Vending…A Newbie’s Take


It’s mid October when children, and some parents, are counting down the days until Halloween.  Yes, the one night of the year that delivers it’s evening of trick or treaters, and candy that will keep me on a sugar high for the next 2 months.  Yet, my reality has me counting down the days until I head to Houston.  This trip will have Judy and I gone for nine days; the longest I have been away from my family to attend a show.  Currently I am being attacked by LISTS.  Post-It notes can be found floating like mini ghosts from every part of my computer monitor whispering “Lisa we are here, and you have many things to do”.  Boxes are stacked, suitcases are opened and my mind is swirling.  Right now I feel like Dorothy as I look around the studio thinking “Soon I won’t be in Pottstown anymore”.

Step out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself, it’s okay to feel uncomfortable; these are all things I can be heard impressing upon my students.  Now it’s time for me to practice what I preach.  Houston will give me my first experience at vending during a show.  My comfort zone has been in the classroom, that being said “Vending” is a whole new ballgame for this girl.  Am I stressed? No way.  Actually “freaking out” fits my demeanor.  There are soo many facets to this trip!

Here’s my typical routine: Pack vehicle, drive to destination, unload and set up.  Easy Peasy! If I missed something while loading the car, oh well no biggie, I can live without it for a few days.  Not this venture!  Most of the “Lisa Supervising” is being dispatched elsewhere. All my products are being shipped straight from the manufacturer; which means, to this Control Nazi, that I am basically leaving everything in the hands of the Expo Center.  Trust me, I will arrive holding my breath, fingers crossed and possessing a rabbit’s foot in my pocket.


Producing a display.  Remember I am a vending newbie so improving upon its appearance will be shown next go around.  Yes, I am sure I could have spent mega bucks through the Expo Center but my money tree needs some watering.  With wheels already turning for some bells and whistles I will include next time I’m vending; I am still satisfied with what we are sharing in Houston.  Last week I delivered my booth apparatus and products to Rob and Judy of Olde City Quilts in Burlington NJ.  They will also be in attendance and have graciously offered to transport my belongings since they are driving to Houston.  Thanks Rob and Judy!  I owe you a beer, wine, whatever your beverage of choice may be!

Right now this vending adventure definitely has me filled me with a few emotions that coincide with the Halloween season.  Just as one would feel entering a haunted house, those feelings of apprehension  and uncertainty have embraced me as I continually wonder what the vending world has in store for me. Hopefully all the many moving parts of this new aspect of quilting will fall into place, and I will look back on this extravaganza and realize I was over thinking everything.

***Don’t miss out on the class I am teaching while in Houston.. Divide, Design and Get it done!! There is still time to sign up! The class is being held on Monday Oct 31st., and is based on my book and DVD.  Of course this had me packing yet another set of boxes full of class supplies, rulers, etc. but it has me stepping back into my comfort zone for a little while on this trip!


No Houston?? You’ve got a problem..NOT! SALE TIME!!



Does you busy life have you missing out on the up coming Houston International Quilt Festival?  No worries,  I’ve got your back! From October 21-23, I will running a “Missed Opportunity Sale”.  I understand conflicts sneak their  way into our quilting excursions, therefore, I decided to bring a little Houston your way.  So take advantage of  THIS opportunity to purchase products being showcased while we attend the Houston International Quilt Festival.  Here is the beautiful thing, SHIPPING is FREE on any domestic orders!! So visit my website Lisa H Calle LLC and scroll among my products  knowing you can enjoy a purchase, or two, even if Texas isn’t in your travel plans!




Under the Influence….


Playing Hookie designed in 2006; I would venture to say it jump started my quilting career.  As I reflect on this piece it is evident to me that Linda V. Taylor and Renae Haddadin were a major influence.  These two women provided me with the inspiration as I allowed Playing Hookie to dance along my long arm and gradually becoming an award winner.   If you were asked to gaze upon your quilts and think about how they originated, would you conclude that one or some had threads of inspiration sew throughout?  Two great quilters for me are also, Kim Brunner and Jamie Wallen.  I realize with much gratitude that without these amazing quilters, who have influenced my art immensely,  I would not where I am today.


Each of the woman I spoke of instructed amazing classes. As one of their students I gained a plethora of knowledge and loved every minute of it.  Trust me, the benefit from stepping into various classes and being enlighten by a wide range of instructors will only heighten your quilting journey.   When I began quilting my goal was to grow into the seasoned quilters that I respected and admired.  Yet, it became very clear that I quickly began acquiring small bits from each instructor.  What transpired was that all these little pieces evolved into my own style.  I will frequently hear my students express that they want to eventually quilt just like me.  And while I am ever so flattered by their kind remarks my secret hope for them is that, like me, they too can find their own style.  My feeling is this:  Just like every quilt displays its unique design so should every individual.  That is my hope for each student I encounter.  Go ahead and find your own flair of quilting.  Because just as we observe uniqueness in patterns, colors, techniques, the same should hold true for the students learning this craft.  Yes, be inspired, learn from the best, but be true to your own uniqueness and “YOUR” style will make itself known.

