Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cathedral Windows QAL - Prizes!

Cathedral Window Sampler QAL

Now that the cat's out of the bag, I can share the amazing prize bundles!

Cathedral QA Lg

First & Second place will be randomly drawn from all completed sampler tops. You do not need to have the mini backed, quilted, or bound, but all nine blocks must be completed. You may have one entry for each completed sampler top.

First Prize
1 Kindle Fire HD
1 $35 Fat Quarter Shop gift certificate
1 pkg Pellon® EK150-10 Easy-Knit® Tape
1 pkg 70 Peltex® Ultra Firm Sew-In
1 pkg Pellon® 987F Fusible Fleece
1 pkg Pellon® 805R Wonder-Under®
1 pkg Pellon® SF101 Shape-Flex®
1 Legacy™ by Pellon® Throw (60x60) 100% Natural Cotton Batting
1 pkg Pellon® Perfect Loft™ Cluster Fiber
1 Pattern Playground CD

Second Prize
1 $35 Fat Quarter Shop gift certificate
1 Legacy™ by Pellon® Crib (45x60) 100% Natural Cotton Batting
1 pkg Pellon® Perfect Loft™ Cluster Fiber
1 pkg Pellon® 805R Wonder-Under®
1 pkg Pellon® SF101 Shape-Flex®
1 Pattern Playground CD


Third & Fourth place will be drawn from all individually completed blocks. You may have one entry for each of the nine blocks completed.

Third Prize
1 pkg Pellon® 987F Fusible Fleece
1 pkg Pellon® 805R Wonder-Under®
1 pkg Pellon® SF101 Shape-Flex®

Fourth Prize
1 pkg Pellon® 987F Fusible Fleece
1 pkg Pellon® 805R Wonder-Under®
1 pkg Pellon® SF101 Shape-Flex®


Individual block prize bundles will be drawn from all entries for each block design. You may have one entry into each of the nine drawings for each block completed of that design.

Individual block prize #1-9
1 Aurifil thread bundle
1 Pattern Playground CD


All blocks must be completed & submitted to the Flickr group by midnight central time on November 15 to be considered for the drawing.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Introducing the Cathedral Windows Quilt Along!

Cathedral Window Sampler QAL

I am teaming up with Pellon and, along with 8 other amazing designers, to bring you a fun 9-block Cathedral Window mini sampler.  Each week in October, there will be two block tutorials featuring each designer's take on the traditional Cathedral Window. 

Oct 1 :: Sara @ Sew Sweetness
Oct 4 :: Bree @ My Crafty Crap
Oct 8 :: Jill @ Made with Moxie
Oct 11 :: Emily @ Mommy's Nap Time
Oct 15 :: Rachael @ Imagine Gnats
Oct 18 :: Jessica @ Sew Crafted
Oct 22 :: Elizabeth @ Don't Call Me Betsy
Oct 25 :: Kim @ My Go-Go Life
Oct 29 :: Heather @ Olive & Ollie

And of course, what would a quilt along be without prizes?!  We have some truly amazing prizes for you from some amazing sponsors.



There will be prizes for completing each individual block and for completing the full 9-block sampler top (does not need to be fully completed with back & binding).  You will have until November 15 to complete all the blocks.

Check My Crafty Crap for more info this week (including the full prize announcement!), and get ready to kick things off next week!

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

HOPE Mug Cozy

September is childhood cancer awareness month. This project has been knocking around my head all month. I wanted to make a small project to remind me and others to remain hopeful in these rough times.

Rough times you ask? My niece Rosemarie has cancer. She's six years old and has been fighting since she was 13 mos old. She's done surgeries, had countless rounds of chemo and radiation, she's had bone marrow transplants and stem cell transplants. She's been on crazy new-fangled radioactive treatments, treatments that have made her sick and cough and loose her hair. She's missed school, and she's missed out on holidays. Does that stop her? Of course it doesn't. It's hard to think about, but there is no cure for Rosemarie's cancer. Neuroblastoma has no cure.

