Getting “a head” & Quilting Arts TV Blog Hop Begins!

July 18th, 2014

Sassaman Head 1

This week we really got a head! A big blue head! We have been anticipating this delivery for months and Wednesday our new garden ornament arrived. If you were in Chicago last summer you may have noticed these head planters lining South Michigan Avenue. Like the “Cows”, these heads were sponsored and individually decorated. Then they were planted so the flowers, leaves and vines became their hair. A giant Chia Pet!

Cultural Mile Poster

Or this summer you may have seen the banners for the “Cultural Mile” Second Friday events around the city, which was designed by my husband and son. In the process of working on the banner, they discovered that a few heads had not been claimed at the end of the season. Being surrealists at heart, they thought this would be the perfect focal piece for our country landscape.

Sassaman Head 2

Obviously, this head had originally been funded by Ford, but we will eventually replace their logo with something more fitting to its new home. It gave the Fed Ex driver quite a surprise yesterday afternoon! I think it is fabulous and it’s going to be great fun to plant his new hairdo every year… morning glories, grasses…

Sassaman Head 4

Even the color is perfect! But it’s our secret because you can’t see it from the road.

Quilting Arts Sassaman & Brubaker Knapp

The next neat event is the Quilting Arts TV Blog Hop  which begins today! To celebrate the new season of Quilting Arts TV, series 1400, many of the guests will have a specific day in the next week to post a special blog.

Here is the schedule:

July 18: Vivika DeNegre at
July 19: Luana Rubin ( Friedman (
July 20: Sarah Ann Smith ( Gloeggler (
July 21: Carrie Bloomston ( Catherine Redford (
July 22: Sue Reno ( Rebekah Meier (
July 23: Lyric Kinard ( / Margie Ullery (
July 24: Cheryl Sleboda ( / Jane Sassaman ( Creus (http/
July 25: Susan Brubaker Knapp (

There are lots of talented folks involved and it’s sure to be a week of wonderful information and entertainment.


You can also purchase a Quilting Arts TV 1400 Series DVD of your own to watch whenever you need a hit of insight and encouragement. See you next week!

Gregory’s Garden arrives!

July 9th, 2014

Greg Garden

This is a happy week because our current FreeSpirit fabric, Gregory’s Garden, hits the stores this week! We have been playing with it in the studio since Spring Market, so we are excited to finally show you some of the goodies that have been created with it.

The title is, of course, derived from my favorite gardener, my husband, Greg. Here is one of my favorite pictures of Greg in the early days of our country living adventure. Greg has nudged the landscape considerably since then.

Pink Sassaman Fabric Dress

We especially enjoy making wearables and accessories with Sassaman fabrics. Gregory’s Garden has some nice tone-on-tone designs which are perfectly suited to that task. Here is a super little sun dress, McCall’s M6739, made in the pink Dahlia fabric. I love the loose fit and the generous pockets. The square neckline and arm holes give the dress a very contemporary look.

Pink Sassaman Dress 3

Next we added a blue belt and scarf for a bit of pizzazz. They are made with the Willow fabric in the fuchsia colorway. I think the two fabrics play together wonderfully. This is an ideal summer frock… fresh, pretty and comfortable.

Pink Sassaman Dress 4

By the way, our mannikin is posing in Gregory’s Garden. I am quite pleased by the usefulness and practicality of these designs. Here are the other colors that they are available in. You will see them used in some other clothing patterns in the weeks to come.

Sassaman Willow & Dahlia

In the meantime, please check our vendors list to find Gregory’s Garden in your neighborhood.

At the drawing board

June 24th, 2014

Chicago School of Fusing

There have been many distractions as I try to get settled in my studio for some quality fabric designing time. My  deadline is August 1!! But one of the nicer diversions was a visit to the International Quilt Festival-Chicago last week. Here I am with my buddies Laura Wasilowski and Frieda Anderson in their colorful booth. We all had work in the Chicago School of Fusing special exhibit, too.

