Blog Block Week #9

Cathy Mathews

I’ve been married 40 years and have 2 children and 1 grandson.  I work one day a week at O’Susannah’s.  I like to quilt, read, garden and hand stitch!




Meet Sharon Stroud


Mariner’s Compass Bliss - hand pieced compasses designed and sewn by Sharon Stroud

Mariner’s Compass Bliss – hand pieced compasses designed and sewn by Sharon Stroud

Like many of us, Sharon Stroud began learning new quilting techniques by trial and error. And if you have ever taken a class from her, you are glad she kept with it because she’s good. Need perfect points? Scant ¼” seams? You can rely on Sharon to teach you how to get them.

Sharon began her teaching efforts in 1992 and it’s now her full time job. She’s been teaching at O’Susannah’s for 8 years and students love her.
Over the years, Sharon’s done all types of needle arts including knitting, crochet, cross stitch and needlepoint but quilting is what she loves most. Sharon feels that with quilting you can put your own twist on the designs. For Sharon, the opportunity for creativity was in quilting more than any other form and she became hooked.
Early on, Sharon started teaching machine piecing and machine applique with hand quilting. And she still does teach those things. The only thing she doesn’t teach is machine quilting
Sharon is well known for her hand piecing and hand quilting. So much so, that many people think that’s all she teaches. Not so. She just loves those two things so much and her goal is that those forms don’t die out.

A 32-point compass, small eight-pointers and a 16-pointer created by Sharon Stroud

A 32-point compass, small eight-pointers and a 16-pointer created by Sharon Stroud

Sharon is self-taught. When she learned new techniques it was trial and error. She continued to work on her techniques until she was satisfied. What makes her a great teacher? Well, she’s made all the mistakes you and I can possibly come up with – and she’s been able to fix and master them.

Off-set 16-point Mariner’s Compass--the “catalyst” block created by Sharon Stroud

Off-set 16-point Mariner’s Compass–the “catalyst” block created by Sharon Stroud

The early years for Sharon found her working on miniatures. Hmmmm….would love to see some pictures of those, wouldn’t you? Her early quilts had no binding because she didn’t know how to do it. That sounds familiar…She finally found decent directions and taught herself how to properly bind her quilts. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention.
Sharon has a vast repertoire of experience. She can teach beginners to advanced but finds her teaching most often aligns with the beginner class. Could that be because she has a rah-rah attitude that helps inspire you and helps you gain that confidence to start and finish your project? Sharon believes that students can always be successful…that when they have a good foundation of the basics they can do anything. She’s very nurturing to her students and makes the classes fun.

More Mariner’s Compass Bliss by Sharon Stroud

More Mariner’s Compass Bliss by Sharon Stroud

In 2001, Sharon wrote, Dresden Plates of Distinction published by AQS. Asked when her next book was going to be written, she said, “With the amount of handouts I give at each class, I’ve probably written 5 or 6 more books!” That gives you an idea of how thorough her classes are.
Sharon’s taught all over the United States and Canada and will be teaching at the Vermont Quilt Festival in June 2014.

To learn more about Sharon, check her out at these links. Contact Sue if you want to know when Sharon will next be teaching at the shop. – Sharon’s web site – Sharon’s blog



Blog Block Giveaway Week #8


My name is Debbie Sanford, I live in Corning, New York.  I have two children, four step-children and three grandchildren. I work full-time at Corning Community College and I am one of the longarmer’s at O’Susannah’s.  My goal is to be able to retire from my full-time job in a little less than 4 years and be able to work more hours longarming.  I love to see all the quilts that customers have completed–the patterns and colors they use–and I like to be able to compliment them with the longarm portion of their quilt projects.  I also like to quilt and wish I had more time to follow my quilting passion.


Welcome to Spring!

