Prairie Chic Pillowcases

June 24th, 2015

Hosta Flower

This season is flying by! It’s hard to believe that July 4th is just a week away. There has been so much rain that garden planting has been put on hold and I am crossing my fingers that we will have tomatoes this year.

I have been concentrating on applique in the studio, but my angel, Susan, has been busy whipping up these super summer pillowcases from the Prairie Chic fabrics.

Sassaman Brambles Pillowcase

Here are some cases ” with attitude” for your ultra modern son-in-law. The are using the Triangle Twist and Brambles designs.

Sassaman Wiggles Pillowcases

Sassaman Dandy Pillowcases

These cases have a retro look with Dancing Dandies and Wild Wiggles.

Sassaman Pink Clover PillowcaseSassaman Clover Pillowcases

Here the feeling is a little more rustic with the Field of Clover fabric in two different colorways. As you can see, we have great fun dressing the beds in this house!

New Small Quilts

June 8th, 2015

Peonies

The landscape is lush with Peonies and Irises this week. And the first summer heat is steaming things up after some dark rainy days.

As I mentioned in the last post, I have been yearning to get back to the craftsmanship of art quilting. I seem to be doing way too much piecing (with my FreeSpirit fabrics) and not enough applique. So after seeing Gwen Marston’s exquisite small quilts at Empty Spools Seminars this spring, I have decided to make as many small quilts as possible during the month of June. I’m having a blast with two quilts completed and one ready for stitching so far.

Since I had no special subject in mind when I started, I decided to pull shapes from my “orphan” collection… all the left over pieces from previous quilts that didn’t get used. Then I let the shapes start talking to each other and see where they take me. I love working in this collage technique, as the results are always a surprise.

Sassaman Spring Bud Quilt

Here is the first composition, Spring Bud, which is 14.5″ square. As the shapes fell into place a little bud started to develop. The wavy shapes hopefully imply the energy of growth. I did have to make a couple new pieces to fill out the idea, but basically, this little quilt was sitting in my scrap box just waiting to be discovered.

Sassaman Spring Bud Quilt Detail

Here is a detail of the stitching. The edges were finished with satin stitch on the quilt top. All the other stitching is quilting, including the small zig-zagged squares. All the straight stitching is done with Sew Sassy 12 weight thread by Superior. I love the confidence that the heavy threads supply.

Sassaman Spring Sprouts Quilt

Quilt number two, Spring Sprouts, is 14.5″ wide by 15.5″ tall. I am pleased with this abstract little piece. Obviously I gravitate to very graphic shapes. The power of combining contrasting shapes is quite evident here. The quilting was the icing-on-the-cake, though.

Sassaman Spring Sprouts Quilt Detail

Using some decorative stitches on my BERNINA 880, I quilted the black sprouts with branches and leaves. It was a pleasant surprise to see how this softened and enriched the whole composition. The little leaf motif was also used for quilting the background spaces. Lots of threads to bury, but worth the effort.

I hope these photos give you some inspiration to get into the sewing room and do some stitching and perhaps to sign up for a quilting workshop one day soon!

Madeline Island 1

Madeline Island School of the Arts, Jane Sassaman Workshop, July 13-17, 2015

@BERNINAUSA, #BERNINAUSA, @SuperiorThreads, #SuperiorThreads

New Silk and Cotton Quilts at Madeline Island School of the Arts

May 21st, 2015

Spring Tree

This lingering spring has been a delight. But after a week away from home for the #International Spring Quilt Market I was greeted by plants that where twice the size… including the weeds! I walked the park this morning to exercise and enjoy the cool spring morning. This tree was on my route.

I have enjoyed designing fabric for 15 years, but recently I have been aching  to get back to the fine craftsmanship of art quilting. So I try to steal a bit of time for some quality interaction with my BERNINA, @BERNINAUSA. I am very excited to have the next few weeks to devote to some new quilting ideas.

I have been wanting to incorporate silk in my work for a long time. So during the last year, I have been mixing my beautiful #Cherrywood hand-dyed fabrics with dupioni silks and have been very pleased with the combination. Of course, it is the contrast between the depth of the matte and the glow of the shiny that creates the drama.

