Thursday, January 26, 2012

Jane Sassaman's Hearts

"Just when everything seems gray, St. Valentine's Day comes to save the day with a radical splash of RED! It is a color that I could not do without. It is the color of energy; the pulse of life. The heart, too, is a symbol of life, love and regeneration, plus a wonderful graphic reminder of our mortality." So says today's featured artist and designer, Jane Sassaman.  Those who know and love her designs will recognize her distinctive style in these glorious hearts.
Valentine's Greeting, 18 x 18", by Jane Sassaman at Jane Sassaman's Idea Book

This exotic Valentine, with its appliqued heart, is based on Jane Sassaman's Bleeding Heart (available at Jane Sassaman's online shop). The bleeding heart is one of four different Simple Silhouette patterns inspired by Mexican folk art designs.   Each 18” quilt looks quite sophisticated but is actually very fast and easy to make using only 3 pieces of fabric! Shown below in Jane's 2009 Prairie Gothic collection (blogged here) the Simple Silhouettes include a Sugar Skull, Paradise Garden, Iron Cross and Bleeding Heart.

Another thing we love about Jane's fabrics is that they are perfect for broderie perse, a technique in which motifs are cut from the fabrics and used directly in applique.  Here is one cool valentine that illustrates the approach.
Valentine's Quilt, 2010, by Jane Sassaman at Jane Sassaman's Idea book

The purple fronds that surround the heart are from Jane's Sunshine and Shadow line, which were fussy-cut and then appliqued around the heart; the cicadas in the upper corners were cut from another line.  We love the red, pink and purple color scheme, the "subversive" tattoo-like stitching, and the spiky branches that emanate from the heart.

In addition to the wall-hanging-sized hearts shown above, here are two examples of bed quilts made from Jane's former Hothouse Garden and Paradise Garden lines.  These quilts show just how effective her prints can be on a large scale (these free quilt patterns are still available at Jane's Idea Book).

All of which brings us to Jane's newest fabric collection, Early Birds, which was released this fall by Free Spirit Fabrics (it's in stores now). Early Birds is an enchanted garden filled with Jane's familiar friends: dandelions, bleeding hearts, primroses and, of course, a clever critter or two. In the Early Birds quilt project, shown below, giant hearts are used to showcase the lime and plum-colored prints, which have a wonderful quilted appearance from afar.

Early Birds Quilt, 46 x 46", *free pattern* by Jane Sassaman for Free Spirit Fabric

You can also see the Early Birds quilt in real life in this shot of Jane Sassaman's booth at the 2011 Fall Market in Houston (read the story here,  and see a photo of Jane introducing the quilt at McCall's Quilting.)

Last but not least, Jane Sassaman has a new book that is coming out this spring (published by Dragon Threads). It is called "Patchwork Sassaman Style" and it is all about using big, bold and beautiful prints in quilts. The book will feature pieces made with her FreeSpirit fabrics, and one of her designs will also be available as a silk scarf (you can preview the images at Dragon Threads).

Image credits:  Images are shown with the generous permission of Jane Sassaman. For more information please visit her website at Jane


  1. I must say, you've got a very impressive collection of heart quilts. Indeed, perfect for Valentine's. Well did you know that hearts, though a symbol of love, also symbolize bad luck if you include it on a wedding quilt? That's according to the U.S tradition, which started in the 1930's. They say that the couples' heart might get broken if it is included in the design. Interesting, isn't it?

  2. All I can say is that Jane is a creative genius!


  3. Such beautiful hearts!! Janes fabrics are something else!


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