Austin City Crafting

This past week, I’ve been visiting my parents at their new home in Austin. Even though they’ve been down here for about six months, Mom hadn’t visited some of the popular yarn and fabric stores in the area, so that’s what we did on Friday. We spent all of our time on the south side of Lady Bird Lake around SoCo and Lamar. Here’s a couple highlights from our excursion:

Hill Country Weavers

Mom mentioned that this yarn store in SoCo was well recommended by some gals in a knitting meet-up group she attended. It’s right on Congress Ave and an easy stone’s throw away from some of the hipster places on the street. The store is a converted house, and every room has shelves and shelves of yarn. Yarn is tucked into just about every nook and cranny in the store, and it’s easy to get yarn-overload while in the store. I probably could have spent half the day in trying to pick out just ONE thing I wanted. (Fortunately, for our bank account, I already have two knitting projects in queue at home). Even though I didn’t buy anything, mom got a couple skeins of a super fine wool to make a shawlette.

Bolt Fabrics

When I looked up this place on Yelp, I didn’t realize it was upholstery fabric. If I had, I probably would have struck it from our list, but I’m glad I didn’t. Mom was able to see fabrics for some home dec projects she had in mind, and I found an awesome cotton print. The fabric weight wasn’t too heavy, but not too lightweight that I’ll need to line it. It’ll be perfect for a pencil skirt (maybe an A-line, but I’m thinking more pencil).

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TexStyles

Mom said she drove by this store every day on her way home from work, and always meant to stop in. Glad we did! I wish we had a fabric store this amazing in Seattle (Nancy’s comes close, but this place was beyond any I’ve been in, save for Mood). It’s a small room in a strip mall. At first, you wonder if they’ll have anything, and then you walk in to a sea of fabric. The owner drives to California to hand select the fabric he sells in his store (fun fact: Daniel Esquivel of Project Runway fame shops there) and instead of storing bulky bolts of fabric, he puts them on hangers, and has the walls covered in hangers of fabric. Makes it easier to sell a larger selection of fabric, in my opinion. Mom and I both walked out of there with something: I bought three-yards of a purple heathered knit that I’ll probably use for another sweater/t-shirt dress.

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I’ve strongly encouraged Mom to continue to visit her local crafting stores (because I would if I lived here!) I know it’s sometimes easier/cheaper to buy fabric online, but if we don’t support our local stores, they’ll go out of business and won’t be there when we want/need them.

Also, I finished my socks this week. Yay!

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PDX Trip

Last weekend, I took a little weekend trip down to Portland, OR to hang out with a girl friend who was visiting from the east coast. One thing I like to do in bigger cities I’m visiting, is look for the local fabric and yarn stores. Originally, I looked up a couple fabric stores in Portland, but didn’t know where we were staying that weekend, nor did I know our transportation situation, so I didn’t put a whole lot of effort into looking for stores to visit before I went down.

We ended up staying pretty central to downtown Portland and without a car, and I didn’t feel like taking a bus all over town (although, we took one later that night to Pok Pok for dinner). Anyway, I found Josephine’s Dry Goods not far from where we were staying, and loved the fact that it wasn’t just another quilting fabric store (not that there’s anything wrong with quilting fabric, but sometimes it’s nice to go into a fabric store that sells fashion fabric). As my friend and I walked to it, I first saw KnitPurl right next door. I’m pretty sure I squealed in joy because there was a yarn store next to a fabric store.

We stopped in KnitPurl first, and wandered around snugglings the yarns and oohing-and-ahhing over the knitted sample garments. There was one sweater that was so unique and soft and delicate that I had to know what the pattern was and what it was made from. The yarn was Shibui Silk Cloud yarn, which is a kid mohair and silk lace weight yarn. It is extremely soft, and probably what a silk cloud feels like. I originally intended to get a couple balls of sock yarn, but I found five hanks of the Silk Cloud in the bargain bin (probably because the color has been discontinued) in the color Blush.

Shibui Silk Cloud lace weight yarn in Blush

Shibui Silk Cloud lace weight yarn in Blush

5 hanks isn’t enough (1650 yards) for that sweater, but definitely enough for a shawl/stole/scarf or two. I plan to make one for my friend I visited in Portland, especially since she was cuddling it when we got back to the hotel after shopping. :)  KnitPurl is a beautiful store, and I hope all Portland fiber artists visit it!