Who has inspired you? What has made your journey of quilting what is today?



Stash or No stash

No people I am not speaking of “stash” as in the green three-leaf clover that is not legal in the state of Pennsylvania.  I am referring to a large stash of “fabric”. I am curious to hear if my peers  have a large fabric stash.  I often meander into a fabric shop and encounter an abounding amount of fabrics that I am drawn to, but refrain from purchasing.  Of course my refusal to buy in quantity has me later kicking myself when it becomes evident that one of those “passed over” materials would have been the soul mate for a specific project.  To make matters even worse when I take the time to venture back to the shop and invest in the cloth, it quickly becomes apparent that it has been confiscated by a wiser customer.  I find myself slowly exiting the store feeling totally deflated.  I believe I suffer from FCS (fabric commitment syndrome).  Standing amidst all those beautiful patterns, and colors, gives me cold feet.  I can’t seem to allow myself to be devoted to more than one piece of material.  I suppose my relationship with fabric has me being a monogamous quilter.

I only browse for fabric when I have an upcoming project and it’s time to redeem the precise cloth for the design that is whirling around in my mind.  Since I don’t accumulate fabric, I have but a very small stash to draw upon.  This lack of resources often leads to a little bit of design challenges.  Obstacles aren’t necessarily a bad thing but not possessing the quantity of fabric required for a design most definitely is!

When Hula Hibiscus was being constructed, thanks to Ronda K Scott, the challenge presented was to produce this piece from our “stash” alone.  WHAT??? I about fell on the floor.  I don’t even know if you can consider my collection a “stash” as it’s so pitiful!

Final reveal

No I wasn’t lying, it is very small, tiny, minuscule.  So lets turn this topic away from me and out to the public.  Do you have a large stash, or are you like me and need to find the closest FCS program?


Change of Seasons – Change of Thread……



I am witnessing the leaves slowly falling off the trees and creating a quilt of foliage on the ground below.  It also has become obvious that when I climb into my vehicle my body screams “Turn on the doggone seat warmer”!  So begrudgingly I believe  it is time the bathing suits and shorts need to retire until 2017.  I absolutely LOVE cold weather…said this quilter never!  And the thought of filling my closet with sweaters, turtlenecks  and long pants already has me feeling the winter blues.   Palm trees, Jimmy Buffett music, and a personal cabana boy that serves me tropical drinks while I quilt sounds like the ideal living situation.  But it’s back to reality; I will have to make do with  playing Reggae music and fueling up the fireplace so I can walk around the studio barefoot.

Which brings me asking you a few question: Do any of you change the way you go about quilting in the winter?  How about your fabrics? Do the seasons of fall and winter have you selecting different fabrics for your projects? And are your color schemes and time you put forth quilting altered?  Although I really detest the cold, and I mean really detest the cold, it does not have me deviating from my color and fabric preferences.  I guess I refuse to give up the vibe of warmer weather.  My quilting time actually ends earlier during the warm, sunshine summer filled days where I can make time for my of love of golf, and other outdoor activities.   The “I don’t want to leave my house or get out of my  pajama days of winter” instills a desire to be more productive and descending into the studio.  Sadly, there is no golfing, so in order to transmit a little sunshine into my day I submerge myself into quilting.

Binding my quilts in the winter is one of my all time favorite things to do.  When I find myself perched by the fire with a quilt on my lap performing handwork I am definitely in my happy place.  If I could just save them all for  December, January and February life would be great; ugh those three LONG months.   Since my thoughts are in “cold temperature mode” they have me considering broaching a new appliqué project for the upcoming season.  Hold on a second, I forgot.   I actually have a UFO that needs to be completed; what great timing!  It seems I need to finalize the appliqué on this project…..


During the brainstorming of this design I envisioned purples and greens; which is more the typical color choice for me.  This color scheme completely falls outside my color wheel and has me feeling very unsettled.  As I stare at what I have accomplished thus far I question myself “Should I pursue what I have put in motion, or do I contemplate revamping my initial design”?  Such decisions, what’s a quilter to do?

I’d love to hear about your winter quilting rituals.


John Doe Has to Go!

