QUILT TALK Blog Hop Day 5 – WHITE – with Molli Sparkles

(Hi tour readers! A quick word…. the folks participating in this tour are busy and human, just like you and me, and so occasionally their posts don’t get put up in the wee hours while you are sleeping. Please be patient and kind about it… the posts will appear at some point, and if they don’t, I’ll make sure I post the pattern at the end so you don’t miss out. ~Thank you!)

It’s day 5 of the Quilt Talk book tour, and we’re heading across the water (and equator) to hang out with Molli Sparkles! Molli is an American ex-pat, living Down Under, and making lovely, modern quilts. Molli is in a totally different space and time dimension, so hang tight if his post isn’t up this morning!

White Bucket

Molli and I became comrades-in-arms over We Are $ew Worth It - and Molli took it and ran hard with this legendary post about making a stunner of a WHITE quilt, and doing a bunch of detailed math to show its true value. I can’t thank Molli enough for carrying the torch for this work. I chose WHITE for him as it’s the closest color to SPARKLE that I could come up with, as well as being a nod to the WHITE quilt and its story.

I also wanted to include Molli (and next week, Sarah Fielke) as they both reach the Aussie quilting peeps that have been so kind to me. For both of their giveaways, I will be mailing a hard copy, real paper-and-ink book to the winners in Australia. I know that our quilting sisters and brothers outside the US often get to win electronic books, but I’m more than chuffed to have you along for the tour, and want to make sure you get to hold a book. I can vouch for how fun it is to have one in your hands!

Please hop over to Molli to see what hi-jinx he’s up to!

Here’s a reminder of the tour and COLOR bucket schedule:


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QUILT TALK Blog Hop Day 4 – TEAL – with Flaun Cline

Day four is here, and we’re playing with TEAL! Head over to Flaun Cline’s I Plead Quilty blog for the pattern!

TEAL Bucket

‘Twas a fateful day when I met Flaun… Quilt Market, Spring 2013, here in Portland, OR (but before I moved here). I had been traipsing the market floor, in search of perfect fabrics for the book’s projects. It was lunchtime, and so I headed out into the eating area of the convention center, dodgy catered salad in hand, looking for a place to sit. There was an open seat next to Flaun and her mom, LuWana, and they looked like kind, friendly people. I asked if I could sit with them, and we ended up gabbing away as quilty people do. We parted having exchanged emails and FB contact info, and actually managed to follow up on that!

Fast forward a few more weeks. I woke up a few days in a row, with the nagging idea that I needed to ask Flaun if she wanted to make a project for the gallery section of the book. I have a pretty decent Spidey-sense, so I tend to listen to it. I called her and asked (and got an enthusiastic ‘hell yes!”), sent her the alphabet patterns, and a week later the quilt was underway. I’ll let her show it to you – it knocked my socks off, and is so much prettier than it photographs… there’s a ton of sparkle in it.

And there it was – the beginning of a treasured friendship. Not only do Flaun and I have fun FaceTime gab sessions, but LuWana and I have forged a lovely friendship too, over great food (the woman is an amazing cook) and theatre outings. All because I asked if a seat was taken! Sometime you just have to ask!


Quilting really does bring great people into your life.

Flaun recently joined the BadAss Quilters Society, and is ramping up her teaching schedule at Spool in Chattanooga, TN. You need to take a class from her – she’s an eloquent, encouraging, and patient teacher – and I know this because she taught me to do EPP hexies over FaceTime!

Please hop over to her blog, and read about her Quilt Talk quilt.

Here’s a reminder of the tour and COLOR bucket schedule:


BTW – Did you join my mailing list yet? Do it here. I’m dreaming up groovy exclusive stuff for you!

QUILT TALK Blog Hop Day 3 – RED – with Kim Niedzwiecki

Day three is here and the color is RED!

RED Bucket

Kim Niedzwiecki of My Go-Go Life is hosting the RED bucket pattern for you today. And check out the project she made from the RED word – I love that she took it and made it her own!

I met Kim at Quilt Market a year or so back, when I was getting to know Alex and the Aurifil team. She’s a breath of fresh air – a whirlwind of positive energy and “yes, you can!” attitude. I’ve seen her at the end of a long Sample Spree evening after an equally long day at Market, and she is still wearing both pretty heels and a beaming smile. It’s so lovely to be around people who bring such bright energy with them. You should check out the quilts on her blog too – full of the same colorful cheer!

She and I have bonded over being fond of words… when I first headed out to market with my sassy buttons, she proudly wore them and has been one of my champions ever since. (Kim… I have some new ones coming… and maybe another one that’s thread related just for you!) I’m so honored to have her take a hop on the blog tour – and it’s always fun for me to find fellow word nerds to hang out with!

