Monday, January 30, 2012

It's Swap Time!!

PTS7 - what do you think partner?

I just received my partner assignment for the Pillow Talk Swap - my third time swapping with them. It's pretty exciting to stalk your partner and figure out what they like. I settled on a basic idea right away, and since I received my partner assignment just minutes before my husband took the toddler out for a couple hours - I was able to get started immediately!

PPTS - a start

Here's what I have so far, a round of 32 flying geese. They're foundation paper pieced using the printable pattern here. It was a little tedious, but not too bad. I like this sort of mindless, mind-numbing work on days where I tend to get obsessive about other things.... I'm not going to post about that today though - ugh (can I just have a baby already?).

So, the geese look pretty bad ass if you ask me! Perfect points and pretty colors. I'm thinking of using a newsprint type fabric for the middle and outside. I don't have any such fabrics (other than a fat eighth of sweetwater). Other than that sweetwater print does anyone know of a text/newsprint fabric that's readily available? I'm looking for a white/natural/grey type color scheme.

My pillow may be double-sided too... since I really think my normal style (total comfort zone without trying) is very much to my partner's liking too. We'll see.

New York Beauty Block - DQS12 Block inspiration
This round each member will be required to include one of the following blocks in their quilt:
churn dash/shoofly, log cabin, drunkards path, N.Y. beauty, flying geese
By the way --- sign-ups are open for the Doll Quilt Swap!! I'm a mama this round - which is really fun and amusing - so it'll be better than ever!! You flickr people go on and sign up!!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

To do list:

I've got a few nearly finished projects hanging around... and see an opening to maybe start a new quilt soon. So I'm going to start a list so I can cross things off.

  • Finish binding small project
  • Sew down binding on Linda's Swoon quilt -- this has been sitting for more than a week!
  • Finish quilting and bind {sew} Beautiful Bee 2011 quilt --- finished and it's on my bed!
  • Send out fabric for Feb of bee. 
  • Send out {Modern} Robin - or meet up with Emily.
  • Stalk and work on Pillow Talk Swap pillow
  • Doll Quilt Swap 12 --- starting soon and I'm a swap mama! :)
  • Do something with CMQG round robin?
  • Michelle's Quilt. 
I want to play around with some giant paper piecing. The book that I ordered earlier this week came in today -- it has paper patterns (printed on giant paper) for medallion style quilts styled after mosaic floors in Italy. I'm throwing ideas around in my head of making something with this for my Aunt Kathy. We'll see. Oh the book can be found here: Bella Bella Quilts Paper Foundations

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I'll shave my head - will you make a donation to end childhood cancer?

Todd family
Rosemarie w/ her family - in their Rosemarie shirts made by Blamo!
Hello! It’s been a while since I posted an update on my niece Rosemarie. She’s doing ok and her cancer has been stable, which isn’t great, but at least it’s not growing. Last summer Rosemarie lost her hair (for the third time!), and myself and my family shaved our heads in solidarity. Rosemarie is five now and it’s harder for her now when she loses her hair. In August when I shaved I donated 14” of my hair to the Wig 4 Kids which provided Rosemarie with a wig.
Rosemarie helping me shave my head last summer.

Now I’ve decided to shave my head again to match Rosemarie’s bald head, but also to raise money for childhood cancer research, and I’m asking for your support. I’m going to have my head shaved at a St. Baldrick’s Foundation event on March 16th at Fado Irish Pub, Columbus Ohio.

With my bald head, I’ll stand in solidarity with kids being treated for cancer while raising money for life-saving research.

Does my hair...

Please make a donation on my head to help me reach my goal of $1000, and watch me and others “Shaving the Way to Conquer Kids’ Cancer!” This is a fun way to do something very important.

You can give directly online (search for my name, Emily Lang at or by phone at 888-899-BALD. Credit cards are the most efficient way to give, or you can write a check payable to “St. Baldrick’s Foundation.” I’ll be collecting pledges! To see a list of my donors, fundraising progress, and “before” and “after” photos, visit my page ( on the St. Baldrick’s website.

