You are Invited!

September 16th, 2019

Hello Friends!

I’m just writing to remind you that there are three big events that will round out my teaching year. You are invited to join me. Let’s share some quality classroom time together.

October 7-11, I will be teaching at Madeline Island School of the Arts, on one of the Apostle Islands in scenic northern Wisconsin. This is one of my favorite venues! You will be rubbing elbows with other creative types while enjoying concentrated work time in their airy and bright studios. My workshop this year is “Shape Shifting”. This is a wonderful way to play with some favorite motifs while learning my technique of collage art appliqué. Great company, stimulating conversations and fabulous scenery guaranteed.

The next exciting venue is the International Quilt Festival in Houston,October 28 – November 3. You have aways wanted to go, right? Well, go for it!! I am doing a handful of one day classes there along with many other talented teachers. This is an event you will never forget!

And finally, my absolute favorite way to wrap up the teaching year is a week at the idyllic Hudson Valley Fiber Art Workshop, December 1-7 for the Abstracting from Nature class. With Christmas holidays just around the corner, this “Courier and Ives” victorian setting is magical. The meals are excellent and the company is superb. The classroom is in the coachhouse which inspires camaraderie and exploration. Plus their homemade holiday chocolate business is in full swing and just the aroma will lift your spirits. I would love to share this special time and place with you.

leaps and bounds

May 24th, 2019

Good day! There is much to report from the Sassaman Studio this week. Lots of intermittent sunshine and showers have made for extreme greens and optimism all around! I have tried to harness this spring energy to launch several new products and projects.

The web store has some more exciting new entries! I have been selling my Sew Sassy thread in class for a while, but now it is also available on my website! Hooray!! I have bundled them into two economical sets of 33 spools each, Prime Colors (brights) and Sublime Colors (rich and deep).

Superior’s Sew Sassy is a creative quilter’s dream thread. It is a two fisted 12 weight topstitching thread for dramatic sewing results. Sew Sassy is a great thread choice for projects where you want the stitching to be very visible. Use Sew Sassy for big stitch quilting to give your larger hand quilting stitches a bold look. Sew Sassy is a popular thread for Redwork or hand embroidery. The thick stitches provide the heirloom look of old-fashioned hand embroidery designs. In the machine Sew Sassy can be used in the top with a Topstitch 100/16 needle for quilting or decorative stitching (use either a 40 wt. or 50 wt. thread in the bobbin). And don’t forget Sew Sassy for your needle punch projects too.

12 wt./3-ply Spun Polyester thread.

Superior’s Recommended Needle and Tension Settings:

Home Machines: Topstitch #100/16. Set tension to 2.0

Longarm Machines: #21 (MR 5.0). Reduce tension as necessary.

I recommend a 4-5 stitch length.

I have also added some new limited edition Art Prints derived from my favorite FreeSpirit fabric designs. I think of my fabrics as “art by the yard”. Unfortunately, the fabric always disappears too quickly!! So prints are a wonderful way to enjoy the designs everyday. The new large archival prints are on lovely 13” X 19” rag paper, numbered and signed by hand. The printed image is 10” X 16”. Perfect for framing.

Thanks to all of you who keep in touch via Instagram and Facebook, too! My next post will cover the step by step process of several new quilts. Stay tuned.

Fresh Produce

May 8th, 2019

After a productive winter hibernation, I am sprouting some new products this spring!

The much requested Cactus Parade pattern is finally available!! I have designed the pattern to be fused, so it is easy for everyone. But any adventurous quilter can interpret it into hand turned or wool appliqué to suit their own style. It is 14.5” X 48”, so it would make a terrific table runner or an awesome wall quilt. Bring in some sunshine with Cactus Parade.

I have also added a new set of Simple Silhouette quilt patterns to the store. Wildflowers gracefully portray some of my native spring favorites: Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Trillium, Columbine and Bloodroot. Very Art Nouveau!

Just three pieces of fabric are required: a fancy border fabric, a simple print for the background and a solid color for the silhouette. They as 18” square, individually, but can also be combined together in a larger quilt.

Another recent addition to the store is the Moths & Moons pattern. The three dramatic moths on a simple background can be lively or subdued, depending on the fabrics you choose… sublime hand dyed fabric or exuberant prints. It’s up to you.

