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Embracing Gray.

That’s certainly what I did with this quilt, so that’s what I’m calling it.  It’s on our bed and staying there!  I love it and so does my husband.  Not girly at all this one… I really like the simple graphic nature of this quilt. I offset the columns a bit giving it an asymmetry that I’m loving.

Embracing Gray

The fabrics? Konas Medium Gray, Coal, Charcoal, and the RK Gray Quilters Linen (which I LOVE by the way) are all in there.  The background is Kona Ash.  And then the yellow is a Kona as well – it’s Butterscotch.  The one patterned fabric is a Heather Baily print.

Embracing Gray

I pieced together a back with the remaining fabric.

Embracing Gray - Back

It’s already being enjoyed by everyone!

Embracing Gray being enjoyed

As a side note – thanks for all of your comments on straight line quilting. It’s clearly a topic that a lot of people are thinking about.  Moving my quilting in different directions is something that I’m eager to do and I feel I might surrender to some long arm classes… I am tiring of stippling, and am not very attracted to many other simple free motion patterns.  Straight lines really appeal to me though and the options are endless, but impossible to achieve well on my machine.  I’m all about making quilts at home from start to finish, but at a certain point there are limitations… I just know the second I go and try long arming one of my quilts I’ll be ruined and never want to quilt a quilt on my home machine again.  What to do? Oh the trials and tribulations of a quilting obsession!

A couple of bee blocks.

With months flying by, my bee commitments have gone down from an insane five bees to a manageable two.  I’ll admit that it’s much more enjoyable to be a part of a bee when you remember which bee and person the block you’re making is for! These are both for Bee Imaginative.

For Kate:


And for Elizabeth:


I’ve always encouraged people to quilt their big quilts in their little machines because it CAN be done. But I find it significantly easier to stipple a big quilt than straight line quilt it. You can work your way through the quilt in a more manageable way.  Do you agree?  I’m only talking about BIG quilts here…


This one is huge.  Huge. The goal was 95″ x 100″ but my 90″ batting ended up not being quite wide enough so it will end up being about 92″ x 100″ (don’t you love that a quilt will still fit your bed if you chop three inches off??).

I wanted to straight line quilt it.  I wanted to do horizontal straight lines, every 3/4″ to 1″ over the whole thing.  But my machine is limiting me.  For the first time in my quilting life, I am consciously aware that my machine can’t do what I want it to.

I simply can’t straight line quilt a quilt this big for two reasons. 1) my machine will pull at the layers (even with the walking foot) and inevitably it won’t look as clean as I want it to and 2) that’s a whole lotta quilt to fit through the throat of my machine.  I find it possible with stippling in that you can shove and push and maneuver the quilt as you please – but with straight line quilting it all has to feed through in one straight motion.

So – to any of you avid straight line quilters out there – are there secrets I don’t know about?  My thinking is that it’s just probably way past time for me to upgrade on my machine, huh? Oh Janome Horizon – how I love you and covet you.

Action Kivu Fundraiser Wrap Up!

Well honestly everyone, words can’t quite say it… so I will let the numbers do the talking:


That’s how much money we raised for Action Kivu!  $7500 for the sewing workshop and the rest to help Congolese children go to school.  Can you believe what we can do when we all join together to help?  I am overwhelmed with happiness and emotion about it.  You have all proven to me, yet again, just how compassionate and generous this amazing online sewing community is.

An enormous thank you to each and every one of you who donated or helped by blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting, telling your friends and just generally spreading the word.  It was all of us working together that made this such a success!

Because it has gone so well and the needs in eastern Congo are so great, I’ve decided that I’ll be holding this fundraiser annually.  Can you commit right now to giving again next year?  I do hope so.   Perhaps you read this news report last week about the recent mass rapes.  Every day there are more women and children who need the help we can provide.  So we will do this again in August 2011!

In the meantime know that Action Kivu is ALWAYS in need of donations. They are a tiny organization that does not have any large funders or donors.   They always need any help you can give, at any time you can give it. If this organization struck a chord in you, consider setting up a regular monthly donation.  Perhaps you’d like to organize a bake sale, a charity quilt, or whatever you can think of – any sort of fundraising helps.

From here, know that I’ll be posting photos on my blog of the results of our amazing fundraising! We will see the sewing machines, the new location for the sewing workshop and the benefits of the money we’ve raised here together.  Again, thank you all so so much for your amazingly generous donations!!

Photo by Candice Knezevic/The Enough ProjectPhoto by Candice Knezevic/The Enough Project

And the fundraiser fabric pack winners??   The Heather Ross fat quarter pack goes to Larri Manos, the Colorwheel bundle to Stephanie Wood, and the Flea Market Fancy pack winner is Sheridan Powell!  Congrats to the winners and one more thank you to each and every one of you who gave!

The fabric giveaways are now closed but Action Kivu is always in need of donations.  Please read about Action Kivu, below and give what you can.

