Monday, April 30, 2012

How to Start a Quilting Bee

Hello everyone!  Our recent chat stirred up lots of thought, one of which was a reminder to get back to the basics.  Many of you may be newer to the online sewing scene and curious about how entities like virtual quilting bees come to be.  I'd love to share with you the details and hope you'll feel empowered to start a bee of your own!  And, just for fun, I've peppered this post with photos of quilts made by various circles of do. Good Stitches {a Charity Bee}.

What is a Quilting Bee?

Today's online quilting bees are small groups of quilters who come together to make quilts as a community, physically working on blocks for each others quilts.  Members communicate through email, Flickr groups and/or dedicated bee blogs and send materials back and forth to each other through the mail.

January:: Do Good Stitches :: Seeing Stars
Seeing Stars by Imagine Circle, quilted by Amanda at My Sewcial Hour

The most common virtual quilting bee model has 12 members who work on one member's quilt each month.  So, each member is assigned a month in the year.  In advance of your month you gather fabric for your quilt and decide on a design.  When it's your month, you send out fabric to each member, along with instructions, and they return a finished block or two to you.  At the end of your month you would have lots of blocks all ready to be assembled!  In this quilting bee model, most bees last a full year so that each member has a turn to get help on her quilt.  Every month you are working on someone's quilt, which introduces you to many different styles and color schemes.  It is vital that all members are committed for the full year so that those who are assigned later months in the year aren't neglected.

One alternative bee model is the famous 3x6 Sampler Quilt Bee that only involves a commitment of 2.5 months, but you must make 6 blocks in that time frame.  This one is always open to new members, so if you want to test the waters, pop in to try a bee there.

Old School Library
Old School Library by Trust Circle, quilted by Kate of Swim Bike Quilt

Another stand out is the "round robin" bee style where each member starts her own quilt and then sends it to the next member who adds to the quilt and then sends it on again.  The quilts continue to rotate through all hands until they return to the original maker having evolved slowly into something really special.

sherbet squares.
Sherbet Squares by Inspire Circle, quilted by Holly of Bijou Lovely

The do. Good Stitches bee is a bee variation in which each circle of ten members makes one quilt per month for charity.  We sew with fabrics from our own stash, rather than shipping around fabric, and not all members are responsible for designing/finishing quilts, in order to make the bee more welcoming to new quilters.  Do. Good Stitches adds new circles every few months, so there is no cap on our membership.

For another look at online quilting bee's see Oh, Fransson!'s post published 2 years ago.   You can sometimes locate new bees that are looking for members through this Flickr thread.

Bliss do. Good Stitches quilt from November
by the Bliss Circle, quilted by Linda Beth of Surrounded by Scraps

Start Your own Quilting Bee!

If you'd like to try a quilting bee, you don't have to wait around for an invitation!  If you have some admin skills, this is something you can definitely do.  Here are some places to start:

::Theme::  A theme is not strictly necessary, but it often inspires members to join.  What would you like to work with?  Nothing is too simple or too advanced, as your theme will draw the right members.  If you're new to quilting, maybe a bee that works with log cabin blocks or pulls from any 9-patch block design?  To push your quilting skills, your bee could focus on paper piecing, curved piecing or improv style work.  Your theme doesn't have to be about construction.  It could be that your blocks will include linen, embroidery, all solids or even a favorite fabric collection.  I suggest you find a unifying theme that also leaves room for members to experiment.

stacked books quilt (trust circle)
Stacked Books by Trust Circle, quilted by Svetlana of S.O.T.A.K. Handmade

::Structure::  How many members?  How many months will it run?  How much are members expected to sew?  Do they use their own fabric or fabric that is mailed?  Before deciding spend some time looking at how other bees are structured to get a feel for your options.  Asking folks (and yourself) to commit to a modest time frame may be a wise choice for your first bee, especially if your members are not already acquainted.