I feel helpless in the fight for childhood cancer awareness. I don't have the money personally to fund a research team. I don't have the fame to spread the word across the world. But I do have this little blog. So here's my gift to you, and a plea for help in this battle against childhood cancer.

My gift is a sweet tutorial for a little mug cozy. It can be used in your home or office, using any old standard mug (we all have some hideous ones don't we?). You can customize this mug cozy any way you want - make it patchworky, make it all one color! Mine says "Hope" since in the fight against cancer that's what we have to cling to. Mine is also yellow (Kona Curry) - since Gold is the color for childhood cancer awareness - and I don't have any blingy gold fabric.

At the end of this tutorial is the link to St Jude Children's Hospital** I'm asking that if you pin this tutorial, bookmark it for later use, print it out, use it, share it, etc - consider dropping a dollar in donation to St Jude (by all means donate more if you're able!). As we share our creativity we can also help fight childhood cancer.

HOPE Mug Cozy:

3" x 13.5" scrap of two fabrics
3" x 13.5 scrap of Pellon 905 Fusible Fleece or batting.
1" x 1" scraps of four fabrics for letters
scraps of Pellon 805 Wonder Under & Wonder Under Tape

Step 1
Cut 3" x 13.5" from the outer fabric. Mark and trim 3" x 1/2" from the top and bottom edge of one end. Repeat using lining fabric.

Step 2
On the paper side of the Wonder Under draw four 1" squares. Draw letter H on the paper side of the Wonder Under, inside one 1" square. Repeat for other letters being sure to reverse the direction of the letters (the P was the only one I had to worry about - I simply drew the P on the glue side of the Wonder Under).

Cut out the 1" squares and fuse onto the wrong side of the four scraps. Be sure to fuse it properly (use a damp pressing cloth and press until the cloth is dry). Cut out around each letter, and remove the backing paper.

Step 3
Fuse the letters in place on the outer fabric. Add lines of vertical top stitching on top of the letters. They will fray a bit with use, this stitching will hold them in place.

Step 4
Layer linging fabric (right side up), outer fabric (right side down), batting  - and pin in place. (If using Fusible Fleece, first fuse it to the wrong side of the outer fabric. I didn't have a scrap large enough to use it, but the Fusible Fleece would not shift like my batting did!)

Sew around all edges using a 1/4" seam allowance, leaving a 2.5" - 3" gap for turning.

Press the turning gap open and add a strip of Wonder Under tape on one side of the turning gap. Press into place and remove the paper backing. This piece will help secure the opening neatly while top stitching the gap closed.

Clip corners close to stitching and clip at the concave corners too. Turn inside out, press, and top stitch.

Step 5
Wrap your mug cozy around the mug, measure how much the tab overlaps the main piece, and cut the velcro to that length - mine was about 2".

Pin velcro in place and top stitch it in place. Add a box stitch for extra security.

Put the cozy on your mug and enjoy!!

Thanks for sewing along! Please make a donation to St. Jude's! I'd love it if every person who uses or saves this tutorial would donate $1 to St Jude. Do it for Rosemarie! Thanks!!

**St Jude's is currently doing active research on NEW treatments for Neuroblastoma.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Whoa Whoa! My first Pellon Project!

Today my very first Pellon Project went up on their website! I'm so excited to share my Bubble Pillow with you!

Bubble Pillow
The prototype for this pillow was gifted to my cousin's baby Chloe (ok - Chloe is less baby, more toddler now). I love the finished product - so cozy! Make one for yourself, or for a friend! Go ahead and snag the free download here on Pellon's site!

I hope you're as excited about this as I am! If you make a Bubble Pillow I'd love to see it! Drop me a line here or add your pics to my flickr group! Happy Sewing!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Putting a cramp in my style!