But back in the studio, there are still a few Sweet Lady Jane projects that I’ve yet to share with you. Here is a “modern” little quilt in blue and green simple prints from the collection.

Sassaman SLJ Quilt

I love to mix uncomplicated tone-on-tone patterns with the personality prints as supporting characters. Here the simple geometrics and solid colors extend and connect with the vertical flowered bars. Because of the placement of the colors, a checkered or plaid pattern evolves. The quilt is lap/wall size, 56″ X 42″.

Sassaman SLJ Quilt Diagram

Here is a diagram showing the sizes of the pieces. After the blocks are made they are sown together in strips.

The Sweet Lady Jane yardage needed is:

Daisy Chain, periwinkle – 1 yard

Circle Dance, periwinkle – 1/2 yard

Circle Dance, green – 1/3 yard

Circle Dance, periwinkle – 1/2 yard

Garden Gingham, green – 1/3 yard

Gone Dotty, green – 1/4 yard

Gone Dotty, periwinkle – 1/3 yard

Here is a link to our vendors list to make your fabric search easier. Google Images is an easy way to find the fabric, too.

I’m hoping that my blogging will become more regular now that I am home and have easy access to the internet and my computer! So stay tuned for some new ideas!!

Getting back to Earth

June 16th, 2014

2014 Siderealistic Timesters

I am just getting back in the groove from nearly two months of travel and teaching. Thanks to all my new friends and old buddies who have made my time away from home so comfortable and invigorating!

This will be a busy week. Greg and Gabe (Siderealistic Timesters) have curated another stellar show which will open officially this Saturday night. But this time their installation is in the historic Old Courthouse on the quaint and vibrant Woodstock Square. I will have a couple of kaleidoscope quilts on display. And my local quilt shop is right across the street… and the Starbucks. Greg and Gabe designed the wonderful poster, too.

Illinois Album 500px

Plus the International Quilt Festival Chicago is in town this week! I will have a few quilts on display there, including the Illinois Album quilt and some other pieces in the Chicago School of Fusing display. I hope to see many of you there!

Pretty Pink and Blue Blouse

May 14th, 2014

Tucson Sky

I am overwhelmed by these sunny days in Arizona! There has been lovely breezy mornings and evenings, but the daytime has been pretty warm… especially for a Midwestern girl who just took off her parka a few weeks ago. This week I am visiting the Tucson Quilters Guild for two lectures and a workshop. It will be wonderful to see some old friends and get reaquainted with the town.

Sassaman Blouse

But before I left, I took these pictures in the studio. This is a classic blouse made with three fabrics from the Sweet Lady Jane collection for FreeSpirit. The two Party Frock fabrics in pink and blue with a slip if the green Brocade design, I think they play together nicely.

Sassaman Blouse 4

Notice that the collar was fussy cut so the design is centered.

Sassaman Blouse 5

The back is really fun. The pink and blue backgrounds are the same intensity and almost seem to blend together. A very cheerful garment! The colors remind me of the famous Schiaparelli Circus Jacket.

Schiaparelli Jacket

This is a wonderful photo by Cecil Beaton for the Victoria and Albert Museum.

A Wonderful Week at Asilomar

May 9th, 2014

Asilomar Beach 2014

I have just spent a terrific week teaching at the Empty Spools Seminar at Asilomar State Park and Conference Center. It is in Pacific Grove, California just down the road from Carmel. It is a favorite event for every quilt teacher and student. You can walk on the beach morning, noon and night. The original buildings on the grounds were designed by Julia Morgan in the Arts and Crafts style.


This is the Chapel, one of my favorite buildings. If I was ever able to design a house from scratch, this would be my inspiration.


This is the cozy building where you check in and can hang out.

Sassaman Class 19

And this is our productive classroom! There were 24 students for 5 days of class. There were 10 other teachers doing workshops at the same time. The place was crawling with QUILTERS! This was the Abstracting from Nature class, my favorite to teach. The girls really did some wonderful work! Here are a few examples in various states of evolution.

