Monday, June 13, 2011

Featured Artist: Sarah Vedeler. And finally the giveaway!

Pin It As most of you know, a little over a year ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Sarah Vedeler at Spring Quilt Market in Minneapolis. It was a rushed meeting, she's such a busy gal!  But we were able to grab a quick lunch and talk about about embroidery.  It was talking with her that made me take the leap and try it out for the first time.  When she told me, "you can do this", it wasn't that she was trying to sell her designs.  It was that she believed in her designs.

And so began the journey of me making my first embroidered (and now award-winning!) quilt.

It didn't take me long to fall in love with Sarah's designs.  They're so bright, fun and versatile and can be used in so many different ways.  But I think the most impressive part to me, is the super-crazy-awesome quilt designs she builds around the embroidery designs.  They are definitely not your typical block.

So a few months ago, while I was in the process of quilting my BeDazzled quilt, I asked her if she would do a Q&A with me for my blog.  Of course she happily agreed, because she's awesome! I figured that since the girls at Quilt Story are featuring my version of Sarah's lovely BeDazzled quilt, there's no time like the present!  So here we go!

*How long have you been embroidering?
I bought my first embroidery machine in November 2002.

*How long have you been digitizing and designing embroidery?
I bought the digitizing software along with my first embroidery machine – so my first attempt at stitching out embroidery that I had designed was December 2002! I started out thinking that I wanted to use my embroidery machine to stitch out quilting designs that I had digitized. However, after 108 hoopings on Life as a Labyrinth, I decided that this was not the way to go and it would be easier to learn how to do free motion quilting instead. I started playing with applique and my embroidery machine at some point in 2003. Back then, it was really simple: tack and trim applique finished with a satin stitch. When version 5 of the Bernina Embroidery Software came out it had a ton of gorgeous open and lacy fill stitches and I started playing with what I now call Embroidered Applique – applique that has a ton of stitching on it, and doesn’t have to be finished with a satin stitch. I started to design with the intent to earn a living in January 2009.
*Have you always been a Bernina gal or have you owned other machines?
I have always owned Bernina machines. I learned to sew on my Mum’s 1964 Bernina Record. She got so fed up of me using it all the time that for my 18th birthday she bought me my own Bernina 801 Sport, which I still have, although I haven’t used it in decades. Just before Heather (my eldest daughter who is now 9 years old) turned 1 year old, I bought my first embroidery machine, a Bernina artista 165E. About a year later I persuaded my (then) husband that I desperately needed a Bernina artista 200E because of the Mega hoop. I used that for many years (and over 14 million stitches) before I bought my first Bernina 830 in October 2009, along with a jumbo hoop. That currently has 9+ million stitches on it and now I have a second Bernina 830 which is not quite 1 month old and already approaching 1 million stitches.

*From where do you draw your inspiration for all of these fabulous designs?
Mostly daydreaming! I usually start out with a pretty simple shape or outline, and then play in CorelDraw or the Bernina Embroidery Software. I’ll see things as I’m out and about that will spark an idea, or I’ll hear something – a song or somebody will say something.

*How does it feel to be the Queen of Machine Embroidery?
Wonderful! That makes me laugh

*When you started out, did you ever imagine you'd be where you are today?
I did not have a clue!!! Someone asked me at Quilt Market last year how I do my marketing. So far, I have not spent a single penny on any formal marketing. I entered my first quilt (Jewels in Chocolate) into the Arizona Quilters Guild Annual Show in March 2009 where it won 2nd place in the Machine Embroidery Category. Since then, people have shown up, stuff has happened, the Universe has unfolded before me and here I am! I set out by getting really clear about my purpose in life: I create Beauty, Inspiration and Infinite Creative Joy. I also decided that I want to earn a living doing something that I love to do that also gives me the freedom to be a mother to my 2 incredibly beautiful daughters on my time. The alternative was going back to being a software engineer/project manager (I have a PhD in Computer Science) – and as far as I was concerned in January 2009, I would prefer to have been shot rather than put through that torture.

*Do you have collections dreamed up in your head for the future?