A little playing last night.
Tiny Scrappy Fun - Roseann's Quilt
Now that the teacher strike is over, and we officially have a designated bus pickup time... and I'm settled into my new work schedule (mornings while Allie is at school). I'm having trouble getting back into my groove with sewing!

Here's the thing, I'm tired. (that is so silly for me to say). We've been getting up at around 6 or 7 am every morning... and most days I have almost no downtime while Allie's at school. Sure I have two days a week off work - house to myself. But it doesn't seem like it! 

I'm a late night sewer. Late late. That isn't so possible when you're up so early everyday. I'm usually able to hang out with Wally for a bit after Allie gets to bed, then sew for a couple hours straight. 

Now if I hang out too long, the night is gone. For instance right now - it's midnight. Ordinarily I'd be trucking through, but I just can't do that and wake up a full two hours earlier than normal. Hopefully this week will bring our first real week of normalcy - no strikes, not the first week of school, not the first week of new work schedules. Perhaps the first week of normal sewing!

Gotta finish this Tova!
Here are my goals for the week:
*Finish my Tova Tunic - I just need to finish the collar and hem it!
*Work on my little childhood cancer awareness project. It's been in my head lurking for weeks. Now is the time! There will be a mini tutorial for this too!
*Play with my Tiny Scrappy Fun quilt (Roseann's quilt). 

And maybe I'll play around with some of my new fabrics too!

PS: Just a quick reminder - Please make it a point to eat at Chili's Restaurant tomorrow (Monday). On Monday September 24th Chili's will donate their net profits to St Jude Children's Hospital. Chili's is working toward a cure by supporting St Jude's. Please! Stop by Chili's for a drink after work, or for lunch, or treat your extended family to dinner! Don't forget to thank your local Chili's manager for supporting such a great cause. For Rosemarie, let's beat this!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mini Shop Hop!

Rolls of fabric at The Needle Shop!
Today Emily and I went on a little mini shop hop - as a reward for making it through the week.The Chicago school teachers were on strike for a week and a half (ending mid week this week) which means that I went from settling into "back to school" routine (having some time to myself) back into craziness and uncertainty at home. Finally we have that all sorted out, the teachers have returned to school and Allie is so happy to be back. On top of that I'm happy to finally have one free morning off! So today Emily and I made use of it by wandering around a couple fabulous fabric shops!!

First up we went out to Vogue Fabrics in Evanston. Emily had never been there before so we took our time and checked out all the different areas of the shop. We had fun playing with tulle, helped another customer pick out replacement fabric for a skirt (for a messed up dress for a wedding that's tomorrow!), and we fell in love with silk. 

Vogue sells Dupioni Silk - in a couple dozen colors. It is radiant and vibrant and the texture is great! We were pretty much in love. After drooling over the bolts and the color card that the sales clerk was using to cut orders... she mentioned "we have a box..." lol 1/2 yd pre-cuts of the discontinued colors. We picked out a couple to share. I can see these finding a place within some quilts. I wonder how it washes though. I'll have to test it to see. :) 

After we spent an obscene amount of time in Vogue (there's a lot to look at!) we made our way to The Needle Shop. Now The Needle Shop is really the destination on this trip for me. I love that place! The owner Rachael was there while we were in and I have to admire her since she picks the best fabrics for the shop - very "me" fabrics! We spent a long time in The Needle Shop too - it was really fun shopping for fabric with another quilter. I don't think I've ever shopped with anyone else before - lol. We checked out the various fabrics/patterns/books. Snagged a couple swatches, and came home with lots of pretty fun fabric! 

Another note about The Needle Shop - they have a deal going on on Yelp this week where you pay $15 for a $25 gift certificate. Pretty awesome. So we both went in there with a gift certificate in hand - it was fun spending some money on fabric "just because." I'm usually a project buyer - I'll go buy only what I need. Instead this time I came home with a yard each of two colors of shot cotton (I wish I could get a good picture of the color variance here - it's amazing), some Anna Maria Horner Field Study, and another print just because it spoke to me. lol. On top of all that, it was nice to shop locally, in person, and with a friend. 