Sassaman Class 4Sassaman Class 16

Sassaman Class 7

Sassaman Class 8

There was a little time to go exploring around the charming town if Pacific Grove which is in walking distance from Asilomar.

Pacific Grove 2

These over sized plants made quite a statement in this window box… looks like a house in the Land of Oz.

Pacific Grove 1

I love datura. Their trumpet blossoms are so elegant.

Pacific Grove 3

This Midwestern gal was in paradise! I could have spent a whole week photographing the wonders of this area! Luckily I get to go back next year, too!

Happy Jacket

April 24th, 2014


Hello, my friends. It has been a busy week in the studio preparing for a long road trip of workshops. Outdoors Mother Nature is slowly waking from its long sleep. The wood ducks are back and looking for a good place to nest and the cardinals are showing off to their sweethearts.

Today I’m going to share a happy jacket inspired by a stack of fabric scraps from previous projects. Red is a color that I can’t live without for too long. So, consequently, it gets a place in many of my fabric lines. This jacket uses pieces from Prairie Gothic, Early Birds, Wild Child and Sweet Lady Jane. My designs definitely play well together.

Sassaman Reversible Jacket 2

The jacket front is organized in stripes. I love how the two halves relate to each other – especially the bugs at the bottom and the morning-glory pockets. The pattern is Simplicity 6744, circa 1984. You may have it in your stash.

Sassaman Reversible Jacket 3

The back side uses the Gone Dotty pattern in red and pink from the current Sweet Lady Jane tone-on-tones. The sleeves and body of this easy pattern are all one piece, so the fabric can really make a statement.

Red Sassaman Jacket 3

And, of course it is reversible! The other side uses the blue variations of Gone Dotty and Circle Dance. I think this is actually my favorite side – very wearable. The outer seams around the sleeves are finished with blue bias tape. But the other edges are finished in red dots and the red buttons continue the color from the revered side. Notice the reversed pockets, too.

Red Sassaman Jacket Reverse

It has been lightly quilted along the dotted stripes. Casual, comfortable and colorful! This may end up in my suitcase tomorrow!! PS… you can check my workshop schedule here.

Easter Apron

April 19th, 2014

Sassaman Gingham Apron

First of all, I’d like to thank all of you who voted in the BERNINA Faceplate Face-off! It was an honor to participate, especially among such distinguished companions. What ever the outcome, it was wonderful to see my design on the front of a BERNINA!

I have been busy in the studio preparing for several weeks of workshops beginning at the end of the month. So I have been cutting, wrapping, boxing and labeling. Plus I’m attempting to finish designing some new ribbon, a new scarf, and completing a sample for the BERNINA booth. In the midst of it all, yardage of the new spring line, Gregory’s Garden arrived, as well as, the strike-offs for autumn’s Prairie Chic. Phew!

As I’ve been absorbed in the nitty-gritty of travel preparations, my “Super Susan” has been able to fondle some fabric. This week she whipped up this fabulous vintage style apron. The current Sweet Lady Jane collection has a half-inch Garden Gingham in three optimistic colors.

Sassaman Gingham

Gingham has always been a favorite of mine and I often include some variation of it in my fabric designs. It is a fabulous foil for the more sophisticated floral prints. But in this pattern, Simplicity#4282, it gets to be its good old-fashioned, honest and domestic self… I’m thinking Dorothy in Kansas.

Sassaman Gingham Apron 2

The details really make this humble apron great. The pocket is outlined with contrasting yellow rick-rack and accented with a strip of my polka-dotted ribbon. Perfect! The waistline is pleated along the checks and fastened with giant hand embroidery stitches.

Sassaman Gingham Apron 4

The hemline is enhanced, yet again, with ribbon, rick-rack and embroidery. The essence of the Domestic Goddess! And just in time for Easter Dinner! Happy holiday, everyone!

