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                                                                                                           February 2019

Have you ever been so excited about something and don’t know where to start to tell about what you are excited about?  Well, I have that conundrum at the moment.  I have been working on this Blog for quite a few days and each day comes and one more new exciting event or information comes up.  So I think, where should I begin…  So I am going to write this blog as if you and I were having a cup of tea together and I will share all the exciting things going on in the last month or so.  So here goes….

First, I wanted to share with you some of the history of the TAS Logo. We had a contest in 1998/99 and the Steering committee and Board at the time chose the one we have now.

Jeannie Austin designed it and she always would design her applique drawings with a meaning.

Her design was chosen because of her story and how it represented a Blue Bird taking "The Applique Society" Banner - [Victory] all over the world. The Branch represents - [firmness], [courage in adversity], the Apple represents - [symbol of perpetual concord], [a statement of agreement], the Pear represents [comfort], the Plum represents [independence].

So... if you always wondered why we have that "LOGO" for TAS; this is the story behind the design. It is also a "registered trademark" for The Applique Society. So many more reasons we use the TAS Logo still today.

A lot of work has been going on behind the scenes with the UPGRADE process for TAS.  I have been putting together a team of people that have shown interest in the future of The Applique Society.  I have personally spoken to each person who has volunteered to be on the board.  I think you will be just as excited to see what the future holds for TAS as I have after talking to these wonderfully gifted people.  Each person has good strengths in the areas we need to work on in TAS.

Each person has given some great input on video options for TAS, improving our membership interaction and opportunity to have great applique resources to learn from.  How we can get more membership participation, and what can we offer the members for their annual membership dues.  We are working behind the scenes. 

I have felt that the members need to hear about what is happening with the organization and to build confidence in our growth.  Speaking of growth, we have 400 members now.  It was so exciting to hear this from our membership volunteer, Coleen O’Kane.

You may have read the Newsletter in July/August 2018 about the TAS Row by Row Experience.  We had one of our chapters step up to the challenge and sent in an amazing design.  If you are like me, I sometimes need a “picture” to understand what the words are about.  My goodness did the TAS chapter Threads of Time chapter step up the challenge!!  I think when you see this picture you probably will see what part of the country they are from.  If you want to know if you were correct, then look up the Chapters in the USA on the TAS website to see what part of the country the Threads of Time is from.

So… now that you saw the pattern picture design of the TAS Row by Row Experience [See photo below] we would love it if the talented applique lovers out there would “jump right into the deep end” and design a TAS Row by Row that represents your area.  It can be the USA or it can be somewhere in Canada or Europe or in other parts of the world.  We want to see your home area through your design.  We will post the pattern to our members every other month.  Then those of you who love to applique can take the pattern and turn it into cloth.  Then at the May 2020 annual meeting we will unveil the finished Row by Row Challenge with all the designs submitted and completed. This challenge has inspired me and the Threads of Time have risen to the challenge and made me so proud of their efforts.

For those who want to see the new updated rules, here we go:

  •          Rows should be 36 ½ by 10 ½-inches unfinished.  They can be oriented either horizontally or vertically.  The row must be at least 70 percent applique.  The background can be pieced or plain.  You can “bling” it up or keep it basic.  
  •          The row should represent something about the city and state or country that you live in.  It can be a skyline, an event your city is known for, a famous historical person or event…the sky’s the limit!  Be creative!  Use your imagination!
  •           The TAS bluebird and banner must be somewhere in the row.  We want the blue bird to represent everywhere that TAS members are.  When the rows are put together it will look like the bluebird is flying all over the place, visiting our members. Use the Bluebird and banner from the TAS name badge link. Pattern in members only section of TAS website
  •           Designs should be submitted by March 1, May 1, July 1, September 1, November 1, 2019 to   We will post your designs in this year’s Blogs.
  •          There will be six groups of patterns in the TAS Blog beginning February 2019.
  •           Submitted pattern sections must fit on FIVE - 8.5” x 11” sheet of paper. Send the FIVE - PATTERN SHEETS as a PDF if possible.
  •          The completed (quilted and bound) quilt will be sent to a designated address (to be determined later) by April 1, 2020.  The finished quilts will be on display at the May 2020 TAS annual meeting.  The TAS members will vote on who wins the prize of best TAS Row by Row challenge.  The TAS members will also vote on their favorite Row by Row entry, too.  The prizes will be unveiled as the challenge gets closer to the finish line.


I want to introduce two members of the “Threads of Time” TAS chapter that submitted the first TAS Row by Row block.  I am in love with this block.  I am so proud of this Chapter and the design they came up with.  We have this pattern in the Members only section of the TAS website. Log in to the site to get your pattern sheets. 


Become a member of The Applique Society to have access to the free ROW by ROW challenge  series.