I also adore the honesty with which Kim writes: she boldly talks about all the stuff that doesn’t always turn out the way it was planned – a refreshing peek behind the studio and life curtains. So I’m going to take a page out of her book and tell you about my great fail of the last weekend… I was making soup for a friend who was visiting to sew for the day, and as I was grinding salt into it the top came off the salt grinder and half the bottle of salt went into the soup. Yep, we ate out lunch instead… and I’ll make another pot of soup tomorrow with NO salt, in the hopes that combining them will make it right!

And before I jump off, a word about social media… there are days I curse the rabbit holes that social media tempts me to disappear down, but without it, I wouldn’t be friends with half the people you’re meeting on this blog tour. It has given me a chance to have deeper connections with people like Kim once the fast-paced fuss of Market dissolves. Color me grateful for the technology that has brought me a world wide community of the coolest people.

Here’s a reminder of the tour and COLOR bucket schedule:


BTW – Did you join my mailing list yet? Do it here. I’m dreaming up groovy exclusive stuff for you!


Quilt Talking with Pat Sloan!

Fun stuff coming tomorrow! The lovely Pat Sloan, podcaster extraordinaire of the quilting industry, reached out to me to talk about quilts, and we’re going to do that tomorrow (Monday Oct 6) afternoon!


We’ll be talking about Quilt Talk, and you’ll get to hear some of the stories behind how and why I design quilts. Pat, in addition to hosting APQ Radio, is also a designer, so I’m looking forward to hearing how she does it too.

You can listen to it live at http://www.allpeoplequilt.com/magazines-more/quilting-podcast 4pm eastern, 3pm Central, 2pm mountain, 1pm Pacific. I’m the 3rd segment, starting around the half hour.

You can also pick it up later at the same link, or through iTunes (search American Patchwork & Quilting).

Come and have a listen!

American Patchwork and Quilting Pocast Sam Hunter Oct 2014



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QUILT TALK Blog Hop Day 2 – BROWN – with Carrie Bloomston

Day 2 is here and the color is BROWN!

BROWN Bucket

I was worried about handing BROWN to a friend as the color of their hop, but then I remembered that the fabulously talented Carrie Bloomston of SUCH Designs is helping out, and I knew all would be well.

In addition to designing patterns and fabrics, and authoring her new book, The Little Spark – 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity, Carrie is also an abstract painter – so who better than a painter to tell us how to appreciate BROWN? I remember the magic of combining all sorts of colors to make myriad brown tones in my first painting class – it really was a wonder. Learning how to manipulate color is one of the keys to the kingdom of art!

When I was working on the patterns for Quilt Talk, I began to play with some words for those of us who follow paths that are not always so popular. What emerged was “She just ignored the people who said it couldn’t be done.” As I’ve changed my life from full time IT management geek to full time creative geek, I’ve had a lot of encouragement, but a lot of pushback too. I had to ignore the people who said that I couldn’t or shouldn’t make a radical life change, realizing that often when people tell you that YOU can’t, what they are really saying is that THEY can’t.


As the words crystallized, I knew I had to fnd some special fabrics for them. I reached out to Carrie to use her very first fabric line, Collage, and she and Windham Fabrics squeaked out the needed yardage from the precious pre-release stash. (And this quilt will work with other border prints, too.)

Why this fabric? Well, when I first met Carrie we started gabbing, and soon found out that we both had graduated from art programs that, while they taught us a lot about art, pickled our brains a bit. Carrie put it best when she said it took a while to get back to being the artist she was before school. I’ve felt the same way… after so much critique (helpful and otherwise) my head was in a swirl. Making this quilt for us both was a way to celebrate our return to what we know is right for our own artistic careers. And I know she would join me in telling you to follow your own path, and just ignore the people who would tell you it can’t be done!

Please head over to Carrie’s blog to comment for a chance to win a Quilt Talk book, and to download the BROWN bucket pattern.

Check out Carrie’s new book too – it releases this month! I can’t wait to play with it!


Here’s a reminder of the tour and COLOR bucket schedule:


BTW – Did you join my mailing list yet? Do it here. I’m dreaming up groovy exclusive stuff for you!


QUILT TALK Blog Hop Day 1 – PURPLE – with the Bitchy Stitcher

The first step of the tour begins with Megan Dougherty, our industry’s own quilt humorist, known to us as The Bitchy Stitcher. She’s hosting the PURPLE pattern for you!


Once upon a time, in a galaxy not so far away, a mutual acquaintance reached out to me to talk to Megan about how I built the design walls that are such an important part of my studio. So I called her, and in that brief conversation about flannel and fleece, and getting boards to stick to walls in a way that won’t give your landlord hives, I found a dear friend. Sometimes friendships have to grow slowly – but I knew almost immediately I’d have Megan in my family for a long time.

