20 Years and Counting

design, fabric, general crafts, inspiration, just a thought, needlework, quilting, sewing

Happy New Year friends. It’s going to be a big year for us as we celebrate our 20th anniversary in May. There will be special events, new products, new online tutorials, new classes, new publications and lots of new fabric throughout the year as we mark this important milestone. Many of you have cheered us on since the beginning and we’d love to hear what’s of interest to you.

Mostly we want to help you find time and space in your life to make things that bring joy to you and your loved ones. It doesn’t matter to us if it’s modern. It doesn’t matter if it’s made with our patterns. It doesn’t matter if it wins ribbons or gets accepted to prestigious shows. What we know for certain is that the art of making things is an inherently optimistic pursuit. Who couldn’t use a little optimism at the start of a new year? Regardless of how the rest of your day or year has gone, there’s a wonder in our eyes and minds when we’re making things. We need more of that.

So as we start this first day of 2019, join us in committing to a year of great making. Let’s clear space in our homes, our minds and our days to make whatever brings you joy for even 30 minutes per week. Even daydreaming about projects counts! Let’s make 2019 the year we take a cold, hard look at the barriers that get in our way of making and commit to removing those obstacles. We’ll do our best to share our tips throughout the year for everything from taming your stash to helping you figure out what to do with all of those UFOs. Let us know on our Instagram and Facebook pages as well as in the comments below, how we can help you to have a great year of sewing, quilting and making. Fresh starts. New possibilities. Ready, set, go!


Hari Kuyo

design, just a thought, needlework, quilting, sewing, tools

February 8 marks the Hari Kuyo Buddhist and Shinto Festival in Japan that began 400 years ago. Hari Kuyo refers to the festival that celebrates broken needles and sewing. Typically women dress in kimono and take their broken pins and needles to their local temple where they place them in a block of tofu. Many believe that while sewing life’s sorrows can creep into the needles. Burying the old needles in tofu softens them and allows the sorrows to be transported to the gods and away from the sewist. Hari Kuyo is also an opportunity to pray for better sewing skills.

I love the idea of showing gratitude for our tools and for acknowledging that our tools develop an emotional patina through extended use. For those of us who aren’t able to attend the Hari Kuyo Festival, how about taking a moment to give thanks for the tools that help us create and make beautiful things? And while you’re at it, this is probably a good time to change your rotary cutter blade and get rid of those bent pins and broken needles that have served you well.

Tardy Slip

just a thought


Dearest Readers,

I have not abandoned you and have been thinking of you each day since that last post on December 22. Three days after that post, on Christmas morning in fact, I woke up early feeling nauseated. Turns out I had contracted norovirus. On my way to the bathroom I lost consciousness (as is common with this virus) and fell, hitting my head on a small marble table (a stylish, Mid-Century Modern one made out of travertine marble designed by Bill’s late dad) and awoke in a pool of blood and convulsing from the nausea. Merry Christmas. Oak Park’s finest EMTs graciously spent their Christmas morning hauling me to the hospital where I would get eight staples in my head and be hospitalized for four days to be rehydrated with an IV as the virus was brutal and be observed and tested for the head injury.

As I reflected on Facebook, if I had passed out 2 steps earlier I would have fallen on a down-filled sofa but if it had been two steps later, I would have tumbled down a flight of stairs. Coulda been better. Coulda been catastrophic. I’m left with what is called Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS) which is not fun. It is characterized by headaches, dizziness, diminished cognitive function (“What did you just ask me?” “Uh, what’s her name again?”) and fatigue. It is exacerbated by “screen time,” bright lights, lots of noise, stress and lack of rest. I warned Bill that for the next few years I will be playing the “decreased cognitive function” card with abandon at every opportunity.

While I was resting and limiting my screen time, those nasty deadline fairies refused to finish my projects for me or post here. Alas, poor Bill was heroic being Dad, Husband, Professor and Business Owner while doing my job too, filling in for me at an out-of-town teaching gig and everything else. Alas we had a deadline for a new line of fabric and I have dedicated most of my allotted screen time to that, the website and working on Issue #5 of Modern Quilts Illustrated, to the neglect of this blog.

I am told that PCS can continue for up to a year after an injury so I’m pacing myself accordingly. I’m hoping it will be shorter but certainly it will be if I can rest more. I will write as often as I am able here because I have so much to share with you. My next big gig is at QuiltCon and I’m going to do my best to be rested for it. Happily the scar is covered by hair so I don’t look like I had staples in my head recently. In fact, my next post is part of the QuiltCon Link Party. Thanks to those of you who have left kind messages for me on Facebook. I have appreciated your encouragement and good cheer.

Is it 2013 yet?