Hello everyone! It’s an exciting day.

Today is the first fifth day of a week long fundraiser that I’m hosting right here on my blog.  I’ll get to the serious stuff but let me just start by telling you that there are amazing fabric giveaways involved! Really and truly amazing.  Ok, on to the tough stuff…

This is a fundraiser for Action Kivu, an organization in eastern Congo that runs a sewing workshop for victims of the conflict there. The conflict in Congo has taken the lives of over 5.4 million people since 1998. Rape is used as a weapon of war, with estimates putting the number of rapes in the hundreds of thousands.

Needless to say, this specific organization, with its link to sewing and women, really strikes a personal chord in me and I suspect, with many of you as well.  Our online sewing community is so blessed to be able to pursue our love of sewing as a hobby, career, or just for fun, but for these women, learning to sew is life changing and gives them hope for their futures.

The Action Kivu sewing workshop of course costs money to run and they need supplies – sewing machines and more.  I am launching this fundraiser to raise the money for their supplies (and Action Kivu’s other activities should we raise over $7500) and I hope that you’ll join me by giving what you can.  All donations are tax deductible.

This is not lighthearted stuff and it is difficult to face, but we’re in a real position to help these sewing sisters so please do take the time to watch this 5 minute video and donate.   After you watch the video, scroll down to learn the details of the fabric giveaways that you could win if you give!

My goal, $7500 $10,000 (you’re so generous it had to go up!), will make an enormous difference.  See that thermometer up on my side bar? (Please click through if you’re reading this through a reader.)  Let’s make it grow all week long!!

$10000 is just 400 people giving $25 each!  Please decide to be one of those 400.

The original $7500 raised will go to the Sewing Workshop for their supplies.  Money raised in addition to that will go to Action Kivu’s other activities.  Along with running the Sewing Workshop, Action Kivu also pays for vulnerable children to go to school.  This money we are raising will help so many women and children!

Over and over I have personally experienced the amazing generosity and kindness that exists in our community.  Let’s all join together in that spirit to help these women to learn to sew and start a new life.

And so that fabric I mentioned? Here’s the deal – if you give, you qualify to win these amazing giveaways!

Give $25.00 and you’re in the running to win 8 fat quarters of out of print Heather Ross fabrics!  VW Buses and all!

Thanks to Ashley from Film in the Fridge for help with putting this pack together.

Give $50.00 and you can win 96 fat eighths in this amazing color wheel assortment!  No I’m not kidding – NINETY SIX!  Half solids and half patterned fabrics.  Think of all the amazing projects you could use this fabric for.

Generously donated by Elizabeth of Oh, Fransson!

But it doesn’t end there…

Give $75.00 and you are entered to win fat eighths of the ENTIRE line of Flea Market Fancy. We’re talking 45 fat eighths!

Generously donated by Jacquie from Tallgrass Prairie Studio. Thanks to Ashley & Heather for help with completing the set!

So please do DONATE!!! And give what you can – if you can give $10, please do. If you can give $500, please do! Click and give so that we can all work together to help these women!

And please help to spread the word about this fundraiser! Tell your friends or blog about it – let’s all join together and really make a difference!

Many more details in the case that you’d like to know them:

You’re probably wondering how I got involved. My twin sister, Cate, is working with Action Kivu. Action Kivu provides some of the eastern Congo’s victims of violence with the opportunity to rebuild their lives on a foundation of hope, dignity, and economic self-sustenance. Their approach is spearheaded through two programs. First, they run a sewing workshop that teaches women who are victims of the conflict to sew. This leads them to be able to support themselves and their families. Secondly, they pay for children to go to school which is not free in Congo. It costs $40 a year, per child. That’s very little money that makes a big impact.

If you are wondering why we can’t just donate our old sewing machines, there are a few reasons. First, getting supplies to eastern Congo is no simple task and would cost more than the value of the goods. Secondly they need very specific things. For example, they don’t always have power so they need trundle sewing machines. Lastly, it’s best that they buy the supplies there, putting the money into the local economy. You can imagine that buying a sewing machine helps not only the woman who sews with it, but the person they buy it from and the money trickles down from there.

Action Kivu is run in eastern Congo by a Congolese man, Amani Matabaro (who you saw in the video), who Cate knows personally and who is amazingly passionate and committed to his cause of helping women and children in his country. As an orphan who lost his parents in the conflict, he was driven to try to do something to help. He currently works as an interpreter for the UN and runs Action Kivu in all of his spare time. Amani has specifically asked for these things – we will not be throwing this money into the wind, not knowing where it’s going. Through photos and emails with Amani we will be able to see the immediate and concrete results of our fundraising.

If you’d like, you can learn more about the conflict, here.

Any other questions? Just drop me an email or comment and I will happily answer them for you!

Action Kivu is always taking donations but entries into the giveaways close on Sunday, 8/29 12:00 am EST.