Sassaman Feather Quilt

Simple shapes are also very appealing these days. This is a simple abstraction of feather shapes and the colors are reminiscent of peacocks plumes. This quilt really glows and the silk makes the quilting stand out nicely.

Sassaman Feather Quilt

The quilting is done with my favorite two-fisted topstitching thread, Sew Sassy, so the heavy lines of stitching are quite definite. The silk edges are embroidered with rayon thread to extend the shininess and matte cotton satin stitch on the cotton fabrics.

Sassaman Coral Bean Quilt

Here is my second silk and cotton quilt. This is my interpretation of the Coral Bean Pod from the Coral Trees that I was delighted to discovered in California. These silks are a little less shiny, but still very rich and a nice foil for the resonate hand-dyed cotton.

Sassaman Coral Bean Quilt

Here is a detail so you can see all the fun I had putting this piece together! I quilted a blanket stitch around each bean to create a little movement or animation and several passes of black thread to add the depth of a shadow.

My plan is to use this gift of time to make a handful of smaller quilts and try some other ideas that have been percolating in my brain. I will post them here as they evolve. And I will bring them to class at Madeline Island School of the Arts in July!! Hope to see you there!

Madeline Island School of the Arts

Pretty Perfect Pocket Purse Variation

April 10th, 2015

Blood Root Sprouts

Today you would never guess that there was tremendous storm last night. It is sunny with misty clouds scattered about a blue sky. Greg has done a spring burn in the prairie sections of our property, so the sprouts are easy to see as they poke out of hibernation. These are Bloodroot, one of our yearly favorites.

Last week I promised to show you a variation on the Pocket Purse pattern. So here it is.

Sassaman Embroidery Purse

This purse has a very different attitude than the bright hand-embroidered Prairie Chic one. Feminine, elegant and refined would be a good way to describe this new bag. It is embellished with digitized machine embroidery, also inspired by Prairie Chic motifs. These designs come from the HoopSisters Design Embroidery Series: Prairie Chic.

Sassaman Embroidery 4

I took individual motifs from the collection and arranged them to fit the purse pattern right inside the sewing machine. The largest hoops I have for my BERNINA 880 are the Large Oval and the Mega hoop, so I rehooped for each of the 3 groupings. I am getting more confident and adventurous playing with the embroidery module. Of course, having my own designs to play with has doubled my incentive.

Also, since I naturally work in a collage technique with my appliqued art quilts, it feels quite natural to “Ouija” these motifs into new and interesting compositions.

Sassaman Embroidery Purese 2

My BERNINA 880 also has many utilitarian and fancy stitches which I love to explore. I like to use the built-in stitches to enhance my quilts. Embroidery is an easy way to add another layer of interest. But I am always striving to make the application of embroidery look natural and organic, as opposed to stiff and mechanical. Here, I deliberately stitched the design so the pattern doesn’t line up. The embroidery is also repeated on the shoulder strap. And, as always, we have dingle-ball fringe at the bottom… icing on the cake.

Sassaman Embroidery Purse 3

The outer body of the purse is black linen. The inside is lined with one of my favorite vintage FreeSpirit designs, Sprigs from the Sunshine and Shadow collection.

This will be another busy week in the Sassaman studio in preparation for my trip to Huntsville and several impending deadlines. Stay tuned for our next bit of stitching inspiration.

Prairie Chic Pocket Purse

April 6th, 2015

Spring Flower

We are making tiny steps toward the greening of our world everyday. Although the landscape is still pretty beige, there are little points of color peeking through the layers of dead leaves and debris. It is an inspiring time of year!

Sassaman Prairie Chic Bag 1

But, as always, it is a riot of color in the Sassaman studio. Here is one of the latest projects to be made with the current Prairie Chic collection for FreeSpirit. This is also my Pretty Perfect Pocket Purse pattern. We must have made this bag a dozen times with different fabrics and it always turns out beautifully even though the attitude changes. This version definitely has the spirit of FUN about it!

