• Back home

    Back home

    Over a year ago we moved back home. Back to the United States, but also back to my hometown of Fairhope, Alabama. It's so pleasent to be back. Fairhope is small, although it has grown in my lifetime quite a bit (I love hearing the old timers talk about traffic, as it is in a small town, it's probably one of the biggest complaints, and when you look at it from a different perspective, it's not a problem at all). We ended up buying the house next door to the house I grew up in, and so I'm really back home, like as close as you could get without kicking the folks out of my old house. Our home is great, it's a funky old 70's split level ranch (if you watch me on pinterest that might explain my board full of goofy split level ideas) with styrofoam "wood" beams in the living room, black grouted brick (black?!?!), different flooring in every room, and popcorn ceilings. It's got character! And we love it. We have a huge (or at least it seems huge to maintain) garden in the front yard, and chickens in the back. The neighborhood ranges from newly weds to 90 year olds, and we know them all. Improvements are being made little by little to our house, new trees get planted every time I have a little extra spending money (or Arbor Day, when you manage to get trees for free!). I'm walking everywhere I can, because we're lucky to have a large system of sidewalks. The photo is from a walk in scenic Point Clear, we looked out onto Mobile Bay as we walked. It's definitely a change in perspective from Brazil. I can talk to everyone I meet without having to think through my thoughts first, I know the seasons and the customs (mostly, the South still holds out secrets on me), and the inspiration for my work has changed a ton. It's warm and humid down here, with a few frosts during the winter, but not much more than that. The flora and fauna is very different and it's nice to see that change, as it's striking all sorts of new ideas with me. Maybe I'll share more about it, but I wouldn't count on me, I sure do like using the internet as little as possible. Hope all is well, if you're nearby drop me a line!

  • Why Organic Cotton

    Why Organic Cotton

    I live in Brazil, I'm not sure how many of you know that. I know some of my readers are based around the globe, but I think the majority of you are probably in the United States, where organic cotton fabric is available. I design for a lot of companies, but one of my favorites is Cloud 9 Organic Fabrics. It's cotton fabric, medium to light weight, used for quilting purposes. 

    One day, here in Brazil, I decided to have a go at finding organic cotton, I was just looking for some basic solids or muslin. It was incredibly frustrating. In Brazil they speak Portuguese (you can't image how many people ask if I speak Spanish after I tell them I live in Brazil), and I've been studying for four years now, and am a pretty decent speaker. I mess up a ton, but I think I can usually get my point across, and understand what the response is. But organic cotton! Here's about how my search went::

    Sarah walks into store. Excuse me, do you have organic cotton?

    What do you mean? Organic?

    Yes, cotton that is grown organically, which is more sustainable for the environment, and releases less toxins in the production process.

    Still, what do you mean, are you going to eat it?

    No, I was planning on sewing with it?

    You must mean bamboo. We have bamboo. 

    Is it organically grown?

    Are you goign to eat it?

    Goodness. I ended up with no fabric. Not even a nibble. I couldn't seem to get the idea past the guy that organic didn't mean edible. I think I had said something along the lines of 'grown more naturally', and he came back with hemp, bamboo, pretty much all alternative fibers. Close, but not organic. Yikes.

    Anyway, I'm sure a lot of you would regularly buy normal cotton quilting fabric. It's got a cheaper price tag, which is great. And why pay the extra money for organic? So many reasons! We all teach our kids so that they can provide a good future for themselves, set good examples and help others, all to improve upon the state of the world. Traditionally grown cotton releases toxins and chemicals that effect the workers and farmers of the cotton, the land the cotton is grown on, and runoff from these fields pollutes our streams, rivers and eventually oceans. 

    There are so many more reasons, so to not repeat word for word, just go ahead and read this article. It's short, don't worry, an easy read. I hope it convinces you to take organic cotton into consideration the next time you're shopping for fabric. If you're interested in reading more, check out the GOTS website, this is the certification that Cloud 9's fabrics recieve. Also, for a really reader friendly description, check out Cloud 9's FAQ page.

  • Where to find Pen to Thread

    Hey all! This glorious morning I did my typical 'oh, out of coffee, what to do now' boredom google search, and took a look for Pen to Thread. I love seeing what's out there, and was super happy to see that one of my favorite stores is carrying Pen to Thread. So I thought I'd compile a little list of where you can find the book, incase you want to see it in person, or something like that.


    Barnes & Noble


    Purl Soho

    The Village Haberdashery

    Nordic Needle

    Keepsake Needle Arts

    Also, reviews here:

    Knitting Scholar

    If you have Pen to Thread for sale in your online or brick and morter store, I'd love to know, shoot me an email ( and I'll add you to the list. Also, it's very important to me that people share what they think of the book, because feedback helps me create a better product the next time, so if you have a review, please let me know and I'll add you to this list as well.

    Post any of your great embroideries with #pentothread to show the world (and me!) what you've been up to.

  • Sao Paulo Modern Quilt Guild

    Yesterday I went to my first meeting of the Sao Paulo Modern Quilt Guild. Since moving from the Northeast of Brazil, where it was relatively hard to find quilters (it's very close to the Equator, so a little warm to use a quilt), to Sao Paulo in the cooler Southeast, I've been lucky to find a thriving group of quilters. The group has been around for four years, and is headed up by Fá Giandosa, in my mind, the country's quilting superstar. 

    I'm so excited to have someone to share my fabric designs with, and perhaps share some actual fabric with. I'm excited for the opportunity to see what other sewists can do with my designs. So far though, just I have touched the stuff. Our project for the year is Moda's Modern Building Blocks. I've been a fan of this quilt design for a while, so I'm excited to be working on it. I'll be following the pattern, but not necessarily the colors. Because, you know, I need prints! These three blocks were made using my newest line for Cloud 9 Organic Fabrics. It's called Garden Secrets, and it's super lush and colorful. There are some really vibrant colors here, so it's fun to pull some of them from the prints, you know, for the addition of solids, which I have to admit, you need. All prints might be a bit crazy. 

    Next month I'll post more. Hopefully my photography will improve as I go along. 

  • Bugs

    There are a ton of bugs where I live. First, we live in Brazil, which is bug mania, second, we live in the country, so that adds to the level. I've been seeing some amazing ones lately, the problem is getting them to sit still. Here are some great finds that I managed to catch.