After KnitPurl, we went next door to Josephine’s. She’s got a wide range of fashion fabrics. I was excited about the rolls of silk and silk blends (all beautiful, but a smidge out of my budget). She had wools, denims, laminated fabrics, bridal lace, a huge array of buttons, and so on. There were even sample garments on display of a couple patterns I recognized. Just as we had in KnitPurl, we wandered around the store and petted all the fabric. Eventually, I found a cotton voile that was so lovely, so lightweight, and so luxuriant feeling, that I had to get it. I thought I might make a skirt with it, but the more I look at it, the more I feel like I should make it into a dress. I bought 3-yards of this Valori Wells fabric, which is definitely enough for a dress.

Valori Wells Wren cotton voile fabric

Valori Wells Wren cotton voile fabric

And look! It already comes with birds on it :)  There’s a Cynthia Rowley dress pattern in my collection of patterns that I think might just work for this fabric. I’ve got a couple other things that I’m working on right now, so it will have to wait, but I’m confident I’ll get around to it before the end of summer.

Josephine’s Dry Goods made me want to revisit Nancy’s Sewing Basket on Queen Anne. I haven’t been in there in a while, and it’s always been stocked full of great fashion fabric, but I think I have to wait until I get my crafting allowance for next month!

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Starting the Dress with REAL Fabric

After waiting almost two weeks for some swatches to arrive from Fabric.com, I determined they must have been lost in the mail. So I contacted them and requested the swatches be sent again, but I’m impatient, and decided to head over to the Galleria Pacific Fabrics that boasts having a ton of special occasion fabric. They do, and their prices are pretty reasonable.

I really like red. REALLY like red. A lot. So I’m going to make the dress in red. I took my shoe as inspiration for the color I’d want, and most likely will wear these shoes with the dress.

My color muse

My color muse

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Stitches in Seattle

Lightweight cotton fabric from Stitches

Lightweight cotton fabric from Stitches

When we lived in Seattle, I remembered when this shop opened. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as avid as a sewer as I am now, and nowhere nearly as comfortable with my skills as I am now, so I never went into Stitches to shop. A couple weeks ago, we happened to walk by the shop on our way to a friend’s house, and then I remembered it existed and was happy to see it was still in business! So on Friday, we had a little extra time to spend on Capitol Hill before heading to our friend’s house, and stopped in there.

There is a TON of fabric in Stitches; a lot that I’ve never seen anywhere else.  There’s even printed vinyl (I think), and a lot of prints you would definitely not find at your average fabric store. Lots of specialty fabrics that cater to the eclectic, Capitol Hill crowd.

I was drawn to a shelf of fabric from Japan, that I wouldn’t have a clue what I would do with, but it was cute. On the same shelf was the fabric pictured. I had to get it. So far, I’ve thought about making the Butterick blouse I just finished in this fabric, but I bought two yards, so I could do just about anything with it (save for a dress). Thoughts or ideas?

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Boardwalk Quilts

Souffle, from Mountainpeek Creations

Souffle, from Mountainpeek Creations

We’re on vacation this week on Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula. While my dad and brother were fishing, Richard, Mom and I went into town to check out the new quilt store, Boardwalk Quilts. They were kind enough to let us bring in our corgi and there’s even a seating area in the front for menfolk and all sorts of magazines for menfolk.

I’ve been holding onto a penguin-themed set of fat quarters, and haven’t decided what kind of quilt to make from it. There were plenty of ideas at this store, and I found a pattern that I liked, called “Souffle”.

Hot Cakes, by Susie C Shore Designs

Hot Cakes, by Susie C Shore Designs

Also, I found a really cute oven mitt pattern that will fit right in with all the yummy gluten-free cupcakes that I like to make!

Now, I just need to find a set of fun, “cupcake” inspired fat quarters to use to make these.

Looking at the designer’s website, she also has a pattern for a penguin pincushion! I’ll have to get that one eventually.

Tale of the Dragon, by Alexander Henry Fabrics

Tale of the Dragon, by Alexander Henry Fabrics

And lastly, I found some awesome fabric, that I can’t figure out what I would want to do with it, but it’s too awesome not to figure out a project for it. I posted it on my Facebook wall and asked friends what they would do with it. I got suggestions from underwear for my husband, to curtains. I think it might be more appropriate as a dice bag, or something more gaming related, given the pattern :)

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