A box full of yummy!
We were going to stop in at Quiltology too... but we ran out of time. We rushed back to my neighborhood and stopped at Superdawg on the way! Yum! Just enough time to get home and eat before Allie got off the school bus! What a life! :)

My purchases: AMH Ribbon, Dupioni Silk, Kona Curry, Michael Miller "put a lid on it," AMH Field Study, Kaffe Fassett Shot Cottons.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Tova Tunic

At some point last week I got it into my head that I wanted to make one of these Tova Tunics that so many people seem to be making.

Buy the pattern here!
I haven't sewn any clothes from a pattern since before Allie was born - when I had to make a bridesmaid dress for myself -- at 7.5 mos pregnant! That pattern was not maternity friendly, and it was made of crepe - ugh. Never again! lol

I've sort of sworn off clothing patterns since then. But this one is different. I think it's more my style to begin with. On top of that I've done a lot more technical sewing since then. I'm pretty sure I can handle this.

I'm pretty nervous to do it though!!

Rolls and rolls of fabric at Vogue!

I stopped at Vogue Fabrics in Evanston last week, and picked up some yardage of fabric for it. I wanted a lightweight cotton chambray or double gauze... but no luck with that. I found some cotton shirting that was ok - but in a totally wrong color for me.

My fabric choices.
Eventually I ventured into the "unknown fiber content" fabrics. lol. I think the material I'm using now is rayon? It didn't shrink much if any at all - so I'm not too worried. It passed my pressing test too. At $1.30/yd I am not out too much if it doesn't work out. The other fabric is a bit thicker, more like a general shirting fabric. I'm still not sure about it. lol.

Guess who ran out of white printer paper and only had neon paper? hehe. It messes with the pictures!
Last night I cut out all my pieces from the fabric. Emily came over last night to chat and do some handsewing while I cut the pieces. It was scary; I needed the moral support.

My friends Sally and Elaine are taking on the Tova with me. :) Safety in numbers.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Figuring the 8 Scarf @ Retreat!

(I wrote this post for my Threadbias page... but it turned out to be here it is)

Last weekend was the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild's fall retreat - and it was a blast!!! Emily and I decided to bring our Figure 8 scarf kits with us to make together Friday night. 

So the long version of the story is that this year for my birthday (june) my husband got smart and looked at my "things I really really want" pinterest board and shopped for me there! He ordered me a scarf kit (72" x 18" cut the long way so no extra seams) for my birthday... and when I blabbed about it to Emily she was like "What the heck, that's what I was getting you!" lol. (no fear, she made me an awesome project bag instead!!)

So... fast forward to last week. It's getting cooler and Emily and I need awesome bold fun warm scarves! We made the scarves following Anna Maria Horner's tutorial. They came together quite easily (especially since we had lots of table space available to lay out the fabric an pin it). We found that hand-stitching is the great equalizer -- I sew faster by machine - but Emily hand sews WAY faster than I do. We finished just about the same time!

Sewing with friends really is the best isn't it?? 

I'm pretty excited for fall now - armed with my cozy scarf! 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sew Sweetness Tula Pink Sew Along!

Tula Pink Sew Along

It's nearly time... Sara @ Sew Sweetness is kicking off the Tula Pink Sew Along! I'll be guest posting with a fabulous project in October! 

The sew along will happen in two phases - one of which leaves you (the reader) to create something Tula Pink (using a Tula pattern or Tula fabrics) which you'll then link up for a chance to win some fab prizes! 

I don't know about you, but I'm a really big fan of Tula's. She's one of my favorite fabric designers. I fell for Parisville - the saturated colors!! And I recently ordered some of her new line The Birds and Bees. It's so pretty!

Head on over to Sara's blog for the full details. Also, feel free to join up with the flickr group for even more inspiration!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Oh so tiny!!

