In Real Life

I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Gail in Chicago twice in the past two years. The time finally came for her to make the trip to the Great White North. Gail was in Toronto from Wednesday to Sunday of last week and what a great opportunity it was to catch up in person again – there is only so far e-mail correspondence can take you, right?  When Gail left and I started thinking about the time we had spent together in Toronto, I realized that her visit was a bit of an epic, four-day long, blogger meet up. Seriously.

On her first full day in Toronto Gail, Sara, and I had the opportunity to visit the lovely Kristiann of Victory Patterns at her studio in the heart of China Town.  Kristiann graciously showed us around the building, which houses quite a few fashion studios and various other businesses in the garment making industry. Most of the designers behind these enterprises are young women, rendering the building such a fun and creative vibe.  Kristiann also gave us a sneak peek at her most recent projects (spoiler: they are awesome!).  She was very generous with her time and we ended up going for coffee with her in Kensington Market, where we chatted away about sewing, creativity, love, and the magic of life.  Thank you Kristiann for a wonderful morning/afternoon!

Victory Patterns: Kristiann wearing her Madeleine skirt, Gail wearing her lovely silk Nicola dress, Sara wearing her handknit Kara sweater and I am wearing a soon to be blogged silk Roxanne blouse.

Victory Patterns: Kristiann wearing her Madeleine skirt, Gail wearing her lovely silk Nicola dress, Sara wearing her hand knit Kara sweater and I am wearing a soon to be blogged silk Roxanne blouse.

Prior to Gail’s visit, there was talk between her and Kristin about painting the town red while wearing animal print me-mades.  We called this event, where a number of drinks were imbibed by sewists wearing one form or another of animal print, “Leopard Cocktails”. Trust me, animal print + cocktails = fun! but if you don’t believe me, go try it for yourself.

Leopard Cocktails!  Go on, you know you want to.

Leopard Cocktails! Go on, you know you want to.

The night before Gail left we organized a dinner with a few other Toronto bloggers. In addition to Sara and Kristin, we were also joined by Gillian, Tasha and Catja. Some of us had not met before outside of blog or instagram comments, some of us knew each other well.  It was so good to have everyone sitting around the table, chatting away in real life.



Outside of these events, Gail and I shared mornings of lazy coffee drinking and knitting, as well as a couple of home-made meals followed by more knitting. Really, we knitted whenever we could.  We also had plenty of opportunity to walk around town, hit the garment district along Queen Street (where Gail was remarkably restrained), visit a couple of yarn stores, all the while talking about sewing and knitting. Non-stop. It was splendid!

Goofing around in the mean streets of Toronto. Oh, and wearing hand knit hats because it was still cold!!!

Sara, Gail and I goofing around in the mean streets of Toronto. Oh, and wearing hand knit hats because it was still cold!!!

But, all good things must come to an end.  It was a rude awakening the morning after Gail left.  During my first morning meeting at work I kind of started jonesing for the daily dose of morning coffee and knitting I had gotten used to over the past few days.

One of my favourite things about keeping this blog are the friendships I have developed with crafty gals from around the world.  Even better is when those friendships spill over from blogland into real life, don’t you think? 

Thank you Gail for making the trek to Toronto and for being such a great friend! Thanks also to Sara, Kristin, Gillian, Tasha and Catja for coming out to play and helping make Gail’s visit a success.

Results of Spring Clean Swap Meet

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Stash Diet’s Spring Clean Swap Meet.

Stash Diet Badge

A few of the items had more than one person interested in them so I used to select winners.  Here’s who the random robots picked:

  • Tiramisu Pattern: Ashley
  • Red Velvet Pattern: Tatiana DiMaio and Tasha (yes, TWO!  My friend Shar has a copy of the pattern she won’t use and she generously donated it for the swap – thanks so much Shar!)
  • Staple Dress Pattern: Nidarsha Senanayake
  • Liverpool Tunic Pattern: Sarah M.
  • Rooibos Dress Pattern: Kathy
  • Vogue Pants Pattern: Beth B.
  • Japanese Patchwork Book: Dottie Doodle
  • Rayon in Purple and Gray Plaid: Kathryn
  • Satin Backed Flannel: Beth B. (again!)
  • Quilting Frame: “E”

If the robots picked you, please e-mail me your address at stitchparade[at]gmail[dot]com so that I can get your goodies to you as soon as possible.