Dream Circle :: November Boy's Quilt
Boy's Quilt by Dream Circle, quilted by Lindsey of L.R. Stitched

::Meeting Place::  A virtual bee doesn't meet in person, but "meet" it must!  Most folks join a bee to make friends.  Where can you develop relationships, as well as keep up with logistical details like who has mailed blocks, received blocks or what the sewing instructions are for this month?  Flickr groups are a free and popular solution.  I love them!  Some groups also start a private blog that all members can post on so that it's a discussion group.  Although I haven't used one myself, it sounds like a Google+ circle might be another way to meet virtually for more real-time interaction.

do Good Stitches Joy Quilt
Quilt of Joy by Joy Circle, quilted by Fiona of Poppy Makes

::Presentation::  The way in which you present your idea is key to garnering members.  Spend time coming up with a name that captures your theme.  Also, it's ideal to develop a square graphic or "button" that is like a logo for your bee. You can use this button on your Flickr group or blog as well as share the image with members who might want a bee badge for their blog.  If you are not graphically inclined maybe someone who is joining your bee would be willing to make a button?

Starflower Quilt
Starflower Quilt by Peace Circle, quilted by Michelle of City House Studio

::Members::  So, how do you get members?  Most folks who start bees are bloggers with small followings.  You don't need to be uber popular to start a bee!  After doing the work above you have a clear invitation to extend. You can either post a general invitation on your blog or contact people you know from blogland and Flickr to invite on an individual basis.  These individual invites tend to be most common, which is why you typically don't hear about a bee until it is already formed.  You could also get some members individually and then post an invite on your blog along the lines of "I need 4 more members!"  Another place to reach out to people is in this ongoing Flickr thread.

When you invite people, paint a picture of your theme and clearly detail the structure you have in mind.  But also be open to feedback, be flexible.  Make sure your would-be members know that they'll be expected to follow through the entire way.  Expect that some people will decline.  This is not about you! We all have lots of obligations, so even a fabulous idea has to be turned down quite often.  Remember that and just keep asking!

Bliss Circle October Quilt
by Bliss Circle, quilted by Becky of My Fabric Obsession

::Sticky Situations::  Every bee needs a leader to usher it through those unfortunate events that will pop up.  Sometimes blocks will get lost in the mail.  Are any members willing to make "angel blocks" to help out or will the missing blocks be replaced by the mailer or perhaps not replaced at all?  What if a member is chronically late with her blocks?  Be sure to set a deadline for mailing blocks and think about how you can encourage promptness.  Sometimes someone disappears altogether.  Life can deal us unexpected turns.  Unfortunately, drop-outs are a common problem even in bee models that rely on members to stay the course.  You can probably replace members who aren't able to continue if their month to quilt has not yet come up (thus the new member will still have a turn to get help on her own quilt).  But, if the drop-out's quilt has already been done by your bee, it's going to be tough.  That's why it's extremely bad etiquette to drop out of a bee that has already sewn blocks for you.  If you find yourself struggling to meet your obligations, be sure to talk to your bee leader.  She definitely wants to help find a solution, even if it means lightening your load.  The worst thing to do is to disappear without communicating.

Bento 4
Bento Boxes by Hope Circle, quilted by Kat of BBC Textiles

I did it and You can to!

When I started do.Good Stitches, I had only been blogging for a few months and had only made 2-3 quilts.  I had never been in a bee before.  Yes, I was not at all sure that I'd find anyone who would join my bee, but my mama always says, "It never hurts to try!"  If you have some sort of admin skills and the passion for it, I'm sure you can start a bee.  Just go for it!  You'll learn as you go.  Be flexible, listen to feedback, give others the benefit of the doubt and above all Have Fun!

do.Good Stitches Harmony October
by Harmony Circle, quilted by Denise at My Family Thinks I'm Working

Quilting bees are so popular precisely because they are a ton of fun.  For a quilter, what's better than learning new skills, trying new things and making new friends all at once?  I encourage everyone, even if you are really new to quilting, to consider a quilting bee.  Just be honest about your skill level.  It's nothing to be shy about!  Be realistic about how much you can take on, since people will be relying on you, but don't be afraid to volunteer.  A dedicated and friendly heart is more important than having perfect points in most cases!

You may also enjoy Alissa Haight Carlton & Kristen Leijnieks' book Block Party: The Modern Quilting Bee.  It shares the quilts made throughout a 12-month bee, along with reflections from the members and more tips on starting your own.

