Out of Hand

Out of Hand in South West Calgary

Out of Hand in South West Calgary

I’ve been past Out of Hand, located in Lakeview shopping centre, a few times, but always thought that it was a tailoring or alterations shop. I walked passed a week or so ago, and realized that it’s actually a hand-sewing and quilting shop. I was quite interested in seeing some of the unique products they had, so popped out my iPhone for some quick (and sometimes a little blurry – oops!) photos.

Ribbon trim

Silk ribbons at Out of Hand

Silk ribbons at Out of Hand

Above I photographed a really nice selection of silk ribbon including beautiful gradient ribbons.  If I want to make ribbon flowers, I bet these would be wonderful for that purpose.

Blurry iPhone photo of rose-ribbon and spiked trim at Out of Hand

Blurry iPhone photo of rose-ribbon and spiked trim at Out of Hand

This second photo is the blurry one – but I thought that the spiked trim was really cool, and I could definitly see myself using it. They also had a small stock of that pretty ribbon rose trim – I bought some of this a while back, but haven’t used it yet.

A small selection of buttons

The shop also had a small selection of buttons – including loads of gorgeous rhinestone buttons.  I didn’t check out the prices of the buttons though – some of these I bet are really pricey!

Buttons at Out of Hand

Buttons at Out of Hand

Closer photo (and a little blurry) of some of the buttons above along with a further (and more clear!) photo of some of the other buttons below. This only represents about 1/6th of the buttons they had.  I love the black rhinestone buttons  above, and the clear rhinestone buttons below. I’ve bought some similar kinds recently for another project, but it’s nice to know about this selection as well.

Out of Hand also has a nice selection of extra-large buttons that I think would be great on chunky hand-knit items. (I don’t recall seeing yarn mind you.)

Buttons at Out of Hand

Buttons at Out of Hand


Teddy bear & stuffed animal supplies

Fur for teddy bears and other stuffed animals

Fur for teddy bears and other stuffed animals

I’m not especially interested in making teddy bears and other stuffed animals, but sometimes I’ve found finding these kinds of items a bit difficult, so I wanted to make a note of this as well. Shown above is a sampling of some of their fur fabrics.

…and then an interruption

I had been really excited to find the shop, make a few notes, and take few photos of the unique items they had at Out of Hand. One of the staff people had seen me taking a few discreet photos (I’m careful not to get people in the shots as much as possible) but then another shop clerk came by and let me know that they didn’t like photos in the shop. I’m not quite sure why, as she was quite brisk and didn’t invite conversation on the issue. It could be that she didn’t want people comparing prices or knocking off ready-made items? Not sure… So, unfortunately the other noteworthy items I can only tell you about, instead of sharing by photos.

  • Tiny little charms – kittens, puppies, crowns and more. I think these would be cute for Victorian Crazy Quilts or charm bracelets.
  • They had a small but interesting supply of dupioni silk, but their prices were quite a bit higher than the other places I usually get silk from – they were asking $29.50/meter!
  • They had yardage covered in feathers – so unusual!
  • Their quick bias (for stained glass quilts) was also quite expensive – they were asking $19.50 for 11 yards – I’ve bought the same stuff for $5.00 for 11 yards in Vancouver.
  • They had some super-cute laminated cotton (including an adorable black, white, and red Scotty dog print) that would be perfect for rain coats or waterproof totes. This was also expensive I thought, at $28.50/meter, but honestly I see this fabric so rarely, that I don’t have much to compare it to! I’ve seen it in a really tiny quilt shop in BC, and at a quilt shop on MacLeod Trail, but in both locations the selection was minimal.

Have you been there?

Have you visited Out of Hand? What did you think of the little shop? Let me know in the comments below! You can find them here:

Out of Hand
12-6449 Crowchild Trail SW
Calgary, Alberta
toll-free: (888) 263-3353
phone: (403) 217-4871
fax: (403) 249-1778

Dachshund tunnel bed

On Facebook I’m part of a group devoted to people who are devoted to their dachshunds, and a while ago a fellow member posted about a bed with an attached blanket which created a bit of a cave for her dogs.  Dachshunds love to dig and tunnel, and one of mine seems especially keen on burying himself in blankets, with just his tail sticking out.