Thanks to everyone who participated – I feel so much lighter already!  Also, keep in mind that we will hold other swap meets throughout the year so take a look through your stash to see what you too can contribute.  Happy sewing!


Stash Diet: Quarterly Totals and Spring Clean Swap Meet

Hello friends! Between an extended visit form Mr. Stitch and a loss of sew-jo since his departure, things have been quiet in these parts. It is unlikely that I will finish another sewing project before the month of March is over, so what better time to look at my Stash Diet progress over the first quarter of this year.

  • Fabric out: 11 metres. Woo-hoo!
  • Fabric In: 6.6 metres. Gift: 2 metres; Swapped: 1.4 metres; Purchased from credits earned: 3.2 metres.
  • Total Gain/Loss: 4.4 metres lost over the past three months. This feels like very slow progress folks, but at least a net loss is better than a net gain, right?

One of the positive side effects of a lack of sew-jo is that I tend to get into a major organizing mood. This past week I went over all my patterns and choose a few to give away as part of the Stash Diet’s Spring Clean Swap Meet. I’ve listed each of them below, including a book and a couple of pieces of fabric. If you are interested in any of these, just leave me a comment by Monday March 31 at midnight EST letting me know which items you’d like. I’ll draw winners at random and will ship anywhere in the world. Now, for the goods…

Two dress patterns by Cake: Tiramisu and Red Velvet.  Perfect makes for lovers of knits!

Cake - Tiramisu & Red Velvet

The Staple Dress pattern by April Rhodes and Amy Butler’s Liverpool tunic/shirt dress. Think of all the cool summer fabrics you could showcase with these two.

Liverpool and Staple

These two have been in my stash for a while and I have accepted that they are just not for me: the Roiboos dress by Colette Patterns and V2948 which is the pattern used in Sandra Betzina’s Craftsy class on pant fitting techniques.  Go on, you know you want them.

Vogue 2948 and Rooibos

These two pieces of fabric are looking for a good home.  The one on the left is a good sized piece (60″ wide x 2.75 metres) of rayon in a purple and gray plaid.  Lovely drape on this fabric and the perfect opportunity to try your hand at matching plaids.  There’s enough for a button down shirt!  The one to the right is a satin backed flannel.  To be honest, I’m not quite sure what one uses this for other than home decor or upholstery, but this fabric has enough body (and it is machine washable) that I think it would also work for certain garments. This piece is also 60″ wide x 1.7 metres.


Last but not least, a book on Japanese style patchwork projects including patterns for quilts, bags and home accessories.  I also have a square quilting frame that comes apart for easy shipping.

Book and Frame

If you don’t see anything you like, worry not. You can either head over to Morgan’s blog to see a list (with links) of other blogs participating in the swap, or head over to the flickr group where there are always items up for grabs.

Happy spring!

Spring Cleaning Swap Meet

¡Hola! Have you been spring cleaning (or for those of you in the southern hemisphere, fall cleaning) lately? If the urge has struck you and you’re finding you’d like to streamline your sewing space, we – Morgan, Gail, and I – invite you to join the Spring Cleaning Swap Meet!

The idea is simple:

  • Round up any fabric, patterns, notions, or even sewn garments that you don’t want anymore
  • Post them on your blog or, if you don’t have one, in the Stash Diet flickr group
  • Let your readers know how they can win (random drawing, first-come-first-serve, etc. – the rules are up to you) and how you’d like to handle shipping (who pays, where you’ll send to, etc.)
  • Bask in your tidy sewing space and shop the swap!

Put up your post anytime on March 29 – 30; keep your eyes peeled for a kick-off post on Morgan’s blog where you will be able to add links to your swap posts.

I’ve already started going through my sewing space for goodies to share with all of you, plus I’m looking forward to seeing what else pops up for a swap.

I’ve already started going through my sewing space for goodies to share with all of you, plus I’m looking forward to seeing what else pops up for a swap.

Also, if you’d like to get involved in swapping but aren’t able to participate on this specific weekend, fear not – the regular Stash Diet Swap is going all year round in the flickr group.

Let us know if you have any questions, and happy cleaning!