Good luck!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Storm at Sea

When I returned to my sewing today I snapped a picture of How I Left It.

How I left it

Sometimes the fabrics are so refreshing a sight on return that I'm tempted to just stare at them in a warm and fuzzy kind of daze. 

Storm at Sea blocks

"Storm at Sea," isn't that a lovely phrase?  It's also the name of four little blocks I English Paper Pieced this week as part of my progress on the Handstitched class quilt.  I used a set of template papers from  (Don't run out and buy them now, if you're planning on taking the class.  There's going to be a custom set of pieces for another class project that I think you'll want to throw in your cart as well.  Hold tight!  Also, FYI, purchasing paper pieces is optional as printouts will be included with the class.)  Anyways, with English Paper Piecing, you use the papers to help you create precise shapes and sew the shapes together by hand.  It's an odd concept at first, but once you try it out, you'll find it easy enough.  I'll be teaching 3 English Paper Pieced projects in the class, one of which will have lots of Y-seams, which this method makes oh-so-easy.

I've been working on the third layer of my Handstitched quilt.  This medallion-style quilt begins with reverse applique Dogwood Blossom at center, then the Satin & Jewels ring of embroidery, and this week, a wider round with tile patchwork and intricate storm at sea corner blocks.  The English Paper Piecing was easy and fun.  I enjoyed a little fussy-cutting!  But, the patchwork puzzled me.

I wanted to use warm colors pulled from the Flea Market Fancy line (my color-inspiration for this project).  Since I had used cool colors strongly in the Dogwood Blossom center, I figured it would be good to pull the warm colors through via the tile patchwork.


But, when I set my warm tiles beside the quilt center the patchwork grabs center stage. I added the gray seeds border to help define the embroidery section, but it seemed that the warm solids still captured all the attention.  At the right I set out some Kona Snow and a smattering of prints that will be featured in the next layer of the quilt to see if that brought color balance.  Still unsure.


So today, I used a precious block of dedicated sewing time to bust out a soft, understated version of patchwork tile.  This time I mixed in a pale blue, spring green and gray, thinking maybe the tile didn't need to be oh-so-warm.  I wonder which one you like best? 

Handstitched Quilt

Even now I have trouble choosing and usually I am all for more saturation, but this time I decided to piece in the softer version.  I want the eye to mostly wash over the tile to rest more so on the other aspects of the quilt.  I think this version is what I really intended when I designed the quilt, even if my instinct initially was to use more color, color, color.  But, I do see that I'll need to use some of the dark teal Kona Everglade solid (probably along with some green seeds) in the next layer of this quilt to pull the darker values through.  It's always a balance!

This coming week I'm going to make some non-quilt projects for Handstitched Class in preparation for opening registration.  Registration will open during the second week of May, date to be announced next week along with a little surprise for my students.  Have a nice weekend!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

personal things

What is it that makes me hesitate to share personal things in this space?  And it's not just me.  Some of my favorite reads also tiptoe around their personal lives. In my case it's not fear for my privacy.  It's more...  Do you want to hear them?  Do I want to share them?  Is this not the place?

image by Shutter Sugar Photography via Flickr

Like Diane said on CraftyPod this week,  "On blogs, we’re often holding up things we’ve made and saying 'Isn’t this cool?' and then people reply with some variation on 'Yes, that’s really cool!'"  It's not that this kind of show and tell is a bad thing.  It's fun.  It's inspirational!   It's just that I want to do more than that.  I want to be a real person that people can relate to.

I don't really know where this is going today, but I feel moved to be personal.  I'm thinking...

*How it feels absolutely stifling to work on a quilt knowing that I may enter into the QuiltCon quilt show.  Do I really want to invite others to judge my work?  To notice the way my points (don't) match?  Am I kidding myself that my work is possibly good enough?

*How if I ask you if I should submit Quilt X, many sweet voices will rush to say that I should.  And, possibly... many sweet voices will not admit that they disagree, just because they don't want to hurt my feelings.  So those voices won't speak up even though I'd specifically asked.  Is there a way to be honest, yet kind in this space?

*That I haven't been out in my garden for two weeks.  Oh, the weeds!  I promise to give my tomatoes some love tonight (for a very short while after which I will dutifully return to the hand-stitching!)