First, is Dana Doerfler.  She has graciously volunteered to be our TAS Vice President candidate.  I want you to meet her. I have been a member of TAS since I first began doing applique around 15 years ago and have been co-leading our local TAS chapter with a friend of mine for over nine years.  I love both wool and cotton applique and am particularly drawn to reproduction/historic patterns. Although my free time is limited, I am not a fan of “fast and easy”.  I much prefer “slow stitching” and find that hand work allows me to relax and truly enjoy the process.  I support my creative habits through my work as a global Environment, Health and Safety Director responsible for overseeing governance systems and internal and external risk and performance reporting for a large pharmaceutical firm based in New York.  I spend much of my day interfacing with colleagues from nearly 100 locations in 30 countries, so I have to squeeze in my stitching time during my off hours.  I spend most of my vacation time traveling to applique academies and other quilting and rug hooking events.

Next, I would like to introduce you to Katherine“Katie” McMullen.  She has graciously volunteered to be our TAS Treasurer candidate.  I want you to meet her. 

          I’ve been appliqueing for 25 years. My favorite method is needle-turn—I like to sit and stitch with as little prep as possible! Historic quilts are my favorite reference for inspiration. I also enjoy wool applique. I’ve attended many different applique conferences, with Elly Sienkiewicz’s Applique Academy in 2006 as my first. 2006 was also the year I joined The Applique Society (TAS). In 2009, my friend Dana Doerfler and I started our local TAS chapter, “Threads of Time,” that is still a very active group. I’m also an avid organizer, and in 2016 and 2017 I wrote six articles for TAS newsletters on organizing a sewing room.

            I earned a BS in math education from Oregon State University and a MS in guidance and counseling from the University of North Dakota. As an Air Force spouse, I’ve lived many places and have taught at the junior high, high school, junior college and, through various base education offices, collegiate levels.  I’ve been out of the classroom for a number of years and presently teach needle-turn applique classes, which I enjoy very much! I served as president of our local quilt guild, Hearts ‘n’ Hands, for two years and am co-chairing our next quilt show, Quilts From the Heart 2019 (an event that I’ve chaired twice before). I also plan and chair a monthly event for our guild that we call Quilt Club, with about 150 members, where we teach each other various quilt-related skills. I live in O’Fallon, Illinois (in the greater St. Louis area) with my husband, Scott, of 40 years. We have two children, Nancy and Matthew, and a granddaughter, Charlotte, Nancy and her husband James’ daughter, whom I help take care of.  She is wonderful of course! 


Next, I would like to introduce our TAS Secretary Candidate,  Barbara Schober, who has graciously volunteered.  

Barbara Schober, starting quilting with a beginner class in Wayzata, MN, in the 1980’s.  She belonged to Minnesota Quilters, and found that community of quilters to be welcoming and eager to share their love and knowledge of quilting.  After moving back to Illinois, Barbara has belonged to the Village Quilters of Lake Bluff/Lake Forest.  Barbara has served as President and Program Chair for her guild.  After retirement, Barbara joined the Flying Needles chapter of TAS.

Barbara worked for 22 years as an Executive Administrative Assistant at a Fortune 500 company.  She developed her organization skills there, and enjoyed working as part of a team.

Barbara’s interest in applique has grown while taking classes at the Elly Sienkiewicz Applique Academy, the Baltimore on the Prairie Academy, and at classes at the AQS Paducah show, and Houston Quilt Festival.  Of particular interest to her is Broderie Perse.  Barbara enjoyed taking several classes Broderie Perse classes from Cynthia Collier at Baltimore on the Prairie.

In addition to quilting, Barbara enjoys genealogy research, and playing with her grandchildren.  Barbara lives in Mundelein, IL.



Next, I would like to introduce you to our next TAS Director, Eileen Keane.

My name is Eileen Keane; I’ve lived in Maybrook, NY for 34 years. I’ve been married for 36 years to a very supportive husband; we have 2 grown children and a wonderful grandson. Michael and I like to go to concerts, travel and spend time with friends. I’ve been quilting for about 25 years, doing applique for about 20 of those years. I love the artistry of applique, how it interprets nature and the world around us. I’ve recently fallen in love with wool applique as well. Now, all I have to do is finish!!

I served as secretary on 2 different Boards for the Country Quilters in Pine Bush, NY and as treasurer for the Warwick Valley Quilters Guild in Warwick, NY.  I’ve been on the TAS Board since 2013, first as a Committee Chair, then a Director, and now as 1st Vice President.

I’ve been the moderator for The Applique Society’s Facebook group since 2014, and the Applique Open Forum since its inception.

I want to help TAS succeed in any way I can.

Next, I would love to introduce our next TAS Director.  Coleen O’Kane is already a Director for TAS and has done a great job with the TAS website and membership. Coleen has volunteered to continue to help TAS and to continue to be the TAS website and membership Volunteer.

