Friday, March 13, 2015

[square.ology] - It all began with...

I bet you thought I was going to say "a square"!

It actually started much differently than that... & here's the rest of the story!

I was asked to, once again, become a temporary JABC employee (that's Just Another Button Co. for short) to help out at the International Houston Quilt Market last fall. Even though I had been on the road with the Trail of Orts for over 2 weeks, I said sure! Was I really going to turn down the opportunity to be surrounded by colors, fabrics, ribbons, creative people, inspiration...all because I was dead tired? No way!

To Houston I flew!

After spending the day setting up the JABC booth (booth setup is a whole story unto itself!), Cecile of JABC & I were walking out of the convention center. We stopped as we walked by a booth that was still being setup. I was familiar with the quilt designer's charts as we sell a lot of them in the quilt shop I "work" at back home! They come with glossy photographs & simple instructions on a  postcard size chart. Pretty, colorful, priced well, and popular!

What I didn't realize as I was gushing about the designer's charts was that...the designer was standing right in front of us!

She said "well thank you very much!" & handed me a shrink wrapped pack of ALL of her little quilt patterns!! (swoon!)

Off to dinner we went.

Cecile was intrigued by the small chart/big impact aspect of the designer's style. I clearly remember her uttering the words "what if..."

Now, I am very familiar with the words "What if?"

"What if" (words that have, at times, frightened my husband as they usually precede sentences such as...we tear that wall down? or we re-paint the entire living room this weekend?)

"What if" - actually started me in the needlework industry over 18 years ago.

"What if" really started [square.ology].

We quickly got Rachel on board. Rachel is not only daughter of Cecile & Mom to Miss Button, but the creative director behind the wonderful happenings at JABC!

I wish I could accurately describe the journey we took from "What if" to last week's premiere of [square.ology] at Nashville Needlework Market.

- we changed it's name several times
- we changed the shape of the chart
- we changed the size of the chart
- We DID NOT change the goal - to collaborate with each of our skills - skills that compliment & overlap.

I have learned so much from these 2 ladies.

What has been the most fun has been the blurred lines of designer, embellisher & finisher. Given that we live in 2 different cities - we have all had to step in at times to complete the tasks to get the charts ready - from the 1st design & concept to the final project. The words "what if" are probably uttered during every conference call!

This was Rachel's dining room table after a visit I made to the St. Louis area last December. We worked hard during our precious face-to-face time - even though we were all coming down with some sort of bronchial "crud".
[square.ology] will be released in a series of 4 charts. The first series theme is Bloom. Each series will include a [bit] - a small chart for a fob, an ornament, or a seasonal decoration. (I remember when Cecile showed me this bee - I couldn't stop calling it the Big Bottom Bee)

The other 3 designs in each series will be charted in a cool way - you get the top right quarter of each chart. Stitch that section, then pivot your chart. Watch the design unfold on your linen or aida as you stitch each quarter!
Fun, quick designs. Perfect for take-along projects! The entire series will use the same color palette!

Even though we are all collaborating on the cross-stitch designs - what would these be without button embellishment? (incomplete I say!) [] are available for each design - JABC buttons, Hillcreek Designs buttons & die-cut wool shapes!
Here we are teaching a class to shopowners at the recent Nashville Needlework market. Rachel made these great teaching tools for us to demonstrate the "stitch & pivot" technique!
We decided early on that we would focus on the flat finish for the main finishing technique. We made an easy to follow tutorial that is posted on both of our websites!
The flat finish lends itself to so many possibilities! We plan to make photo galleries as we get more & more pictures!
What's next for [square.ology]? Well, we will have new releases every 2 months with theme after theme! I don't want to give anything away - but does anyone know the plural for octopus? is it octopuses or octopi?
The 4-sides of [square.ology]. Me, Rachel, Miss Button & Cecile. (hmmm...I was just thinking about this - Rachel is adding another Miss Button to the family line-up this spring...hope she wasn't planning to rename it [penta.ology] - it just doesn't flow as well!)
Many shops signed up for our automatic shipments of future releases - let us know if you need help finding a shop to order yours!
Thanks for listening to the [square.ology] story & never be afraid of the words "what if" because great things can happen!  
Enjoy the stitch!


  1. These are too cute.
    What a unique idea.

  2. Cathy, thanks for sharing your time and talents. You are a delight to work with--whether we're setting up a booth or brainstorming a new design. And it's a such a bonus that you agree that "what if" is a GOOD thing!

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    1. Thank you! The series has been very popular so far! I also design for counted canvas. I looked for you designs but just found samplers. Have you done anything recently?

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