::First Day of School::

*That yesterday was our last day of homeschool, since we run first of August through April.  I'm so proud of how nicely this year went.  Those crayons are done well worn out.  I'm so excited for next year!  And, I kind of want to tell you some about it, but I don't know where to start...  I know, I'll just start a homeschool blog too!  Not.

*Honestly, my favorite bloggers stick to a genre.  I think it's powerful to do so, to self-edit because you all can identify with my sewing, but you can't all identify with my homeschooling or my garden or my love for Egyptian historical fiction.  I don't regret self-editing, but I also don't want to get so narrow that you all don't actually know me.

your fabrics are dying to come home with me!

*Do you think you know me or other sewing bloggers that you read?  I know, really know, some of the bloggers I read.  I've had the experience of meeting some and finding them just as expected.  Well, just as expected and maybe even a little bit More.  Authenticity is so crucial. 

*Ok, here's another thing.  Jealousy.  There's this bee that I absolutely love (the concept of) and totally wish I'd been invited to join.  Maybe this has happened to you?  I've tossed around the idea of creating a bee like the one I so admire.  But then, I'm a copycat.  But then, we're all copycats.

End of personal sharing.  

Question:  How personal are you as a blogger (if applicable) and how personal do you desire your craft blogs to read?  Assuming you'd rather be spared intimate or tedious details, how much do you appreciate the background snippets that some craft bloggers share?  

Anna Maria Horner is one of my favorite bloggers, and I think that (apart from her genius) it is because she so beautifully blends in her posts her craft and her personality.  Think about some of your favorite bloggers.  Do they share the personal?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

the Canvas

Over the weekend I cut into my Saffron Pastry Voile by Anna Maria Horner to make this skirt...

Pastry Line voile & Flea Market Fancy yoke

I hadn't planned on using anything in particular for the waistband, but it had to be cut on bias, so something other than the pastry voile was in order.  I'm totally smitten with how nicely this grey bouquet print from Flea Market Fancy plays with the saffron.  It gives it all a sort of country maiden flair?  Which is perfect, since I'm the kind of girl who loves to take a turn round the May pole.

yoke from Proper Attire Skirt by AMH

Anyhoo, the yoke is taken from Anna Maria Horner's Proper Attire Skirt pattern, which I also used for invisible zipper insertion/finishing instructions on this lined skirt.   I dig how the yoke is wide in the front and curves to narrow in the back. Rather than following the skirt body instructions from Anna's pattern, I made a simple gathered skirt, following the lead of the favorite finished skirt in my closet.  It has gathers just at the front and back, not at the sides, which flatters my hips.

preparing the Canvas

I'm making this skirt as a canvas of sorts for a Handstitched class project.  For those of you who plan to take the class, you might choose to embellish a skirt the week we study Applique (or opt for another Applique project instead).  Actually, you could do a skirt or dress.  The class won't include instructions for making the garment - just embellishing it by hand.  I figured you might have a "too plain" item languishing in your wardrobe that could use some love or you could buy or make something that suits your figure.  The embellishment will be along the bottom of the skirt/dress and it won't be all that subtle, while also not being very "dressy".  So it's a casual, pretty look.  There are tons of great online tutorials for skirts, like this one and this one, but I also recommend Anna's pattern.  Whatever fits your style!  You'll see the finished skirt before class starts so that might help you source the perfect canvas.

Now I need to hem this one and I'm thinking a rolled hem might be the way to go because I don't have enough fabric left to do a wide hem.  But I wonder if a rolled voile hem is super tricky?  I'd better practice on some scrap fabric first! Or maybe a hand-pressed 1/4" wide or 1/2" wide hem would be better.  This is my first time garment-making with voile, and I know that many of you are so wise and experienced!  What do you think would look best?

