The Hogs for Heroes 30th Bike Gifting Was a Great Success!

How was your weekend? I’m still in recovery mode after another “no rest for the weary” couple of days here at Primitive Gatherings. The type of tired I’m feeling is one of the best kinds though – one with a whole lot of effort and hard work behind it. It’s the kind that you feel once you’ve hit a major goal but for some crazy reason, you want to keep going and do more. After all the hard work and dedication that went into raising over $43,000 for the Hogs for Heroes Organization in just a little over a year, everything finally came together beautifully on Sunday when we were the proud hosts of the 30th key ceremony, right here at The Gathering. Despite the rainy weather, we had a great turn-out, with both veterans and civilians from all over WI turning up to help honor our veterans.

After so much anticipation before the big event, it’s hard to believe Sunday is already in the past. What a great day! The retreat house was packed – just like I had hoped. The rain certainly tried, but thankfully it was not successful in ruing our plans – we simply moved everything inside. I guess that’s one of many advantages of having a big retreat house to hang out in! Co-founders of Hogs for Heroes Audra and Kevin Thompson were the perfect Masters of Ceremonies for the affair. During their opening statements, they did a beautiful job explaining the concept behind Hogs for Heroes and what they’re all about. Then, after a few initial introductions we kicked off the ceremony properly by welcoming the U.S. Color Guard, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and singing the National Anthem. Patriotism was definitely in the air as they told the story of Hogs for Heroes and explained why they chose Sergeant Nick Brewer as their 30th Hog recipient (the eighth one this year!). If you haven’t had a chance to get to know Nick and why he was chosen for this great honor, you can read his full story by clicking HERE!

I really wish you could have all been there to see this! I was especially honored to be invited to stand along with the people who handed the keys of his dream bike – one-by-one – down a line of dedicated volunteers and other veterans, until they reached their rightful new owner’s hands. Every ounce of effort, and every hour spent making this great day happen was totally worth it. I mean if you want to see what true happiness looks like, just look at the smile on Nick’s face as he starts and revs the bike of his dreams for the very first time.

Just when you thought you had all the feels, we added to the love fest by awarding each veteran that was here to help present Nick with his new bike a quilt of valor of their very own. It was magical! These beautiful quilts are extra special because they were made 100% by volunteers from around the U.S. – and even a few from Canada! The best part is, none of them were expecting it, so their reactions truly showed the gratitude and humble nature of these selfless individuals.

I know I’ve said it a lot but I’ll say it again – I am just SO honored to be a part of all of this. The pride I’m feeling is over the top! To everyone who participated and contributed toward this collective effort, I thank you times infinity. Those of you who donated money, quilts blocks, or time toward putting these quilts together will always have a special place in my heart. And I can’t forget to give a huge shout-out to my staff here at Primitive Gatherings. You are all top-notch! Everyone needs to take a second and give yourself a pat on the back – you deserve it! Just look at what we can accomplish when we all work together!

One of the best parts of the whole day was near the end, when the rain decided to quit just long enough for use to be able to watch Nick take his maiden ride on his new bike. Of course, we couldn’t let him get away without a few photos first, to archive this awesome moment in time! I honestly will never forget this epic day at Primitive Gatherings. This was a huge accomplishment for everyone involved. Even though this part of it is over with and I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders, I can’t stop my mind from already thinking about what to do next to raise even MORE money for Hogs for Heroes… Believe me, I will let you know what that is as soon as I figure it out!

Until then I have plenty to keep me busy, that’s for sure. For instance, speaking of great accomplishments this week we’re celebrating 19 years in business with our 19.1 Anniversary event! That’s 19 years in business, and one year in our new location! Looking back, we really have come a long way in the last year after our big move from Menasha to our new facility in Larsen, WI. I guess you could say it’s a double anniversary, which is all the more reason to celebrate! In order to do just that, this week, August 8th through the 14th, come take advantage of some of the best sale prices you’ll find all year on fabric, kits, and more as we offer 20% OFF store-wide (sale does not include Garden Gatherings pre-cuts or yardage, pre-ordered items, sewing machines, thread kits, Creative Grids rulers, the PG 2022 Holiday Box, Letters for Santa QAL bundles, Meet Me in the Garden merchandise, or any other item already on sale)!