I don’t know where you all hang your bonnet but I live here in Upstate New York, plunk in-between the great Lake Ontario and the scenic Finger Lakes region. We are having a veerrrrrrry looooooonnnng winter. My spring bonnet is still in the closet while my wool hat, scarf and mittens sit at the ready. Spring is not coming soon enough for me. But alas, I have sidetracked.

Today is the first day of spring and to celebrate, I created a little appliqué block. I know. I know. Not everyone appliqués but honestly, this is really easy. In fact you hardly have to have any preciseness at all. In fact #2, you could probably just freehand draw whatever you want and make it into appliqué. Try it. You just might fall in love. After all, it’s spring!

So here’s the little block I made for you. I am calling it Ode to Spring. How’s that for a little poetic levity?

Ode to Spring Applique Block

I made up this little block for you. I call it Ode to Spring. I hope you enjoy it. It’s a little bit whimsical, I think.

You can Ode to Spring Pattern PDF. I put this pattern and block together in an hour or two so the pattern was simply sketched but it will work fine to trace. Just print it out on your computer.  Easy, peazy.

This is what you will cut:
From  green: 1 stem; 2 leaves
From  8 different prints: cut 8 petals
From blue: cut 1 circle center

For my background I just used a piece of muslin. My background fabric was cut as a 9 ½” square.

That’s it. I really love this pattern. It could be made up a bunch of different ways – Christmas fabrics; golds and yellows with a black or dark brown center for Black-eyed Susans – the variations are endless!

I was on Pinterest today. I love Pinterest, don’t you? I was poking around looking for, what else, antique quilts, but also for quilt blocks. I looked at a couple of great sites that I often visit. One is Laura Fisher Antique Quilts and the other is Betsey Teleford-Goodwin’s Rocky Mountain Quilts.

At Rocky Mountain Quilts I found the quilt blocks that inspired my Ode to Spring design. Here’s a picture of the blocks at Rocky Mountain Quilts. I am sure they are for sale but I didn’t see any prices on the blocks so if you’re interested you would need to contact them. Did I mention that I also love Depression-era quilts and fabrics? Could be that’s what attracted me to these blocks.

Vintage applique flower quilt blocks from Rocky Mountain Quilts.

Vintage applique flower quilt blocks from Rocky Mountain Quilts.

Rocky Mountain Quilts can be found here:

Laura Fisher is at Fisher Heritage and Laura Fisher Antique Quilts & Americana and can be found here:

Have fun creating and have a lovely first day of spring 2014!

Genes – one we all have in common


How many times have you heard someone express the giving nature of a quilter?  It seems it’s a gene we all have in common. Jean, one of my long arm quilters, recently heard about a young woman battling ovarian cancer.  And of course, her first thought was she needed a quilt even though she did not know this woman and had never met her!   Jean completed a beautiful quilt done in teal (the ovarian cancer color) and made a surprise visit to Janette’s apartment.  Janette was overwhelmed at the generosity from a total stranger.  Of course, Jean thought nothing of it.  She just wanted to reach out to this woman battling for her life as others had done for Jean’s daughter, Kelly when she faced her battle.  Kelly lost her battle but Jean’s loss didn’t stop her from hoping another young woman didn’t lose hers.  During Jean’s visit with Janette, she learned Janette has lost her job because of her illness, has no health insurance and has no family in the area to drive her back and forth to Roswell for treatments. Immediately, Jean knew she wanted to do more to help.  She decided to make another quilt and enlisted her friend, Sharon to help.  What’s another quilt – Jean made 30 quilts in 2013 so one more is not a big deal.  She and Sharon pieced this quilt in one day and Jean quilted it at the shop.  As you can see the quilt is beautiful and so springy just what we all need right now !  They are selling raffle tickets and the quilt will be at a benefit for Janette at Mickey’s Pub, Broad St.., Waverly, NY on April 12, 2014 from 5:00-9:00pm.  If you would like to purchase tickets ($2.00 each or 3/$5.00) and help Janette in her fight contact Jean at or visit us at O’Susannah’s.  I’m always so humbled when I meet a quilter who thinks nothing of reaching out to help someone in need much less a total stranger !