And don’t miss the giant SALE on our big SILK scarf!! There are just a few of these limited edition scarves left and at an extraordinary price. Just $35 dollars for a 50” silk scarf. Stock up on gifts or gift one for yourself!

Planting some seeds of inspiration at:

Also visit me on Instagram & Facebook

Freespirit Friday-Folk Art Hearts

January 18th, 2018

It is just a few weeks before St. Valentines Day. This is a holiday which is perfectly situated in the deepest heart of winter for us Midwesterners. This is a time when we need a bit of hand holding, a little encouragement and a big dose of color.

So for this weeks FreeSpirit Friday we are featuring my Simple Silhouette-Folk Art-Bleeding Heart pattern. This series of 18” quilts was designed to showcase your favorite fancy fabrics. 

Our first heart is made with my latest FreeSpirit collection, Folk Tales. The border fabric is called Flowered Coverlet and the background is Indispensable Dots. The solid black silhouette and red heart are FreeSpirit’s Designer Essentials Solids. We used my 12 wt. Sew Sassy threads for quilting (matching 50 wt in the Bobbin). It really adds a zip of electricity.

The next hearts are made from vintage Sassaman fabrics, some of which you may have buried in your stash, too. This one is made with an Early Bird border and again 12wt thread for the quilting. This piece has a nice flowery traditional look.

Finally, we have a heart stitched from the Hot House Garden collection. This piece is actually part of a larger quilt that hangs in my living room. It is definitely a nod to Mexican folk art, which I love.

There is still plenty of time to whip one of these little gems for your Valentine, so sort through your stash and get stitch’n!!

FreeSpirit Friday – Lively Pillowcases

January 12th, 2018

If you have followed this blog over the years, you know that I am a believer in the healing power of pillowcases! There is nothing that can lift your spirit, make you feel prosperous and totally transform a tired bedroom than new pillowcases.

We must have thirty sets of pillowcases in our linen closet, one for every occasion and temperament. Going to bed and waking in the morning is a treat at our house. Even my husband likes to change the sheets so he can pick his favorite cases for the week.

And I have to admit that they are all ironed, as well. I love crisp clean pillows. Ironing the cases is almost as fun as sleeping on them. Ironing pillowcases is restful therapy for me, a colorful time-out to readjust my attitude during stressful times.

This week for FreeSpirit Friday, we have our latest batch of lively cases made with my Folk Tales collection. We chose fabrics with white and blue, always a refreshing color combination and used my “Pint Size” Pillowcase pattern which is designed for beginning stitchers. Each case is made with three coordinating fabrics. We save the contrasting one for the fun flange.

I hope these pillowcases brighten your day and inspire you to add some new color in your life!


Introducing FreeSpirit Friday

January 5th, 2018

This week I am initiating a new blog feature called FreeSpirit Friday. The idea is to share all the awesome projects being made with my FreeSpirit fabrics. So this will be a weekly tour of the wonderful ways to use those “personality” prints to brighten your world.

My current collection FOLK TALES is just arriving at your favorite quilt shops this month and what better way to spend a winter day than fondling colorful fabrics and stitching up something delightful. These new designs celebrate classic textile patterns from around the world.

This week in the midwestern United States we are experiencing severe weather; the wind chill has been -20F degrees for two week running! The landscape is white and quite forbidding, so this colorful project was the perfect antidote!

A cup of tea is the ideal symbol for domestic comfort and hospitality. So today we set the scene for warmth and contentment. I think the rooster fabric, called Kerchief, is a perfect choice for our tea cozy. It is classic country chic. But the details are what make this cozy really fun, specially the quintessential “yo-yo” topped with felt baubles. The zip of striped trim at the base adds some pep, as well.

We could not resist  a striped lining, as well. This pattern is easy to make and suitable for any happy fabric from your stash. It is one of my Pint Size patterns which was designed for beginning stitchers. It would be a nice DIY gift with a stack of fun fabrics for an aspiring seamstress. The treasured teapot, by the way, was a hand painted gift from my nephew many years ago.

We have also made some snappy napkins as supporting characters. They really play well together! FOLK TALES comes in three color ways, although we are focusing on the purple group this week for its sunny stimulation and reassuring cheerfulness. You can see all the color ways on my Home Page.

Stay tuned for another inspiring idea next week on FreeSpirit Friday!


