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   Sue is coming to our store to teach.  Click here to find information on Quilt Mercantile website.
   In the 1980s, my Mom and I decided to open a quilt shop. I was in high school, my mom a high school music teacher. We weren’t expert quilters but we were addicted to quilting, and wanted to share that passion with as many people as possible. What was better than converting any random shopper into a fabriholic! We were hooked and we wanted as many others to join our ranks as we could find.  Back then we did every inch of our cutting, piecing, appliqué and quilting by hand. My first machine sewn quilt class was at the Vermont Quilt Festival where I learned to strip piece a Lone star quilt.  We stitched the strips by machine, but our cutting was still done the old fashioned way; cardboard templates and trusty old scissors.  That class started me on the quest to find better, faster and more accurate ways to make quilts.
    Soon I developed a love of appliqué that greatly reduced my stress level. Instead of persnickety perfectly pieced blocks, I could create a garden full of flowers in the midst of our long New England winters as well as create landscapes and animals or houses. Appliqué was forgiving if you were off just a bit and that suited my personality just fine. It wasn’t about precision and accuracy, it was all about beauty. That was where wanted to put my creative energies rather than striving for perfect points.
    For four more years I worked in our shop while I studied Textile Chemistry in college. As soon as I graduated, I landed my dream job working for Cranston Print Works Company. Cranston created the best quilting fabrics at that time and our quilt shop was full of their brand. It was a pleasure being surrounded by millions of yards of fabric at work and I never got tired of the sight, smell and sounds of the mill. Not to be outdone by the piles of beautiful prints in my office, the piles at home tried to keep up. Somehow, Cranston didn’t realize the extent of my addiction and for five glorious years they enabled THIS fabricholic to collect as much fabric as I pleased. Eighteen years later, I still have some of those prints!
    Now married with three kids and anxious to get out of the house, I turned to quilting as my favorite form of Mommy time. My local guild whittled, carved, and polished my skills as a quilter and for that I am eternally grateful.
    Leaves Galore took me by surprise. One day, when designing a quilt for a guild challenge, I realized I had to cut hundreds of small leaves. I knew there wasn’t enough time to appliqué all those leaves before the challenge quilts were revealed so I turned to fusible appliqué. Trace, trace, trace…fuse, fuse, fuse…cut, cut, cut…hundreds of fusible leaves. There had to be a better way. And one night the light bulb in my head went on….Leaves Galore was born.


Melissa Quilt for class at Quilt Mercantile