WIP Wednesday #24 – Canberra
I’m sitting in the passenger seat on my way back from Australia’s Capitol, Canberra, with Mr. Sparkles driving, and Grandma Sparkles and my MIL in the backseat. We’ve had a lovely time in Canberra (pronounced more like can-bra for my American friends), and packed in something for everyone. We visited Old Parliament House, (new) Parliament House, the War Memorial, Floriade Tulip Festival, and two* fabric shops: Addicted to Fabric and Calico Patch. I had asked my Facebook friends which was the better shop to visit, as they are on opposite sides of the city, and was met with a split decision. Luckily, Mr. Sparkles was completely agreeable to going to both! A new sewing machine, suggestions to “buy more fabric,” and going to both shops … what is going on?! Hmmm, something’s up. Let me show you some of my latest bee blocks while I tell you about my fabric adventures in Canberra!
It was a joy to see shops outside of Sydney’s The Remnant Warehouse, but I must say I didn’t like either as much. The Calico Patch was over-crowded with Japanese imports, and more traditional ranges featuring florals sandwiched between other florals. I’m all for selection, but with bolts upon bolts of fabric, it felt a bit junky without clear organisation. Meanwhile, the baskets upon baskets of who-knows-how-long-they’ve-been-there-for fat quarters made the fabrics feel stale. Everything felt about as old as the customers. (No offence to my older readers, but I know if you’re hanging out around here, you’re super-fresh no matter what your age!) I still picked up some finds, but with only the owner there cutting fabric, I began to feel frustrated with the amount of time it was taking.
Addicted to Fabric faired a bit better. The store felt brighter, with lots of space for a clearer layout. Overall, the fabric selection was much more modern, and they had many ranges I have in my own collection. They eschewed fat quarters from their large bins, replacing with 30cm cuts at $6.50 or 4 for $24.00. (Not exactly a bargain). For those that like the width of fabric cuts this would be ideal, but then why combine it with a nearby bin of fat eighths? This left me confused.
Also slightly confusing was the way they broke so many (but not all!) of their fabric ranges by colour across the store. Comma was all sitting together near the front, but Collage spanned the purple, red and yellow sections of the shop. While I wasn’t really a fan of this layout, it did work in my favour when I searched out white tone-on-tone fabrics (mostly P&B Textiles, regardless). With several rows of solids, A Day in the Country blenders, brighter batiks, and crazy-ass Kaffes, their fabric choices were more my style. Their selection of notions was expansive, and they had lots of shop attendants at the counters for a speedy checkout.
*Whoa! Just as I was about to push publish on this post we pulled into a country town called Mittagong for a coffee (all coffee shops closed, ugh) but they had a fabric shop that was open! Much to Mr. Sparkles’s delight The Village Quilt Shop had a bench right outside their entrance. He waited patiently while me and Thelma & Louise (what we’ve nicknamed Grandma Sparkles and my MIL–a nickname on top of a nickname: confusing!) explored this hidden treasure. It was a cosy place, with few modern fabric ranges, but the staff were extremely welcoming, offering us tea and cake! Many of their fabrics were already cut into fat quarters at $5 or $6 each so it made browsing easy. I can scan a fat quarter bin faster than a fat kid can scan a buffet! I was once a fat kid so I know how it’s done! I bought five more white tone-on-tones to add to the collection. This really turned into an impromptu shop hop! I’ll let you in on all these fabric photos during this week’s Sunday Stash!
Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WiP Wednesday!
Fabric buying is always a work in progress.
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