Spring Fever Wearables

August 30th, 2017

The Spring Fever collection is still taking pride of place in the studio these days. This season we decided to try a few designs in different scales. I naturally gravitate to large scale patterns for their drama and their easy applications to quilting. But I also like having some smaller scale designs for projects like garment sewing. So in this blog post you will see a bit of both.

Our first project is this shirtwaist pattern, Vogue Bill Blass #2961. The body of the dress is in the mini version of Queen of the May in the blue color way with accents of Sassy Stripes. In fact, even the pockets are lined with stripes. This summer frock reminds me of favorite Laura Ashley dresses from the early 1980s… pastel, pretty and romantic.

Here you can compare the two different scales side by side. The larger print of Queen of the May, Mexican color way, in a lively tunic top, vintage New Look 6374. The mini version is made into a feminine blouse, Simplicity 5634. They both are very wearable. I love the contrasting striped belt on the left and rounded collar with snappy orange piping on the right.

The comely culottes are made with my Over-the-Top Dots design which graduates from red to yellow, an ideal use for that fabric!

So the choice is yours, but my vote is for a bit of both large and small prints!

Childish Diversions

August 10th, 2017

Today we are feeling a bit childish! Summertime always transports us back to the carefree days of childhood. So we naturally started some projects with kids in mind. Of course, a new baby in the family is also good incentive for stitching up some cute little gifts.

We pulled some happy FreeSpirit Sassaman fabrics from our stash to work with.

This little jumper is a classic! Butterick pattern 5283 is vintage, but you may be able to find it on line. The “mini” version of Queen of the May from the Spring Fever collection makes a very feminine statement. It is delicate, sunny and rather old fashioned. But the geometric pattern of the little blouse makes a nice contemporary contrast. I’m wishing that I had one in my size!

These next tiny togs, New Look pattern 6651, also vintage, use prints from the Scandia collection. This pink and red fabric is called Heart to Heart, very pretty and a bit sassy. This little dress is perfect for your favorite itsy-bitsy Valentine.

This was a fun print to play with, Cardigan from the Scandia line. The pattern has been fussy cut to take advantage of the different parts of the design. The checkered collar and sleeve bands are nice pint-sized details. One of the best things about baby clothes is that they don’t get much wear and they often get handed down from child to child. In years to come these little outfits will bring back lovely memories. Welcome to the planet, little one!

Quilt Progress Report

June 15th, 2017

Hello everyone! It has been a while since I have posted on my blog. It seems that Instagram has become my main social media outlet these days. So for those of you that don’t go that route, I am reposting some process shots of my most recent appliqué quilt project.

When spring comes to the Midwest the natives take a deep breath and buckle their seat belts, because once things start growing they can’t be stopped. In a matter of weeks the bare gray landscape is transformed into a mass of undulating greenness. This quilt is a celebration of that energy of growth and portrays several of my yearly spring favorites, Bloodroot and Trillium.

I started by designing six prototype leaf patterns, each approximately 12” to 14” wide. I picked stacks of green hand dyed cottons (lots of Cherrywood) and some dupioni silks. Each leaf graduates from light colors at the top to dark at the bottom to suggest depth in the shadowy woods.

You can see one of my leaf patterns in the picture below. Each was assembled in sections with a quarter inch underlap built into the design. The parts were Tacky Glued very sparingly to hold them together for easy portability. As I made each leaf I placed it on the table covered with white paper. I like to work flat these days because it is easier and more spontaneous to move the pieces for composing. The stems and flowers here are made of construction paper, just to test out the possibilities.

I almost always make my shapes first without a definite composition in mind. As the shapes begin to interact the composition evolves.

I also like to make contrasting shapes, because contrast creates DRAMA! The spiral represents growth, energy and movement and it is a symbol that I use often. So why not give them a try. I have lots of cardboard spiral templates in my collection and I picked the largest ones in the drawer. Yep! These big round shapes definitely add some energy! You can see that I am toying with some construction paper Trillium and Jack-in-the-Pulpit, too.

Next I laid in a trial background of two dark browns. I chose this color because I always see these plants peeking through a carpet of dark dead oak leaves. And brown seemed richer than black, in this instance. The Trillium are filling in the corner and two spirals have been cut in deep blue fabric. I have also made some sprouts to add to the upward momentum and to supply another contrasting shape. Note the two leaves on the right that will get rejected. They are now in my file of “orphan” shapes and perhaps will appear in a future project.

