Action Kivu Fundraiser

5th annual Fundraiser banner


Today is the first FINAL day of the fundraiser, held here on my blog, through this week. The fundraiser will end, and the giveaways will close, on Sunday the 24th of August at 11:59 pm, Pacific time.

For those of you who are new to my blog, here’s what it all comes down to: there are lots of great giveaways involved and together we do a lot of good!

Can you all believe that we’ve been doing this for FIVE YEARS?  Our amazing online sewing community is so, so generous. Let’s get that generosity focused again this year, work together and raise $15,000 for Action Kivu this year!

Action Kivu helps women and children who are victims of the conflict in Eastern Congo. 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.  These are horrible statistics but together, year after year now, we have made a real difference for specific women and children. Here are the stories of just a few. Every year there are more women entering Action Kivu’s programs and more children going to school. We are having a lasting impact on these women and children, so let’s keep helping!

One of the wonderful things that Action Kivu helps finance is a sewing workshop that teaches women to sew. When these women graduate from the workshop, they are given a sewing machine and therefore the means to support themselves and their families.


These women’s lives and families have been transformed by this workshop and it is these dollars, that we raise here, that have helped make that happen.  Our online sewing community is linked to these women, and we can help more of them. Please give today!

The American staff of Action Kivu is 100% volunteer, so all of your donations, minus nominal banking fees, go directly to the work on the ground, empowering and educating the women and children of eastern Congo.

This year we’re also going to focus on spreading the word about the fundraiser via social media more!

Let’s get these hashtags busy: #akfundraiser #sewing #congo #actionkivu

If you follow me on Instagram, I will be posting all week there as well. Please feel free to use and repost/share any of the fundraiser images that I post there. Let’s really get the word out as much as we can and get to our goal of $15,000!

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will answer them there, or you are of course also more than welcome to email me. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Here’s how it works:

In order to be entered to win a giveaway, all that you have to do is give the amount assigned to that prize. Can’t decide which giveaway you want to be in the running for? You can enter more than one! Just donate the dollar amount associated with a prize and you’ve got a chance to win it. However, you can only enter each giveaway once.

So let’s get to the giveaways!

$15 Donation:

SchoolofSewing Give just $15 and be entered to win the not yet released new book School of Sewing by Shea Henderson. If you win it, you’ll get this book a month before it’s out to the public! You’ll also win the latest Empty Bobbin Sewing Studio pattern! Shea was so kind to donate this prize to the fundraiser!


$20 Donation:                                                                                                                                                    

Pillow Give $20 and be entered to win a custom version of this pillow, made by me! You’ll tell me the colors of your choice, and I’ll make it for you and ship it straight to your home where it will look fantastic on your couch!


$22 Donation:

dear-stella-zig-zag-20-fat-quarters Give $22 and be entered to win twenty beautiful Dear Stella Zig Zig fat quarters! Everyone needs this addition to their stash. This fantastic bundle was generously donated by Andres Rosales.


$25 Donation:                                                                                                                                                              SMSbooksGive $25 and be entered to win all six of these fantastic kids’ sewing books! Sew, Mama, Sew! was kind enough to give these to the fundraiser.



$30 Donation:                                                                                                                                                             &Card

Sew Modern donated a fantastic prize for you fabric lovers! Give $30 and you could win this wonderful fat quarter pack of Cotton & Steel AND a $50 gift certificate to Sew Modern!



$33 Donation:

Give $33 (yes, there are so many prizes we need to use amounts like $33!) and be entered to win a colorful Aurifil thread pack! Generously donated by Aurifil.


$35 Donation:                                                                                                                                                             IMG_2628

Give $35 to win this amazing prize package donated by the wonderful Denyse Schmidt! A big ol’ scrap pack, a jelly roll of Ansonia, a charm pack of Hadley, four patterns, and a stationary set. This is one fantastic addition to your Denyse Schmidt stash! C’mon… I know you have one!



$45 Donation:                                                                                                                                                              Action Kivu Auction Prize

Give $45 to win two of Elizabeth Hartman‘s fantastic patterns, Aviatrix Medallion and Fancy Fox, and a big ol’ beautiful Kona Cotton fat quarter pack! All graciously donated by Elizabeth.