St. Baldrick's funds more in grants for childhood cancer research than any other organization except the U.S. government. Last year, the Foundation has funded nearly $22 million in new grants – all because over 45,000 people shaved their heads!

You can count on this donation being used responsibly. To see all the research being funded – by disease type, location and more – visit and click on "Where the Money Goes," then "View Grants."

On behalf of Rosemarie and other kids with cancer, thank you for your support!

Rosemarie and Allie - little ballerinas.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Good mail coming soon!

I finally broke down today and ordered these paper foundations. I've been eyeing them online for some time... and searching for them in our company-wide inventory at work with no luck. So I ordered them --- from the author's website. Forget about the fact that I don't own the book with the instructions... I'm sure I can figure it out, I like paper piecing! I'm really drawn to those flying geese in a circle. Lots of possibilities there! Has anyone else used these?

CMQG - A love fest post about cool sewing people.

I'm going to ramble a little bit right now about the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild.

CMQG Newbie, Marilyn brought this "Sparkle Punch" pillow cover to work on -
it's exactly the same number of "Sparkle Punch" blocks as my mini piece.
Mine finish at 1" per square, hers at 3" Pretty cool, and she has my last name too.
Today was our monthly guild meeting, and let me just say this is a pretty awesome group of ladies! We had the more people RSVP and show up than ever before and it's just so cool to see people with a wide range of skill come together. 
Next month's meeting will make it one year since I've been attending meetings - I'm glad that I took the chance and made it to that first meeting (and I'm grateful that Emily was willing to pick me up for it!). I feel like I've made some good friends in the guild and that makes my heart happy. I'm not sure that I'd be able to explain it, but it's a pretty great feeling when someone comes up to you specifically wanting to see your work, remembering what it looked like at the last meeting and truly being interested. Let alone that most people in my world still think quilting is for old ladies. These ladies "get it." 

I wonder how many quilts Donna has finished -- or bags for that matter.
This one is pretty cool  - it has squishy  interfacing.
Today was a pretty cool meeting, we had a presentation about how to make zip pouches to get us all away from being afraid of those zippers! Because of that presentation (then open sewing after) we didn't do our show and tell's until the end of the meeting. Well I had shown a couple people my Swoon quilt early on because we weren't sure if there would be a show and tell. Several people came over wanting a closer look and wanting to hear how my new-to-me machine was working. It's always nice to know that people are interested in what you're making. 

I feel like on the blogs and flickr and even in swaps sometimes we get so wrapped up in wanting to be the best or have the most readers/fame whatever. My guild has some extremely notable ladies in attendance - people who I was floored at how well known they were (since I live in a cave right?)... but those ladies are just as kind and encouraging and interested in what I'm doing as I am to them. I like the small town feel of that. We also have some quilters in attendance who have 30+ years of quilting experience, and yet they're spunky and fun and excited to hear a new take on things. I love how we can all meet in the middle. 

Accountability from the guild may help Emily finish this piece - it's pretty awesome!

When I get home from a guild meeting I always feel like I have a million stories to tell Wally, and I'm sure he's moderately interested, but I'm not sure that he gets it. These ladies get me. Whether they're my age or younger or much older, have quilting fame, or are unknown, whether they've yet to finish their first quilt, or have finished more than they can count - they're all supportive of one another. 

My center block for Emily and I's {Modern} Robin swap. 
Geez, what a huge love fest I am today. Maybe this makes up for all those posts about things you'd rather not read? lol. No worries I'll be back to that woe is me story in another week or two I'm sure. That's how life is. But for now I'm happy, excited, and completely inspired. 

Sew Beautiful - the second year!