Sassaman Gingham Apron 5

And Now for Something Completely Different

April 10th, 2014

Crocus 2014

Spring has officially declared itself with the long a waited arrival of the glowing purple crocus… so glorious in contrast to all the gray and beige. I have been working on many things in the studio since next month is filled with workshops and travel.

Sassaman Cross Quilt

Here is a new quilt that is a bit different from my usual style. I designed it to exploit some of the rich tone-on-tone fabrics in the Sweet Lady Jane collection. I have always been drawn to the simple cross motif, so here it is multiplied many times. This is built with 5″ squares (cut 5.5″) and a 6″ border. I think it would be stunning hanging in a white room with black furniture.

Sassaman Cross Quilt Detail 3

Since the design is so stark and geometric, I requested a simple flower and leaf pattern for the quilting. It was beautifully executed by Pam McIntyre of Quilting Makes the Quilt. The border has a sprinkling of simple flowers

Sassaman Cross Quilt Detail 2

Below are the fabrics used in this quilt and the yardage requirements. The piecing is so easy that this would be a good project for a beginning quilter. But an experienced free-motion quilter could have a good time noodling around on this crisp canvas.

Sassaman Cross Quilt Samples

Gone Dotty, Rose – 2/3 yard

Circle Dance, Periwinkle – 2/3 yard

Garden Gingham, Rose – 1 fat quarter

Gone Dotty, Green – 1/2 yard

Garden Gingham, Green – 1 fat quarter

Gone Dotty, Periwinkle – 1 fat quarter

White – 1 1/3 yard

Black – 1 yard

FP_JaneSassamanI also must remind you all that the BERNINA Faceplate Face-Off ends on April 14, so be sure to get your votes in. You can vote once a day and each vote makes you eligible to win one of these wonderful new machines!

Quilting Arts

April 2nd, 2014

Sassaman Quilting Arts

Friday I spent the whole day on the pretty set of Quilting Arts TV. My hostess Susan Brubaker Knapp and the crew made it comfortable and friendly. I was so impressed with Susan… with just a week into a new job and she seemed like an old pro. She had to change her wardrobe for almost every shoot, since they were shooting out of sequence. It was a miracle she could keep it all straight!

I spent the rest of the weekend with family in Cleveland, a rare treat. On Saturday afternoon it started to rain and within a few hours there were 6″ of heavy wet SNOW! This was the last thing I expected, but I’m glad I wore my winter coat!

There is a quilt hanging in the background of the picture above. This is a new quilt made with the Sweet Lady Jane fabrics. I call it the Watermelon Quilt. As things are still very beige here I thought this bit of color would make us all happy.

Sassaman Watermelon Quilt

This quilt is based on a 12″ finished block with a little applique added to jazz it up.

Sassamab Watermelon Block Fab

Here is the block which is a large traditional fan design.  The large quarter circle applique actually acts as a band-aide to hold the fan and the background together, so there isn’t any seam allowance needed between those pieces. They simply butt together and the joint is covered by the appliqued shapes. But there does need to be seam allowance on the sides of the block so it can be pieced to its neighbor. The smaller appliqued whole circles where added after the blocks were sewn together.

Sassaman Watermelon BlockBelow are the appliqued shapes. Be sure to add the extra quarter inch to both ends of the large quarter circle band-aide. I used iron interfacing for the base shapes (just as you would use freezer paper in traditional applique, but in this case the interfacing stays inside the shape and helps to stabilize it). The edges are turned for a nice clean look and attached with a heavy blanket stitch.Sassaman Watermelon Applique 2Sassaman Watermelon Detail

Then it was beautifully quilted by Pam McIntyre at Quilting Makes the Quilt in Gainesville, Florida. This will be a fun piece to display in the summer season and it is a nice lap size quilt, too. Below are the Sweet Lady Jane fabrics that make up this pattern.

Sassaman Watermelon Fabrics 2

Yardage =1/4 yard  yellow brocade, 3/4 yard of solid red and a half yard of all the others.

PS… don’t forget to vote for your favorite designer BERNINA 350 Special Edition! The more you vote, the better chance of winning one of your own!