Susan Ache: SAL Sanity!

The Collecting Colors SAL with Susan Ache (@yardgrl60) kicked off on January 9th and we like to think that cross stitch enthusiasts worldwide are stitching along. Susan’s pattern is epic, a cross-stitched quilt pulling in elements from a variety of traditional blocks, incorporating a delightful range of colors. Quilt simply, we’re in love!

Susan is one of our faves. She is incredibly thoughtful and generous, sharing her patterns, her color theories, her storage solutions, and more. She’s back today with some thoughts on keeping up with Stitch Alongs… staying organized and being kind to ourselves. Exactly what we need at the beginning of this journey… the motivation to keep us stitching as we look toward February’s blocks.

Thank you, Susan!

This is Susan Ache (yardgrl60 if you are on Instagram) here to check in with some new years thoughts. It’s hard to believe we’re already well into the month of January!

Are you a list-maker, a resolution-maker, or just a jump-in-and-think-about-it-later kind of person?  Well, I am actually none of the above. I am a hybernating-January-evaluating kind of person for all things projects and goals. Let’s just say that those things that I have always wanted to do or I am thinking about doing actually get piled into stacks. January is the time that I go through them, sort them in some kind of order, and pick and choose what I want to do or what I would like to do for the year. It’s okay that some of those things have been in the same pile for the past five years and I haven’t gotten to them yet… I never expect to finish it all, I just like to remind myself of things that I have loved and want to do.

Before all of the social media frenzy, magazines and just plain old fashioned shopping would fuel my stacks of projects. Now, it’s all so much simpler since I can download my favorite projects, save them to files, mail them to myself, and print all of the things that I love on the spot.

Isn’t it hard to say no to cute — especially new — things? For those of you that have followed me on Instagram, you’ve likely noticed that I truly try to work on one sewing project at a time and stitch at night on one project at a time. But, Quilt Alongs and Stitch Alongs always seem to grab me and, with all good intentions, I say I will stay caught up.

Month one I am on fire. I have all of my supplies, I am organized with storing and sorting the entire project. Month two comes along and my mind is screaming — start now! But, my mind is also thinking “well, I am organized from the first month, I have a few days and then I will catch up”. Month three and I am already behind, because I never even finished month two. Have you ever fallen into this scenario?

There isn’t a magical answer to falling behind and catching up with our “along” projects except to sit down and just start back to it. Since I do spend quality time evaluating the projects I want to really take on for the year, I also give myself a break if I don’t stay “caught up” with the project. It’s okay, y’all, not to be the first one finished, the first one to post your progress on social media, the first one to show your accomplishments. It is okay to actually get your part done when you get to it, while you are still enjoying the project.  

Starting something new and fresh is always fun, staying on task when “an along” only shows up with updates once a month is sometimes hard. It can be difficult to keep everything fresh in your mind when the entire month comes and goes and you’ve added more things to ‘play’ with. Here is my little hint for keeping your sew along or stitch along on your mind once a month while still enjoying all of the other things you want to do. 

First, evaluate the project. Decide if it is something you really feel like you will keep up with and decide if it is something you really want to see finished. Can you see it framed, quilted on a bed, or as a gift? If yes, then by all means, sort, organize and keep it separate from the other attacks of daily life. Try to devote that little bit of time each month to keep up with it. In my case, I jumped into two monthly stitching projects without even including two that I really want to work with over the year. Knowing I only stitch at night, I decided to work three nights in a row on each project in rotation and so far it is working perfectly for me.

In regards to the sew alongs that I love and want to be a part of, I have decided to give myself a day of the week that I do nothing but catch up. It doesn’t have to be the day of the week that it comes out, it just needs to be sometime during that month.

Most of all, I am giving myself a break if I don’t stay caught up. I always remind myself — this is for fun. We aren’t recreating the world, we are here to enjoy it, so let’s just do that. Enjoy the process of whatever project have chosen to stitch or sew. Don’t let social media be the guideline for your progress. Set your own pace and embrace it. 

Huge Thanks to Susan — it’s nice to have a bit of a sanity check! Set your goals, be kind to yourself, and above all, have some fun!!


InstagramSusan’s Book
A love of color makes it easy for Susan to grab inspiration from her native Florida surroundings. With no grand idea other than knowing she wanted embroidery and nine patches in her first quilt, a new world opened up to this mom of now five grown children. Being self taught with many hours of reading about the makings of a quilt and quilt blocks has made this an a lifelong passion. Susan is always searching for new and fun ways to show off as many colors as she can in a quilt. Most of her quilts are a creative impulse from trips to the garden center, a photograph, or browsing through paint chip selections. “I really never see just the quilt, I seem to see the quilt in the room that it belongs in”.  Working in a quilt store for years helped Susan to pursue that passion of color and the fabric inspired life she enjoys while constantly striving to make her next favorite quilt.


  1. Love all the colors for SAL. Started on borders. You really need to put link to PDF for the SAL. Such a hard time to find it. Thanks

    1. Hi Mary Lou! I’m so sorry that you had a tough time finding it. I did include a link to the January block in this post, but based on your note and a suggestion from Susan, I’ll be adding quick links to the blog sidebar today! It’ll be much easier to find going forward:).

      Happy Stitching!

  2. Would love to stitch along, but I cannot find a source for Aurifloss locally. Greater Kansas City area.

    1. I can’t find Aurifloss locally but I found Aurifloss on Pumpkinvine Corner online. Also, if you search online you can find Aurifloss vs DMC conversion charts. I hope this helps!!

    2. Hi Carol — We are working hard to get our floss represented in more stores worldwide — I’m so sorry that you’re having difficulty finding it near you. If you’re open to shopping online, Pumpkinvine Corner is an excellent resource. She has recently stocked up on all of the SAL colors, as well — if there is anything she is missing, she should have it shortly!

      Good luck and happy stitching!!

  3. Can not get started as could not finds local source for Aurifil floss. Tried internet but they are all back ordered for most colors. Aurifil dropped the ball on this….Some pre-planning might be helpful or offer kit for project. Very disappointing..been planning for project since first announced back in Dec.

    1. I can’t find Aurifloss locally but I found Aurifloss on Pumpkinvine Corner online. Also, if you search online you can find Aurifloss vs DMC conversion charts. I hope this helps!!

    2. Hi Jean,

      I’m so sorry that it’s been frustrating for you. Pumpkinvine Corner does have a great supply online and she is working with us and with Susan to make sure she is fully stocked for all of the colors going forward. The only color required for this first installment is 2318 and that is currently in stock on the site.

      I hope that this is helpful! We do appreciate your feedback and are already looking into kitting options going forward. We’re thrilled that so many people are excited about stitching along!

      Good luck and have fun!

  4. Your stitching is very beautiful !!
    I do have one question… Do you Stitch for others? And what do you do with your real long pieces that have been stitched?? Table runners? Or what?

    1. Oh Janet, I would love to say I framed all of my pieces but sadly I don’t. I spend so much time enjoying the process by the time I finish I am truly ready to move on to the next project. Because I spend my evenings stitching and it takes me quite a bit of time to stitch, this is my enjoyment and I keep the finished pieces.

  5. I plan to use 24 count cloth. What size cloth will I need. I would really like to buy Aida cloth

  6. I really like the Dresden stars shown in this article. Do you have a template or a pattern for these?

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