P.S.  After selling out almost as soon as it released, Flea Market Fancy is back in stock at Fat Quarter ShopSew Modern, Pink Chalk, Pink Castle and Moona. If you've been eying it, get it while you can!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

little dresses for Africa

Have you read Kisses from Katie?  It's an amazing story of a young woman who allows her life to be used for healing and redemption in Uganda.  Katie is only 18 when she first goes to Uganda as a kindergarten teacher.  Before the year's out she's started a non-profit ( to provide education and basic needs for hundreds of children and become mother to a house full of girls.  You can't help but be inspired by her book, which was published last fall.  Just to be clear, Katie is a Christian whose faith is central to the story.  As person who also follows Christ, the book was a powerful reminder of God's heart for those who suffer.

a little dress for Africa

Kisses from Katie was our book club read this April.  Not more than 2 chapters into it I was determined to make pillowcase dresses to send over to those children.  And why not do it at book club?  Reading a book like Kisses from Katie has the possibility of making us feel like we can't do anything of significance to relieve such suffering.  Maybe making a few dresses is not all that significant, but you have to start with something.  Start with helping one person or two or five.  Most of us in book club don't sew, but I was hoping to find a little something for everyone to do to contribute.

My friends were all very excited about making dresses!  We would send the finished dresses to Little Dresses for Africa, a registered non-profit who gets them overseas into the right hands.  I tracked down a pillowcase dress tutorial put up at LBG Studio during a sew-along she did years ago for this very charity.  This tutorial is designed to sew dresses from yardage - perfect!  After rummaging through my stash and picking up $13 of bias tape and elastic we had the makings of five dresses, five little emissaries of hope and love.

 Little Dresses for Africa

Well, we had a blast!  I had set out a lot ahead of time and studied the pattern, but what really made the night was the very simple goodness of it all.  Sewing with friends is always good.  Sewing with friends to bless others - even better!  The only part I was worried about was the cutting.  I knew I needed to teach someone how to use the rotary cutter and how to cut the pattern in different sizes so that I could focus on other tasks.  I demonstrated once and Rachelle totally took over.  First time rotary cutting and she cut out 4 dresses with no mistakes to speak of, even catching that those sheep shouldn't be upside down (I've done that kind of thing SO many times, myself).   Who takes so easily to rotary cutting, including how to fold the fabric?   It was a blessing.  That, and I told her she's obviously destined to be a quilter.  (I think she'd rather make a dress for her daughter. Silly, silly.)

Book Club turned Sewing Night

My friend Rachel was tasked at the ironing board.  Erin stuffed elastic and pinned bias tape to bind the arm seams.  Laura sewed all the side seams with that cool overcast stitch, and I did other random sewing.

trying to hold down the giggles 

A friend who couldn't be with us at book club came over last night and put in rolled hems to finish them off.  Do you know about rolled hems?

the Rolled Hem foot

This is the presser foot.  It makes a very tiny hem without having to do all the pressing/folding prep work.  Plus, I think it would be more durable than a traditional hem too.  Thanks, Heather, for helping me figure that little foot out!

we made 5!

So here we are!  That night we made all 5 dresses in about 2.5-3 hours between just the 5 of us.  Pretty bad for a sweatshop, I know, but pretty good for your average book club, right?

girl perfect

I used fabrics that I hadn't loved for quilting, but that I thought would make sweet dresses.  The sheep fabrics are from Laurie Wisbrun's latest collection from Robert Kaufman and that over-sized floral is from England Swings by Rebekah Merle for Timeless Treasures.  This pretty pink print is a Paganelli design that surprised me with a purple background when it arrived in the mail.  It's absolutely girl-perfect!  Little Dresses for Africa requests a range of sizes, so we made XS - L according to how much fabric I had left in each cut.

all the pretty colors

Now I get the pleasure of mailing them out this week! 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Anna's Garden

my DIY kit arrives!

I definitely squealed when my Alabama Chanin DIY dress kit arrived.  I was so desperate to see if I'd chosen the right color that it's amazing I had the willpower to snap this photo before digging in, ya know?

Emerald Green with Bleached Sand underlayer

So this is what I found inside:  2 neatly folded dress halves already cut in my size, strips of fabric for encasing the neck and armhole seams, much thread and a charming Alabama Chanin tag.