It was a couple of years before I met her in person (at Quilt Market, natch) and as we like to tell the story, we damn near needed a room.


Last Quilt Market in Pittsburgh, we finally shared one and stayed up half the night giggling like only women friends can. She’s the kind of friend that sends you a Lego Wolverine after she hears you saw the last X Men movie twice because Hugh Jackman in THAT scene was worth a second look (and maybe a third, but who’s counting?)


And for whipped cream on the whole ice cream sundae, her sweet kiddos are allowing me to be their crazy auntie from afar.

As well as being a great pal, she’s also a great mentor. The writes like a maniac, but she knows her stuff backwards, and helps me all the time with the literary end of my world.  If you’re not already a fan, go read some of the stuff she writes about the crazy process of learning to quilt, cephalopods, men with burritos, and of course, Tom Hiddleston. Only a brilliant mind could make all that work! And word to the wise… DO NOT drink liquids while reading her humor, lest you need to wipe down your monitor and keyboard.

When my book journey began two years ago, I reached out to her for a gallery quilt, and she used the Quilt Talk alphabet to great effect, nailng down a custom quilt that is covered in her personality… she’ll be telling you all about that in her hop, so head over there and give it a read! Oh, and if you need another book in your life, consider getting hers, Quilting Isn’t Funny – you’ll go back to it every time you have to suffer through a dry guild board meeting, or try to miter binding without pictures.

Here’s a reminder of the schedule:


BTW – Did you join my mailing list yet? Do it here. I’m dreaming up groovy exclusive stuff for you!

Quilt Talk – The Blog Tour!

Here we go! Thirteen hops, starting tomorrow!


Who’s hosting:

What happens on the hop?

You visit each stop, and the hop host/hostess will regale you with stories. Stories of making a quilt for the book, stories about me, stories about me and them, stories about choosing a color, etc. It will be good and fun stuff, and we’ll try not to have too many mushy moments (but no guarantees… the people helping out here are dear to me, so I might get a bit soppy in places). And then you comment on their story to win a BOOK. Yes, each hop is a chance to win.

What’s with the COLORS?

So glad you asked! We have special patterns for you. You’ll be able to download the PDF pattern for the COLOR word featured at each stop so that you can make all these colorful scrap buckets for yourself or for friends.

All Buckets stacked

Yes – THIRTEEN free patterns! You’ll get all the letters for the COLOR words, correctly sized so that you can start paper piecing immediately. And you’ll need these COLOR bucket instructions to turn the COLOR word into a word block (that you then plug into the Oh Scrap Bucket pattern from the book).

The hop ends with me, and the ORANGE bucket, of course. I’ll be giving away a signed book, all the COLOR patterns printed on my favorite paper-piecing paper, a package of that favorite paper-piecing paper (It’s like crack, it’s so good), a package of Timtex and some Pellon Fusible Fleece (for bucket making), and some other goodies. It will be a lovely box of stuff. And yes, my dear international peeps… I’m happy to mail across the water, so you’re eligible to win this box too!

See you on the tour!

Where to Find Sam – September 2014 Edition

I’m traveling tomorrow, and talking and teaching and signing for the next week or so – if you’re close by, come see me!

photo 7

Thursday Sept 25th, 7pm – Nite Owl Quilters Guild in Upland CA. I’m doing my “There’s Magic in the Lesson, OR Perfection is Overrated!” lecture. Lots of trunk show, including new things from the book that haven’t been shown yet. And of course, I’ll be signing books too.

Friday Sept 26th, 6-8pm – New Moon Textiles in Pasadena CA, my former quilt store home (I worked there for a couple of years – it will be so great to see my friends there!) I’m showing the book quilts in a trunk show, and signing books.

Satuday, Sept 27, 10am to 4pm – back to the Nite Owl Quilters Guild for a workshop. We’re making Dingbats! It’s one of my favorite quilts, and another “so much easier than it looks” pattern. I think they still have a couple of spaces if you’d like to come play. I even rip seams and iron for my students, while cracking lame jokes – really, you don’t want to miss this!

HDS.007 - Dingbats - COVER 2014 - 300dpiRGB

Sunday Sept 28 – 2-4pm – out to Sew Modern in Los Angeles, CA, one of the best modern stores around, and home of the LAMQG. Lauren, the owner, will be breaking out the bubbly while I sign books. Oh, and in case you’ve never visited before, she carries every Kona solid. Yep, EVERY.

Monday, Sep 29 – 6 to 8pm – SLO Creative Studio, in San Luis Obispo, CA. SLO Creative is a new creative space developed by my friend, Janet Mease, and I’m there to help kick off her opening week events with some book signing, a wee bit of We Are $ew Worth It lecture, and a car full of quilts to trunk show. Please come support this new space!

