Archive for the ‘BERNINA’ Category

Mod Stockings

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

It is blistering cold here on this sunny December day! And we are counting down the days until Christmas, a mere ten days to go. So what better way to chase the cold away and get into the holiday spirit than with some bright color! Obviously, muted hues are not in my decorating lexicon, as our house is done in a vibrant color scheme. So, of course, that applies to seasonal decorations, too. These contemporary Christmas stockings are made with a mix of some of my most recent FreeSpirit fabric collections… Leaf Dance, Cool Breeze and the latest, Scandia, which will arrive in stores in a few weeks. These stockings should please the hippest Santas.

The elves have been hard at work!! Each sock has been lovingly crafted and the details are delightful. They are machine quilted with Superior’s 12 weight Sew Sassy threads and further enhanced with some hand embroidery.

We are very fond of felt beads and ball fringe in the Sassaman studio and could not resist a little woolly bling to send these stockings over the top. Sassy socks!

Even the linings are specially chosen for a little extra visual surprise. Like quilts, they are bound to become favorite holiday heirlooms, just like Grandma Ellen’s Santas that she made for every grandchild. These are Oliver and Willow’s beloved Christmas treasures and some of the very few real decorating necessities every year.

Sewing can make memories!

Autumn Ambience

Monday, November 21st, 2016

Sassaman pillowcase-leaf-dance-2

Colder weather is upon us after an unbelievably mild introduction to autumn. There are just a few more days to enjoy the fall season before Thanksgiving ushers in the spirit of winter. So we are celebrating these last quiet days before the holidays begin with another seasonal Leaf Dance project.

Sassaman pillowcase-leaf-dance

Personally, I LOVE the combination of fabrics in this pillowcase! I always include some geometric designs in my FreeSpirit fabric collections because they are such good foils for all the flowers and leaves. This is a wonderful example of contrasting patterns complimenting one another. I’m also very pleased with the rich and crisp color combination. We used my Pint Size Pillowcase pattern to make these, as always. And you can find the free pattern for making the Leaf Dance quilt here.

Sassaman pillowcase-leaf-dance-3

Sleeping-over at my house is a pretty colorful affair. After 16 years of fabric design our pillowcase collection is monumental! And luckily, I find ironing pillowcases very therapeutic.

Wishing you all a cozy and colorful Thanksgiving!

Awesome Autumn

Monday, October 31st, 2016

autumn-leaves

It has been a spectacular autumn this year. The colors have been grand and seem to get more dramatic every day. So my next few posts will be a celebration of this wonderful time of year with the assistance of some of my FreeSpirit fabrics.

Sassaman Pocket Purse

Leaf Dance is a collection that was designed for this season and inspired by the nature that surrounds me. This area of Illinois is noted for its Oak Savannas. These powerful clusters of magnificent trees are sprinkled generously throughout my daily routes. Our own property has several kinds of oaks, but mostly red oak, which is the basis of this leafy fabric design.

Sassaman Pocket Purse

Our Pretty Perfect Pocket Purse is the featured pattern. I must have made a dozen of these practical purses over the years for different collections and it is the bag that I use everyday. Sometimes we trim them with rick rack, sometimes with felt beads, but for this version we added a crocheted ball trim. It mimicked  the turquoise bees nicely.

Sassaman Pocket Purse

I always line my bags with a light bright color so it is easier to find things inside. Triple Dots, Triangles and Color Bars are also from the Leaf Dance collection, Golden colorway. I love the mix of patterns. And, of course, the topstitching is done with Sew Sassy thread!

Sassaman Pocket Purse

We have more Leaf Dance projects to share, so stay tuned!

Embroidery for Summer Sewing

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Embroidered Sassaman Jumpers

Welcome back to the Ideas Blog! It has been a very busy spring of teaching and travel, but now I have some time in the studio to catch up on lots of projects. There is so much going on here and I want to share some of it with all of you!

First of all, did you know that my friends, the HoopSisters, have digitized some of my designs for machine embroidery? These talented gals have taken some FreeSpirit fabric designs and turned them into charming motifs for stitching. They are formatted to work on any contemporary  embroidery machine. So the BERNINA has been working overtime!

Here are two new outfits that have been embellished with designs from the Enchanted Embroideries collection. Each jumper has big practical pockets decorated with Sassaman posies… very feminine and very chic.  As a little surprise, the pockets have been lined with the original fabric from which the embroideries were inspired.

