Archive for the ‘Early Birds’ Category

Freespirit Friday-Folk Art Hearts

Thursday, 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!!

Christmas Stitching

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Sassaman Fabric

After several exciting days at the BERNINA Ambassadors Reunion last week, where we stitched and learned some new machine skills, I was all fired up to keep stitching when I got home. So I have been whipping up some Christmas gifts to keep the sewing going.

We have several newlyweds and new homes to celebrate this year so I’m doing pillowcases to match their personalities and style. I have the luxury of having a wall of Sassaman fabrics from many years of designing for FreeSpirit, so for this project I can freely mix and match between collections.

Sassaman Pillowcases 1

These cases are for a serious couple with scientific interests and contemporary style. The green circle fabric is from the new Sweet Lady Jane line which will be in stores this January. The blue and green dots are from the current Wild Child collection.

Sassaman Pillowcases 2

These are rather reserved and cater to a botanical bent and a quieter conservative nature. The cases on the left are mainly from the Sunshine and Shadow line. The ones on the right combine some Wild Child Petunias and Sweet Lady Jane circles, again.

Sassaman Pillowcases 3

These are for an adventurous and fun-loving couple who have decorated their new apartment in red and orange. My kind of people! Early Birds on the left and red Wild Child Petunias on the right.

Sassaman Pillowcases 4

This pretty pink and blue set is made entirely with Sweet Lady Jane fabrics… classically pretty. The red pair, I must admit, is a gift to myself. I love the folk art feeling of this combination. The checks are from Sweet Lady Jane and the flowered fabric is my current favorite from Wild Child.

My 830 BERNINA has a wonderful new dual feed feature which made stitching these projects a joy! The dual feed is similar to a walking foot, in that it keeps the layers of fabric moving through the machine at an even rate.

Sassaman Black:Pink Ribbons

These towels are for a couple whose new apartment has a mid-century modern VERY pink bathroom… tiles, sink and all! They cleverly updated the look by painting the remaining walls with blackboard paint. It looks fabulous! So I’ve tricked out these black and gray towels with the new black and pink Wild Child ribbons for Renaissance Ribbon.

Ice and snow is predicted for the next few days. A perfect time to be in the studio… even if I have to crawl  there on my hands and knees! The tree gets decorated tonight.

Stay safe, keep cozy and have a fabulous holiday, my friends!

Back to Business

Thursday, June 6th, 2013


Dad is doing great with his new knee and Mom has her husband back home again! So I am back home again, too, and catching-up in the studio. Luckily it has been a rainy week, ideal for nesting and sorting indoors. The landscape has exploded with green over my month’s absence. As always, each year brings new strengths and struggles in the yard. This season the irises are putting on the best show ever and the ferns seem to be twice as big.

Sassaman-Early Birds-Umbrella

The rainy weather also made an ideal time to photograph our new Early Birds umbrella. It is made from the “Classic 28″ Umbrella” kit from Umbrella Joan. Joan provides the frame-work and the instructions and we supplied the laminated lemon Curlicues fabric from the Early Birds line. It is a real treat to see the fabric used in such an ideal project. Notice the kaleidoscope created by the fussy-cut wedges.

Sassaman-Early Birds-Umbrella

Since red and yellow are one of my favorite color combinations, we added a fine red edge of thread for a surprise finish.


Susan’s purse is made from our Pretty Perfect Pocket Purse Pattern. The front panel is one of the new Wild Child designs called Flower Fiesta, as is the Sassy Stripe at the top. The blue fabric is African and from my stash. I’ve always loved it for the fat threads woven through it and it goes wonderfully with denim, our “go-to” country wear.

Sassaman-Flower Fiesta-Fabric

All the new Wild Child designs come in three colorways Red, Blue and Pink. Here you can see the folk-art inspired Flower Fiesta pattern in its other versions. To see all the other Wild Child fabrics go to FreeSpirit. We have lots of projects to share as we roll out the new collection so stay tuned as we get back to business this month.

Contest Winners & New Scarf

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Purple Scarf Sassaman Fabric

It’s 19 degrees and tomorrow is the first day of spring! It snowed all day yesterday and the wind howled all night, so we still need our winter wear. So here is a pretty new scarf design from the Sassaman studio. It is made with Early Birds fabric and is reversible, of course.