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Fred & Betty Alderman at Giant's Causeway, Ireland

Fred & Betty Alderman at Giant’s Causeway, Ireland

Are your Irish eyes smilin’?

I’ve never been to Ireland. Have you? Perhaps someday I will go.

I have included a picture of my mom and dad in Ireland. They were visiting friends there and in this picture they were visiting Giant’s Causeway on the Atlantic Ocean. I love the picture in that they look happy and healthy and my dad has his ever-present camera. My father documented the world through a camera. And my mom loved to travel and would have seen the beauty in Ireland in all its artistic splendor.

The picture has special meaning to me. One reason is I think it was the last big trip they ever took. They were there in September of 2001. Yes. That September. They were due to fly home on September 11th and were grounded in Ireland and couldn’t make it home for a while. As with everyone else that day, I was horrified, scared and tearful. My cousin who was living in NYC at the time was unaccounted for for many, many hours (she was later safe but in a somewhat tattered state for having had to walk home for many hours) and my parents were stranded overseas. But what came from that Ireland trip was the kindness and love shown my parents at that time by the Irish people, something they never forgot.  So, thank you, Ireland!

The way my mind works, one thought always leads to another which leads to another and another. I was looking online for an Irish quilt block to make as I was thinking about Ireland. Well, that led me to wonder about Irish quilts. In my search I found a couple of web sites that I thought might interest you. The first one is the blog for the Modern Quilt Guild of Ireland. It’s found here: I’ll try to put it up on our blog too, as a blog we follow. When the blog states what it is to be a modern quilter, it says in part, “Modern quilting has its roots in rebellion [I love this statement the best], in our desire to do something different, but simultaneously its feet are firmly planted in the field of tradition.  Modern quilting is our response to what has come before.  We are quilters first, modern quilters second.”

Are you a “modern quilter?”

The second place I happened upon was this super article about Irish patchwork quilts. Since I am an amateur historian, fabric fiend and quilt lover (new and old) this article appealed to me on many levels. I hope it appeals to you, too. The article is titled, “Early Irish Patchwork Quilts and Traditions,” by Roselind Shaw at

Because of the way this article was presented on the web I contacted Roselind Shaw to see if I had her permission to link to it (she kindly said yes). We had a nice “electronic” conversation and agreed that the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum had some great stuff (see link below). I told you my thought process skips around a bit…

In Roselind’s article she speaks of a Grandmother Millar. The museum shows a picture of a woman named Annie Millar who was one of the quiltmakers who had a quilt in the museum. I asked Roselind if this may have been a relative of hers but she said she was not.

Below is a picture from the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum found at—Costume/Crazy-Patchwork.  I strongly encourage a visit there, either in person or via the internet.

My favorite quilt in these pictures is the velvet star quilt. I can’t imagine making it. How hard would that be to get all those points made in velvet! Have any of you worked in velvet? I would love to hear what you have to say about it.

Here’s Annie Millar’s quilt.

A hand-pieced velvet star mosaic quilt made by Annie Millar and found at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in Ireland, circa 1890

A hand-pieced velvet star mosaic quilt made by Annie Millar and found at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in Ireland, circa 1890

Well – eat corned beef and drink green beer today and celebrate the Irish and have a very, very happy St. Patrick’s Day.  — Betsy

Blog Block Giveaway Week #7


My name is Vicki Olmstead.  I’ve been married for 31 years and have 2 kids, ages 26 and 29.  I’ve been sewing almost all my life and quilting for about 20 years.  I love to work with traditional fabrics..Civil War reproductions and Kansas Troubles are 2 of my favorites.  I stay away from applique…we don’t get along well.  I’ve been working at O’Susannah’s for about 4 years and thoroughly enjoy it.  When I’m not quilting, I like spending my time with family and friends, camping and some DIY home projects.