The Great Walmart Debate

There’s been quite of bit of debate going on over facebook quilting related pages lately, over the quality and price of Walmart fabrics versus quilt shop fabrics. Some have gotten completely butthurt over comments like “support your local quilt shops”.. One gem of a lady on facebook actually told me to “suck it” after I suggested that Walmart does not carry the same quality cottons you’ll find in an independent quilt shop.

Since I haven’t stepped foot in a Walmart in several years, because I don’t like supporting that monstrosity, I thought maybe I should do a little field research. So, today, I went to one of the walmart supercenters that is within a ten minute driving distance from me (there are four)

It is a proven fact that Walmart purchases fabrics from China, that are made as knockoffs of designer lines and brands like Moda. Designers have a hell of a time trying to track down all these copyright infringements. It would be a full time job to do so. Taking on a monster like Walmart? Fuhgettaboutit.

A perfect example of this is a line I have in FQ bundle form, called Mint Condition, by CamelotFabrics. The prints are at Walmart, though the names on the bolt are completely different. They look nearly identical in colour and design, except that the quality is very poor in comparison.

I browsed the cotton prints, and actually saw a few prints that turned my head.  An artsy, faded newsprint type design, a subdued print with antique or Victorian style furniture pieces with a text scattered over it, and a charming black and beige print with fancy perfume bottle on it. All for $4.97 per yard. I examined the quality of the cloth, holding my fingers behind one layer of it. It felt rough, thin, and I could count the threads, visibly, without my glasses.

They also had a few basic batiks for $9 per yard. They didn’t feel quite up to par, but they weren’t terrible. The bolts said made in Indonesia.

Now, for $5 per yard, I was willing to give the newsprint one a chance to live in a quilt, because of the three, it was the best quality. Still, it had a rough hand, but I’d hoped it would wash up softer. I really wanted to try it and report my findings to you in whole.

I’d like to be able to give you a full review of this fabric, from purchase to final binding stitch and maybe even beyond on how the quilt would hold up over the years in comparison with Moda and  Northcott and Bali Batiks.. Unfortunately I didn’t end up taking that pretty text print home with me. First, I waited about twenty minutes while the lady (very nice lady whom I’ve interacted with for years while I made many crafts and costumes) tried to find a printer in order to make a ticket for my fabric. After many announcements and pleas with neighboring departments she finally just wrote the information on a slip of paper and sent me along that way.

I should mention I was very patient and friendly up to this point. She thanked me for my patience and I shrugged it off, commenting that there’s no other way to be. Getting huffy doesn’t help anything.

After waiting for a half hour in the “10 items or less” line (screaming in my head the entire time that it should be 10 or fewer) while someone checked out with a $200 school supplies order.. Then the people behind them had someone join their party with an armload of items from the clearance rack with jacked up tags. The clerk started trying to look up the items, gave up, called another person over to help..  I just knew when I got up there with my non-scannable ticket, there would be problems.. I chunked my fabric over a nearby shelf and declared I was done. Done with Walmart, (again) done with the whole experience.

What people fail to realize is that when you pay $6- $12 per yard for high quality fabrics that don’t fade or disintegrate in three washings at an independent shop, you’re paying for quality in addition to prompt and friendly service. If for some reason, you have to wait at a quilt shop, you’re likely offered a comfy chair, and a cup of coffee or tea. You get someone who actually cares to hear about the quilt you’re making for your daughter’s boyfriend’s roommate who is battling cancer. You get someone who is knowledgable about quiltmaking, and most times they will get out a calculator and do the math for you to figure out how much fabric you need.

I’ve said before, if all you can afford is Walmart fabric (I’ve been there!!) then buy it! Quilt with it! By all means, buy it. But be choosy and careful, and try to find the quality pieces. I don’t want anyone to NOT quilt just because they are financially not able to buy quilt shop quality. Also, make friends who have amazing scraps :) Quilter’s love to share!