Fabric bundles for {Sew} Beautiful Bee - Feb 2012!
As I may have mentioned... our {Sew} Beautiful Bee from last year was such a hit that we have all decided to stay on for another year! We are (for the most part) keeping the same months, so I'll have February as my month again this year. I've been prepping fabric and laying out measurements etc all week. Now all my instructions are written and my packages are all sealed up ready to ship! But before I get too far with that... let me show you what I'm working on!
Sorry for the super dark photo... it's about 2AM here... AKA the only time my
 kid sleeps long enough for me to get anything done!
My Bee quilt from last year! I can't believe that the top has been completely finished for months now (Christmas really took over didn't it?!). I pieced the back too - using lots of negative space (grey!) and blocks pieced with the leftovers. And of course our awesome label!! I had even had the back 1/2 way finished - I got stalled out there though because I rand out of grey! Now it's all together and basted. Ready to be quilted tomorrow (hopefully). I fear that there may be a wrinkle or two in the back once it's all done... but that's ok. There was some ginormous piecing going on back there - the final measurements thus far are something like 78" x 96" Yeah. It's a beast and it's going to live on my bed forever. Except for movie nights, when we'll all cuddle under it on the couch. :) Thanks bee ladies, you're pretty awesome. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sewing With Michelle!

For the first time in our years of friendship, this week Michelle and I sewed together! She's taken up the hobby here and there since I left Ohio, and she brought a couple projects to work on. I made us each an apron (above) although I didn't get a picture of Schell's before she left! I used the tutorial here.

And Michelle worked on a sweet baby blanket for her friend's new baby (who we visited yesterday). She put the blanket together and I helped by free motion quilting the heart label in place.

She also made two of these pillowcase bags. Using this tutorial.

I also worked on bee blocks for this month and planning for my month which is next month.

It was pretty amusing sewing together, after being friends for so long. lol. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Swoon Quilting...

Finally some pictures of my swoon quilt all quilted up. I free motion quilted it on my home machine. Although first I aquired a larger machine! I used a Juki, which is much faster than my normal machine, and also has a longer arm length.

I found out really quickly (after two broken needles) that I should avoid quilting directly over the dense area where all those points come together. So I simply worked it into my FMQ stipple, so that I would rotate around the points without going over them. Annoying? Yes, but not terrible.

Here we are. From the back it all looks pretty nice too! In all the quilting took about two and a half hours! Very speedy just like the Juki!

Finally, the cute part. I snuck some FMQ'd hearts throughout. They're really obvious from the back, but sweet and intentional. I think my MIL will appreciate them. :)

As you can see above, I've started to bind it... and I'm sewing the binding by hand... it's going to take forever. I also sewed the binding the "right way" adhering it to the quilt front 3/8" away from the edge instead of my normal, lazy 1/4" away. I keep thinking that maybe this year will be the year that I'll show a quilt or two at a state fair or something. We'll see. 

The First Finish of 2012!

And you thought it was going to be the Swoon quilt??

Mug rug thank you.

Nope. Last night I got a text from my cool co-worker Becky saying that she'd finished knitting my hat. Can I tell you how cool that is? Last fall I stole some skeins of yarn from my mom's ginormous yarn stash and asked Becky if she would knit me a hat... knowing I could figure it out but I'd rather sew than knit. She agreed no questions asked. Knowing that she had finished the hat meant that I had to get my butt in gear making the thank you gift I had planned. So tonight I whipped up a tiny little ticker tape mug rug. I went through my newly sorted tiny scraps and pulled out the most "Becky" fabrics. I think it turned out pretty cool. I hope she likes it!

**Edit - Becky loved it, and she made me an awesome cable knit hat with matching wrist warmers! Too cool! I'll have to try to get a picture of them soon! **

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Allie's Quilt - Revisited

I see this image several times a week, when Allie lays her quilt out on the floor and gauges her current foot size against the size at about 6 months. :)

As you can see, there's quite a difference! She's growing up so quickly! Pretty soon she'll need a bigger quilt!

Adorable right? If this is the first time you've seen this quilt go ahead and read about it here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


My college friend Michelle is in town this week. I can't really explain or remember why I call her Schell or why I spell it that way. But in my absence, since I moved away from ohio, she has started sewing too. She sews on a kenmore sewing machine and has made skirts and one apron. You may remember her from this post - you know that time that I tried to do the C25K program but then went to utah and had bad asthma. Also, you've seen the stack of yummy fabrics for her quilt... which is on my list for this year. 

