local Quilt Shop (LQS). And the consensus was that while a lot of us would like to buy local, with all that entails (supporting the local economy, being able to touch, feel and compare fabrics before making a purchase etc.) the increase in cost that came with it was just not able to be met comfortably by many of us.*

And it has got me thinking, and puzzling and thinking some more.

I buy online as much as the next person, not just fabric but books, movies and music. I'm not yet brave enough for shoes or clothes. And I guess with each of the items I do buy online there would be benefit to seeing the item I am about to part with my hard earned dollar for before I did so. In the case of books, for example, there is comfort in flicking through the book and making sure there is more than one project you would like to complete, that the type is one you can cope with when reading by the bedside light, that the hardback is not so heavy your arm muscles will have grown exponentially before you found out how the story comes out.

Plus with online purchases there is the added waiting for delivery, and, at least in the case of my local postie, the lottery as to where in my front garden it will be and the condition it will be in when I arrive home, especially on raining days.

I'm not trying to bag buying things online here, as I said I do it regularly and as with the case of many things there are some massive benefits as well as possible causes for concern. The one that was identified really strongly in the discussion by my quilting bee was the savings.

I guess the thing that got me thinking and puzzling was that the discussion that the cost factor. There are so many other services that a Local Quilt Stare might, and often does offer that to many they are worth the extra dollars per metre of fabric.

Earlier this year, while on a visit to my LQS, I found this booklet. Privately published it lists many LQS's, their opening hours and contact information as well as a number of quilting services and online sale sites.

So I have embarked on a challenge. I'm going to visit these stores, as many as I can manage (and since my family is in Western Australia, I currently live in Sydney NSW and will shortly be moving to Melbourne, Victoria and have friends in the ACT I'm hoping to cover a big range of the areas covered in the book) and write a little review or description of them. I'd like people to take a moment to stop and have a think about what they can get at their LQS they can't get online.

I won't stop buying online, I'm sure, as I am just as sure I won't ever stop visiting my LQS.

What information would you like to see included in the descriptions/reviews?

* For international readers. At most quilt store in Australia good quality fabric sells for between $20-$30 Australian dollars ($US17- $US26) a metre (100cm) which is about 2in longer than a yard.
In comparison I can buy fabric for $US8-10 per yard and with postage this is about $AUS9.50 per yard when it arrives at my door

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

July Blocks

So I belong to two online quilting bees.

The first I joined I also started, the Bee Seam Piecing Downunder Bee. I wanted to join a Bee but after trying to join one I saw on a blog I follow and not hearing back for about a week (in the end I got an email to say that others had been chosen) I thought I'd start one that was locally based. I'm not all that patient you see and the thought of waiting for packages from overseas seemed like a special kind of frustration.

The joke was on me in the end though because it took about a month to have the 12 people needed to start. I found out towards the end of this planning time from another Australian based bee moderator that this is a normal-ish amount of time for the development of an Australian bee.

The following pictures are the blocks that I have made for the first month of this Bee for Bec. She sent 6 fabric squares (that totaled about 1.5 fat quarters in all) and asked for two blocks that when completed measured either 8.5, 10.5 or 12.5 inches. She also said that Log Cabin and Stars were her favourite but she was keen on any traditional blocks.
My second exercise arrived with the package, on the day I left for a two week holiday to visit my family in Perth... meaning that I had to find a sewing machine to borrow to complete them there or wait until I cam home. I really wanted to do them there but didn't want to have to get to know my mum's new machine with someone else's fabric. So I waited until I got home and completed them both yesterday evening.

The log cabin block measures 8.5inches and in based on a block I saw in the Sampler Quilt I slept under at Mum and Dad's house on my trip. That quilt was my Mum's first and was completed in a class. The block is made up from 4 smaller blocks with a mix of lighter coloured fabrics in the centre and the darker fabric on the outside.

I knew I wanted to make a star for the second block and was keen to make a block in one of the larger sizes requested. Initially I was keen on a Friendship Star block but in the end the choice was determined by the amount of fabric and the size of the pieces I had.

This is made from three different fabrics and most are half square triangles. I'm a little disappointed that both blocks have ended up being the smallest requested size but with the heavy piecing in both blocks (all those 1/4 seams add up!)it was all the fabric I had left!

The second Bee I joined while I was waiting for the first to fill up. Internationally based in the
Bee (A Little Bit) Japanese bee we make blocks that feature some Japanese (preferably Cotton/Linen blend) prints.

I made these spiderweb blocks a few weeks ago now. More detailed description of next months blocks for this Bee in a later post!

What blocks would you ask for in an online bee?

(I joined both bees using the Quilting Bee Blocks group on Flickr)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Getting Started


I've been thining about doing this for awhile - starting a blog and have been spurred into action by a deadline.

I know it doesn't look great at the moment but I'll be working on it and beginning to post over the next few weeks so please come back and visit!