Now that Drea has stepped foot into my quilting world, things in the studio are changing, for the better of course.  Her desire to pave a path for success has the two of us brainstorming on a regular basis.  Daily huddles have been incorporated keeping us, well mainly me, focused and on the same page as we go about our tasks.  During our most recent “huddle” we thought it might be a good idea that my blog was no longer nameless.  Drea and I spent the afternoon exchanging many different names.  Thoughts poured out of our mouths, and within moments the sound of laughter filled my studio. I later had to convince my husband that we were in fact being productive; our enjoyment heard from above didn’t bring the sound of “working hard” to his ears.  Titles swirled around the room and eventually we agreed on three potential candidates.  But which one? After struggling for quite some time we concluded that in order to resolve this matter my readers would need to contribute .  So inquiring minds want to know, which title below do you think is deserving of bearing the name of my blog?

  1.  Living on a Thread
  2.  Life in Stitches
  3. The Threads of Life

The name lies in your hands my fellow quilters.  Upon receiving your responses majority vote decides the title, and I will be happy to say that I no longer exhibit a John Doe blog!



Here She is…Flat Lisa!

I know you may be a bit curious about Flat Lisa.  Have you been wondering “What the heck is Flat Lisa, and what does she do?”  Well, there is nothing I love more than discovering stories and witnessing what those loving this craft experience in the quilting world. And I mean all over the world.  That being said I am going GLOBAL!  Allow me to take part in your quilting adventures as you design, travel and embrace this aspect of your life. Simply take Flat Lisa with you and send me a picture of our time together via email.  Make sure you include our location so I can notate where I  have traveled abroad.  Photographs will be posted, and all participants will be entered into a drawing being held at then end of the month.  One lucky winner will receive a copy of my new book “Divide and Design”!  I am eager to see what quilters world-wide bestow upon me. Without further ado Flat Lisa is ready for take off!  (To print off the picture of Flat Lisa, right click and save to your computer.)










Folks We Have a Winner!

Thanks so much to all of you that participated in the blog hop contest.  We had so many entries! But as with any contest, sadly there can only be one winner. So congratulations goes out to Connie Alexander for being, the soon to be, recipient of  John Kubiniec’s book “A New Spin on the Drunkard’s Path”.  But that’s not all!  Connie also won a set of the drunkard’s path templates!  I am so excited for her to put these prizes to use.  Who knows maybe we will receive pictures of the beautiful quilts Connie designs!

If you are a fan of grid line based quilting then I have the Go to Girl for you.  My talented friend, Gina Perkes, from the Copper Needle has come out with a fabulous product.  Her stencils, the Take Aim Stencil Collection! , are perfect for those that enjoy grid line based quilting. I missed the boat on this one, and am very disappointed. I wish I had them when I marked my border on my current quilt, it won’t happen again. I love the way the intersections are highlighted (increasing the accuracy).  Just because I missed out doesn’t mean my fellow quilters have to!   Please take a moment and see for yourself as I share the following video.  While watching this video you will observe Gina demonstrating how to incorporate clamshells with her “Jane” ruler.  I have no doubt at the conclusion of the video you too will think  “Yes, she is the one to go to!”

Don’t forget… we love to get pictures!!



BERNINA and Stitching in the Ditch…..

This past spring I took a trip that many quilters might compare to a child’s journey through Disney Land.  Yes, being the BERNINA Ambassador has given me the opportunity to experience the sights and quiet sounds of the BERNINA factory situated in Steckborn Switzerland. This quilter’s magical kingdom is located on the shore of Lake Constance, just across from Germany.

It’s not every day that you find yourself standing across from H.P. Ueltschi, the owner, and  also the grandson of the founder Fritz Gegauf.  I embraced his presence and found him to be both kind and delightful. Moreover, through my short visit with him I discovered that we both share a love for golf!


I was overwhelmed entering the factory.  I was astonished how clean, and I mean clean, this facility appeared.  It sparkled, and yes you could serve dinner on the floors! And quiet! You would think the noise level of machines running would produce at least some sound, but nope.  You barely heard a thing.  Clean and quiet, two beautiful words to most


After taking in everything presented before me in the factory, I then had a day of creating a video and then one day doing a print ad campaign.  During the four days the crew was awesome! Those around me  were so insightful and supportive as I grasped the process of all that shooting a video encompasses.  More than one take had me wondering how Jennifer Aniston does it! Same expression, same tone, but tilt the head a little to the right…oh my word!


The days flew by, and four days with a German crew had me wishing I taken their language instead of french in high school.  But the entire adventure was something I will never forget.  Witnessing the process of building a video was fascinating, although the thought of viewing myself in the final product had me less than thrilled.  Most of all, observing all the facets of the factory has me appreciating my BERNINA even more.