One of my dogs showing off his new bed while his brother looks on!

One of my dogs showing off his new bed while his brother looks on!

When I got a new pillow, I decided to make a similar kind of ‘tunnel bed’ for my dogs, mostly so I could have a little bed near my computer when I work.  (Of course, they still have their bedroom beds too! Spoiled dogs!)

It’s basically just a zippered pillowcase, with a lined blanket over top, and stitched down in the side seams.  The top blanket isn’t as tall as the pillowcase, but much wider, allowing for more wiggle room underneath.  I used quilting flannel (flannelette) leftover from the dog blankets I made last year for gifts, and from a quilt I’m making for myself as well! The pillow slips into the zippered pillowcase, but can come out easily for laundering.

One of my dogs showing off his new bed while his brother looks on!

One of my dogs showing off his new bed while his brother looks on!

Migrating purple geese quilt

"Migrating Flying Geese" quilt top in purples, pinks, and greys from the Jelly Roll fabric selection

“Migrating Flying Geese” quilt top in purples, pinks, and greys from the Jelly Roll fabric selection

After getting well under way with the Modified French Braid quilt, I started work on the quilt using the purples and dark pinks from the Moda Jelly Rolls that I had picked up.

Like the other quilt, I got my pattern/idea from Pinterest, rather than going back to the Jelly Roll ideas I had pondered back in December 2011 when I first was interested in Jelly Roll fabric collections. Of course, the problem with just looking at pretty pictures instead of actual quilt patterns, is that I don’t really know the names of any of the patterns, or have any of the techniques – so I sort of have to make them up myself!

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Modified French Braid quilt

Modified "French braid" quilt top in green, pink, purple and white.

Modified “French braid” quilt top in green, pink, purple and white.

As I wrote in Jelly rolls (and other baked goods), after picking up small batik Jelly Rolls of quilting fabrics (and subsequently making two mini quilt tops) I finally hunted down two real quilting Jelly Rolls along with two coordinating prints from a quilt shop.

The colours in this Eva by EverGrey from Moda fabrics were mostly lime greens, pale and bright pinks, purples, burgundy, and a few blacks.  While I liked the majority of the colours, the greens didn’t really appeal to me. I decided to split the rolls (I had bought two) to combine the purple and darker pink/burgundy fabrics together, and then the greens, pinks, and blacks together.

From there I went to Pinterest…

I did some searches for “Jelly Roll Quilts” on Pinterest, and came up with a few ideas (along with the same ideas I had thought about when I wrote Peanut Butter Jelly Roll back in December 2011 when the notion first caught my attention.

I started off with the greens, and a design inspiration that looks like a modified (blown out) French Braid block/method.  The original creator (who blogs at “Anne & Will” made this up as a baby quilt with three shades of blue, two shades of green, orange, yellow, brown, and off-white fabric.  Of course, I didn’t see her tutorial until after my top was already completed.. but she started with strips 4.5″ wide, where as my strips are only 2.5″ wide from the Jelly Roll.  Since I didn’t see her instructions, I ended up starting with the French Braid method from the Quilters Cache instead, and then just modifying it to be similar to what the inspiration photo suggested.  The ‘original’ French Braid uses short strips all the same length, and then trims off to make one narrow strip of ‘braid’ – but I liked this stretched-out variation better.

Piecing the quilt top

Modified "French braid" quilt top in green, pink, purple and white.

Modified “French braid” quilt top in green, pink, purple and white.

I started out with two very short strips of fabric for the starting triangle, and then little by little added in the additional strips alternating from one side to the other.  Sometimes I did multiple strips on one side, and once in a while I’d throw in a narrow strip too.  When the quilt was about as wide as I wanted, I trimmed three edges square, and then started working downwards instead. Really, that’s as about as much planning went into this.  I did arrange my fabrics so that it would start out mostly dark, then green, then pink – but really when it got nearer to the end, I mostly was looking for strips that were long enough, more so than being super concerned with the colours.  I also reserved 6 strips for the back/binding.

