RARE Science works directly with patient families and foundations to find more immediate therapeutic solutions for children with rare diseases. 

This year RARE Science is partnering with TQS (and a number of other great organizations) to bring you... the FIRST Ever Celebrity RARE Bear Auction!  This is your opportunity to own a signed bear made by the quilt world's most talented artists while helping a great cause.

Meet "Rebel For a Cause" by Jamie Fingal

Star Members can watch Jamie in Show 1702: Rebel with a Cause.

Rebel is bold, colorful, and whimsical, just like Jamie. Rebel isn't so much about perfection as she is about having fun in her work. Jamie desiged the fabric and had it printed via Spoonflower just for this project. 

Rebel features Jamie's trademark designs and even has her name "tattooed" on her side. There is a red zipper with aluminum teeth hand sewn on his back, just to remind you who she is.

Jamie says:
"This RARE bear really struck a chord for me personally, because our oldest son was diagnosed with a rare cancer in June of this year. Every time I pulled out a seam or got frustrated with the pattern, I thought of him and his struggle, so I forged ahead to finish the bear.

I dedicate this project to my son, Dan, with love".

She might be a little bit wild, but this "Rebel for a cause" would feel right at home in your studio.

Jamie Fingal is a contemporary quilt maker from Orange, California. She primarily makes whimsical art quilts for the wall. She is also a fabric designer with RJR Fabrics, and the author of Embellished Mini Quilts.  Jamie is one half of the curating team of Dinner at Eight Artists with artist Leslie Tucker Jenison. She has been a guest on Quilting Arts TV and The Quilt Show. She has two DVDs with F&W.


Click here for links to see more Celebrity RARE Bears.



As a person who writes about quilting and quilters, my travels allow me to cross paths with many who cut up fabric and sew it back together. With my home base landlocked by mountain passes in a rural area of Oregon, you would think there would be a limited number of crazy people who cut up fabric and five quilters I haven't met. There are so many quilters in Central Oregon that QuiltWorks in Bend has a monthly gallery show featuring mostly local quilters. The September Featured Quilter is Patti Stewart, whose work is new to me. I loved this show because she does it all...as you enjoy the slide show you'll understand what I mean. Patti doesn't just piece, embroider or appliqué...she is not just a traditionalist or a modern quilter...she seems to enjoy it all!! Such an inspiration!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow


Click here to visit Anna's blog.


On a bluff overlooking the Missour River near Chamberlain, South Dakota, a new statue has been unveiled. It is Dignity, a 50-foot tall stainless steel statue by South Dakota artist laureate Dale Lamphere. It depicts a native american woman receiving a star quilt. According to the artist, Dignity honors the culture of the Lakota and Dakota peoples who are indigenous to South Dakota. The statue was the gift of Norm and Eunabel McKie of Rapid City, South Dakota in honor of the 125th anniversary of South Dakota statehood.

You can see the statue below. Wouldn't you love to have one of the quilts that the participants are wearing?

Click on the photo to watch a video of the unveiling.

(video: ksfy.com)

(photo: sdpb.org)


Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave transforms paper into elegant dresses that look as if they are made of silk, velvet or lace. While she discusses some of what it takes to create these clothes, much of her process is a closely guarded secret. Isabelle's latest exhibit recently opened in Sweden:

Renaissance Fashion in Paper - The Medici Family Outside the Frame

Now on exhibit at The Royal Armoury, the oldest museum in Sweden. Click here fore more information.

From the Museum:

15 September 2016 – 19 March 2017

Impressive costumes, opulent creations, extravagant forms and strong colours. Lace, frills, trains, rosettes and flounces. A Renaissance collection – inspired by the most powerful Renaissance family, the Medicis. The collection has been entirely made of paper by the Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave. Now her most extravagant collection is being presented in the Royal Armoury in the Royal Palace, for the first time in both Sweden and Scandinavia.

This video, from a few years ago, describes just a bit of her process.


RARE Science works directly with patient families and foundations to find more immediate therapeutic solutions for children with rare diseases. 

This year RARE Science is partnering with TQS (and a number of other great organizations) to bring you... the FIRST Ever Celebrity RARE Bear Auction!  This is your opportunity to own a signed bear made by the quilt world's most talented artists while helping a great cause.

Meet "Flower" by Becky Goldsmith of Piece O' Cake Designs

Star Members can watch Becky in Show 1704: Color Challenges and a Quickie Quilt.

Flower is the kind of bear I'd like to find wandering around my garden. I chose yellow fabric because yellow is sunny and cheerful. Her shape reminded me of the 1960’s (why is that?) so I chose daisy and butterfly applique designs to enhance that look. I think she’s a very perky bear and she is ready for big hugs!

With "fur" of a wonderful sunshine yellow and featuring the trademark appliqué of Piece O' Cake designs, this lovely lady would bring joy to any home. Flower even features Becky's hand stitched "autograph".