$50 Donation:                                                                                                                                                              AMH

The always delightful Anna Maria Horner has donated an amazing prize! A $100 gift card to anything in her shop!! Fabric, patterns, gorgeous embroidery goods, kits, ribbon…the list of what you can snatch up is long! Give just $50 to be entered to win this wonderful prize.



$55 Donation:                                                                                                                                                             Liberty 10 Yard Bundle

TEN YARDS of Liberty of London fabric!! This prize would retail for over $300 and you can win it if you give just $55!! What a steal AND you’re giving to a great cause! This prize was kindly donated by Massdrop.



$60 Donation:                                                                                                                                                             
PillowsGive $60 and you’ll be entered to win a pair of custom pillows that I will make for you! You’ll let me know what colors would look the best in your lovely living room, (you can see a bunch I’ve made here) I’ll sew them up and then send them your way!



$75 Donation:                                                                                                                                                             140-Janome-MY-Style

For the second year in a row, Janome has been so generous and has donated a sewing machine to the fundraiser! Give $75 and it could be yours! Been thinking that you need a sewing machine in your life? I agree, you definitely DO and this could be the machine! (Or maybe you need another machine??) Give just $75 and you will be in the running to win this fantastic Janome MyStyle 100 machine! And all for a great cause!



$100 Donation:                                                                                                                                                              Supernova by Jacquie Gering
The wonderful Jacquie Gering of Tallgrass Prairie Studio has donated this beautiful quilt, called Radiate, to the fundraiser! If you give $100 or more, you’ll be entered to win this gorgeous 55″ x 55″ lap quilt.



Once again, any questions at all, just comment and I’ll reply there or you are always welcome to email me. Thank you so much for giving to the Action Kivu fundraiser!!

New look!

Maybe you noticed that I’ve changed things up a little bit around here? A new domain, a new look – it was time for an update. So take a peek around and let me know if you run into any problems!

Meanwhile, since I never like to post without photos, here are a few Instagram photos (are you following me yet? I’m there so much more than here!) of some works in progress I’ve got going on. Not a ton these days as I’ve been very busy with so many other things… But I have some good starts!

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First up? A couple of experiments that will turn into some pillow sleeves!


And a quilt top that uses up a bunch of my 1″ gray scraps. (I have so many around after making this quilt!)


And the latest thing on my design wall – one big quick improv block to make a baby girl quilt. I love working this way… just snatching up what I have around to create something on the fly.

Now to find the time to get some of these things finished up!

Also, a quick heads up that a week from today, on August 18th, the Action Kivu Fundraiser will be launching again. One week of prizes and fundraising all for a fantastic cause! Can’t wait to see you back here then!

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Lucky Spool’s Essential Guild to Modern Quilt Making!

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What a great book this is. I was thrilled to be a part of it. It’s made up of 10 different chapters that each take you through a building block of modern quilting. The book covers everything from color to quilting. My sister (who doesn’t quilt at all) was flipping through it and said “wow – this is the book to get someone who’s interested in modern quilting…There so much information in here.” She’s so right – the book is packed with info and tips from all of your favorite modern quilters.

Each chapter focuses in on teaching a specific topic and includes a quilt pattern that highlights that discussed topic.

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I wrote the chapter on working with solids…

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…and this is the quilt that is a pattern for my chapter.


I love this quilt. Right in my comfort zone of lots of neutrals (grays and navy and the linen here) with a pop of orange.


And lots and lots of straight line quilting of course! There’s a page of tips on that topic in my chapter of the book as well.

And guess what? If you want to pick up the book, you can get it for 20% off in the Taunton store with the coupon code EGQM20. The discount is good for your entire purchase through July 27.