Anna's Garden DIY dress kit

Best of all, the dress pieces are already stenciled!  That's huge folks - huge!  This beautiful design is Natalie Chanin's Anna's Garden stencil, which is sold separately here.  Making a reusable stencil is no small task, since you must hand cut all of those small openings with something like an X-Acto Knife.  Alabama Chanin recommends pennant felt as a durable stencil medium.  After my experiments sponge-applying fabric paint, I can see why they suggest using an airbrush tool instead.  I love how the stenciled design is so light and even, with a subtle sparkle.  After all, stiff paint is nothing you'd want to wear.

I heart Alabama Chanin

But back to the color.... Success!  The Alabama Chanin "emerald green" is a lovely pea soup shade or an emerald green with a fresh, springy vibe.  It's really just want I wanted!  The color is saturated without being overtly "look at me!!!"  (Not that you shouldn't look at me, just that I might wear it to a wedding someday and don't want to be too loud about it.  Wink.)  The organic cotton jersey is soft and quite supple.  I would worry it might cling to my curves, but being a double-layered dress, that should be mostly avoided.

basting with 505 spray!

I got right to work basting the underlayer fabric to the outer Emerald Green fabric in preparation for reverse applique.  505 basting spray right on my table!  Yes, it leaves a little residue on the table that washes off and then it's done and done well.  The underlayer shown here is the Bleached Sand color, which is a pale tan.  I actually switched over to White fabric instead, for the underlayer, because I wanted more contrast and less of an earthy vibe for my dress.

 stay stitching

Then I stay stitched the bodice openings to guard against stretching and I was ready to go!

a good place to be

Cozy with some stitching under my do. Good Stitches quilt is definitely a good place to be.

Anna's Garden stitching

I'm not really sure how my "for fun" project ended up being hand stitching when I'm also preparing for the Handstitched class?  Poor planning or fate?  Probably, poor planning.  Nevertheless, it's stitching I immensely enjoy without the pressure of stretching my skills, so it is a welcome retreat.   This weekend I worked on it in the car too, on the way to our biking expedition. So portable.

 I'm going to enjoy this one, bit by bit.  But, expect to see a finish this summer!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Satin & Jewels

Sometimes stitching takes gumption.  Like when you don't really know if it's possible to finish in time.  When false starts equal hours and hours and hours of "invisible progress" just finding out what doesn't work.  Or even when your victorious finish is muddled by the late realization that you did it the hard way. least my students won't have to.

in which I conquer the Satin Stitch

Yes, this week my stitching took Buckets of gumption.

stitch marathon...

I'm relieved to find at the end that I've made something I can be proud of.  Because it's not like that's guaranteed to happen.

stitch marathon...

Even so there are definitely parts I'm planning to redo now that I've fully conquered the satin stitch.  How perfect do I want it to be? 

Satin + Jewels

May I present to you the next layer of the Handstitched class quilt?

::Handstitched:: this summer

I've dubbed this ring of embroidery Satin & Jewels because she feels a bit like a crown for the Dogwood Blossom center.  Satin & Jewels is what we'll be making during the "Advanced Embroidery" week of Handstitched class.  There will be two other stand-alone embroidery projects that week, since every week the class includes detailed tutorials for 3 projects total (2 stand-alone and 1 installment in the Handstitched quilt).

 this corner

Handstitching is not meant to be rushed, and when you take the class, I don't believe it will be especially since you'll have 2 weeks to complete each week of lessons.  But it was rushed this week for me due to those false starts and my self-imposed deadline.  This work became a sort of constant companion. Thank goodness I enjoyed the companionship of several flesh and blood friends too.  That's the nice thing about handwork; it absolutely lends itself to chatting away the night!

up close

A friend who read last week's Handstitched class description was under the impression that the class isn't for beginners.  I declare that it is!  I'll be starting at the beginning:  what needle to use, how to tie a knot, what are the different threads and how to use them, and there will be tutorials for every single stitch we use, right down to the very easiest.  I've already started making those video tutorials for the Premium and Camp class versions.  I think we'll have little videos for every stitch, since that's really the best way to learn them.  And, you know, by and large the stitches are totally easy. It's more a matter of understanding when to use what.  And that comes with experience, actually using them for Actual Projects... which makes a class like this more valuable than a stitch encyclopedia or whatnot.

