Fabric Swap Oct 19

Last Sunday the Sydney Spoolette’s held a fabric swap. Although it is called a fabric swap there is a bit more than just fabric that gets brought along. People bring sewing notions, patterns and books some are sewing related others not. They are a lot of fun and I do highly recommend if you able to get to one in your local area that you do!

I mentioned back in August I used my “I love my fabric party” to cull fabrics from my stash. I did take most of the fabric I pulled out to the stash. Yes a few pieces did go back into my stash after consideration. These were fabrics that I knew I could use in projects that I hadn’t thought of before so they were taken out to be used and not stashed for “I might make something” purposes.

Recently one morning before work I decided to cull my craft books. I was ruthless and culled I think around 50 – 70 books I would say. I divided them up into categories (yarn, sewing, kids toys) To the swap I took most of my sewing and kids toys books which ended up being 4 bags full. The other books will be taken to my knitters guild group or donated to the volunteers at my work to use or sell at their bric’n’brac stall. Guilty again a couple of books have gone back to my stash as I was packing them.

Prior to the swap I went through my sewing notions and patterns. After 8 years of crafting I have gathered a lot of things I’m not going to use. Some were items I won at craft shows, gotten in “sew boxes” subscriptions (sadly that company no longer operates) sewing patterns I’d brought or gotten for free, items I brought at Australian Sewing Guild Industry days which were a “bargain” and I thought I would use. You just gather things in your stash over time without even realising it. If I wasn’t going to use it out it went.

In the end I took 7 bags to the swap. My suitcase contained all my fabrics, 4 bags of books and 2 bags of notions. The day before I also found a set of sewing needles for a sewing machine I no longer have and since a friend I knew had the same machine and was going to the swap I put them in my handbag to give to her.

There was a last minute change of venue for the swap and it ended up being held in a café. We had a room to ourselves and from the outside it looked like a “Spoolette’s Pop-Up” shop from the street. The room was packed with fabrics, patterns, books, buttons, threads. It was a wonderful turn out of people and items. Since I wasn’t “shopping” I pulled up a seat, drank coffee, minded people’s bags and called out coffee orders as the café staff brought them in. I may look quiet but I have been called “Miss Megaphone” in the past so I am happy to yell. Ok so admittedly by the time I factored in the taxi ride to the venue and back it was it was the most expensive cup of coffee I have ever drunk but I didn’t care I still had fun. Every so often I would get up to touch fabric and watched the different layers of the fabric table emerge as people took stuff and the pile decreased. I was chatting to people and looking at the items they took. It was a relaxing Sunday morning.

So what did I come home with…. Nothing but empty bags!!! Yep that’s correct I took nothing home from the swap. I even decluttered a couple of carry bags 🙂 Everyone said I was very restrained but the reality is I wasn’t. For me the swap was the opportunity to declutter my sewing stuff knowing they would go to a home that would use them or at least appreciate them. I didn’t want to bring stuff home and repeat the cycle of having items in my stash. Even though I culled so much stuff I still have a house full of fabric and sewing supplies so there was no FOMO (fear of missing out) by not taking things home. It was wonderful that everyone else was able to take items home but I am in a mental space at the moment where I don’t want anymore stuff. I was started to get overwhelmed by how much stuff I had. In 2020 we might be moving house. I don’t want to pack things I’m not going to use, I am already starting to freak out how I will pack everything in boxes so I don’t want anymore after 10 years in the same place. I’m finding decluttering very therapeutic, each item I remove is like another little weight off my shoulders. To be honest I don’t know if I can really see a difference in my stash with all the items gone. I do have more room on my bookcases but my fabric stash is still packed to the brim, not overflowing but still heavily packed. I have learnt to distance myself or ignore thinking how much I have spent on my craft supplies over the years so there is no guilt attached to giving things away. After the swap I have seen photos of things people picked up and I smiled each time I spotted something that was once in my stash.



Cloth Books – Prep

This year I’m going to make 2 cloth books as gifts for a 2 year old. I have made cloth books a few times before, they are a great gift to give toddlers as they can’t rip the pages and it doesn’t matter if they chew on them. Over this Easter weekend one of the tasks on my “todo” list was to make a start on them.

In the past I have followed patterns to make them but this time I’m just making everything up. They are really easy to do without a pattern. For my pages this time I’m using white calico with a piece of sew in medium interfacing behind each one. In the past to stablise the back the pages I have used different vlieseline products, I have a roll of sew in interfacing now so I just used that as it isn’t too thick. I cut my pages 9.5″ x 10.5″ it will give me a nice size book, perfect for small hands. On the sewing machine I have tacked each page and lining piece together. I used the basting stitch setting which is probably a stitch length of 5 on my MC 11000 as I know that is the longest stitch length that I can do. I will remove the basting stitches after I finish each page.