But also, realize that if you’re thrifty and smart, you CAN afford quality! Walmart fabrics run $5-$10. While quilt shops range from $6-$13 (in the U.S.) Most quilt shops have reward programs, coupons, or some sort of discount system to help you get the most out of your quilting budget.

Just please understand that you get what you pay for. For a couple extra dollars per yard, you get a quilt that will last several times longer and a personal experience with like minded people that is quickly and sadly disappearing from our society.

/endrant

Back to your regularly scheduled quilting. I’m making a modern Dresden Plate quilt (thanks a lot Frances!!)

Now, where did I put that wedge ruler?

LDQ #61 Cake Sauce with a side of Music

I finally quilted Cake Sauce! And I made matching pillow cases. Ya know, cuz I’m awesome.

I also worked on this little quilt I’m calling Moby. It looks like he is caught in a hurricane..

I also laid out my Scrap In A Box blocks.. And I’m trying out some fat sashings to see how I like it.

I inserted a piece at the end of the podcast of my son, Ian playing and singing. He was on the radio this morning, and I’m so proud of him. These aren’t professional quality recordings, but if you’d like to hear more, check him out on soundcloud. He writes his own music and lyrics. My favourites are Brighter Now, Sunset Eyes, and Rest My Heart… and all the other ones.  ha

LDQ #60 Use Sunscreen

HI! look at me, posting right on time, two weeks in a row! BOOM!

I’m loving my Scrap In A Box blocks and I am excited to see how it all comes together.. I think a few of the Cherry Bomb fabrics made it into this quilt, and I love that.

However, I am still not happy with whats happening on the Grand Illusion.. ugh. I may take it apart and make it into two different quilts. I want to use up the units I have made, but I don’t like them together. At. All.

This week I talked about the pros and cons of my job..

And these are the books I mentioned:

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon

The Mean Streak by Sandra Brown

Here’s what Pam and I are reading.. Join us, and we can have a little Twilter Book Club!

The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey

Now, let’s quilt! (and read)

LDQ #59 Triumphant Return!

>insert trumpet blasts here< I finally found time to get back to talking about quilting and books. I described a new to me method of making Half Square Triangles.. or HSTs.. and I have some pictures below to help illustrate the process.

Sew together two strips that are 2 1/4″ wide on both long edges. Use a 2 1/2″ square to trim the units, placing the diagonal marks ON the seam line.

If you want HSTs of a different size, for the strip width, add a quarter inch to the finished size, and then for trimming, use a square that is a half inch larger than the finished size.

Example: 4″ finished half square triangles ; use 4 1/4″ strips and a 4 1/2 square for trimming.

 

After replacing the cornerstones and center squares in the blocks for the Grand Illusion Mystery quilt, I am still not sure what to do next. I do like the spinning effect you get from the black sections overall, but I am afraid they are getting lost in my vibrant (maybe too dark) green. I will play around with this project this week and see what I can come up with. I’ll be tweeting my quilt angst each afternoon and I am open to suggestions.. Let’s have some cawfee and we’ll tawk. (hi Tina)

I’m LOVING the Scrap In A Box, and sending out good vibes and heart healing thoughts to Charlotte. Her family suffered a great loss recently.

One of our own Twilters is hurting also, after losing her daughter, and my whole self hurts for her. I hope the quilt we contributed helps to wrap Stephanie in love. Many thanks to Gretchen for herding cats on that project, and to Tina for quilting it! And to everyone who sent a block or three, donated batting or backing, sent money to cover postage, YOU GUYS RULE.  The Hearts for Stephanie quilt turned out amazing!

 

Here are links to the three books I talked about today.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (barf)

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (loved)

A Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (my favourite this month)

Go Make Something!

I’m alive!

Hey! Guess what…? I didn’t fall off the face of the planet. I have been very busy with life. It’s been getting in the way of my sewing time and I’ve been battered by allergies and sinus infections these past couple months. Yeah, I hate Spring.

