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9180 E Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale,
AZ 85250 in the Pavilions at Talking Stick

Sarah Vedeler

Sarah learned to sew at about age 6, on her Mum’s 1964 BERNINA Record. Mainly making clothes for herself and others, she also dabbled in home dec projects. On her 18th birthday she was given her own sewing machine, a BERNINA 801 Sport.

During her college years, Sarah didn’t do much sewing, but she did earn a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Brighton in England.

After a brief career in England as a Software Engineer, Sarah moved to the United States in 1998 and continued to work as a Software Engineer and Project Manager.

With the birth of the first of her two daughters, in January 2002, Sarah became a stay-at-home Mom and rediscovered her love of sewing, making many tiny outfits for Heather on a borrowed sewing machine. When this had to be returned to its owner, she was able to purchase her own machine again – a BERNINA Artista 165 – and fell in love with quilting and embroidery.

Sarah soon discovered digitizing, and put all her software experience to good use in creating her own embroidery designs. Her first major work, “Life as a Labyrinth”, was part of the 2003 Husqvarna Viking Gallery of Quilt Art: Masterpieces of Spirit and Strength. It was quilted entirely on her Artista 165 embroidery module, with a total of 108 hoopings of her original quilting designs. Upgrading to a BERNINA Artista 200 gave access to the larger Mega hoop, which opened up all sorts of possibilities for Sarah’s unique and original embroidery designs.

Sarah is delighted to be sharing her love of quilting and embroidered appliqué through her original designs, and also loves to teach. Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, she is building a following locally and across the State. She is looking forward to her designs and teaching taking her further afield.

Barbara Grace

I began sewing with my Grandma when I was 4 years old.  She gave me scraps of fabric and let me make clothes for my dolls – more like scraps of fabric wrapped around loosely and very loosely stitched together.

For my 9th birthday I received my mom’s old Singer sewing machine (previously a treadle machine that had been converted to electric.)  She had gotten a new machine; a BERNINA, of course!  Since then I’ve made clothing of all shapes and sizes, coats, capes and vests, home dec items, costumes and accessories, a rare quilt; hand tied and a even boat cover once.  I can only remember a few times in my life when sewing has been absent.  (Basic training for the Air Force comes to mind)  Sewing for me is just a part of my basic make up as if imprinted on my DNA.

46 years sewing, Certified as a Master Sewing Instructor in 1984 by UofA Cooperative Extension Service, Raised 3 beautiful daughters, began teaching at Sew from the Heart in December 2007.  Continuing sewing education at Mesa Community College – last semester – Patternmaking, this semester – Couture Sewing.  Member of the American Sewing Guild and currently sewing on a BERNINA 430 and serging with a BERNINA 1300 MDC.

Ellen Speranzo

I started sewing on an old Singer when I was a 9-year old growing up outside Boston. Over the years I made school clothes, maternity clothes, children's wear, costumes, draperies, and projects for my classrooms.  In 2006 my husband bought my first Bernina as a gift and I started on a whole new path...quiltmaking.  SFTH's dedicated teachers and their wonderful classes taught me so much in such a short time!  Now it is my joy to share what I have learned with others, including my daughter, Laurie who will be my "roomie" at quilt camp this summer. My special interest is helping new quilters develop confidence and learn new skills through making table runners and placemats.

Jan Potter

I have been sewing since I was about six years old.  My Grandmother taught me to sew and eventually let me use her treadle machine.  I have always loved working with fabrics and made most of my clothes through high school and college.  I majored in Fashion Merchandising and Design in college and put myself through school working in the textile and design lab.  A few years ago I purchased an embroidery machine and began doing some wearable art projects.  I was asked to join  a sewing group that met once or twice a month to sew together.  They were all into quilting and I told them I would be doing my own thing because I wasn’t interested in quilting which was OK with them.  Then I attended a Ricky Tims two day workshop and was introduced to the world of Art Quilts.  My life hasn’t been the same since that weekend.  I jumped in with both feet and began making small wall quilts and taking classes from some great teachers.  I decided to make a quilt for each person in my office as a way to improve my skills in quilting which was a good idea, but they kept coming up with such great ideas for quilts that each one became more and more exciting and took longer to make.   I have been quilting now for almost three years and I love every minute of it.  I enjoy each step of the process from designing the project to selecting the fabrics and then quilting it.  I have enjoyed some success  with my quilts entered in the local guild shows and this year I have a quilt that is juried into the Paducah show.  I enjoy sharing my love of sewing, creating, quilting in my classes here at SFtH and hope to offer more classes in the coming months.  

John Thorton

My interest in sewing evolved in 2008 when a series of home projects, like repairing the car’s seat covers, spurred me into seriously looking into a simple sewing machine.  After evaluating brands and my need for a basketball scholarship to learn how to sew, I decided that Sew From the Heart and a Bernina were the best option.  Susie and crew introduced me to the 240.  I knew that I was not worth such an expensive machine but I became convinced that the lovely engineering of the machine and the extensive classes at Sew from the Heart made it worthwhile because a machine without the knowledge to use it is worthless.  I rather quickly became enamored with the possibilities of embroidery but I knew that I was not worth the upgrade to a 730 and purchasing such a machine would be insane.  Alas, passions kicked in when I saw too many creative embroidery projects and I moved up to the 730.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my 730 and the Designer Plus Software.  I can spend hours happily digitizing some new design or re-digitizing some old design.  I enjoy spreading my embroidery passion to others. 

Judy Danz

I started quilting in the mid-1980’s when late one Friday afternoon I decided that cross-stitching a cover for the dog’s water bowl was just a bit much. During a visit to Hancock Fabrics that evening, mostly just to fondle fabric,  I found this wonderful book by Eleanor Burns titled “Quilt in a Day”. I bought the fabrics and was so excited because I just knew that I would have a quilt done long before the weekend was over.  With this project I learned my first quilting lesson… there is no such thing as a “quilt in a day”! But I have been hooked on quilting ever since.

My quilt teaching career started shortly after Sew from the Heart opened for business.  I bought my first serger from Susie. During my mastery classes she learned I was a quiltmaker and talked me into teaching a series of beginning quilting classes. We didn’t have a class room in those days, so students clustered around two tables at the back of the shop. At the end of the series, they each had made a wonderful new quilt, and I had made wonderful new friendships. I have been hooked on teaching ever since.

I don’t know how many students I have taught over the years there at Sew from the Heart, but I know whatever that number is, that’s also the number of new quilting friends I have made as well.

Deanna Fay

Deanna began sewing as a little girl with her grandmother’s treadle sewing machine.  She has made her own clothes from a very early age.  She was in 4-H during her formative years and enjoyed the years of sewing and home decorating but not cooking.  Deanna has taught English, Drama, and Speech, worked as a realtor and sales rep but has now retired to sew.  She has been a Bernina Girl since 1972 and since then she has been able to excel in sewing for quality.  She loves embroidering more these days than sewing and especially working with the Artista Software in digitizing. She loves embroidering and could sew 24 hours a day.  She was born to embroider.

Treva Griffin

Treva is an accomplished quilter.  She is respnosble for HandiQuilter seminars and training at Sew from the Heart.