So here I am today, October, in the USA.  As I turn on my machine I find myself loving it more and more with each use.  The use of this machine is like operating a brand new, car with all the bells and whistles. Your driving a Cadillac. Now, envision you have to hop into a Datsun B210 that’s rusted, and leaves a cloud of black smoke as you hit the gas. You desire the Cadillac, right?! Well, welcome to the BERNINA Q20.  I am in awe how light and smooth it maneuvers.  No heavy clanking or roughness.  It sails, just as a new Cadillac would down the highway.  Bells, and whistles…my most recent quilt, which I know I talk about often, is in need of a little SID around the appliqué.  No problem with the Q2o, it so efficient and simple to complete.  I am still adapting to the ease in which I can change the feet.  I mean it takes  mere seconds; and its interchangeable between the Q20 and my domestic machine.  Does it get any better than that?!

I wanted to share a quick video.  Realistically my quilting isn’t quite that speedy; in my dreams I quilt that fast.  But eventually I wake up from la la land, and realize my true pace and accept that it will take me awhile to finish this piece.

I used Aurifil’s Monofilament thread…. It’s thread is so fine that it fades into the seams.  And although it’s a beautiful thing, please refrain from using my name in a hostile way when you discover you may have trouble seeing it to thread the needle.  Below is a good example of the thread magically disappearing into the seam.


Now that I have expressed that I still have SID to get done; remember slow and steady wins the race.  I ask, how do you accomplish your SID?  Would you say ruler or no ruler?  I can’t wait to hear what my fellow quilters have to say!


Not a Dreary Day at Danner BERNINA

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of teaching at Danner BERNINA.  Although mother nature decided to issue rain showers and bleak skies my time teaching was anything but dreary.  On the contrary, my day was absolutely fantastic!  The classroom was spacious and the energy at Danner BERNINA had me eager to begin the day.  Mother Nature had nothing on Danner BERNINA.

Seeing students that I have previously taught always brings a smile to my face.   I try to remember names and faces, but my age isn’t decreasing in years and my beautiful mind loves reminding me of that little fact.  It’s either I remember your name and not your face or vice versa, I remember your face and not your name.  Don’t get me wrong, I can remember both on a really good day…lol!   For instance, Rose, I will not forget because not only is she a quilter but she is also a ceramic artist.  I often imagine how therapeutic it must be letting your hands and clay work together as they produce an object of beauty.  But currently my hands are more than filled with quilting, so the idea of working with clay needs to be set aside…sigh.

These three lovely ladies, pictured above, were a treat to teach.  Adele (situated all the way on the left) attended this class on her  birthday! I felt honored that she chose her special day to be here participating in BOTH the templates class and feathers class. I hope someone spoiled her with a cake, presents, and singing later that evening it was well deserved!  Thanks again Adele for spending a good portion of  your birthday at Danner’s. The mother-daughter duo are seated to right. It warmed my heart seeing them again and I love that they not only love quilting, but moreover obviously love spending time together.  Last year when I was in Houston Debra took my Divide and Design Class.  I must not have totally horrified her as she came back for more “Lisa” and attended one of my  feathers classes.  By the way Debra’s quilt was juried into Houston this year! You Go Girl!!!  During the sessions on Saturday I was excited to learn that Donna and Debra will be visiting Houston again this year.  I’m thrilled to hear this but I do need to encourage them to put their Fitbits on and pick up the pace a tad on preview night.  Last year they perused aisles 1 through 900, at that pace they won’t get to mine 1323.   Come on girls don’t let me down this year!

When it comes to quilting Debra is the chief, she does the quilting for this mother-daughter team; so partaking in this feathers  class may have put Donna a little out of her comfort zone. With concentration and perseverance she plugged away, and plugged away, and plugged away, and eventually proudly announced “I did it, I can stop now, I created a perfect feather!”  I was brimming with joy and was extremely anxious to see her design. So I scurried around to her table…AND


there before me was just that, her one perfect feather. It may have only been one feather but it was perfect and she  had succeeded.

Saturday held so much laughter that my stomach felt as though I had done a bizillion sit ups. It is so refreshing as a teachers when we encounter those students that bring humor and lightness to our time together. Sandy was that individual on this past Saturday. Well, to be honest I had quite a few Sandy’s on Saturday.  My instruction time at Danner BERNINA quickly came to an end.  Soon we would be giggling as we said our goodbyes knowing that this was a class to remember.

These students had me so involved with questions, comments, and yes laughing that I didn’t have time to take as many photographs as I had hoped.