Fabric for Michelle's Quilt

We're going to sew this week. We'll sew something. What? We don't know. And we might make duct-tape dress forms too... because that would be pretty hilarious. 

Look at my hair color! lol.
Also we're going to... eat pizza, drink wine, go look at the leaning tower of niles, and visit the bookstore (where I work). 

A Viennese fuzzy car. They're nearly extinct.
The Louvre ... hehe.
The first time my mother in law got us drunk. Good times.
As you can see, we have a bit of a history. Too bad Hounddogs Pizza doesn't exist in Chicago... all this reminiscing makes me want a 2am pizza with smokin joe's. Now I really want Hounddogs... pizza for the people man. 
Actual Hounddogs Smokin Joes pizza... photo credit here.
More to come... I'm sure we'll have some stuff to share as the week progresses.

The prettiest quilt binding ever..

A year in the making and I'm still not finished. Last February I had the ladies from the {Sew} Beautiful Bee make me some pretty awesome giant drunk love blocks. I had them use my very favorite fabrics (AMH's Good Folks), and I used nearly every bit of them to make the quilt big enough to cover our king sized bed. Several months ago I'd finished the top and started piecing the back (using the scraps my bee friends sent back)... but ran out of Kona Coal and put it in the closet. It stayed there for ... a while. :)

As with everything else, Christmas and life happened and now that the craziness has died down I've pulled this one back out. Last night I finished piecing together the back and all I need to do is baste and quilt it. I even finished prepping the binding! Look how amazing it looks! Those are some hard to find fabrics right there. 

The moral of the story, put projects off for a while and sometimes you'll come across some cool fabric to include, such as my prized FQ of buttoned up in sea... and that fortune in zinna. :) 

Hopefully there will be some major progress on this quilt soon - and then it will live on my bed where I will lay awake at night staring at it's awesomeness.

More about this quilt here.


Hello to Emily's blog world.  I (Michelle) am currently visiting and therefore had access to said blog.  I got to touch my fabric today.  

That is all.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Christmas gifts - thangles and rainbow jars

I'm a pretty lucky girl, as you can see! A couple gift cards to Jo-Ann's, one to Hawthorne Threads (!!!), and some Thangles! I love that my family knows what I like! Those Thangles? While I couldn't find them anywhere locally in Chicago, my mom found them at a quilt shop back home - who would have thought?!

Also, since I don't think it merits it's own post... check out my teeny scraps! All in pretty jars. The larger scraps are now color coded in gallon size Ziploc bags. But these are just begging to be played with. Maybe I'll make some mini bottled rainbow blocks? We'll see.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Good Mail Day!!

Hawthorne Threads never fails to amaze me. While they may not tie their bundles up with pretty scraps of fabric like Sew Mama Sew does, they do ALWAYS ship in a timely manner! I ordered this fabric about two and a half days ago - using the generic cheapest mailing method. And here it is!

Merry Christmas to me! Thanks to my lovely husband who gave me a one size fits all gift certificate! I bought this  lovely FQ bundle of Joel Dewberry Heirloom. It will be used for my month (Feb) of the {Sew} Beautiful Bee. I'm really excited about it. 

I also got a bit more of my fav. print.

And a couple half yards of pretties that I just couldn't pass up. I can't remember what that blue one is, but it's so much prettier in real life and now I wish I'd bought a bit in each color. :)

This has nothing to do with this post but I have a serious desire to make some 3" sawtooth stars. Serious. After seeing this on flickr.
Also, I want to make something like this. Free pieced and wonderful. I've never tried the ringo-pie type pieced stuff. I'm a little intimidated but who knows? Maybe I'd be great at it!
Oh and I want to make one of these ModMood Quilts. If I could figure out how to make it miniature I would.
And... while we're daydreaming, I want to finish my Bee quilt from last year! Now!! :)  I just need to finish piecing the backing (I have about 1/4 of the backing left to finish)... then it's on to quilting that bad boy!