A purple spiral and more sprouts have been added. The composition is settling in. Now It just needs tweaking and the flowers and stems to be made in fabric.

Here is the final composition, 64″ X 34″. The sprouts have been angled to look more natural. All the spaces are filled and arranged from front to back to give a feeling of depth and layers. This is all laying on a table! How the heck am I going to keep track of all the pieces and then put this thing together? The answer is to make a tracing of the entire composition on large sheets of tracing paper (I use Gold Threads tracing paper on rolls).

Of course, I have a photograph, too. So now can I take the composition apart and put it back together again in sections? I hope so, as it would make my job much easier. I use the photograph to determine the least obtrusive way to dissect the background into smaller workable sections.
Ideally, I want to hide my background joints under my appliqué, so no one can see them. I’m afraid I have created a logistical nightmare. But here is my final working map for the different sections. There will still be lots of layers to keep track of. But I enjoy a good engineering dilemma!!

But before I start work on the sections, I need to do the inner embroidery on all of my appliqué shapes. For this quilt I am using a simple satin stitch to finish all the edges and adjusting the width of the stitch to taper off toward the outer edges. Each shape has it’s own stitching formula… all the Bloodroot leaves are stitches the same way and all the Trillium leaves are done the same, etc. After all the shapes are embroidered, I can begin assembling the sections.

I decide to begin construction in the bottom left corner. Using my tracing as a blueprint, I cut the background to size and back it with interfacing. All my appliqué shapes are already backed with interfacing, too. Then the blue spiral is attached with a matching color straight stitch and then finished with satin stitch, except where other shapes need to be tucked underneath, like the sprouts here. After each shape is attached and finished with embroidery, the fabric behind it is cut away.

Then on to the top left corner with the Trillium. Always using my tracing as a guide, the stems were attached first since they are behind everything else. Then the leaves were stitched down, always working from the background up. “Straight stitch, finish with embroidery and cut away from behind” is the mantra for each shape as it is put in place.

Now the two left sections can be put together.

Here we have the right and left sections shown in relation to each other and the center section still to be made. Followed by the almost completed right side.

After the middle section is completed, all the units can be combined. First the center and left areas are stitched, then the right side is slid into place and stitched. Now it is just the top most details that are waiting to be added and the top will be finished!

But you will have to wait for the next installment because I will be busy teaching and it may be a few weeks before I can get back to my project. But if you would like to join me for a creative and restorative retreat this summer, you can work on your own exciting project! I will be doing 5 day workshops with the wonderful folks at Quilting Adventures at the Jordan Ranch in Schulenburg Texas, July 9 to 13 and the bucolic Madeline Island School of the Arts, La Pointe, Wisconsin, July 31 to August 4. I would LOVE to see you there!

Scandia Star Pattern

March 12th, 2017

This has been a busy week after returning from a fun visit to The Quilter’s Studio  and the Annapolis Quilt Guild. I packed and shipped ten FreeSpirit Quilts, 5 garments and mannequins for  AQS Lancaster Quilt Week in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Of course it had to be on one of the windiest days of the year and the boxes and I could barely get from the car to the door of FedX. Now I am packing supplies for my classes in Lancaster, March 29 – April 1. So my focus has been mostly practical.

But it occurred to me that I have not shared patterns for two of my Scandia quilts. This one is called Scandia Star and is made from one of my favorite Le Moyne Star designs using Jan Krentz’s fast2cut Diamond Ruler. I have made this pattern about a dozen times, see Patchwork Sassaman Style. This patterns just loves symmetrical prints. And it is surprisingly easy to construct, Y-seams on this scale are a piece of cake. Here it is made with the purple Scandia colorway, which has a rich and somewhat subdued pallet for a Sassaman fabric. You can download the Scandia Star pattern here.

The quilt above is called Edelweiss. It makes me think of Scandinavian tile stoves, Swedish flags and yellow Baltic summer houses. Yellow and blue have always been a favorite color combination, very refreshing! This quilt is made of 10″ 45 degree triangles in the blue Scandia colorway. This quilt will be displayed at the Lancaster show, so perhaps you will get to visit it in person. You can download the Edelweiss.pdf pattern here.

Teaching travel ramps up this week. Please check my schedule because I’d love to see you in class!