Sassaman Prairie Chic Bag 2

And notice the hand embroidered details… little french knots, running stitches and more. I think this folk art style is perfect for casual use and would be excellent to wear with jeans and an embroidered denim jacket.

Sassaman Prairie Chic Bag 3

Of course, we could not resist adding sassy felt dingle-balls!

Sassaman Prairie Chic Bag 4

The back and strap are made of red denim and hand stitched with Sew Sassy 12 weight threads. This could also be done by machine, depending on your schedule and level of patience. Dingle-balls are also used as the zipper pull.

Sassaman Prairie Chic Bag 5

We used a nice bright lining so it will be easier to find stuff inside. Plus this Wild Wiggles fabric just makes you chuckle and kind of rounds out the whole “happy” concept. Next week we will show you the same pattern made with an entirely different theme and technique, so stay tuned!

Magic Carpet for Spring Sprouts

March 31st, 2015

Magic Carpet Page 1Howdy, everyone. Well, it appears that I am still struggling to come out of my winter hibernation. There are so many new ideas percolating in my brain and I am anxious to have some time to play and experiment. But there seems to be so much to do and so little time to do it! Yes, I need an assistant or some elves to take up some of the cutting, packing, typing and even some basic stitching. Anyone interested?

On the brighter side, I think the snow has finished and we are on to the next phase. Now the energy and color of Spring is just beginning. Here in the Midwest we are preparing for the inevitable surge of growth that will soon dominate our days. So I have chosen this colorful project to get us in a blooming mood.

This garden fresh quilt is a made from the Prairie Chic collection for FreeSpirit. Each of the three colorways in this line have a distinctly different temperament. These fabrics are from the Cardinal colorway, bright and spirited. The quilt design is based on a traditional log cabin block, except in this case one block makes the whole top. We are letting the fabric do the work, a necessity when you are using “personality” prints. Here is a Prairie Chic Magic Carpet diagram with yardage that you can print. Remember that all the measurements are finished sizes, so don’t forget to add your seam allowance. For quilting basics and guidance for making other simple quilts with big prints check out Patchwork Sassaman Style. Enjoy!

Blue is today’s theme!

March 11th, 2015

Blue Egg Head

Today we have a blue theme in honor of this beautiful day! The temperature is finally rising and it’s heading toward spring. The squirrels have been racing around and the cats are actually anxious to go outside. Spring is in the air and some ambitious critter has laid this enormous egg in the Blue Muse’s nest!! I wonder what will hatch and when it will happen. Maybe it will be something BLUE!

Barn Raising Quilt

So today I am posting two blue quilts made with the Prairie Chic fabric for FreeSpirit. The Barn Raising pattern has always been a favorite traditional quilt pattern of mine. It is so graphic and dramatic that I have done it many times with many different fabric lines. Take a peek in Patchwork Sassaman Style to see them. In fact, that book will walk you through the steps for making this quilt. Here is also a Prairie Chic – Barn Raising diagram with measurements and yardage. All the measurements are finished dimensions, so don’t forget to add your extra seam allowance. I chose some simple prints from the line to keep the quilt as uncomplicated and clean as possible.

Monkey Puzzle Quilt

Here is another favorite quilt block, Monkey Puzzle or Churn Dash. It is a perfect design for a beginning quilter to learn the basics. But it is also the simplicity that makes this pattern so striking. I have also mixed some Designer Solids with the very usable triangle print. The quilting is done with my two-fisted 12 weight top-stitching thread, Sew Sassy from Superior. It really adds another layer of interest to the composition. You can also download a diagram for this Prairie Chic – Monkey Puzzle. Again, don’t forget to add your seam allowance to the finished dimensions.

There are more Prairie Chic quilts to share soon, so stay tuned.

Empty Spools Workshop

March 7th, 2015

Sassaman Asilomar

The teaching year is getting off to a productive start, after being at the Empty Spools Seminar, Session 2, last week. It is a favorite environment for quilt teachers and students for many years. Located in the quaint town of Pacific Grove, California and a skip away from Carmel, it is an ideal place to take a break from your everyday routine and infuse your spirit with beauty and inspiration. I was teaching Abstracting from Nature and got to be in a favorite classrooms in a building designed by Julia Morgan, a renowned California Arts & Crafts architect.