Nancy's Throne

Finally I have the time to tell you about one of my Christmas presents! While we were back home for Christmas Wally and I spent an afternoon with my dad and my uncle Terry in Terry's wood shop. Yes, creativity is all over my family! I had brought one of the lift-out panels of my sewing table, along with my sewing machine. Dad, with a little help from my uncle, cut a Nancy-shaped hole in the wood. Just right for her to be set into my table! Pretty fantastic!

I love the pictures here... my dad making a template first. 

Wally and uncle Terry chatted as Dad and I got to work! 

Now for the real action! It's pretty awesome seeing those tools cut right through the wood with no problem!

Some supports were added in.

They even used a router to smooth out the edges!
I have to thank my dad and uncle for making this work! I'm not sure how long the machine will last (as I've had yet another problem with it), or how long the cheap table will last, but until then I'll be sewing in comfort! I can't believe the difference it makes on my shoulders!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Swoon - to be quilted!

Here it is... hopefully by the time this is posted I'll at least have it all basted! 
Last night I pieced the back together, which puts me a bit closer to quilting. I need to work on a label. I'm thinking a tiny star and some free-motion stitched names. :)

Now that the blocks are all sashed and completed... here's a glimpse at why I'm so crazy. All that extra work! For each of the flying geese units I sewed 1/2" from the normal sewing line to form an extra two HST's for each geese unit. I couldn't bear to throw away all those bits. Now I have a whole pile of HST's that will measure 2 1/4" finished. Who knows what I'll use them for... but they're not wasted!

The quilting is finished! I can't believe how huge of a difference it made using a better machine!!! 2 needles, 6 bobbins, and 2.5 hours later and the quilt was finished! I can't believe it! No major puckers (which is abnormal for me, I typically have at least one annoying pucker). Beautiful. I may need a name for this Juki machine! Pictures of it all quilted up will come soon. :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Now you're free to fly - Hope Warrior T's for sale!

The Todd family sporting their tee's the little one in the middle is Rosemarie.
Friends of ours run a small screen print t-shirt buisiness, and they have been working with my sister to create an awesome kid's cancer t-shirt. More specifically, they designed a "Hope Warrior Princess" t-shirt. :) It's amazing. It's beyond amazing. They captured Rosemarie completely, her style and her love of zebra stripes and rockstar princessness. They also captured her fav. song (at the moment) in the most amazing way. See those musical notes? It reads musically the phrase "you're free to fly" from this song that Rosemarie loves.

The artwork wraps around from the back to the front side. Very cool!

I'll give you a moment. That really nearly brought me to tears. How amazing!

The shirts focus a gold (sparkle!) ribbon for neuroblastoma, and the word "hope" which is dear to us in this battle against a really terrible cancer. Another really cool thing about these shirts? Depending on the price/quantity Blamo will donate $5 - $25 toward Rosemarie's treatment per t-shirt sold! 
Head on over to Blamo's site to order yours! The second printing will happen in a couple weeks! 

And as always, say a prayer for our sweet Rosemarie!


I'm not sure if she'll need a name yet. How many sewing machines are too many? Four? 

Yesterday my CMQG friend Robbi dropped off this Juki for me to borrow (and potentially buy). She had heard me worrying about how in the world I would quilt my swoon quilt (since it's so huge), and offered to loan me this one. The arm length is a few inches wider than my Singer (Nancy), which will be a big help in quilting that huge quilt!

This Juki is a few years old, but with very few hours of use. Robbi bought her from a neighbor who didn't stick with sewing for very long. The one thing she mentioned many times is how fast it goes! :) That's exactly what I'm looking for; a study machine that will sew and sew and do it fast! I've been prepared to trade the fancy stitches for speed, this machine only has a straight stitch. It does have a lot of features that were on my "new machine" list: needle up/down button, thread cutter, knee lift for the presser foot, oh and SPEED! Did I mention she's really fast??

