I met Susan Sato of Easy Piecing a few years ago, we catch up with each other in a variety of places. . .quilt shows, guild meetings. Susan carries some neat things in her booth, like dupioni silk (the good colors bright and fun like hot pink!) and some cool thread. I’ve heard great things about her Sashiko Classes. I love that Susan keeps handwork alive and kicking in the quilting community.
TC: Hi Susan! Thanks so much for taking the time for an interview. Can you tell me a little bit about Easy Piecing?
Susan: Easy Piecing was created by filling a need for my mother. We were at a quilting retreat and I noticed that she was having a hard time putting pressure on the rotary cutter. I was thinking of starting a business using precut fabrics in kits and my mom confirmed that there was a need. It makes it easier for quilters who have arthritis and hand restrictions. My kits are also great for beginner quilters or if you need to make a quilt and you just don’t feel like cutting out the fabric. I have branched into selling Sashiko supplies, funky ribbons and silk fabric. You could say the my business is eclectic. You never know what you will find!
TC: Tell me a little bit about the new studio. What about the classes quilters can take?
Susan: I teach Sashiko, hand piecing and do private lessons out of my house in Brooklyn. *See the list of classes below.*
TC: How did you start quilting/how long have you been quilting?
Susan: My mom started quilting first, then I got started. And was hooked. I started working at a shop called The Sewing Circle in 1994. They hired me to help customers with clothing pattern questions. They asked me to take quilting lessons so I could also help their quilting customers. One of my fellow co-workers told me there was a book on Japanese quilting (which is part of my heritage) and once I saw that book I knew I wanted to go in that direction. I also joined the Quilters’ Guild of Brooklyn in 1995 and have been a member ever since.
Susan: My first machine was a small Brother that I used for sewing clothing. When it started to sew sideways it was time for me to get a BERNINA 1000 special. This is a basic machine but a large step-up for me at the time. Now that I’m a professional I sew with a Pfaff Expression 2046. I love the built-in walking foot.
TC: Do you quilt on a domestic or long arm?
TC: Fave fabric line and colors?
Susan: I don’t have one fave fabric line. I always go for anything Asian, Kaffe Fassett shot cottons & stripes and of course silks. I also don’t have one favorite color. I do learn to the cool colors. I don’t use a lot of orange, yellow or brown. Brown and orange remind me of the 70’s kitchen I had growing up and I have never gotten over that color combination
TC: Do you have particular threads you enjoy for piecing and quilting?
Susan: I always sewed with Mettler and then I tried Aurifil and I’m now changing over all my threads to Aurifil. I’m using the Mako 12 for machine Sashiko.
It does have a different look than hand Sashiko, but I know some quilter’s don’t like to do any hand work so this is an option for them.
TC: Is there a particular class you’d like to highlight?
Susan: Yes, I love to teach Sashiko. *A description for the class is below
TC: Do you have presentations for guilds?
Susan: Japanese Fabrics in Quilts trunk show and Sashiko workshop
Susan will be discussing different types of Japanese fabrics along with shibori, katazome and sashiko techniques and how they are incorporated into quilts. Following the trunk show you can also book a 2 hour sashiko lessons so students can get started on their own projects.
Students will learn the traditional Japanese technique of sashiko, (hand-sewn quilting) and its history.Beautiful samples will be shown to give students an idea of other ways to use the technique. Sashiko books, threads, stencils and patterns will also be discussed. Basic stitching techniques will be covered
for the whole class. Individual attention will be given to each student so that you emerge with confidence in your stitching. This class is great for beginners and
works well as a wonderful take along project.
EASY PIECING WORKSHOPS
Asian Quilt Design Class
Do you have beautiful Japanese fabrics sitting in a drawer because you’re not sure how to use them in a quilt? Take the first step to getting those fabrics out of
your closet and into your own unique design. I will show you how to combine Japanese fabrics into a quilt. Yes, we will be cutting up your fabric that you
just can’t cut!
Arashi Fabric Dyeing
This Japanese technique of wrapping cloth around a pole and compressing it into folds is fun and easy to learn. Each piece you create will remind you of the rain blown by the wind. Each student will be in charge of their own dye vat and will take home yardages of fabric at the end of the workshop.
TC: What has been the most personally exciting experience as a quilt maker?
Susan: Just this past October my mom (who has been treated for cancer) and my daughter went to the quilting retreat that the Quilters’ Guild of Brooklyn holds every fall. My mom started me quilting and she got back into it and my daughter is a beginner. So I got to teach my mother and daughter at the same time while we had a fun, loving weekend.
Thanks Susan! I’ll see you soon.
You can reach Susan at her website