*Where do you plan to go from here? Surely you'll keep designing and digitizing, but do you plan to branch out into other areas of sewing at all?
Sarah Vedeler Designs is here to stay. I would love if the girls decided that they want to join in when they get older and do some designing themselves. I recently figured out a solution to the recurring problem of which fabric do I want to use… and that is to create my own line of hand dyed fabrics that have colors to my specifications. I want to do some educational videos so that I can reach people all over the globe without leaving my home! And they can also reach me from the comfort of their own living room or quilting studio.

*What would you say was the turning point in your career, where you stopped and realized that things were really taking off?
I taught a class at Quiltique in Henderson, NV last year (August I think). I had nearly all my quilts with me and the girl that introduced me to the class made the comment that all of these quilts had been made in the last 18 months. I realized that she was right – and found myself being totally amazed at what I had accomplished.

*Did you cry when you won the IQA World of Beauty award? (I did!)
No – I had too many happy people around me! But I might cry when you win this year with your version of GO! Be Dazzled. What I find to be totally inspiring is that people (you among them) are taking my designs and making their own gorgeous creations with them. I had a conversation with Alex Anderson a few weeks ago, talking about using some Embroidered Applique on a quilt. She commented that I can do it, but most people can’t. I had to tell her that she was way off and had it all backwards. Anyone who owns an embroidery machine can take my designs and create something with them. And I love when this happens and they send photos to me of what they have created. Sometimes this can make me cry!

*Do your girls realize what a rock star their mom is?
I’m just a Mom who makes quilts for them! They recognize my quilts when they see them out and about and are happy to tell people “that’s Mommy’s quilt over there”!

*When do I get to quilt something for you?! (I'm mostly kidding) :)
I’ll be calling you very soon about a project I would love to have you collaborate on!
 (Editing in to add:  The morning after Sarah sent me the Q&A, she emailed me about this and I'm SO EXCITED!  Stay tuned!)

*What did you do before embroidery? I know you have a super fancy degree.
I have a PhD in Computer Science. Pre-motherhood (and also pre-quilting/embroidery) I was a software engineer and project manager. I am soooo grateful I don’t have to earn a living doing that anymore!

*Did you know that I'm extremely proud to call you my friend?
I am extremely honored to be your friend too.

*Can we get any hints about your new collection? Even just a teensy one?!
GO! Bloom – kind of sort of Baby Be Dazzled, but different! I’ll send you a photo, but it’s not finished yet (only 3 more weeks until I leave for Quilt Market!)
(Editing in to add again, this  Q&A is a little old, as GO! Bloom is now available, and you should totally buy it!) 

 Now, for anyone that doesn't know who Sarah is, first of all, have you been living under a rock?!  And second, you should totally go check out her website at

After you've done that, you should totally come back to this blog and leave a comment so that you can win some free stuff!  Your comment can be anything from, "I want free stuff", to telling me what design of Sarah's is your favorite, or what inspires you, or whatever.  Doesn't matter.  If you want to become a follower, that's fine and dandy too!

My original plan was to give away a BeDazzled CD so that you could make Sarah's lovely quilt like I did.  Unfortunately, I'm sold out of them and don't know when I'll be re-ordering more of them.  I'd hate to wait too long before shipping to the winner.  SO, I'm instead giving away a fat quarter of every single print in the Quilted Fish's line, Sugar and Spice for Riley Blake.

That's twenty one fat quarters!  Now, I'm also going to throw this out there:  there will be a project coming up that can be made entirely with these fat quarters (and some background fabric).  But more on that later too!

So, talk to me!  I'll leave the giveaway open for a week so there's plenty of time for everyone to enter.  I'll close it down and choose a winner and post it next Monday, June 20th.  Good luck!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I am a long time follower and glad of it!

    I am inspired by color. :) I love color and am more likely to buy a pattern if the example is in the colors I like...I know, I by its cover and all...


