Wednesday, July 30, 2014

No WIP Wednesday Today

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
WIP Wednesday is on summer vacation! WIP Wednesday will be back on August 6. In the meantime, your homework assignment is to write a 5-page essay entitled "What WIPs I Did On My Summer Vacation." I'll be grading them when I return. ;) See you on the the 6th!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sewtopia Chicago

With all the fun modern sewing retreats happening around the nation recently, I was disappointed with the lack of events in my own backyard. I mean, I'm headed all the way to Salt Lake City in November for the Sewtopia retreat that's happening there! Well, I guess my friend Sukie (who is the mastermind behind Sewtopia) heard me complain one too many times, because now we Midwesterners have our own event: Sewtopia Chicago, happening April 16-19, 2015. I can't wait!

If you've never attended a modern sewing weekend like this, you're in for a treat. We modern quilters are so used to connecting online, but there really is no replacement for meeting and bonding in person. And I think Sewtopia Chicago has a great balance of the things modern sewists are looking for in a retreat: Classes with amazing teachers, but without an overly ambitious schedule—there will be plenty of laid-back open sew time as well. There will be swaps and fabric challenges you can participate in that build community, but loads of less formal socializing time too. There will be a shop hop and other organized activities, but you'll also get ample time to explore Chicago on your own.

And the teachers: Latifah Saafir will be teaching a class on curves (which I could sure use some help on), and Rita Hodges from Red Pepper Quilts will be teaching her Kansas Dugout pattern. Rita's coming all the way from Australia to teach! You can't miss that! And it's all happening at the Drake Hotel, a gorgeous hotel on the Magnificent Mile. I'm so in.

Registration for Sewtopia Chicago opens this Friday, August 1, at 10 a.m. Mountain time, 11 a.m. Central. Regular registration is $375, which includes:
• Classes with Latifah and Rita
• A shop hop on Thursday
• An open social on Thursday night
• Breakfast and lunch on Friday and Saturday
• Access to the Sewtopia sewing lounge
• Swaps and challenges (if you choose to participate)

Tickets will go fast on Friday (and there are some early-bird discount tickets!), so hop over to the Sewtopia website for more information. I hope to see you in Chicago in April!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Happy Birthday Olfa!

Ever look at an antique quilt and think, "Dang. That poor lady had to cut out all 6,050 of those pieces with scissors." It's kind of an appalling thought, isn't it? Fortunately, us lucky quilters in this day and age have a little invention called a rotary cutter. And we have Olfa to thank for creating this indispensable tool 35 years ago.

That's right, the mighty rotary cutter turns 35 this year! To celebrate, Olfa has asked a group of quilters (including me!) to make 6-1/2" blocks for a special birthday quilt. I can't think of a single sewing notion that has revolutionized the quilting world more than the rotary cutter, so I was happy to participate.

Our instructions were to make a 6-1/2" block that represented Olfa's 35 years—and to include Olfa's trademark yellow. So I thought, what better fabric line to use for Olfa's birthday block than Sew Yummy by Monica Solorio-Snow and Cloud 9? I mean: Smiley thread bobbins and seam rippers and tomato pincushions. (But no smiley happy rotary cutters? Darn!)

When I think of techniques that have been made easier by rotary cutters, two things come to mind for me—half-square triangles (because trimming), and fussy cutting. So I decided to feature both of those things in my block.

I fussy-cut around Monica's fab circle of pins for the center of the star, and trimmed up some lovely yellow star points using Sew Yummy's tomato pin-cushion blenders. Pretty cute, right? This block is off to Olfa to be included in the birthday quilt!

And while it may be Olfa's birthday, you get the prize! Want to win a rotary cutter and a small cutting mat from Olfa? Just leave a comment (any old comment) on this post. I'll draw a random winner on August 5. Now go cut up some fabric!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

No WIP Wednesday Today

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
WIP Wednesday is on summer vacation! WIP Wednesday will be back on August 6. I expect you to use this time to finish at least 10 WIPs. Totally doable, right? ; ) See you on the 6th!
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