This is one of my favorite projects that I made last weekend. It's a teeny key chain, which uses some fabulous Pellon batting... :) This time around I was just double checking my instructions and it all turned out just perfect! It finishes at about 2" square and those prairie points? they're about 1/4" tall! 

I made this using the AMH scrap pack that Wally got me for my birthday! Note that even the ribbon is AMH! So cool! It will definitely end up attached to my own keys, but it's got a little bit of traveling to do first! :) 

I just love a quick tiny project!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

CMQG Fall Retreat 2012

Whew! What a weekend!! It was full of fun, late nights, and sewing! 

This past weekend I joined the ladies of the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild for the fall retreat in Racine, WI. We retreat at the Dominican convent - which is fabulous! The nuns are cute and they cook delicious food. We have a great big room to ourselves (with a view of the lake!), and we always have a great time. 

This year I made a to-do list for the retreat. I had about a dozen projects on that list. I worked on about half of them which is pretty good! :)

The first project I worked on Friday afternoon was the Anna Maria Horner Figure 8 Scarf. Emily and I both had fabric on hand to make these and it was a fun project to work on together. What we learned? Handsewing is the great equalizer when it comes to how quickly a project comes together! I was speedy with my machine but Emily is much quicker at handsewing! Our scarves turned out so great! They're velveteen and voile so they're so dreamy. I'm ready for fall with this!!

Next we had a quick Die-cutting lesson from Ebony (who lost her voice), so Sara translated. Mr T is an Accuquilt Studio cutter. He is named appropriately because he "pitties the fool who's still cutting with a rotary cutter!" lol. I used Mr T to cut some strips then subcut sewn pairs of strips... it really does speed up the process!

Thanks for sharing the gummy bears Marla!!
Friday night I spent the evening chatting and handsewing some covered buttons onto a really awesome pillow. Those buttons took a long time... or maybe that was the Vodka infused gummy bears slowing me down? Or laughing so much while talking to my tablemates? 

Saturday was Emily's birthday. I had come prepared with a little fabric gift and teeny bunting for her sewing machine - I had to sneak downstairs after going to bed so I could decorate before Emily woke up in the morning! She had made her own birthday cake (it was YUMMY!) and the guild also put together a bag of sewing goodies for her (Donna made the bag and it's pretty cool!).

Saturday I worked on some small projects, some mug rug tops and a pouch. I traveled to the local quilt shop  with Marla, Robbi, and Ebony - where I found a really cute baking themed FQ. I couldn't help but make it into a pouch for my sister who loves to bake! 

Erica and Sara hosted a fabric swap! Pretty awesome!

Most of Saturday evening was spent finishing a really really awesome project. I can't show you it now, but the sneaky peek is the fabric under these vodka gummy bears! :) I am really proud of this project - it turned out SO nicely! Not to mention that I adore that AMH fabric! 

Saturday night was really fun - Robbi and I chatted while planning our Pellon projects (we kept meaning to take a picture of us together working on them!). Ebony helped me with some needle/thread size tips. Emily and I were the last to go to bed... and we somehow managed to stay up later than we ever had sewing before so of course we took a picture of the clock! lol. Of course we were pretty slap happy, but it's impossible not to laugh when you go to brush your teeth before bed and run into Donna --- who is up and getting ready for the next day! lol. Good times!

Sunday I spent the day using Mr T to cut some fabric for a Pellon project (Mr T really does make sewing and subcutting strips so much quicker!!). I also worked on another teeny project for Pellon. I should ask, since I'm not entirely sure if it's ok if I share those here before they're posted over there. :) Again, it was really cool to be working at the same table as Robbi, while we both worked on our projects for Pellon! She's a riot by the way, We had the best table (Me, her and Emily). 

I can't forget, before leaving we finally made the walk down to the beach! This is my third time at the Sienna Center and yet the first time I've made it out there! It's beautiful!! 

Me and the projects I worked on... not including the awesomest one! 
It was really an inspiring weekend. I love being around so many creative people! I'm so glad to be a part of this group! Also, I didn't want to forget, even with GPS Emily and I are "Improvisational Drivers" lol... Just like our quilting! 