The books I am making are colours and numbers. I used my sizzix cutting machine to cut all the pieces out of wool felt. I just realised that I never cut the pieces needed for the 2 front covers but I will do those pages at the end and will cut more. One of the cutting dies I have is numbers but I will trim some of those as they have a curved shape at the end of them and I don’t like that look. On the colours book I will free hand write the colour and embroider of over. I will hand sew all the pieces on to the pages. I don’t need these books until August so I have given myself plenty of hand sewing time to do it, mindless tv work so easy to do. Now that I have sorted my embroidery threads it will be easier to find the colours I need too!


Colour Book

I’ve made another fabric colours book like I made before.

Again the designs I used were from the Crinkly Critters book by Kids Quilts. I also set myself the same challenge of only using fabric from my scrap stash. Some of the pages I found really easy to do but others I had to really sort through my scraps to find amounts of fabric. I was going to do a red page but couldn’t find the fabric quantities to do any of the designs in full.

Book 1

Even though I used the same fleece as last time to line the pages I did have a little trouble sewing them at the end to bind the book. I divided the book in half so I would be sewing 2 lots of completed pages (a completed page is once it is turned right side out so has a back and front) together at time with the intention of then sewing those 2 separate segments. I was able to sew the 2 pages without problem but at the final stage of sewing all the segments together my machine had a tantrum. In the end I stitched all the segments together on the spine by hand using an upholstery thread.  I coved up the spine with a scrap of blue I found in my stash that I slip stitched into place.

Its funny how you can do the same project yet have different issues each time you make it.

Fabric Leftovers

A few years ago I picked up a great little craft book Fabric Leftovers by D’Arcy-Jean Milne.

Fabric Leftovers

The whole book is about using the scraps whether they be fabric, beads, threads, wire, recycled clothing. The book demonstrates a number of techniques that can be used with the scraps some of which I’ve never heard of before such as Rug Canvas Fabric and Sweet Beads. It discusses the “Fabric Food Chain” which is sorting your scraps from the largest to smallest and what types of projects you can do with the scraps in the different stages/sizes. Once you learn the different techniques it shows you practical projects you can make from bags to fabric bowls to jewellery to photo frames.

So far I’ve only made one project from this book and that was the fabric beads on T-Rex Even though until this point I hadn’t made much from the book I found myself going back to read it every few months. From the moment I read about Rug Canvas Fabric I wanted to try it and have been setting aside fabric strips for it. Here’s a sneaky peak at an item I’m working on at the moment.

Rug Canvas Fabric

If you can ever get your hands on a copy of this book I really do urge you to have a read. In Australia its hard to get online but I noticed Lincraft stores have it amongst their $7.99 books which is where I picked up mine. This book is full of wonderful ideas and tips on what to do with the scraps. As I’ve mentioned before I have a lot of fabric scraps and yes I did declutter the stash last month but I still have a lot of useful scraps. This book shows me another different way to use them. Craft supplies aren’t the cheapest things in the world so we might as well get the most out of them.

A Good Book

I do own a lot of craft books. I think I may own more than my local library.

Most of my books are on sewing, knitting or crochet. Some are only pattern books, some are more tutorial type books. I like the variety of them all as I not only learn from them but get inspiration to create the gifts I make. I don’t have favourite book as such but one I do constantly go back to is The Needlecraft Book. It covers Knitting, Crochet, Embroidery, Needlepoint, Applique, Patchwork and Quilting. I’m always calling it my Bible cause I’m always going back to it to refresh my mind on crochet. Just noticing on the back of the book it calls itself “The Complete Bible” and I agree 100% with that statement.

Needlecraft Book

The reason I go back to this book so often is that the pictures are very clear and the way things are written is very easy to understand. It goes through for example a crochet stitch step by step in detail. Each topic is really an overview of things but its enough to give you the base understanding. It also has projects that you can make using the techniques in the book. If you ever come across this book I do urge you to look at it.

Fabric Book – Numbers

This is the second book I made.


This book is based on another Rag book by Kids Quilts 123 Pretty As Can Be

Page 1

Again I gave myself the challenge of only using fabric from my scrap stash.

Page 2

The images in Kids Quilts Rag books are often repeated in their many different patterns so in this one I chose 5 images that weren’t in the Colours

Page 3

The pages are the same as the colour book with polar fleece inside.

Page 4

The binding is again hand slipped stitched on using more of the left over bias binding I had.

Page 5

This is the 4th book I’ve done based on Kids Quilts books in the last 2 years. Their books are quirky and fun. I love the bright colours they use and the images are cute. You can personalise them to be girly or boyish or gender neutral just by fabric selection.