I have a son who is graduating from high school this Friday and I find it bittersweet. I’m proud of the man he is becoming, but my heart misses the little boy he was. He makes me laugh every day and I’m so impressed by his musical talents. He plays guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, pretty much anything with strings.. And now drums. But mostly, I love when he sings.

So enough mushy stuff right?

I have been working on some “stunt sewing” for John Adams, aka Quilt Dad.. I’ve GOT to get that finished and mailed off today. I have just a couple seams left. I so wish I could show you a picture! This is a super cool design. I’ve fallen in love with it and plan to make one for myself too. I’m sure to love his upcoming book, which I think is sort of a sequel to Beyond Neutral.. Which I still love! I’ve made two quilts from that book so far. They are for my great nieces.

I made Triton Cove from a purple squiggle print for the background (my neutral) and used the Folklore line from Moda by Lily Ashbury. My niece Lindsay loves how it turned out and her room is purple and green. Perfect! She chose the purple fabric, and I wasn’t sure where to go from there. I took my friend, Angela’s advice (she is also my boss) and used Folklore. I never would have paired this line with purple, but as you can see, it works very well!  I love all these bonus triangles! See the quilt top HERE

For my niece Taylor, aka “Birdie” I made the Pacific Crest pattern with Kona Ash, a Blue Hawaiian Bali Pop, and a dark blue batik that Taylor picked herself. I made the blocks smaller than in the pattern, finishing instead at 8″ because I was working with 2.5″ strips. I laid out the blocks exactly like the pattern (Which is something different for me, lol)  then I realized I wanted the quilt bigger… Closer to a proper bed size. So I started adding more blocks with the batik scraps I had left and threw in some from my stash. I think it worked out very well, and I am now sewing them into rows.

I showed the girls their quilt tops while they were here visiting from Maryland, and I will finish them up and get them mailed out to them this month. They pretty much think I do magic and loved their quilts.

Also, I’ve not podfaded! I had a bout of serious website problems and thought my whole blog was lost to the ether. Luckily, it was restorable and I am planning to record again just as soon as I can spend five minutes straight without coughing, sneezing, or spewing something disgusting. Tmi? Yeah, sorry. Lol. ACHOO!

reminders: in the meantime, you may still follow me on Twitter or Instagram. @verylazydaisy. I’ve also got my Etsy shop back up! Very Lazy Daisy Quilts.

Things are looking up, Friends.

Talk to you soon.

A Book Challenge

I’m throwing out a book challenge! Now, nothing bad will happen if you don’t join in, but I’d sure like to hear feedback about the books you choose and what you think of them.

Challenge: Read two books with the same, or similar titles, by two different authors.

I’m reading Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, and Life After Life by Jill McCorkle.

Let me know what you’re reading?

How do you feel about hype?

When a book is super hyped, I guess my rebellious streak kicks in (it’s about a mile wide and it doesn’t take much, to be honest). So, confession time; I have no desire to read anything by Toni Morrison. I’m certain she is a fantastic writer, with stories about important things, but I frankly don’t care. Lately, every blog I read, almost every book related podcast I listen to seems to be talking about her work. There is such a thing as saturation hype and I’ve reached it with Toni Morrison.
Perhaps someday, I’ll suddenly realize that I’ve gone three days without hearing about one of her books and I’ll decide to read one, but right now, the titles make me run in the other direction.
I do this with movies too! I didn’t watch Forrest Gump until two years after it came out on video! I just can’t stomach over hyped books, movies, songs..
How do you feel about books that get a lot of hype? Does it turn you off? Does it make you want to read it even more because you want to be in on the excitement? Leave a comment, and let me know how you feel about it. I’m wondering if I’m just stubborn, or if there’s some other explanation for why hype turns me away from some books.