Want to read along on the rest of the tour? Here are the details:

Check out this amazing list of who is in the book and their chapters. Here is the blog tour schedule:

6/23 // Chapter 1: Principles of Color // Teacher: Kari Vojtechovsky

6/24 // Chapter 2: Working with Solids // Teacher: Alissa Haight Carlton

6/25 // Chapter 3: Working with Prints // Teacher: Dan Rouse

6/26 // Chapter 4: Improvisational Patchwork // Teacher: Denyse Schmidt

6/27 // Chapter 5: The Alternate Grid // Teacher: Jacquie Gering

6/30 // Chapter 6: Circles and Curves // Teacher: Cheryl Arkison

7/01 // Chapter 7: Paper Piecing // Teacher: Penny Layman

7/02 // Chapter 8: Large-Scale Piecing // Teacher: Heather Jones

7/03 // Chapter 9: Modern Machine Quilting // Teacher: Angela Walters

7/04 // Chapter 10: A Study of Modern Quilts // Teacher: Heather Grant

Pillow Pattern!

As promised I’ve put together the pattern for the pillows that I made at the end of last year… No excuses for how long it’s taken me… I’m a busy lady!

Obviously you can put these together in any number of color choices and options.  I’ve made a pretty big variety:


In terms of fabric selecting, all I would suggest is that if you use a print have it be very small scale as the pattern of the design develops through the piecing and a loud print might detract from the overall look. I designed this pattern with solids in mind, so think of that when you pick your fabrics.

Materials needed:

Makes one 20″ pillow.

These quantities assume that you will be using three different fabrics.  One for the background and one for each set of the lines.  Since the design is made with a lot of 1.5″ wide strips, scraps are great for this and you can feel free to mix and match any number of different colors and fabrics.

– Fabric A – Dark Gray (background): 15″ x WOF (width of fabric) strip
– Fabric B – Light Gray: 4.5″ x WOF strip
– Fabric C – Yellow : 3″ x WOF strip

Pillow back fabric:
– Two 20″ x 13″ rectangles of the fabric of your choice.  I tend to use the background fabric to carry it through the design of the whole pillow.
– One 20″ x 2.5″  strip for binding the exposed raw edge.

Scrap fabric for the inside of the pillow:
-Two 22″ x 15″ rectangles
-One 22″ x 22″ square

-Two 22″ x 15″ rectangles
-One 22″ x 22″ square

One 20″ pillow form


Fabric A:


1. First cut your A15 triangle, measuring 15″ up the right side of your fabric and cutting along the diagonal to the lower left piece of your 15″ x WOF strip.

2. Use the remainder of your fabric and the diagram above to get all of your A pieces out of your 15″ x WOF strip.
A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, and A6 = 1.5″ x 10″
A7 = 1.5″ x 11″
A8 = 1.5″ x 15″
A9 = 1.5″ x 18″
A10, A11, and A12 = 1.5″ x 21″
A13 = 1.5″ x 1.5″
A14 = 4.5″ x 4.5″
A15 = Right triangle with both straight edges measuring 15″ long
A16 = Right triangle with both straight edges measuring 5″ long.

Fabrics B & C:
3. Cut 1.5″ wide WOF strips out of all of your fabric and trim down to the following sizes:

B1 = 1.5″ x 7″
B2 = 1.5″ x 11″
B3 = 1.5″ x 15″
B4 = 1.5″ x 18″
B5 , B6 and B7 = 1.5″ x 21″

C1, C2, C3, C4, C5 and C6 = 1.5″ x 10″
C7 = 1.5″ x 8″


This pattern is basically a quarter log cabin.  It can get a touch confusing because two colors are assembled before you build the log cabin,  but it’s simple!

Piece with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

4. Assemble the center as shown below.  First sew A13  to B1. Then add on A14. Finish by adding C7 to your piecing.


Now you’ll assemble all of your strips in to panels before sewing them on to the center.

5. Start by assembling A1 with C1.

6. Continue making “yellow panels” by assembling A2 with C2, A3 with C3, A4 with C4, A5 with C5, and A6 with C6.  Since all of the yellow panels are the same size, you don’t need to label them.

7. Assemble A7 with B2 – label as A7/B2

8. Assemble A8 with B3 – label as A8/B3

9. Assemble A9 with B4 – label as A9/B4

10. Assemble A10 with B5 – label as A10/B5

11. Assemble A11 with B6 – label as A11/B6

12. Assemble A12 with B7 – label as A12/B7

13. Now it’s time to start building the quarter log cabin on the center you already pieced.  Working from side to side, add the piecing from steps 2 through 8 to your piecing as indicated in the diagram below.  Start with A7/B2 and alternate between the yellow panels and the A/B panels.