Thanks for a fabulous time ladies!!! 

Monday, September 10, 2012

CMQG Fall Retreat

The lake adjacent to our retreat center! 

This past weekend was the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild's fall retreat. I can't begin to explain how much fun it was! I really feel encouraged and uplifted by this group of ladies.

I feel like I've really gotten to know some of the group a lot better this weekend. It's not just about quilting, it's about community and friendships. I feel like this weekend we went a bit deeper - late night conversations - supporting eachother - laughing and having fun. I've been going to CMQG meetings for a while now and it's like our friendships are really growing. It's crazy to think that it was only a couple years ago that I joined up with this guild. I'm glad I did.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I really appreciate all the support I get from this group of fabulous ladies. It's hard moving to a city and not having my old friends here, and it's even harder to find people who share interests and are accepting enough to let new people in.

Yes, I'm still on a "retreat high" - and I hope it lasts a while! Thanks for making it a fun and productive weekend ladies!!

Have you seen us around?

I'm still on a huge high after this weekend's Chicago Modern Quilt Guild fall retreat (more on that soon)...

I woke up this morning to a call from Emily telling me that our CMQG Modern Art Challenge made it into the Modern Quilt Guild's September Newsletter! Pretty awesome if you ask me!! (Emily and I coordinated this swap - we're pretty proud of how smoothly it went and how awesome the projects turned out!) If you're not on the Modern Quilt Guild's mailing list you can see the newsletter here. We're on the right side bar, with a picture of the awesome quilt that Sally made!

Also, Emily has a guest post/interview up at Pattern Crush today!! Don't you agree that it's time for Emily to start her own blog?? :) The article is fabulous and gives a little insight to the world of printmaking - also you'll see some fabulous examples of Emily's hand-printed fabrics! Emily is the voice of our own CMQG blog - as she's our secretary this year!

Another one of our fabulous guild members, Donna was interviewed for the local paper the Chicago Reader. You can read the article here. Donna is our CMQG president and the interview is about the modern quilt movement. It's a great read, and I hope they do a followup on this since so many people don't even know about the movement!

It's been a busy day for the CMQG!

Friday, September 7, 2012

New lovelies...

Last week I broke down and ordered some half yards of a few prints that I have had my eye on. There's a mixture of Anna Maria Horner's Field Study, and Tula Pink's Birds & Bees, and a couple random prints thrown in too. 

I literally just picked the fabrics that I really loved the most. Incidentally, they all go pretty well together! 

Of course I had to sew something up immediately! I made this little feel-good coffee cup cozy. I used Jeni's tutorial. It came together perfectly - except I don't have any cups that size/shape! I must go out for coffee soon so I can use it!

Here it is flattened out. Pretty! I was deeply saddened by the fact that our paper coffee cups at work are too small for it. blah.

I have an idea floating around my head to make one of these fit for a regular coffee mug. Perhaps it would be a project to honor Rosemarie's doctors. It is Childhood Cancer month after all. If you want to hear some pretty depressing stats go do some research about how little national funding childhood cancer recieves. Yuck. Pray for a cure. Little Rosemarie has been fighting for her life for five years - since she was a year old!  Right now she has a little bit of peach fuzz growing on her head; it's adorable!

That was a bit of a tangent. No apologies, it's too close to my heart to apologize. If you'd like to see more check out Rosemarie's story (below). And consider donating even a dollar to St. Jude's. We're working toward a cure!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

WIP Wednesday - I'm guest hosting!

Hey there faithful readers! Head on over to Freshly Pieced to check out my guest post for WIP Weds!
WIP Bella Bella quilt!
Check it out, link up, and get inspired by all the other linkups! 

Also, you'll be able to read about some of the dozen or so projects I'm bringing to work on at the CMQG retreat this weekend! I'm so excited for the retreat!!!