If you’ve been waiting for an excuse to replenish your stash, or are just trying to decide whether or not to take on your next project, this is the perfect reason to stock up! Take 20% OFF your favorite fabrics, notions, apparel, kits, and more now through Sunday August 14th, 2022!  Of course we also had to plan some fun activities in honor of our success, so we came up with some fabulous demos and make-n’-take projects to get involved in throughout the week! We kicked it off today with an adorable wool pin project demonstration. This decorative piece can be used to snazz up well… pretty much anything! Attach it to your favorite jean jacket, purse, or hat. Getting married soon? Real flowers are expensive and they die. Why not use an alternative that will last forever? These darling flowers would make the perfect archival solution for your wedding day flower needs!

The fun continues tomorrow with mini basket making, instructed by Gloria Parsons (participation fee = $20.00). If you’ve ever wanted to learn the art of basket making, now is your chance! Gloria will be showing us how to make a small basket project – great for storing jewelry, a votive candle, or nicknacks. If you’re new to the art, this mini project is a great way to test the waters of basket making. By the end you’ll know whether or not you want to tackle a bigger project or if this little guy was just enough!

Coming up this Wednesday August 10th, 2022 I will be giving demos on how to make a super cute thread spool project (participation fee = $40.00 – if you have extra old thread spools, please bring them!). I think this piece is especially cool because we are using recycled sewing items to make sewing-themed art. You can spruce up any sewing room, den or even kitchen with this charming piece as either hanging décor or a tabletop conversation piece. If you’re feeling extra ambitious and have a lot of spools to use up, I bet a set of three in different sizes would be extra adorable.

Do you love barn quilts and want to learn to make your own? Join us this Thursday as my sister Lisa and I (yes you read that right!) will be demonstrating how to go about making a 12″ mini barn quilt (participation fee = $50.00). These mini barn quilts are so much fun to do, and the design possibilities are endless! If you’re a fan of colorful geometric shapes in your décor but you don’t have time for large quilting projects, mini barn quilts could be for you! There’s only one way to find out, come give it a try!

I’ll be wrapping demos on Friday August 12th, 2022 with our final project, an adorable small fabric tote (participation fee = $25.00). This bag is a perfect size for running quick errands or transporting a small project. It easily could take the place of a purse if you just need something light to throw your keys and wallet into, rather than having to lug around your entire bag. I have several of these and use them for all sorts of things. I even have one to hold my favorite bible!

There you have it… Five fabulous make-n’-takes for five fabulous days of anniversary celebration (all make-n’-take projects are available from 10:00 AM until 1:00 PM on their scheduled day only, and are located at The Gathering. SPACE IS LIMITED! Please sign up by calling 920-778-8031 if you plan to participate)!

If you’re local you should really stop by and check out all the excitement…and if you have a project you’re currently working on (or one you should have started long ago), bring it with you along with your machine! We also have an open Sit & Stitch going from 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM all week through Friday! Set up shop in our spacious retreat house for the day, surrounded by friendly people who share your love for stitching! Enjoy excellent lighting with multiple steam stations and large spacious cutting tables that are equipped with electricity! Plus, I’ll be around to help you with any problem child projects you might have holding you back. It’s only $25.00 to participate AND lunch is included. You can’t go wrong! Space is limited, so if you plan to join us for Sit & Stitch , please call Judy at 920.778.8031 to reserve your seat!