LDQ #58 From Beyond Neutral

I’m making quilts from this book, for my nieces… Pacific Crest, and Triton Cove

me with my complimentary copy

Pacific Crest is on the cover.. Fire Island is the one I pieced

Here is one of the quilts I’m working on

 

close up of the blue focus fabric

I’ve read a lot of books this month, I chatted briefly about some of them. I forgot to mention when I talked about The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson, that I listened to the audiobook and love the narrator, Jim Dale. He is one of my favourites and I could listen to him read anything. He does an amazing read of the Harry Potter books, for which he has won  awards!

Here are a few books that you may like..When I can’t decide which new to me author to try, I can always go back to ones like Koontz and Brown, and although it likely won’t be a mind blowing book, it’s a satisfactory palate cleanser.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman if you’re looking for something strange and a little spooky. Explore your fears. book quote- “It’s better to face madness with a plan than to sit still and let it take you in pieces.”

The Alibi by Sandra Brown if you’re in the mood for a murder mystery, peppered with a bit of romance.

The Good Guy by Dean Koontz if you’re ready for some suspense and hero stuff. This guy accidentally intervenes when a bar patron attempts to deliver information to a paid killer about a target. Now, he’s gotta try to save this unsuspecting victim right?

Thanks for listening!

Go do.. something

 

 

books books books- spoiler free reviews

I guess all this reading has helped me get faster. I’ve always felt like a slow reader, but this little test says I read about 386 words per minute. I’m sure that fluctuates over the course of a book. See how many words per minute you can read, and comprehend. Yes, if you skim, you’ll be sorry. There are comprehension questions afterward. :-)

A really cool feature it has, after your results it will tell you how long it would take you to read certain book. War and Peace would take me about 35 hours.. Yeah, I don’t see that one in my near future. I tried to read it when I was 14 years old, I didn’t get very far.

What I’ve read lately.. I highly recommend The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. It’s set during WWII and tells the story of friendship between a young Chinese boy and a sweet Japanese girl. If you know anything about Asian cultures, (which I do because I married into one) you may guess that some of the parents have a major problem with this friendship. These young friends experience a lot of bullying and racism in school, as they both attend a white school on scholarships.. Which really just means they have to work in the kitchen. When Keiko is sent with her family to an internment camp, Henry goes to great lengths to see her again. As usual, Jamie Ford broke me to pieces and then put me back together again. This aptly titled book is one of my favourites so far this year. I read a library copy, but it’s going on my ‘must collect on my shelf’ list.

I finally read Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn. I know, late to the party much? Hoo-weeee! Is what I had to say about that. I will be very careful about spoilers, as always here, but especially since this one is as hyped as it is. I’m not going to give a review and summary because if you’re like me, you’ve gone out of your way to stay spoiler free on this one. It was hard, with all the social media hype about this book. Chances are you already know there’s a big twist, right? Does that spoil a twisty book.. Knowing that something is coming? I don’t think it always does, especially in this case. All I will say is that this book switches back and forth between Nick and Amy, a married couple who thoroughly deserve each other… Well,one of them is worse than the other, but neither is very likable. I didn’t know it was possible to hate two characters so much, and still love their story. If you like twisty plots and twisted characters, give this a shot. Warning; there’s lots of foul language and some gritty sexual references.

Now, do you want to check your reading speed? It’s just for fun. No pressure, no judging.

ereader test
Source: Staples eReader Department

LDQ #57 Show Me Your Quilt

Hey! I’ve got a little quilty talk… Applique, Dear Jane, and some thoughts about which quilts I should enter into a local show. Also, my round robin* came home to roost! I am thrilled with how this turned out

About the 40 minute mark, I stop talking about sewing and gab about some books I’ve read, including my favourite book of my January reads, Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford. I loved this book so much. I went to the google to find more info about this author, and when his picture came up, I thought, “well, he’s cute” Then I realized.. he sorta looks a little like my husband. Hey, we like what we like, eh?

*I will update this post as soon as I can get some pics of my Round Robin, and the finished Harry Potter quilt.

Go read and/or quilt something!