Sassaman Class Asilomar

Here is the classroom during the glorious mess of creation. Doesn’t it look like fun? The class went for five days. On the end of the fourth day, everyone cleans their space and prepares their work to be displayed for the “walk-around”. This is when the students from all the other classes can visit to see what other methods and ideas everyone else has been working on. It has become such a tradition, that many people come from outside the seminar come to see all the new work that has been created.

Sassaman Asilomar Class

Here the room is all cleaned up and ready for inspection. My students were hard-working and very diligent, as you can see. I am always amazed and pleased with the results, which is why I enjoy these longer classes so much. Most folks got to stitching on the last two days, so they really have experienced the whole technique.

Begonia Quilt

I will be teaching the same five-day class this summer at Madeline Island School of the Arts, another fabulous place for rejuvenation and inspiration.

MISA+Lg

I hope to see some of you there!

Embroidery Everywhere!

February 20th, 2015

Sassaman Brooch Embroidery

This week has been devoted to playing with my new Prairie Chic Embroidery designs for HoopSisters. I have so many ideas that it is keeping me awake at night! Now I need to bone-up on my new BERNINA V7 Embroidery software so I can mix and match the designs in a more efficient way. But this is a good beginning and each project inspires a new one.

This is the Medallion Brooch design that I demonstrated on Quilting Arts TV, so you can see how these are constructed. But for these I simply embroidered the fabric for the covered button. The ruffled fabric frame is the Seed Matrix fabric from the new Prairie Chic collection for FreeSpirit. The jacket is made with Triangle Twist in the Lapis colorway, a design that has turned out to be very usable.

Sassaman Bee Cameo

This little bee brooch has a very romantic and old-fashioned feeling. It was inspired by some of the Victorian cameos that I like so much. I am very interested in one color and tone-on-tone embroidery, especially to use in my art quilts. It is so exciting to get some of these ideas into physical form!

The snow is gently falling now, so I am anticipating a cozy and productive day in the studio. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do! See you next week.

 

Back to Business!

February 13th, 2015

Blue Muse Winter 2015

Hello to whoever is out there! Some of you have noticed that this blog has been inactive for a few months. Yes, I have been wrestling with my soul these days and overwhelmed by a persistent feeling that I have been chasing a “carrot on a stick”. Frankly, I was exhausted! As a rather quiet and solitary artist, the nagging persistence to fulfill all these social media duties began to feel quite hollow. I felt that the social broadcasting was a sorry substitution for doing my “real” work. Also, I have realized that my brain is not oriented toward business and it was tired trying to bend in that direction.

I needed to fondle some fabric, to look at my wonderful books and get reacquainted with my priorities. So now I am quietly approaching the blog with a new spirit. I hope you will check in occasionally to see where all this soul searching will lead.

Sassaman Bee Embroidery Web

This is one of the things that has brought me back to life! I have been dreaming about adding embroidery to my work for years and now that idea has come to fruition! Thanks to the digitizing talents of the fabulous HoopSisters, I can use my awesome #BERNINA to embroider almost anything. The HoopSisters have taken motifs from my new fabric designs (Prairie Chic for FreeSpirit) and turned them into elegant stitchable decorations. Here are some of the projects we have worked on so far.

Sassaman Oak Leaf Embroidery

Sassaman Dollar Plant Embroidery

I collect old damask tablecloths and napkins to use as background fabric for quilts. So I used some of the napkins to apply the new embroidery designs. You can see the original fabric (Meadow Mix) in the background with the oak leaves, dollar plants and coneflowers. This combination create quite a cozy feeling in this autumnal colorway.

Sassaman Coneflower Embroidery

Here it is in another colorway of the same fabric. As you embroider these motifs you can obviously choose any color of threads, depending on their application. I have plans to enhance many things with these new designs, especially clothing, so check in next week to see some new samples.

PS… during my hiatus I have finally surrendered to the lure of Pinterest and have started some inspiration boards of my own. If you are looking for some more eye-candy, feel free to check them out.