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Saturday, 27 September 2014

Uncrating my Robert Kaufman Mystery Box

Robert Kaufman Far East Mystery Box from Craftsy
Robert Kaufman Far East Mystery Box...
On September 26, 2012, I made a purchase on Etsy.com for one yard of fabric that would be the centrepiece of my first sewing project in decades. As described in my second blog post, it was a red/black penguin themed piece designed by Robert Kaufman. Fast forward two years and I am a Robert Kaufman fan once again.

Craftsy has been clearing out some discontinued stock with their Robert Kaufman mystery boxes, promotional collections of 14 single yard pieces or 30 fat quarters, cut from "mystery" fabrics. You don't know what you're going to get — apart from a general description of a "theme" (such as batik, luxe, traditional, far east) — but what you get, you might get at an amazing price (depending on whether you are fortunate enough to time your purchase with one of Craftsy's sales, like the Stash of Possibilities Sale that's going this weekend; see ad below). Without considering shipping costs, the per yard price can be as low as $3.78 (CDN).

Check out Craftsy's latest promos...

Back in August, I purchased the Robert Kaufman Far East (Katsumi) Mystery Box, and then waited on pins and needles for it to arrive. (Then of course, it had to arrive while I was on holidays!)

Craftsy's Robert Kaufman Far East Mystery Box
My Craftsy box finally arrives after three weeks!

Anyway, this is what I found inside... (I felt so giddy! "Real" fabric... LOL)

Craftsy's Robert Kaufman Far East Mystery Box
A feast for the eyes!

I was quite impressed when I opened the box. There were a total of eight distinct fabric patterns, two in three different colours, two in two different colours and then four individual pieces. Only one of the fourteen selections was not exactly overwhelming to me (and interestingly enough, my mom picked out that same piece as her least favourite). It will be a grand adventure to see what these pieces ultimately become.

As I am not a connoisseur of designer fabrics, it did not occur to me immediately that almost all of the selections are actually not from the Kasumi collection, but rather the Satsuki collection, which features stylized Japanese blooms with subtle metallic highlights. In fact, the only fabric from the Katsumi collection is this Imperial Fusions in green...

Craftsy's Robert Kaufman Far East Mystery Box
This fabric pairs well with one of my drapery panels... ;-)

The rest are the Kimono Floral, Dimensional Blooms, Mum Collage, Tumbling Blocks Sashiko and Japanese Winter Cherry (all from the Satsuki 2 series), with the exception of this single piece from the Imperial Collection:

Craftsy's Robert Kaufman Far East Mystery Box
"Dawn" from the Imperial Collection 9...

But they are all obviously lovely, high quality fabrics with a definite Far East theme, so I'm not complaining at all. Just nitpicking... ;-)

Craftsy's Robert Kaufman Far East Mystery Box
A better view of my Far East selections...

My net price per yard was $5.15 CDN, even with a significant shipping charge ($15 USD) and taxes. (It's a good idea to max out your Craftsy purchase when buying physical products if you're outside the US. The shipping doesn't change whether you buy one yard or fifty yards; my recent order also included some Kona cotton.) The best price I've seen online (per yard) for these fabrics is $9.99 USD, and I've seen as high as $8.38 for a half yard.

So what might I have in mind for this fab fabric? I recently stumbled across a project that would be a good match, from a free pattern by Deby Coles of So Sew Easy. This is the Turning Japanese Bag. (Although, apparently nothing about the bag is Japanese other than the fabric...)

Turning Japanese Bag by Deby Coles of So Sew Easy
Turning Japanese Bag by Deby Coles...

If I was at all likely to use this style of bag, I'd be making one now. On the other hand, it is extremely cute, so I may consider making one for gift-giving purposes.

I actually do have a project planned for this fabric: some kimono slippers. Look for details in an upcoming post.

[A bit of background info for my (western) Canadian readers... my Craftsy order took exactly three weeks to get to me. The first confirmation email from Craftsy indicated that I would get a Canada Post tracking number, but I had no further information until September 10, when I received another email from Craftsy indicating that my order would arrive on the 11th. (However, UPS was the carrier, not Canada Post... dang it all, as I don't like the UPS "leave the package at the front door for anyone and everyone" policy, especially since I was away on holidays at the time.) With the UPS tracking number, I could see that on September 9 & 10, the package was in Commerce City, Colorado to clear an "agency review". On the 10th, it travelled (in the wrong direction) to Louisville, Kentucky (!), then up to Minneapolis, and then finally over to Sioux Falls to clear customs. Then — as fate would have to intervene to make this an even slower journey — the package got tied up in the unfortunate and ugly mess of the Calgary summer snow storm and was thus delayed on its way up north to me. It finally arrived late in the evening of September 12... many thanks to my neighbour Deb for running over and rescuing it from my doorstep!]


  1. Wow, what fun! The fabrics are beautiful--I've seen Deby's bag and admired it for the fabric-your collection would definitely work well for that. That's wonderful that the fabric pieces are a yard--you can really do a lot with a yard if you get the right projects.

    After hearing your story of how your packaged shipped, I have to say "congratulations" for receiving it. My goodness! I've heard stories like that--I'm glad that it wasn't lost and that it arrived safely.

    You must have been so excited to come home from vacation and see that box! :)


    1. Hi again, Krista... yes, I was itching to get back from vacation knowing that the box was waiting for me. (And I know it sounds weird to be wanting to come back from holidays!) Had Craftsy's "estimated delivery" been accurate, I would have received it right before I left. But I suppose in the end, it was worth the wait... it is a beautiful collection of fabric!


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