Becky is an award-winning quilter who travels to teach quilting both nationally and internationally. Her classes are always interesting and informative, with an emphasis on teaching techniques that will help you improve your sewing skills—while keeping it fun.

Making quilts is interesting, fulfilling, and challenging—for all of us! Being a member of the greater quilting community is a bonus that adds to all of our lives. Becky never imagined that being a quilter would become her life’s work, but she’s so happy that it did!


Click here for links to see more Celebrity RARE Bears.




Work tables, whether for cutting, pressing, or other types of tasks, are an integral part of any quilter's studio. But before you run out and spend a bundle on tables, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

  • Optimal cutting table height is 36" unless you are very tall or smaller in stature. This is the same height as most kitchen countertops.
  • When ironing, a table that is about 3" higher than your cutting table is optimal. Ideally the pressing surface should be a few inches below your elbow when standing.
  • You can upcycle furniture, but make certain that they work within the confines of the height that you need.
  • Think about storage under the tables. Don't waste all of that real estate by not including additional storage.
  • Think about hanging small tools (i.e. scissors, rulers, tape measure) on these work tables. This will save you time and you will be more productive.

Just because it is a worktable doesn't mean that it can't be fun. This one is covered in cheery oil cloth.

Cutting Tables:

When it comes to deciding on a cutting table consider these tips from Yesterday's Thimble.

In order to cut out your fabric, you need a large, flat area. It must be big enough to spread out at least a yard of fabric, preferably two yards, and sturdy enough that it will let you pin your patterns and cut them out. What are your options?

  • Some people cut their fabric on the floor, but this is the least practical choice as it will strain your back and bruise your knees.
  • A dining table is slightly better than the floor, but it’s still not ideal unless you have a bar-height table. Most tables are too low, which means you’ll hunch forward as you work. This puts a dangerous strain on your back, neck, and shoulders, and what starts out as a minor discomfort, can turn into a problematic issue given time. There’s also the risk of scratching your dining table with pins or shears.
  • A cutting table is the best option, provided you have the space and can afford one. Look for a professional cutting table, which stands about 36″ high. Depending on your height, this should be the right level for you to work at without straining your back. The table needs to be large, too.
  • Professional cutting tables can be expensive, so keep an eye out for sales.
  • If you can’t afford a cutting table, there are other options. You could repurpose a kitchen island or counter, for example. They’re the right height and—Bonus! You can use the cabinets underneath to hide extra fabric and supplies.

Dani Miller uses a kitchen island. MQG

Use PVC pipe, cut to size, to elevate a folding table to the proper height for you. PinkChalk

Combine a drop leaf table and chest of drawers. CarriedAway

Drop leaf table with storage. Quiltingonthedge

Table with open storage on one side/drawers on other. Alittlebitbiased

Upcycle a set of bunk beds. QuiltedJonquil

Julie Cefalu's cutting table with drawers for storage.CraftyQuilter

Pressing Tables/Boards:

Gone, for most quilters that is, are the days of having a folding ironing board taking up space in our sewing area  But that doesn't mean that the vintage piece you are about to toss out can't be used around your home. Be the envy of visitors by subtly letting them know you are a sewist by incorporating an ironing board into your decor.  If you are lucky enough to have a vintage wooden one...even better.  Check out these clever ideas here.

Now, let's get back to the topic at hand. When it comes to a pressing, there are several things to keep in mind. The type of pressing you are doing when it comes to quilting will determine the surface needed.   

         1. Setting seams locks in stitches
         2. Pressing seams open, especially when large numbers (6 or more seams) come together
         3. Pressing when bias edges are involved
         1. Pressing an appliqué or
         2. Pressing a piece of embroidery such as redwork

Ideally you want the largest pressing surface that will fit into your sewing space comfortably. Building your own is not that difficult.  Most Hardware stores can cut wood to size.  Add a few other tools, and you can make your own custom-sized (why not several?) pressing board to fit your needs.

Sharon Schamber shows you how to make a customized perfect pressing surface. SewMuchLikeMom

Build your own pressing/cutting station using a sturdy bookcase. BuzzinBumble

Another upcycled dresser. Removing the doors offers easy access to stored items. Jmquilts

Pressing station on industrial shelving with room for neatly folded fabrics. Tallgrassprairie

Don't have a lot of space? Consider adding a pull-out ironing surface. ChoiceWD

How about a pressing station that fits on a drawer? Mamajamma

A TV tray ironing table is great for pressing small items and workshops or retreats. Cleverlittlemouse

Just joined our year of organizing?  Click here for other TQS Organization blogs.


We love how there's a fussy cut print in the center of this block. What do you think it is called? Play the game to find out.



RARE Science works directly with patient families and foundations to find more immediate therapeutic solutions for children with rare diseases. 

This year RARE Science is partnering with TQS (and a number of other great organizations) to bring you... the FIRST Ever Celebrity RARE Bear Auction!  This is your opportunity to own a signed bear made by the quilt world's most talented artists while helping a great cause.