Alright everyone! Time to go home and get rested up for tomorrow. We’ll be here bright and early for Shop Talk with Shelley LIVE at 9:00 AM CST on my Stitch with Lisa Bongean YouTube channel. We’ll be taking a stroll around the shop looking at all the great things that are ON SALE this week! Tune in and leave us a comment for a chance to win yourself a nice little prize – that’s really all it takes to be eligible! Click the STITCH link below to watch. In the mean time, if you weren’t able to attend or catch the LIVE stream of our key ceremony on Sunday but would still like to see it, you can catch the replay by clicking HERE. Thanks for watching and I will see you all soon! ~Lisa

Making Progress – Always!

Hey everyone, it’s time for another progress report! We’re at the peak of summer here in WI, and already starting to show early signs of fall approaching. It has been a busy season so far at Primitive Gatherings with a constant buzz of activity going on all week long. Summer projects are starting to come to fruition as they get closer and closer to being finished with each passing day. One of my favorite things about fall are the autumn-based projects, so needless to say I’ll be happy to clear some space in my sewing room and studio once summer tasks are finished.

Finishing a quilt is always a thrill. As I’m approaching the final steps I always seem to get a burst of energy toward getting it done – so I can move on and start something new, of course! I’m super happy to report that I was recently able to bring one of my Summer Blocks of the Weekprojects, Stars All Around into its final stages, and it’s now currently waiting in line to be quilted. I really had a lot of fun with this project because it was simple and easy to work on small sections at a time in between other projects. The pattern is a cinch to do and also makes for the perfect mini scrap buster. With something like 208 total stars, you can really put a dent in your scrap bin with this amazing quilt. All said and done, Stars All Around measures approximately 82″ x 82.”

As I mentioned, Stars All Around is one of this year’s Summer Blocks of the Week projects, which originally started earlier this season. We are getting close to selling out of kits for both the Contemporary and Traditional versions of Stars All Around,” but still have a few left of each to find homes for. That means that if you’ve been on the fence about doing this project, this is basically your last chance to get a kit! To order yours before it’s too late, hit the link below!

Just an FYI! We are only offering “Stars All Around as a PAID IN FULL option this year. This will help to reduce the cost of shipping because it allows us to send you the project directions just once monthly instead of multiple times throughout (meaning a $48 decrease in the price for our domestic customers and an $84 decrease in pricing for our International customers – wow!). PLEASE NOTE: You will be charged immediately when you place your order.

Next up, I’m also delighted to say that another one of my Summer Blocks of the Week projects, Carving Contest is also finished and ready to rock for Halloween. This darling quilt is done in strips, but to look at the finished product you don’t really notice that. I had SO much fun drawing up this pattern… The festive design is super cute, unique, and full of spunk and personality! Measuring at 51″ x 58,” “Carving Contest is an excellent choice for a fall home décor project. Its smaller size makes it ideal to display as a wall hanging or over the back of your favorite love seat or porch swing. This is another project we have very limited quantities of so again, if you’re on the fence it’s time to jump off and into Carving Contest. Get your’s now by clicking the link!

Carving Contestisn’t the only quilt on my sewing table with big personality right now. Part of our, “Just One” series, Lulu the Lady Bug is an adorable little number that is simple to make, yet has a ton of options as far as how you’d like it to look in the end depending on your fabric and color choices. You’ll be able to pick out your own background to match up with both the Dresden daisy motif, and of course the real star of the show Lulu the Lady Bug.”

If you’ve never done a Dresden before, this is a great opportunity to give it a try! Lulu the Lady Bugmakes it fun and easy, and doesn’t produce a lot of scraps because you’re using a lot of the same fabric throughout the project. Machine stitching the appliquéd areas makes it simple and fast, though you could certainly do it by hand if you’re feeling ambitious. At 51 1/2″ x 51 1/2″ Lulu the Lady Bugis just the right size to display as a seasonal wall hanging or table top décor.

Lulu the Lady Bug is a pre-order only for just a few more days. That means that when ordering, it should be the only thing in your cart! Other items currently in stock should be ordered separately so we can get it to you as fast as possible. Lulu the Lady Bug should be available to ship the week of August 8th. NOTE: You will need an 18 degree Dresden Ruler by Creative Grids for this project which you can order by clicking HERE! You will also need 3.5 yards of fabric for the backing. Remember, if you order the backing at the same time as the kit, you will get it at 20% OFF! The pattern is not included in our kits, but can be ordered separately. Lulu is 51 1/2″ square when finished. Click the link above to order now!