The backing

Modified "French braid" quilt back - just a pretty pink, purple and off-white stripe.

Modified “French braid” quilt back – just a pretty pink, purple and off-white stripe.

Once the quilt top was done, I just stored it away for a while.  I wanted some time to mull it over – and to come back to it being excited about it again, rather than picking apart everything that I’d done not-quite-right.  I picked out some great pink striped fabric to bring the pinks out in the quilt (It’s “London Cats” by Benartex). I sandwiched the quilt top and backing around some quilt batting (the low-loft needle-punch cotton batting versus the high-loft polyester fiber-fill kind of stuff), quilted along some of the diagonal lines, and then moved on to binding.

I bound the quilt using some of the leftover pink and green printed fabric strips, by sewing them, turning and pressing, and then hand-stitching them in place. I tried doing it by machine completely, and just didn’t like the result.. oh my poor fingers!

For the purple fabrics…

Once the majority of the quilt top with the greens and pinks was complete (and I had to stop because I needed to find the backing fabric) I moved onto the remaining fabrics from the roll; dark pink, purple and burgundy fabrics.  I’ll write more about this in another post.

Creative Stitches 2013

Last year (in October) I attended the Creative Stitches trade show, and this year I attended the show once more in September. I would have written about it sooner but I had a number of posts lined up… and I needed a bit of time to think about the show too.

Last year I was concerned that the show was going downhill, and this year that thought continued. It appeared that there were far fewer vendors than usual, and some of the ones I really look for (A Great Notion Sewing Supply out of Surrey and Abbotsford, along with Gala Fabrics from Victoria, Vancouver and Hong Kong) weren’t there this year.  A few others that I like (The Sugar Pine company out of the nearby Canmore and Steam Trunk Craft Works out of Surrey, BC) were there, but neither had anything I was looking for this time around – especially since I still have things to sew and craft-up from the show last year!

I only got a few things at the 2013 Creative Stitches show

I only got a few things at the 2013 Creative Stitches show

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On-point Jelly Roll

It seems like ages ago that I first wrote about the half-sized batik jelly rolls that I picked up… it was actually back in December 2011, and although I started the top back then, I only finished not too long ago.

up close - on-point jelly roll quilt

up close – on-point jelly roll quilt

Where it all started

In my various fabric-store wanderings, I kept being attracted to Jelly Rolls – the rolls of narrow strips of fabric pre-made by fabric mills/fabric designers especially for quilters.  I know that at this point, Jelly Rolls are a bit out-of-date, but I’m also late to the quilting party, so bare with me! As much as I liked them, I didn’t love the price point – most of them were in the $40-50 range, which seemed expensive to me (considering I’d also want to pick up coordinating fabrics, etc…) so I held of picking one up for a long time.

Then, when out at a department store, I found much more affordable rolls – only $15 for a variety of batiks including medium blue, bright blue, green, orange, purple, and pink along with a few fabrics with multiple colours dominating the design.  It wasn’t until I got one of them home that I realized that they were only half-sized rolls, so I went back to pick up a second.  (Plus, I wasn’t interested in using all of those colours together in one quilt).

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Jelly rolls (and other baked goods)

As I mentioned in a long-ago post “Peanut Butter Jelly Roll” I have been tempted by gorgeous jelly rolls – unfortunately after picking up a cheap roll at a non-fabric store, I went shopping for an actual jelly roll at a quilting shop.  The first shop I popped into – doesn’t carry jelly rolls at all!  I went into the second, and the selection was less than impressive, but I came out with two rolls and some coordinating fabrics.  We’ll see how these work….

Jelly rolls

The fabric is by Moda, and it’s called Basicgrey/eva. (Or, apparently it’s “Eva”, designed by BasicGrey, and distributed by Moda…) I also picked up coordinating fabrics from a collection called “Paws for thought” by Benartex.

Some examples

Here’s a heart quilt using this Jelly roll on Flickr

Stef blogged about her sampler quilt using this roll too.