Embroidered Sassaman Pockets

This pretty little purse was decorated with designs from the Prairie Chic Embroidery collection. Plus we have added decorative stitches to the strap, as well. The sewing pattern is my Pretty Perfect Pocket Purse. So you can see what potential these have for other projects like linens, napkins and housewares of all kinds. I would love to see how you use them, too.

Sassaman Embroidery Purse

These designs are on a DVD and available in my store. If you would prefer a downloadable version, please visit the HoopSisters website.

Sassaman Embroidery Covers

collage quilt step by step

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

Sassaman Quilt 2016

I finally had a little free time after all the design projects to fondle some actual fabric!! So I wanted to dive  in immediately. So I get out my collection of “orphans”, these are shapes and templates left over from other projects which I file away in baggies for just such an opportunity. I peruse my collection to find the shapes that interest me and that I think will play nicely together.

Sassaman Orphan Shapes

This is when the play begins. I “Ouiji” the shapes around and let them start talking to each other. Eventually, a composition begins to settle in, but not until lots of options have been tried.

Sassaman Shape Shifting

It is a stream-of-consciousness exercise as I listen to the conversation of shapes. I really enjoy this part of the process, as I have very little idea of where the shapes will take me. But part of the trick is starting with shapes that speak your language… shapes that are personally meaningful. You may have noticed that there are shapes that have become a regular part of my design vocabulary, spirals, dandelion leaves, bugs, blossoms, etc. These are motifs that I have collected over the years and that I can use in any combination. I am always on the look-out for new shapes that will work for me.

Sassaman Quilt Top

When the composition is finalized I make a tracing to record the arrangement and then applique each shape, starting with the back most pieces. Each piece gets finished with embroidery and the background behind it gets cut away. Then I pin baste with batting and backing.

Sassaman Quilting

The first quilting I always do is to outline each shape in the ditch with 12 wt. topstitching thread using my open- toed walking foot and a long stitch length. Each brand of 12 wt. thread gives a slightly different look and performs a little differently. For this outlining, Sew Sassy by Superior supplies the nice heavy outline that I really like.

Sassaman Bury Thread

Because I want these nice outlines to start and stop cleanly, the threads at the beginning and end of each stitched row must be tied and buried on the back side of the quilt. This job is made much easier using an easy-threading or self-threading needle. With these needles the threads simply snap into the eye from the top of the needle. This can be an extremely tedious job, but I love it… very meditative and also a nice time to listen to books-on-tape.

Sassaman Quilting Detail

After the quilted outlines are done the other quilted details get filled in, like the extra stitching on the flowers and the echo quilting on the cloud.

Sassaman Golden Threads

In this case, I was not satisfied with basic quilting. The quilt was not dramatic enough, it needed some punch and “attitude”. So I decided to quilt over the whole piece with a series of spiky brambles. But first I needed a guide, so I drew the guidelines on Golden Threads tracing paper. The paper was pinned to the quilt and stitched through, again with 12 wt. thread.

Sassaman Golden Threads 2

The stitching perforates the paper, making it easy to tear away. Now I have a baseline to build from. I echo quilted very closely on either side. Then I added the brambles with a simple blind hem stitch. I think this final addition makes a world of difference. The final piece is 17.5″ X 19″.

Sassaman Quilting Detail

New Small Quilts

Monday, 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

Thursday, 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

Back to Business!

Friday, 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.

 

Quilting Arts

Wednesday, 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!

Flight Cancelled!

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Sassaman Kaleidoscope

Well, my flight to Cleveland was cancelled today and my new flight isn’t until tonight! Thank goodness, there is no lecture scheduled for tonight! I am going to tape some segments for Quilting Arts TV tomorrow, so hopefully the new flight will go as planned.

So that means I have a chance to do a few things in the studio that would have remained undone until next week, including this blog post.

It is a wonderfully dark and dreary day, such a sharp contrast to the sparkling sunshine the past couple days. So I thought I would show you this new kaleidoscope quilt made with some surprisingly subtle Sassaman fabrics… subtle colors, not pattern.

This top is made with half square triangles, except the border. The long side of the triangle is 11″ finished. So the square in the middle is also 11″ finished. From these dimensions you should easily be able to diagram the pattern, especially if you have read Patchwork Sassaman Style.

There are only 2 Sweet Lady Jane fabrics used, Daisy Chain and Fuchsia in the Periwinkle colorway.

Sweet Lady Jane Fabric

PS… have you been voting for your favorite BERNINA Faceplate everyday? The more you vote the greater chance of winning one of your own! Wouldn’t that be wonderful!!

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