On my 2 hours drive home I kept smiling and giggling to myself knowing that drizzle and the gray clouds were no where to be found at Danner’s.  I hope to hold classes there again soon, I look forward to all the laughter that awaits me.

Have your local shop contact me if you are interested in having me come teach!!


Sobering Up brings “A New Spin on Drunkard’s Path” by John Kubiniec and a Giveaway!


My first blog hop, YES! I’ve always wanted to participate in one, so imagine my excitement when John Kubiniec asked me to take part in his Blog Hop?! I have learned so much personally and professionally throughout this project, it definitely has made me a better quilter.  So enjoy this Blog Hop and don’t forget the added bonus of entering in the giveaway posted at the conclusion of this post!


One of the many things I loved about doing this Blog Hop for John is that it has made me tackle and improve on one of my quilting skills.  Many of my fellow readers know that curved piecing is not my forte.  Stepping outside the box into curved piecing brings tiny beads of sweat to my forehead.   Don’t we all have a tendency to delay doing things we aren’t confident in? Well that’s how this quilter feels about curved piecing.  Although I have incorporated them into some of my designs, I definitely could step my game up a bit.  That being said,  John’s book, “A New Spin on Drunkard’s Path”, educates the reader on this component of quilting.  John has paved the way for those “curved piecing challenged” individuals, like myself, by composing ALL 12 quilts illustrated in his book with variations of the Drunkard’s Path Block.

John imparts an amazing technique on how to execute the artistry of curved piecing.  He has me so inspired that I may have to give his three pin method a whirl! But my love for quilting is where my passion dwells, therefore,  I couldn’t wait to pursue some of that open space.  It no secret that I use a three-step  method for designing the quilting on all of my pieces.  I definitely  suffer from “spacial”  issues… flashbacks of failing grades in HS geometry come to mind.  In order to compensate for this mathematical disability I ensure that my quilts are evenly quilted, I do so by making sure everything is quilted.  Just because I apply this into my method does not mean that you have to.  By all means, if you passed HS geometry  then make life simpler for yourself!  If you are not a fan of heavily quilted tops, you may consider completing only steps 1 and 2 of the instructions below.

Which project to choose? It was so difficult, John presents many beautiful options, but Nightfall on page 44 spoke to me. It exhibited a large portion of open space which I found yelling “Lisa put your big girl pants on and get curved piecing!”  So I did just that; now let the games begin!


Step one:  Divide up the quilt.   This will break the wide open space into more manageable spaces.  I use echoed lines to accomplish the dividing… if you use the piecing in the quilt to help, it will minimize the marking that needs to be done. Start in the center of your quilt as that is the focal point.


Step two:  Design for the open spaces…. when I look at all of the areas  that I have created, I like to alternate where my design work is going to go.  Design work is any of the motifs… feathers, ferns, flowers etc.  As you can see, I like feathers…


Step  three:  This step is when I put in all of the fill work.  If you do not like your quilts heavily quilted you can skip this part and have a cuddable…



Like I mentioned earlier, I am not proficient in the curved piecing department,  but John’s 3 pin method had me intrigued.  So listening to my inner voice I hiked up my big girl pants and gave it a try….

I created my own templates using the pattern John provided in his book.


Just as John advises I used only three pins…. I have to admit I was skeptical, only three pins?  But any reservations quickly disappeared, I did it!!


Bottom line…this once “curved piece challenged” girl will be stepping outside the box a bit more often and including curved piecing in her designs.  Trust me if I can execute this skill with more positivity and enjoyment you can too! Let John enlighten you and give you the ability to quilt peacefully!

Are you intrigued???  Well you can win a copy of John’s new book AND a set of the templates!  Leave a comment, making sure you’re email address is included and I will pick a winner on Oct.8th!! Good Luck!

Make sure you check out all of the blog posts on the hop!


September 26, 2016
Jennifer Dick
C&T Publishing

September 27, 2016
Sara Lawson
Heather Kojan

September 28, 2016
Bill Volckening
McCall’s Quilting

September 29, 2016
Generation Q Magazine
Bonnie Hunter

September 30, 2016
Made by ChrissieD
LoveBug Studios

October 1, 2016
Kathy Patterson YOU ARE HERE
Teresa Coates

October 2, 2016
Carl Hentsch

October 3, 2016
Teri Lucas
Lisa Calle

October 4, 2016
Linzi Upton
Nicole Daksiewicz

October 5, 2016
Marti Michell
Debby Brown

October 6, 2016
Melody Crust
Kim Niedzwiecki

October 7, 2016
Patrick Lose
John Kubiniec


Have fun!!!