Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A Tale of Two Quilts

Monday, January 25th, 2016

Sassaman Moths and Moons Quilt

Welcome back to the the Sassaman Ideas Blog. After suffering a case of digital burn-out and creative discontent, I’ve taken a hiatus from blogging. But in the meantime I’ve discovered the more immediate joys of communicating via instagram and Pinterest. These social formats have revived my interest in weekly blogging. So I am hoping to come back with more “heart” this time.

I wear two professional hats, one the beret of an artist and the other the practical ball cap of a designer. I intend to share both these roles with you in this new series of posts.

The quilts above are a rare mix of both these roles. They were made to feature the FreeSpirit Leaf Dance collection. My personal art quilts are usually made with solid colored fabric cut into shapes to be appliqued. Even though, my commercial fabric has an identifiable Sassaman style the repeat pattern of the yardage requires that it be used in its own unique way, as traditional pieced quilts, for example. These moth quilts show a little bit of both worlds.

The original quilt is on the left. It was intensely machine quilted before the moths were applied. Each little leaf is individually stitched with thread tails tied and buried at both ends… quite unreasonable and ridiculously time consuming. But I have a very high tolerance  for meditative and tedious craftsmanship. Yet this quilt design seemed like a good candidate to become a commercial pattern, as it could be made successfully with all kinds of fabrics, in which case the construction needed to become more accessible.

So in the second version, the wreaths are appliqued and the moths are beefed up to have a grander presence. There are features that I like in both pieces.

Sassaman Moths & Moons 1 Quilt

Here is a detail of Moths and Moons One. I used lots of Sew Sassy topstitching thread in both translations. You can see why I had to quilt the background before I added the applique. I could never make the wreath embroidery stop and start at such weird angles.

Sassaman Moths & Moons 2 Quilt

Here is a detail of version two. I am pleased with the contrast of the gray wreath on the white brocade moon. Do you have a favorite? Now to get the pattern written! By the way, there are two free Leaf Dance patterns available on my home page that you can  print and make without any waiting. Enjoy.

Blue is today’s theme!

Wednesday, 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

Saturday, 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.


I hope to see some of you there!

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

Friday, 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!

At the drawing board

Tuesday, 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

Monday, 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!

Tuscaloosa Visit

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Pink Camelias

I’ve just returned from a wonderful and warm trip to Tuscaloosa for the West Alabama Quilt Guild. It isn’t always possible for us quilt teachers to get beyond the hotel in the places we visit. But this week I got the royal tour of the University of Alabama’s impressive campus and its city surrounds. Of course, I was interested in seeing the Art Building. I love this fun sculpture in its courtyard. I wish we had one in our yard! Looks like Bender.

Alabama Robot Sculpture

We also browsed the Westervelt Collection of American Art in the Tuscaloosa Museum of Art. The museum is housed in a majestic Japanese style building surrounded by tall trees. The collection holds many western sculptures and busts of famous historic leaders.

Tuscaloosa Museum of Art

But here is one of the favorite things that I saw there. The big frame surrounding a picture of “nothing” is so surreal! The label says “Out of Site of Land, George Catlin, 1786-1872.

Out of Sight of Land, G. Catlin

I also was treated to an exotic (for a Midwesterner) variety of Southern culinary classics… fried catfish, fried okra, fried green tomatoes, fried pickles, grits, field peas, Hoppin’ John, coleslaw, and blackened shrimp! This was over several days, not in one sitting. But in any case, the diet begins today!

The Alabama quilters were as warmhearted and welcoming as quilters are everywhere. We spent a day together in the Simple Silhouettes workshop and those gals were on-the ball. Almost everyone finished their tops and two gals even started to quilt them. Thanks, girls, for making this trip so comfortable and entertaining!

Sassaman Tuscaloosa Class

Here is a Sweet Lady Jane version with all four Spring Diva Silhouette patterns made with into a lap size quilt. Just the kind of colors we need to coax us into spring.

Sassaman Divas Quilt

By the time I got back home a few adventurous chipmunks had awoke from their winter’s nap and dozens of Sandhill cranes where flying overhead. These are sure signs that delicious changes are on the way.

Tickled Pink

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Sassaman SLJ Quilt

The winter weather continues to be extraordinary… snow, rain, wind. But the temperatures are raising so spring is definitely in sight. This is the time of year that we start dreaming over the seed catalogs and anticipating the colors of spring.

So here is a quilt that does the same trick! It’s called Tickled Pink and is made with fabrics from the Sweet Lady Jane collection and the Cross-in-a-Square recipe from my book, Patchwork Sassaman Style.

Sassaman Quilt Detail

It was neatly quilted by Pam McIntyre of Quilting Makes the Quilt. This is an easy quilt to construct and all the measurements and yardage is shown below. If you need more detailed directions you can find them in Patchwork Sassaman Style.

SLJ Tickled Pattern

The teaching year begins officially this week and I am looking forward to seeing all my quilting buddies. Check my schedule to see if we could have a class together. Remember that the Red Barn Special at the Madeline Island School of the Arts is active through the end of the month!To read more about my class and to register, click here, or call the Registrar, Anne Leafblad, at 715.747.2054, or email
Hope to see you there!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Sassaman Valentine 2014

Sweet Lady Jane Pillow & Workshop Special!

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Sweet Lady Jane Pillow

Well, I have finalized all my new FreeSpirit designs for an October introduction. Now I am adding labels and preparing to print and mail them out soon. Phew! This line will have some surprises… like some unexpected colors. I even surprised myself!

So now I can devote some time to Sweet Lady Jane projects. But first we will begin with an idea from my friend, Melissa Peda, designer, writer and blogger. She designed this pretty pillow using a refreshing mix of SLJ fabrics.

SLJ Pillow Fabrics

The fuchsias are just ripe for fussy cutting for fun kaleidoscopic effects. Notice the cross stitching on the half-inch gingham checks. This is a charming “old-fashioned” craft that is being revived by contemporary crafters. The button flourish has become one of Melissa’s trademarks. In fact, go to Melissa’s blog to see lots of other Sweet Lady Jane projects.


I’m so excited to be teaching a 5-day quilting workshop at Madeline Island School of the Arts, September 29-October 3, 2014.  I’ve heard nothing but the best about this magical Island, MISA’s state of the art studios, lodging, and delicious meals.
So, I wanted to let you know of a special program just for my followers, called “The Red Barn Special.” This is specifically for my workshop at MISA.
Save $85 on your on-site lodging reservation when you register for my workshop by February 28, 2013.

Now is your chance to get first pick at their comfortable and cozy on-campus rooms in their Mission Cottages.  Before word gets out of my class, I wanted to let you know of this amazing opportunity to spend a week with me on Madeline Island.
A 25% deposit is all you need to hold your place in my workshop.  To read more about my class and to register, click here, or call the Registrar, Anne Leafblad, at 715.747.2054, or email
Hope to see you there!