  • Every day for the next few weeks as we lead up to the Auction we are revealing an adorable new Celebrity bear for you to admire.
  • Bears will be on display at Houston in the RARE Science booth. Can't make it to Houston, not a problem.  You can bid on your favorite bear via the online auction.
  • Not interested in the auction, that's ok.  But, we would love for you to vote for your favorites when the time comes.  More about that later
  • But wait, there's more...Have you heard about the Beary RARE Affair?  Stuff a RARE Bear for a RARE kid, Meet Celebrity Quilters and get a chance to win a Simply Red BERNINA and many other gifts!


Meet "Artist On The Go" by Sue Bleiweiss

Sue's bear is ready for her next outing. This smart girl is wearing a jacket and hat in case of inclement weather.  She has also brought along a backpack filled with supplies should she be hit by the need to create.


Artist On The Go was constructed with Sue's hand dyed 100% cotton fabric, the only exception being the denim for the jacket. She even comes with her own handmade blank sketchbook and a custom made backpack filled with a set of colored pencils, Sue's Coloring Book Fabric Collage DVD, a copy of Easy Fabric Dyeing: solids & tone on tone prints book, a package of Mistyfuse, a mini Goddess pressing sheet and seven of her hand-dyed cotton fat quarters.

Star Members can watch Sue in Show 1608: Creating Unique Collage Quilts & Quilts with Meaning (along with Thomas Knauer)


Click here for links to see more Celebrity RARE Bears.

It's one of the oldest patterns around and LUKE Haynes has put his own spin on it. See how LUKE makes a log cabin quilt.
Star Members can watch LUKE in Show 1102: Super Quilts from Salvaged Duds.


Celebrity RARE Bear Silent Auction

November 2nd, 5pm through 6th, 12pm


A special one of a kind opportunity to bid and win Celebrity RARE Bears made by the hands of Celebrity quilters!  These one of a kind collector bears were made from 23 celebrities that put heart and soul into making a one of kind RARE Bear representing their style and personality.  All proceeds will go toward RARE Science RARE Bear Program and Research Programs that accelerate finding therapeutic solutions for the 200 Million kids that are undiagnosed or have a rare disease.

Our RARE Bear Program is made up of 700 RARE Bear Makers around the world (we span 9 countries and 45 states in the US) that we call the RARE Bear Army.  These dedicated volunteers sew each bear, and mail them to us unstuffed.  At our headquarters, we have more volunteers that fill the bears with soft stuffing, and then sew the seams shut, along with packing and shipping the bears to children around the world!  For each of the amazing RARE Bear makers, we send a picture of the child with their gifted bear that they made back to the maker. We hope you consider joining the RARE Bear Army!


How To Join the Silent Auction and Win a Celebrity RARE Bear

To See the Celebrity Bears

  • All Celebrity Bears will be located in the RARE Science Booth at the International Quilt Festival November 2 – 6 in Houston, Texas.
  • However, you do not have to be present to bid or see the bears as we are using an easy to use online auction site.

To See and Bid on a Celebrity RARE Bears

  • Click here to access the Celebrity Bear Auction or go to https://www.charityauctionstoday.com - select Charity Auctions at the top of the page and enter RARE Science in the search box through a computer or smart phone.  If you need help come by the RARE Science booth at the festival and we can help you register to bid.
  • Once you locate the auction, you will be asked to register for the auction by creating a bidder account using a credit card. Your credit card is safely stored in an encrypted environment. Your credit card will only be charged if you win auction items. You are now ready to start bidding!
  • The Charity Auctions Today platform sends two types of out-bid notifications. We send out bid notices by Email and by SMS Text Message. You will find the opt-in/out option on the Bidder Profile page.  
  •  Email – This is sent by default to the email address used when registering.
  •  Text – To receive a text message out bid notification please opt-in to receive text messages when you register. If you did not opt-in during registration, you can out-in/out at anytime from inside your bidder account.
  • When you win an auction item, we will notify you by email for each item you won. Shortly after the winning notification email, you will receive a second email that will contain a link to view your invoice. When you click the link within the email, it will bring you to your bidder account. From there you can view the invoice and the item you have won!

For Assistance in getting more information and help bidding, email us at rarecelebbear@gmail.comcall (619) 414-1234 or visit our booth


RARE Science accelerates finding therapies for kids with rare disease by empowering patient families/foundations with tools that help with community awareness and patient outreach through our RARE Bear Program.  We also drive research by pooling knowledge and providing research tools for specific diseases so we can understand the biology that is responsible for the observable traits of rare disease.  This helps identify therapies that may help in the more immediate.   We unite patient families, clinicians and researchers across the globe to accelerate finding cures for the most vulnerable patients, our children! For more information, please see our website www.rarescience.org.

RARE Science, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is qualified under Section 170 of the Internal Revenue Service Code to receive gifts, grants, & contributions which are deductible for federal income tax purposes


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