Other adventures for the week include time with my creative mini group, these folks:photo-6

We’ve been meeting once a month for the last couple years, challenging ourselves with creative projects. I’ve been joining the meetings via FaceTime since I moved to PDX, but this time I get to sit at the table and share the chocolate! Our challenge this month is to make something in response to this artwork:

From http://www.design-is-fine.org/post/96889364749/rupprecht-geiger-n-d-via-galerie-walzinger

From http://www.design-is-fine.org/post/96889364749/rupprecht-geiger-n-d-via-galerie-walzinger

I’m not sure what I’m doing yet, buy I know it won’t include PINK ;-)

I’m also visiting my friends at Hoffman Fabrics! I get to touch the new pretties, and hopefully choose some to make a market sample or two for them. Psst…. we’re playing with solid batiks too, and they are so, so gorgeous. Watch this space.

Also, if the planets align, I’ll be heading to the Craft and Folk Art Museum in LA to see a new juried exhibition of contemporary textiles. Read about it here. When living and working a creative life, it’s important to put some inspiration back into the well, too. LACMA is across the street, so I might poke my head into a quilt exhibition that just opened there, Big Quilts in Small Sizes: Children’s Historical Bedcovers.

Lastly – we kick off the Quilt Talk blog tour on October 1 as I fly home. It’s going to be a fun hop that takes us as far away as Australia, and might even include a Skype interview if Victoria Findlay Wolfe and I can figure out the technology of it!

So I’ll leave you with these as a teaser… look for them on the tour!

All Buckets stacked


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Tablescapes. This word has risen out of the noise at me a few times in the last couple of weeks… and, being a Word Girl, I pay attention when words poke at me.

The first mention of it was a call from one of my distributors for the loan of quilt samples in one of a few categories for the upcoming Quilt Market in Houston (the last weekend of October). The second mention was last weekend, when I demoed at a local distributor’s big new stuff shindig… “Do you have any patterns for tablescapes?” Ummm… no.

So off to the modern day oracle for an image search to go with the word, and yikes!


(Yes, I picked an ORANGE image, because, well, ORANGE.)

Confession…. I missed this class in school, and I have avoided it like the plague on Pinterest. While I love to have friends over for food and board games, I put my energy into making things like pots de crème instead, and if we manage to eat off real plates with cloth napkins I feel like I’ve appeased Martha just a wee bit and call it a win. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the beauty of a table set like this (I love me some beauty), I just don’t care about creating it – I’d rather make more desserts. And if I had the space to keep all this extra kitchen/table stuff around (I don’t) I would have filled it with fabric long ago.

So back to the pattern requests for tablescapes. Another return to the oracle reveals that, yep, there are lots of quilted table runner and placemat patterns out there.

As it happens, I designed some cheeky placemats for Quilt Talk not knowing that they were part of the tablescape clan, but frankly, the idea that gravy could be spilled on something I bound by hand gives me the willies.

photo 5

I just can’t imagine putting a pretty table runner down the center of a big, noisy, family dinner and have it escape unscathed. And the last thing I want to think about during a big, noisy, family dinner is keeping the tablecloth clean… I’d rather eat and laugh.

And so… I have questions. Why are table runner patterns popular? Do the runners get used? Close to food, or only decoratively? Is it because, as a smaller project, they are easier to make? Easier to quilt/wrangle on a domestic machine? More affordable in terms of materials? Great/fast/small as gifts?

And if I did design one, what matters about the design? Size? Customizable size? Scrap or pre-cut? Or….?

And… should I be designing them? While I design mostly for what turns me on, I’m no fool. If my readers want something, I’m interested in seeing if I can point my design head towards it, with the understanding that it’s MY design head, which means if I’m not turned on by the idea I won’t put my energy there. Trust me, you don’t want things that are made by people who aren’t turned on by making them! Passion matters!

Let me know your thoughts!


BTW – Did you join my mailing list yet? Do it here. I’m dreaming up groovy exclusive stuff for you!

Thread testing – need your input!

A few blog posts back, I wrote something to the effect of “I used to work in a quilt store, and have tried a lot of different threads, and I always return to Aurifil.”

Well, a new thread manufacturer contacted me and said “You haven’t tried ours!” And so they sent me a few spools to play with – some 50 wt cotton in a couple of colors and a variegated, and a polyester embroidery thread in ORANGE.


Thus – my questions:

  • What do YOU want to know about these threads?
  • What matters to you when purchasing them?
  • What types of things do you want me to try and report back on?

Note that I’m not going to track down every thread known to man and do a double blind study here, I’m just going to run these threads through some paces and tell you what I found out. And then give them away to you, dear readers, when I’m done because, hey, you should get to play too! And I should probably just say up front, I might not let go of the ORANGE!

So leave me your thoughts for a thread test! Thank you!