KISSED Quilts posted this quilt made from a Charm Pack with the same fabrics rather than a Jelly Roll.

Alison made this Seville quilt using the roll too.

Heather designed this little “toe warmer” quilt from a charm pack.

Jen also used the same fabrics for her quilt too.

Stay tuned to see what I end up making…..

Travel souvenirs for crafty folk – Fabrics

A while ago I was chatting with someone, and mentioned how I liked to visit bead, craft, and fabric stores when I travelled. I’ve gotten into the habit of picking up a piece of fabric as a ‘souvenir’ of the trip. Some people get postcards or shot glasses.. for me, it’s fabric or beads.

I mentioned recently how while in Toronto in February I picked up a bunch of beads. Well, shortly after Toronto I travelled to Hawaii, and while I was there I picked up fabric, scrapbook papers, and one, lone, little bead.

I was on the big island, and here was my shopping trip… (part one of three!)

Kimura’s Fabrics

Kealakekua, HI

If you imagine some small prairie town, half-forgotten in the rolling wheat fields, and some small sundry store in that town – you’ll probably be picturing Kimura’s. There are still magazines and patterns, sun-bleached from what looks like the 1980s. Certainly magazines long past their ‘pull from the shelf’ date, with big hair and shoulder pads. Buttons and other notions have the same tired look – however they’ve also got recent patterns, so it’s not a matter of being out of touch, just of having enough room to not need to discount items to get them out, or throw anything away I suppose.

The fabric selection feels a bit more current, but also strangely currated. There are lots of rolls of Hawaiian print fabrics (and at good prices too), and a decent selection of quilting fabrics. (I picked out two panels of an Asian print for $7.79 USD/panel) There are some dress fabrics, but mostly fancies – and these are wrapped in their plastic shipping wraps still. It makes it hard to just browse – though I presume the plastic might help with dust… There are also some home decorating fabrics, also mostly wrapped in plastic.

Kimura’s is easy to find, it is located right on the highway, and there are a few parking lots around the area – or you can also park on the street if there’s a spot.

Two colourways of a cotton quilt panel.  The left (blue) panel is from Kimura's while the right (red) panel is from Topstitch.

Two colourways of a cotton quilt panel. The left (blue) panel is from Kimura’s while the right (red) panel is from Topstitch.


Kamuela, HI

A stark contrast to Kimura’s is Topstitch. The shop is neat, tidy, clean, and organized, with a traditional quilt-shop feel. There is a small pattern section, but really the shop is mostly quilting fabrics, organized by theme and then colour. It’s really easy to find things here, and the service was low-key and helpful. (Low-key meaning no pushy salespeople… which I think is the general mantra of most shops in Hawaii…)

I picked up a panel of the SAME fabric I got at Kimura’s at Topstitch – an Asian panel. However, here the panel was $12.00 USD/panel. For the extra cost, I’d still suggest Topstitch for the ease of finding things, and the feeling as though cottons would be much less likely to suffer from sun damage.

Topstitch is reasonably easy to find; it’s located in a small shopping plaza near McDonald’s and a drug store. There’s an ample parking lot.

Discount Fabric Warehouse

Kailua-Kona, HI

Although you can see Discount Fabric Warehouse from the highway, there’s a bit of a round-about way to get there, but once there you’ll find a large store, well laid out, with a wide variety of fabrics. The Hawaiian prints are dominant in the store, along with a huge selection of quilting fabrics. There is also a dress fabric section, notions, and home decorating fabrics. I’d say that the selection is similar to a small Fabricland (not one of the big ones…) however I found the staff a little less helpful or attentive than I had hoped.

I’ve been to a Discount Fabric Warehouse on the island of Maui as well, where the staff were about the same.

I did fall in love with some gorgeous stretch-velvet… but as I’d already bought a number of awesome purses, and was considering the fuss of having to bring the velvet home (since I’d need about 2 meters… and its heavy stuff…) I left it behind.

Coming next… scrapbooking!

More holiday crafting

Although I obviously did my holiday crafting in advance of the holidays, I didn’t want to post this until after my gifts had been given. 