Susan. my right-hand girl, stitched up this practical but very feminine design. It is created by tucking folds as you stitch. This creates a natural contour that frames the face and sits nicely on your shoulders.


Here is the reverse side. Since the scarf is made with cotton fabric it is not itchy but still offers protection from the elements. The edges have been finished with a serger. This is my new favorite scarf!

Today is also the day I get to announce the final winners for the Dragon Thread’s Patchwork Sassaman Style Contest. Yes, I couldn’t pick just one! I have decided to pick 2 winners. #C from the 1+4 Patch and #1 from Ocean Waves.
It was a tough decision, as each quilt entered had a unique personality. But these two quilts
are wonderful examples of “listening” to the fabric. Fussy cutting was used very effectively.
The mix of solids added some nice contrast and drama. They have both made a very simple pattern
into exceptionally elegant quilts.


Ocean Waves by Eunice Merritt

4+1 Patch

This is the One + Four Patch winner. However, due to a new computer snafu we can’t find the maker’s name. So please let us know who you are. I will be sending both winners a set of Simple Silhouette Patterns.


St. Patrick’s Project

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013


It is warming up here. The fog is dense and the rivers are overflowing with melting snow and recent rain. It is a world of gray, white and black. But in the studio things are just the opposite. This week we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, so you the know the color green has to play a starring role.

bread-warmer-Sassaman-fabric-St. Patrick

Hey! What’s in the basket? It’s our St. Patrick’s project… a pretty little bread warmer. This holiday is celebrated with many traditional treats, like corned beef and cabbage, dark beer and of course, Irish Soda bread.


Isn’t that a perfect symbol for cozy comfort ! Similar to a scone this soda bread is sweet and filled with raisins. Laying on a blanket lined with green Curlicue fabric from the Early Birds line.

Bread Warmer- Sassaman-fabric

This reversible bread warmer has a lovely shape, like a big X made of graceful curves. It is about 17″ square

and has a basic “pillow” construction.Bread Warmer- Sassaman-fabric

The details add some extra character. A green pearl cotton running stitch accents the silhouette and also attach the magenta wool balls which help to hold the blanket more tightly around the bread. Now that these photos have been posted, guess what I’m having with my tea this afternoon!

Snow Day!

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Studio 3:5:2013

What a marvelous day! The snow began about 7:00 this morning and there are predictions of 10 inches of new snow. So we are looking forward to being stranded in the studio for at least two days, Yippee!! So I am a happy camper and dedicating my time to some serious quilting.  In anticipation I started a new small piece yesterday and continue to quilt my abstract sampler.

But before I get down to stitching I wanted to share some spring colors and Easter finery.

Easter is early this year so now is the time to brighten up the wardrobe. It is so nice that men aren’t afraid of  pretty colors these days. I love to see guys in pink and purple. In fact, this pink shirt is directly from my husbands closet. The ties are all made with purple fabrics from the Early Birds fabric collection for FreeSpirit.

I like this simple tie pattern… just tie, no bow. Very dapper!

This is the same pattern with a different finish. It was centered on the large checked fabric so the two halves are symmetrical.

This bow tie is for a man with confidence and a good sense of humor!

This version is very pleasing. I know my Greg will be sporting one of these in the Easter Parade.

OK, back to stitching and dreaming.

President’s Day

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Happy President’s Day! To celebrate this holiday we are revisiting the most patriotic project I’ve ever done… the Folk Art Flag. I usually shy away from such overt patriotism, but I just couldn’t resist once I realized that the Early Birds collection contained such an obvious combination of colors and graphics.

It’s nice to see all that greenery! It is the opposite to how it looks on this gray winter day. But it’s encouraging to know this opulence is a few months down the road. If you are feeling a twinge of patriotism you can order a kit for the quilt and the pillowcases in our online store.

This has been a week of making final decisions and tying loose ends for the autumn fabric line. Now the designs are all labeled, printed and packaged and ready to mail to Westminster. Phew!

But the nicest surprise this week was the announcement of SewCalGal’s nominations for the Golden Quilter’s Awards. It is an honor to be named among this prestigious group of the quilt worlds finest designers, stitchers and writers. Many of the nominees are personal friends and nicely represent the talent, devotion and enthusiasm in our industry.

Any one can vote, so to add your voice just go to the SewCalGal blog. The voting deadline is Feb. 28.

PS… The Patchwork Sassaman Style quilt top contest is Feb. 25. Go to the Dragon Threads Open Book blog for details.

