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Interviewed on American Patchwork & Quilting Radio

January 6th, 2014

Happy New Year from Stitch Publications.  It's going to be an exciting year coming up.  I spent the last couple of weeks over the holiday vacation finishing up the translation of the next book that we'll have out.  It will be a couple of months yet before you all see it, but I'll keep you updated. 

I was lucky enough to have Pat Sloan stop by my booth at Quilt Market this past fall.  You can imagine how excited I was to meet her in person.  I have had her patterns and books for a few years and have loved her work.  When she told me she was interested in having me on the American Patchwork & Quilting radio show that she hosts, I was beyond excited.

The live interview was earlier today and it is now available on her podcasts.  You can hear the show by clicking on this link.

The guest after me was also astronaut who quilted in space!  Amazing.


radio podcast


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Thanksgiving Weekend...

December 1st, 2013

While I have never been fond of the cold weather, I do love the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season.  Growing up we always had plenty of Christmas cookies and our own special "spice tea" (see recipe below).  I have wonderful memories of the family being together. 

In years past I spent Thanksgiving weekend decorating my house inside and out.  I loved to get as many weeks of Christmas in without violating the "after Thanksgiving" rule.  The past couple of years I have been in flux as I sold my home, moved states twice and am now back in Seattle.  I am currently renting until I find another place to call home.  Unfortunately, my boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations are hidden in the corner of the garage behind more boxes so I will not have the complete Christmas house that I often have.  But little things are going up and there is always the cooking and baking that makes the season.

It's also the second year that I have spent so much time translating and working on the Japanese books that I am putting out.  I have six books out now and am working on two more that will be out in the first half of 2014. 

Whether you live in America or Canada where there are official Thanksgiving holidays, it is always good to stop and reflect on all we are thankful for.  I am thankful to God for so many family, friends, health, being able to buy fabric and fiber for all my many hobbies.  I am so thrilled that Stitch Publications is doing so well and thankful to those of you who are buying our books. Thank you for your encouraging mail and notes.  I hope that you are able to snuggle up wherever you are in the world and work on favorite projects.

Spice Tea

6 cups cold water

5-6 black tea bags

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp. whole cloves

1/2 c. sugar

3/4 c. orange juice

2 Tb. lemon juice

Bring the water to a boil with the cinnamon stick and whole cloves.  When boiling, turn off the heat and add the tea bags.  Let them steep, then strain. (I often keep the cinnamon stick and whole cloves for another batch or two).  Add in the rest of the ingredients.  Enjoy!

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Catching my breath after Quilt Market

November 10th, 2013

While Quilt Market is in various locations every spring, it always takes place in Houston, TX in the fall.  Hordes of shop owners, vendors and quilt industry-related folks descend upon the downtown for 3-5 days.  It is a bustling and crazy time.  I have been going for a few years off and on while I was working out exactly what kind of business I was going to start.  I honestly don't know which is more exhausting...walking the entire floor to see what is new or manning your own booth. 

Lucky for me, my two sidekicks, Kirsten and Christy were there to help out.  Kirsten is my right hand and works me in this venture.  Christy jumps in and helps out whenever necessary, including making some samples for our booth.  I couldn't have done this without them.

Many of the shops that currently carry our books came by to see the new books.  We had folks from Moda, Quilter's Newsletter, American Patchwork & Quilting, Primitive Quilts & Projects and more pop by to see the latest books as well. 

While I didn't have much time to walk around this year (much to my disappointment), I was able to catch up with a number of friends I have made in the industry.  Aren't quilters the most lovely people ever? 

At the most basic level we take

  • cotton that is woven into a tight fabric
  • fabric dyes in a myriad of colors
  • designs that combine the colors into amazing fabric collections
  • folks with an eye to quilt patterns, designs and color

We then cut all of the fabric up, sew it all back together and voila!

It never ceases to amaze me what can be done to create the most beautiful and useful things.  I often have non-quilters (usually men, in this case) who ask what I do with all of these quilts that I make.  "Do??" I ask?  Do we have to "do" something with them?  Did people ask Monet what he did with his paintings?  Did people ask Da Vinci why he was sculpting?  OK, so maybe I'm not in their class of art, but I see no reason why we have to "do" something with our quilts.  It is the joy in the process of creating...knowing that quilts are endlessly unique and the future of quilting knows no bounds. 
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Yoko Saito originals in the house!!

October 14th, 2013

I just got back from a week trip to Japan.  It is always great to be back "home".  It's all I can do to not buy all of my favorite foods and eat my way through the week.  Alas, work called. 

On Tuesday, I stopped by Yoko Saito's quilt shop, Quilt Party.  We were having a meeting about various things.  I also was picking up a number of her original works that I borrowed to display at my booth at Quilt Market next week in Houston.  I just took them out here at home to look them over.  My, oh, my...are they ever amazing.  The workmanship is perfection.  Really...I'll post them here, so you can see the.  All of these projects come from one of the three books that we have/are publishing...

Yoko Saito's Woolwork (already out)

Yoko Saito's Japanese Taupe Color Theory (November)

120 Original Embroidery Designs by Yoko Saito (November)

Enjoy and check out the rest of the pictures on our Facebook page

flag cushions     orange     turtle pincushion

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Fall brings out the quilting bug...

September 10th, 2013

It was a busy summer with my brother and his family visiting the States from Nepal (where they live) and getting together with family. There I am in the bottom center with my family.

family summer 2013

And now summer is waning and fall is around the corner.

It's not like quilters aren't obsessed year round, but in the fall, I somehow seem to want to review all the projects I am in the middle of, or ones that I want to get to.  Perhaps it is because the cooler weather (or damp weather in Seattle) makes me want to hibernate a little more.

Our latest book, Yoko Saito's Woolwork has been out a couple of weeks.  I've loved this book since I saw it on a business trip to Japan years ago.  How exciting to be able to put it out in English.  I always find it interesting that when I read the books in Japanese, they seem to make sense.  Then I begin to translate them and I realize that for the English-speaking market, maybe they aren't as detailed as they could be to help people make the projects.  I do my best to translate the instructions in a way that is clear, albeit, I sometimes write in the more obvious steps just in case a beginner is working on them.

"Woolwork" was challenging.  I prefer to keep the layout of the original Japanese book as much as possible as that was the vision of the author and designer to begin with, but sometimes it doesn't lend itself to the clearest understanding.

I was heads-down for most of the summer getting two more books to the printer.  The first is "Yoko Saito's Japanese Taupe Color Theory - A Study Guide".  This is a beautiful book full of the theory and instructions on how to put together your own taupe color palettes along with a number of projects.  For anyone who loves the soft, muted look of Japanese taupes, this is a must-have!

The next book is "120 Original Embroidery Designs" also by Yoko Saito.  Beautiful!  We'll be showcasing these at Quilt Market in Houston at the end of next month, so drop by our booth (booth # 1715).

Meanwhile, I am working on handwork from a quilt that is in a book that I will be publishing in 2014...

Floral Bouqet 1     floral bouquet 2     floral bouquet 3

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