Our family is very much a dog-family… sometimes I wonder what we’d all talk about if it weren’t for the silly, funny, annoying, and cute things all of our dogs do.  Of course this also means that the dogs all get holiday gifts (even when the people decide not to exchange gifts…)

This year for all five of the dogs in our extended family (two belong with one uncle and aunt, and another with a different uncle and aunt, and then two more are mine…) I made super-soft, cute and cuddly flannel blankets.  We won a similar blanket two years back at a dog event, and it has become a favorite of our dogs (which is a bit of a pain, since there is one blanket and two dogs…) plus it’s heavy enough that my play-centric dog doesn’t bring it out to shake nearly as much as he does with the fleece ones.

Front and reverse of the blue blanket

For my dogs and the one only-child dog I made grey and black blankets, while for the other two I made blue ones with more of a holiday theme.  I figured that even if they don’t go with home decor, they would still make good car blankets to reduce the amount of dog hair on the car seats.

One side of the blanket is smooth, while the other is fluffy – caused by the fraying of the fabric in the washer. The blankets are also really soft and warm. I’m actually HOPING to make something similar for myself, (In a larger version of course!)  and apparently these blankets are great for babies because they love to grab onto the texture of the fluffy side.

Inspiration at Creative Stitches


As I mentioned in a previous post, I attended this year’s Creative Stitches & Crafting Alive! trade show – and I’ve already discussed some other elements of the show, but there were a few other photos I didn’t have a chance to share, that I thought I’d toss up for inspirations sake.

Three-dimensional poppy wall-hanging from Veronica’s Sewing Supplies which I really liked – though I didn’t end up getting the pattern or the kit.  I had already picked up a few other things, and I was trying to show some restraint with ‘new projects’. (Since I already have so many on the go…)


I think that this pretty Elk pattern was from The Sugar Pine Company (located in Canmore) although I could be wrong…


This one is called Monarch of the Valley, and it is of an elk – they also had a bear, a buffalo, and another elk as well.  (Click here for a shop selling this pattern – no recommendation intended – just one I found online since the Sugar Pine Co. didn’t seem to have it on theirs.)  I liked this mostly because of the black outlines around the element – I am guessing that several of the pattern pieces is cut out of black and then the fabric – with then the fabric cut slightly narrower – so that when layered on top of the black, an outline of black shows around each of those selected elements.

In Carola’s class on texture, she also brought out starfish, and the example below. Time was running short when we were in the workshop, so I didn’t get the chance to see it up close, but instead saw it in her booth later on.
The starfish were each sewn, slashed and stuffed, the quilting was done on “ugly” (her words) hand-dyed fabric resembling mucky water along the shoreline, and turned-and-stuffed pebbles as well.
The seaweed in this piece was made the same way she made the moss in the texture example art quilt that we spent the most time on in the workshop itself.  (By stitching with quilt-weight thread on several layers of wash-away stabilizer in a repeated pattern to build up the thread before washing out the stabilizer and then attaching the ‘seaweed’.



Steampunk hat

In the scrapbook area, there was a shop booth that had this awesome steampunk mannequin – made almost entirely from paper-crafting supplies! The outfit included a corset and bustle skirt, but what I really liked was the hat!

Steampunk hat

Decorated with gears, flowers, and goggle,s what I really loved about the hat was the huge scrapbook chipboard ‘clock’.


I found cogs similar to the chipboard clock…

clock faces

… and then also found the clock too.  Such a cool idea I’d love to try to replicate it – but… eh. I didn’t bother picking this up, again trying to show some restraint in the new-project-file.  I have so many projects on the go – including hats… that I didn’t want to add this – especially since the chipwood would restrict the wearing of the hat – being paper and all.  Plus, I think I know where I can get the chipboard clock faces (or the cogs if I wanted to go that way instead…) if I decide to attempt to do something similar in the future.

So.. that’s pretty much it in terms of the inspiration from the Creative Stitches show – and the last post I’ll have for the show (at least for this year!)

So… feeling inspired means I should have some completed projects to post at some time.. right?