Red to the Rescue

Monday, February 4th, 2013

As you may know, this is fabric designing time for me. I always look forward to a couple of months of divine isolation in to studio as the ideas incubate. Once the theme of a line becomes apparent everything starts to fall into place. It is hard, often frustrating, work!! I tell my students that no one just sits down and “barfs art”! There are so many options, trial and errors, doubts and rejections, not to mention all the sleepless nights during this period of slow progress. But hopefully all the viewer sees is a glorious end result.

This is the period I am dwelling in at the moment… the doubting, sorting and concentration.This season it has been particularly challenging, especially since the March 1st deadline is a month sooner than usual. Everyday I tell myself, “today is the day that the muse will beat me mercilessly over the head and all the answers will come!” HA! I’m still waiting for it all to gel… maybe today?

But it is also the deep heart of winter and this week we have finally had enough snow to make it really look and feel like the winter season. I love February because the Valentines shot of red is a traditional reminder that spring will be with us shortly. I’ve always felt that Valentine’s Day was brilliantly placed in the calendar year. February also happens to be our wedding anniversary, another excuse to celebrate.

So this week we have whipped up some crafty Valentine ideas. If you are suffering from cabin fever these projects could provide a little distraction and a lot of exhilarating color. We started with some plain brown cardboard boxes from Hobby Lobby and covered them with fabrics from the Early Birds collection.

The oval box makes a cheerful container for Jaci’s pretty Valentine cookies. Jaci is “The Cookie Lady” in town and keeps the citizens of Woodstock well sweetened all year round. There’s nothing happier than Valentine cookies! The oval lid suits the motif nicely.

Wine and champagne are also traditional treats for heartfelt celebrations. This is my all time favorite label on a bottle of wine. In fact, this now empty bottle holds pride of place in our “cabinet of wonders”. Wouldn’t that  design make a fabulous applique? The wine caddy, too, is decoupaged with the same fabric, but with a coordinating pink cap. I’m hoping these projects and colors have helped to buoy your sagging winter spirits .

PS… The winner of the January Patchwork Sassaman Style challenge is Mrs. Bonnie Butler from Ontario, Canada. She used Paula Nadelstern’s exciting Benartex fabrics for her version of the One Plus Four Patch recipe. Go to the Dragon Threads Open Book Blog to see all the entries and check out the new challenge for February.

A Quilt for your Valentine

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Valentine 2013

This has been a busy week in the Sassaman studio. I finally had some time to stitch… a good thing since I was suffering from sewing withdrawal. This little Valentine quilt is made from my Bleeding Heart/Simple Silhouette pattern. The border fabric is from the Early Birds collection and the solids are hand dyed. These patterns are a nice way to use personality prints.

Thanks to all of you who have entered the Patchwork Sassaman Style contest this month. You can see all the wonderful entries on the Dragon Threads Open Book Blog. They are all very different from one another, even though they all grew from the same recipe! The winner will be announced on Friday and the February quilt challenge will be introduced.

Baby, it’s cold outside!!

Monday, January 21st, 2013

There is a dusting of snow and it’s shockingly cold outside! That’s fine if you get to stay inside and cozy, but if you have things to do it’s time to get serious!! Being a Midwesterner I know the adage, “there’s no such thing as cold weather, only inappropriate clothing”. But I would add… If you have to dress for warmth you may as well look good at the same time!  So we whipped up some warm but wild chapeaux in celebration of the season.

All of these hats were made with Vogue Accessories pattern V7981, Early Birds fabric and modeled by my young friend, Elizabeth. In the photo above she is wearing the classic hunters hat, we call it the Elmer Fudd model. First she has her ear flaps tied up, but then happily lowered her fleece lined flaps to keep snug.

Here is a sassy little beanie lined with peachy pink fleece, a perfect color to liven up a winter day. I think the combination of pink and black is both fun and elegant.

This red wrap-around hood is a romantic way to fend off the winter blues. Again, it is fleece lined inside and around the face. It is simply quilted and fastens with two dots of Velcro under the chin. What fun to have such sunny fabrics to fondle on a cold winter day!

PS… are you working on your Patchwork Sassaman Style challenge quilt top? There’s still time to stitch one up… the deadline for photos is this Friday , January 25. You could win a stack of Early Birds fabric!! For more details go to the Dragon Threads Blog.