 My name is Coleen O’Kane. I live in Monroe Center, Illinois with my husband Patrick and our dog Rex. We have 3 children and 5 grandchildren.  I have worked in retail for 28 years and as a manager for 15 years, most of which have been in fabric or craft stores. Currently I work in a quilt shop and have a longarm quilting business. I have held a number of positions in our local guild: Programs, Treasurer and Quilt Show Chair. Currently I am the Treasurer for the Quilt Show. My duties in TAS are as Membership Chair and Webmaster.   I have been quilting for 36 years. I have always admired appliqued quilts so early on I began taking appliqué classes. I love that you can create screens from nature with bits of fabric.  My favorite part of appliqué is the stitching and watching it come to life. Unfortunately, there is always something new to tempt me so that I start more than I finish!


Next person I would like to introduce is Dee Pitthan.  Dee is also one of our TAS Directors and has volunteered to continue to help TAS this next year.

I was born and grew up in Columbus, Ohio, graduated from Ohio State University in advertising Design, married 2 years after graduating, moved to a small town in Northwestern Ohio,  lived there for 4 ½ years, moved to Nebraska for 4 ½ years and moved to Rockford 1973.  We were supposed to be here 2 years and yet here we are. 

I started quilting in the late seventies, just about the time of its resurgence. I am a charter member of the Sinnissippi Quilters Guild which started in 1980.  I was president in 1994-95 and 2015-2016.  I’ve served on the board in about every capacity at different times and chaired our biannual quilt show twice.  I also served on the board of the National Quilting Association 1994-2002, serving as president 2000 -2002.

Eventually found my fondness for applique in the 80's and here I am. Quilting has introduced me to a lot of great people from all over the country and a few other countries. You soon find out how great quilters are when you need something, or when someone is in need, they are always there to help.


My name is Anita M Smith.  I am the TAS President candidate.

Do you know that I love applique!  Yes I do and what I love even more is to learn about and meet others from around the world who do applique too.  I want to find out why they love it and what do they do. 

I have sewn ever since I can remember and probably because my parents were German Tailors and sewing was all around me in the home.  Working with scraps of fabric or making clothing was commonplace in my world.  Quilting came into my life in 1979 when a friend invited me to a sampler quilting class where I lived at the time. I was smitten and loved the beauty you could create with pieces of fabric.  When the teacher came to the applique design, I knew that was my favorite part.  I wanted to learn more but struggled to find teachers to learn from. If I did find out, it was after they had been in the area and so it was a struggle to learn about applique.  In 1996 I was able to go to a large quilt show of Baltimore quilts on the East Coast and let me tell you it was a life changing event.  It was then that I wanted to find a way to have a similar show on the west coast too.  It was then that I met Jeannie Austin and the wheels started to turn about a totally applique focused group.  In 1996 is when the vision of TAS came to me and I wrote all I “saw” down in a note book.  The vision I had was to have an international group to be a place to network and promote teachers, products, and find fellow applique lovers. I still have that vision for TAS.  Now in 2019 there are so many more electronic or media related ways to share TAS.  The potential is amazing to see the possibilities with TAS.

My professional experiences are these. I have Volunteered to be on many types of boards. Community Boards, County Fair boards and have been President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer in most of the organizations for various lengths of time.  In each of these positions I have learned many skills and have impacted the boards I have been on in a positive way and have many good references from them. I am superintendent of our Quilting and Sewing departments of our local county fair.  I began and also coordinate a team of volunteers to make quilts for our local veterans. This has been immensely rewarding to thank our local veterans for their service.  I have managed many high end homes in a cleaning business I owned for 10 years. I have also managed a medical doctor’s practice for 5 years with scheduling, billing and doctor’s chart notes.

My husband Brad and I have been married 48 years this year and have one son 44.  Brad is very supportive of my efforts and time with TAS. We have 2 cats and a dog that keep us entertained and laughing. We still live on Whidbey Island where TAS was “born” in 1996.


I had an opportunity to meet many people at the Houston Quilt Festival this past November 2018.  I was very excited to see Applique is still very ALIVE AND WELL in the quilt world.  I had a wonderful opportunity to meet Ricky Tims through an introduction by Kathy Dunigan.  I am ever grateful for this opportunity opened for TAS.  Check out the interview done in November 2018 with Ricky Tims and Anita M Smith about TAS that was posted on The Quilt Show on 4 February 2019


Another area I am very excited about is to tell you about the Academies going on in the world.  As we learn of more of these Academies we will post them on the TAS website for you to check them out. This will update you about things going on like Academies you can learn from great teachers.  There are three Academies you can check out.  We want to share with you the opportunities to learn.  If you have other places that there are Academies or Retreats that are Applique related, please do send the information and we will be glad to post it in our TAS Newsletter or TAS Blog.

Applique Away On Galveston Bay

February 24 to 28, 2019

Please visit their website for fees and times.


Academy of Applique

March 4 – 9, 2019 For more information, directions, or questions – feel free to contact Barbara Blanton (757) 565-5299 or See you there!


Baltimore on the Prairie

September 11-14, 2019

Lied Lodge and Conference Center; Nebraska City, NE

Tresa Jones, Admin., 104 So. 4th, Seneca, KS  66538

785-336-2262 (home) 785-294-0625 (cell)