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! 
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Fabric buying is always a work in progress.

No-Reply Bloggers: Gaye, Becki, Lenaya Lynn, Megot Tseng, Frau Hiltrud, Althea Dene (I think…)

15 Responses

  1. Charlotte says:

    you've got a good one there!

  2. Quiltefeen says:

    Wow! So beautiful, love them all! 🙂

  3. How patient Mr. Sparkles is – although I feel another Thermomix coming on! He can move from one to the other like a DJ spinning discs!

  4. Cheryl says:

    I wish my husband was as patient as your in a fabric store. After about 3 minutes his eye starts to twitch 🙂

  5. Mr. Sparkles is a winner, for sure. And I am totally digging your bee blocks, by the way!

  6. Amy says:

    I love the star blocks!

  7. Sheryl says:

    Just hearing those prices hurts.

  8. LOVE those scrappy hexagons!

  9. I think your post perfectly summed up why I avoid Canberra at all cost.

  10. Lovely bee block eye candy. Say hi to Thelma and Louise! And Mr. Sparkles – of course!

  11. Next time you should try the coast road 🙂 We have an awesome little shop in Milton (45 mins south of Nowra) and we stock just the kinds of fabric you use! (My Patch Fabrics) Hugs Paula

  12. Althea Dene says:

    Hey There! I just tried another fix regarding my possible no-reply issue. I'm commenting now as a test.
    Thanks Molli. I'm enjoying the pictures of Australia. Thought I might want to relocate there…..hmmm…it's got it's beauty, but I don't see any pine trees and forest??? In fact, where's your trees? You know, those tall things that grow out of the ground that have green leaves…….I'll send you a picture……just messing with you. Always enjoy your blog.

  13. Thanks for the heads up on the 'no-reply', Ms. Molli! I swear, Blogger annoys the ever lovin' heck out of me sometimes!!! It's fixed…………I THINK.

    You and Grandma Sparkles are too damn cute! Love the quilt and that gorgeous tulip- they're my fave~!

  14. Katy Cameron says:

    I think, quite randomly, that I've been into that shop in Mittagong! Anywho, right with you on the insane colour sorting, my local fabric shop (which only has a small part dedicated to quilting fabric) arranges all it's quilt fabric by colour. It has few modern prints at the best of time, but trying to track them down among the dross is a nightmare!

  15. I live in Canberra and hate the fabric shops here!! Not enough range of fabrics and so very expensive. Also the staff…arrghh..they think they own the world! So full of themselves, when you ask something they just point it out and dont even bother asking if you need help with anything else. That's the reason why I buy my fabric online. Maybe I pay a little for postage but at least can find anything I am after and i dont have to deal with silly staff members! Pffff.. That was a vent 😀

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