I did some playing around on her last night. Playing around with some piecing and some free motion quilting too. It's really smooth and quick. There's definitely a lot of difference between this an my mid-grade Singer. 

What are things you love or hate about your machine? What should I be looking for in a new one? This one is really a steal - but I can borrow it for a while even if I don't want to buy it. What do you think? 

Look how she dwarfs Nancy (granted Nancy is down in my table. lol. Oh and don't mind my helper's hand there... lol.

Friday, January 6, 2012

2011 Goals Accomplished and a Quick Recap

Last year I wrote out a list of sewing goals... as you know I've met most of them. 

Here they are:

1. {Sew} Beautiful Bee & Swaps.  Done.
2. I'd like to make a quilt for my mom or my MIL this year.  Finished my mom's and just need to baste and quilt Linda's!
3. I really would like to finish the String Quilt I started last january... lol. It's supposed to be for Allie's toddler bed. I decided I didn't want to do that one... lol.

4. I'd like to follow a pattern for a quilt this year. Done. Followed the Swoon pattern and while it turned out awesome I didn't enjoy the process nearly as much.
5. I want to make a wonky star quilt with light/medium grey and a pop of color. Done -Gia's quilt
6. I want to keep working on taking better pictures of my work. Done - still improving.
7. I'd like to make a baby this year. Ugh... still working on this one. 
8. I want to make more ruffly dresses for my daughter. Done, well mostly skirts but they count too!
9. I would love to make more personal connections in the sewing world. Done - CMQG and Sewing Summit!
10. I'd like to keep teaching my niece to enjoy crafts and sewing. She's pretty much hooked!

Two off my list not accomplished. Not bad. Especially since the one I decided not to do, the other I tried as much as I could. lol.

If you want to take a look at some of my projects finished in the past year they're all on my sidebar there to the left. That's 15 quilts ... yes I count those doll quilts since they're just as much work sometimes. And I didn't count all the small mug rugs and pouches etc.  I feel pretty accomplished! :) Here's to more fun sewing in the new year!! :)

Sewing and Blogging Goals of 2012

Fabric for Michelle's Celebration Quilt
(yes I had to re-fold it all - typical

  • Finish my Swoon quilt - free motion quilting it by domestic machine (even though it's huge!)
  • Finish my {Sew} Beautiful Bee quilt - drunk love with AMH. It's even huger than the swoon quilt!
  • Try a mid-arm or long-arm machine. Just to say I did. I know it's been offered before but I'm still a little shy about it. I need to give it a try (maybe on that ginormous bee quilt?)
  • Do a bit more designing of quilts and tutorials. As in actually record the how and what. Maybe put together a quilt pattern? 
  • Sell, swap, etsy, or commission. I'd like to sell something this year to make money for more fabric. I feel like I suck a lot of money into quilting... obviously. I'd feel better about it if I had a little cash coming in. 
  • Meet local bloggers (specifically Sally, Sara, and Angela. Speak up if you're from the general Chicago area and want to meet up for some coffee or something and chat about blogging/sewing/quilting!
  • Continue with swaps and bees. Pushing myself each time to learn something new and challenging myself to work on more and more difficult blocks. 
  • Work on making connections within the sewing industry community. There is so much growth happening in the are of modern sewing that I feel like I should have an idea of how it all happens. Maybe contact a book or magazine editor, or see if I can write a pattern for a new fabric line. Who knows I just find this to be pretty interesting. Oh also under this topic, I'd love to take a class on sewing machine repair.... anyone have an idea of where one learns such a thing? 
  • I'm toying with the idea of trying to get published somehow. Is it worth jumping through hoops to do so?
  • Go on the quilt retreats offered by the CMQG - continue getting to know those fabulous ladies!
  • Co-host a new swap with Emily (Pretty awesome!)
  • Quilts to make this year
  • Michelle's Celebration Quilt 
  •  A quilt for Lindsey (I wonder if she reads this blog??) Haha... it may be a surprise to her.