So, I just wanted to clear the air on that, in case any of you were wondering too.  I know lots of people in real life who admire what I do (the quilting and such), but don't know where to start.  For some people, starting with a needle and thread in hand is just light-years more comfortable than starting behind a humming sewing machine.  I totally get that - that quick-moving machine used to intimidate me too.  If you don't sew at all, you obviously won't be able to take advantage of all of the projects right away, but there will be a project each week of lessons that can be completed without the sewing machine.  These are projects that I know experienced sewists will enjoy as well, but I've made sure they exist as a bridge for you that brand new.  If you take the premium or camp versions you'll have the eBook of Handstitched class to keep, so you can take advantage of the machine-finished projects just as soon as you're ready!

Sound good?  As always, let me know if you have any questions about Handstitched class (after reading the class description).  And now I'm looking forward to machine sewing a skirt this weekend.  You all have a good one!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Welcome, Pink Chalk Fabrics + Giveaway!

I just got a shipment from Pink Chalk Fabrics, actually.  And it's for my upcoming class!  I ordered some Anna Maria Horner Pastry Line Voile in sunny, vibrant, totally-gorgeous Saffron Yellow.

I LURVE it.  (Brandon, on the other hand, has expressed his utter disbelief that I will be making it into a skirt.)  Got it at a deal too - a bunch of voile is 35% off at Pink Chalk, including the pastry line in a delicious array of colors.  I plan to cut into the fabric this weekend!

But, I guess I'm getting ahead of myself.  Do you know about Pink Chalk Fabrics?  It's just like the logo says - cloth, patterns and tools for the modern sewist.  Kathy is the woman behind Pink Chalk, and you can find her on her blog or in her real fabric mecca in Seattle.  My friend, Ara Jane, shared some fab pictures of her trip this week!

pink chalk visit
Isn't Ara Jane's little Ingrid so smart? Already reaching for the fabric...

Kathy's always filling the homepage at Pink Chalk Fabrics with collections of fabricy goodness.  Look at that gorgeous new Echino print.  Wow!  Such a large scale wonder.  And, in contrast, it rests next to a sweet Liberty print.  Yes, Pink Chalk Fabrics has quite a range of styles.  Jump in by color, style or by designer

Along with my saffron pastry fabric, I also purchased a jelly thimble to try for hand quilting.  Will give you my feedback when I have a go at it.  I know that I need to use a thimble, but I hadn't yet found one that suits me.  There should be like a thimble specialty shop with a really good sample pack so that you can try 8 at a time.  Seriously, thimbles are tricky little fellows.  Anyhoo, you can find jelly finger thimbles, the hera marker (such an accurate way to mark fabrics) and lots of other handy tools on the Pink Chalk Notions page.

Did you expect some fabric eye candy?

Well, I don't want to disappoint.  The Pink Chalk solids stash is no small thing.  You know that Kona solids have a special place in my heart, but I can also appreciate some variety.  (Oh, but she does have the Kona color card in stock, which tends goes fast.)  Today I'm eying the Moda Crossweaves, which have depth and texture.  If I was stashing, I'd take a bundle of those and a bundle of...

Lizzy House's Hello Pilgrim.  This collection keeps whispering to me.  That's probably a sign.

Well, I guess I've probably shown you around pretty well.  Though, come to think of it, you might also want to know that Pink Chalk has a nice magazine section, featuring Fat Quarterly, Ottobre and Stitch Magazine among others, plus Aurifil threads.  So basically, you know, the good stuff.

I'm so glad that there are great modern shops like Pink Chalk Fabrics out there since there really, really, really aren't ones around these parts.  Yes, I do buy all of my fabrics Online.  I've been asked, "But where do you shop, Rachel?" and the answer is... with my sponsors.  Like, literally.  I shop with them; I support them and they support me, as well as the online sewing community as a whole.  It's a little magic circle of fabric love.

Join us?

Well, at least join us for a giveaway!  Kathy is gifting a $25 gift certificate to FOUR lucky readers.  Add your comment to have at it!

*****Comments Closed******
And our winners are Lisa E, Katie (Needle and Fred), Alisa (Making More with Less) and Melinda (Tilda's Twisted Life).  I'm emailing you now!
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