  3. I'm adding this comment for Coreen, who was unable to comment, so that it doesn't get lost in the shuffle. =]

  4. I have a brother embroidery machine that I bought 5 years ago but, never used to embroider
    Now that I have a Janome for all my quilting
    Having seen your amazing quilt, I think I will dust off the brother and try to find the instruction book --maybe even try some simple machine embroidery to add to my quilts

  5. What an awesome giveaway!! Thanks for the Q&A, yes.. I was living under a rock :)

  6. Great post! Thanks so much! I never did machine embroidery but I love stitcheries.

  7. Excuse me while I crawl out from out from under this rock... I like it out here!! Fun stuff :) Thanks for enlightening me and for the fabulous giveaway chance~


  9. And this comment is being posted for Amy @

    Please, if anyone is having problems posting comments (apparently blogger is still a little screwy), don't hesitate to email me directly at and I'd be happy to post a comment for you so you can still be entered in the giveaway!

  10. We all love giveaways, and I'm no exception. But you know -- even if I don't win the fabric, it was a true pleasure reading the interview. Winning the fabrics would be a bonus. And bonus #2? Having you post the upcoming project that can be made entirely with these fat quarters (and some background fabric). THAT would be awesome - winning the fabric AND the project that you envision. I'd love, love, love that!! Thanks for the opportunity to participate in your giveaway.

  11. Wow, I want that free stuff. I have Sarah's heart quilt CD which is beautiful. Thanks.

  12. Your quilt is absolutely amazing. Thank you for introducing me to a great new website and designer. I appreciate you and your talent. And I appreciate a good giveaway.

  13. I want free stuff!! And I must say that your quilts are just amazing!!

  14. I love her free Hearts Quilt Pattern!

    Amazing giveaway - Thanks for the chance :D

  15. Yes, I want free stuff, but that being said, I have also purchased Sarah's designs. They are extremely beautiful and scare the heck out of me...LOL After seeing what you did with your version of GO Be Dazzled, there was no doubt in mind that you SHOULD HAVE WON first place, it was so much prettier than the one that one, IMHO, if it is even ok to say that, no disrespect to the other person, but I know what you went through with this quilt and you deserved first my mind, you got it!!

  16. AWESOME giveaway - those fabrics are nice colours!
    A new followerer but friends on FB for awhile!

  17. It was a nice interview and I enjoy your quilts...A really neat giveaway...Keep up the good work and thanks for the opportunity.

  18. Loved the interview w/Sarah. I don't do embroidery but admire it hotly!! And I love that she was at Quiltique - one of my 2 fav quilt shops in Vegas - drag my hubby there whenever we're out there - not often enuf :( I can't wait until Friday when I'll be attending NQA & will see your marvelous quilt in person!! I LOOOOOVE Free stuff - and fabric is a total weakness. So please PICK ME PICK ME!! (yes - I do grovel & beg!!!)

  19. Lovely giveaway! And thanks for pointing Sarah Vedeler out to me (yes, apparently I'm covered by a large slab o' rock). She seems really nice and down to earth, plus quite the talent; and well done you for giving such a good interview. Of course I'd love to win a bundle of fabric, so here's hoping my number gets picked!

  20. This is the FIRST EVER giveaway I'm taking part in... New to the whole quilting online-scene although I've been quilting and such for a while... Loving the online communities, because none of my IRL-friends quilt!! Definitely going to get acquainted with Sarah too... :) <3 to you all!

  21. I just found your blog and am now a follower to you and Sarah. Looking forward to future post from the two of you.

  22. Here I am, leaving a comment for a lovely customer of mine that says, "OH OH Pick me PLEASE!!!!!"


  23. The photos reminded me of a trip I took to new orleans. Love the imaginative designs. Would love the sugar and spice.

  24. Absolutely beautiful and inspiring! Im just now entering the world of embroidery and I keep think "what took me so long!" :)

  25. Great interview Lisa and Sarah. Can't wait to see what the two of you do together. I'm sure it will be out of this world gorgeous!

  26. Hope you're okay and you're just out enjoying the lovely summer weather!

  27. Great post. Sarah is such a talented woman and her designs always stitch out beautifully. She has such a great eye for color, space and design that I look forward to seeing her future designs too. But all of her design packages are fantastic. Glad she encouraged you to pursue machine embroidery as your work is excellent too!


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  34. Does the embird program allow you to transfer the appliques to the program so that you can manuever the names? I am new to this and the only program I have to the monogram wizard plus.

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