Please note: If this diagram is too small for you to see clearly, just click through to where it is on flickr since it is bigger there.

14. Now that you’ve built most of the piecing, rotate it and trim it down to 20″ wide and 20″ tall.


Trimming at this point makes it easier to see where your triangles get sewn on. Note that you’ll just barely trim the bottom.  Also, make sure that you have piecing to fill in all of the 20″ wide before you make your first cut.  You don’t want to trim too much off of one side or the other!

15. Next, you’ll sew the two remaining right triangles on to your piecing.  They are intentionally a bit bigger than you need.


16. Finally, square up your piecing to a finished 20″ square.

Finishing the pillow sleeve: 

17. Now you’ll need to layer your fabric, batting and scrap backing fabric and then quilt all three portion of the sleeve.  The front, and the two 20″ x 13″ backing rectangles.  I quilted these pillows with lots of dense straight line quilt ’cause that’s my thing, but of course you can quilt as desired!

18. Once all three portions are quilted, trim off the excess scrap backing fabric and batting so that the front is 20″ square and the two backing pieces are 20″ x 13″.

19. Bind the 20″ length of one of the backing pieces.

20. Layer all three pieces, right sides together (taking care that your bound rectangle edge is what will be on the outside when you turn it all right side out) and pin thoroughly so that they won’t shift as you sew them together.

21. Sew, using a 1/2″ seam allowance, all the way around the outside edge of your layers.

22. You’re in the home stretch! Trim your corners and turn the sleeve right side out and stuff with the 20″ pillow form.  Since the finished sleeve will be about 19″ across, it will create a really full firm pillow.

23. And now the most important step: throw that pillow on your couch and enjoy it!!

Have questions or found a mistake in my pattern? (Totally possible!! Ha!) Let me know in the comments and I will reply as quickly as I can!

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Shimmer blog tour

Today it’s my stop on the Shimmer by Jennifer Sampou for Robert Kaufman Fabrics blog tour! What’s that you say? A blog tour for a fabric line? That’s right!

You all know that I’m not one to use many prints, but I’m always up for the challenge. So when Jennifer Sampou reached out to me about being a part of the tour I said sure!


This line is filled with metallics so it’s very appropriately named! I love the additional interest that the shine gives to the fabrics. I decided to dive in and sew up a quick pillow with them!


First I narrowed down the fabrics to my favs and of course threw in a lot of my beloved solids…



Some piecing and chopping lead me to some triangles. I love to work like this, with no plan in mind and just letting the fabric lead me where it does…

After messing around quite a bit with the options, I decided the orange-y red was wrong and some teal blue was right! I settled on a nice graphic line of the triangles, off set in the blue background.


A ton of straight line quilting later, and the pillow is all finished up!


Look at that Shimmer shimmer!

Do you want to win a charm pack of this fabric line? Just leave me a comment here and I’ll pick a winner on Friday the 11th.

The giveaway is now closed and I have emailed the winner!

And you can also follow along with the rest of the blog tour:

April 1 – Robert Kaufman/Jennifer Sampou
April 2 – Janice Ryan – Better off Thread
April 3 – Me! Today!
April 4 – Julie Herman- JayBird Quilts
April 5 – Natalie Barnes- Beyond the Reef
April 6 – Stash Books
April 7 – Amanda Jean Nyberg- Crazy Mom Quilts
April 8 – Lee Heinrich- Freshly Pieced
April 9 – Cheryl Arkinson- Naptime Quilter
April 10 – Christina Cameli- A Few Scraps
April 11 – Elizabeth Hartman- Oh Fransson!
April 12 – Faith Jones-Fresh Lemon Quilts
April 13 – Gemma Jackson- Pretty Bobbins
April 14 – Katie Blakesley- Swim Bike Quilt
April 15 – Amy Smart – Diary of a Quilter
April 16 – Laura Nownes, Jennifer Rounds, Pati Fried, Darra Williamson – See How We Sew
April 17 – Holly DeGroot- Bijou Lovely
April 18 – Jennifer Sampou – Wrap Up
April 21 – Jennifer Sampou- Announce Winner of Giveaway FQ Pack of entire Shimmer Collection.