Do you love working with wool as much as I do? If that’s a big yes, I certainly hope you’re already a member of our subscription wool box. If you’re not, you really should be! Let me tell you a little about it. Boxes ship every other month and contain at least one major project kit and pattern, a pattern for an ongoing project, and recipe cards. Each box is centered around wool and/or stitchery, and might even contain a few novelty things once in a while. Boxes will primarily consist of Primitive Gatherings products and patterns, but we plan to have guest designers and products as well in the future. Projects are exclusive to the wool boxes for six months before they are released to the general public. Boxes are charged the 15th of the month and will be shipped after our billing cycle. Sounds great, doesn’t it? We still have openings available but spots are limited. Sign up today! Click the link above for more information.

I also have several Quilt-Alongs that I’m involved with at the moment, as I’m sure many of you are too. If you’ve been following along with the Moda Blockheads 4 series, you know that currently we’re on Block #20 – Stop Go by Stacy Iest Hsu. This exciting and unique block features a snowball shape-based design, along with multiple color combinations and layout possibilities in the pattern. Color scheme for this quilt includes a medium orange Bella Solid called “Ochre” as my background color, combined with gray-scale fabric selections from my Urban Farmhouse Gatherings II line for the other elements. Lately I have also been throwing in a bit of Zen Chic, and even used a little bit of my Lakeside Gatherings line from a few years back.

This has been a great quilt-along so far and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for one to join. Even though we’re 20 blocks in, it’s still not too late to get started! You can easily find all the information you need, including previously released MBH4 blocks in the Moda Blockheads 4 Archive listed in the main menu of links at the top of my blog page. You can also visit Moda’s Inspiration+Resources Center Page for more information, along with all released bonus blocks by clicking HERE! If you’re having trouble keeping all the details straight, you can also sign-upo to receive Moda’s weekly Blockheads blog posts via e-mail at the Inspiration+Resources Center as well.

Have heard about Letters for Santa? It’s hard to imagine that it’s just about time to start thinking about fall and even winter projects for the upcoming Christmas season. We all know how the holidays always seem to sneak up on us. I like to have a good head start on things well in advance, which is why I really love the idea of this quilt-along. Letters for Santa is a Christmas project quilt-along from Moda inspired by my, Mini Alphabet Quiltpattern. Mini Alphabet is a darling little quilt, ideal for a child’s bed or toy room. Measuring at 42″ x 42″ it’s the perfect size for cuddling, all while learning your ABC’s. Super cute, right!?

To participate in the quilt-along you’ll need both the pattern for my Mini Alphabet Quiltalong with Moda’s monthly word releases, new filler block patterns, and alternate project ideas. You can purchase the pattern by clicking the button above. For more information on this festive QAL, and access to monthly QAL releases, visit Moda’s website!

Another quilt-along that I’m really enjoying right now is my O’ Say Can You Sew” Mystery QAL. I decided to call it O’ Say Can You Sew because I have so many reds, whites, and blues leftover from previous projects (American Gatherings Quilt-Along, my American Gatherings book, and Stars & Stripes to name a few). I thought it would be a fun way to get an awesome patriotic quilt out of simply recycling my salvage. I also thought it would be entertaining to make this a mystery project – meaning you are not going to know exactly what you’re making until it all comes together in the very end! I think it’s exciting – I love the suspense!!!

How the O’ Say Can You Sew Mystery Quilt-Along works is simple and fun. On the first Monday of every month we will release a new FREE clue (there is no specific time that I will be releasing the clue – please keep an eye on the blog throughout the day)! There will be seven clues released in total. When the clue is released it will be posted not only here on my blog, but also on our YouTube channel, “Stitch with Lisa Bongean.” Each clue will be available to download as a printable PDF FREE for one month. When then next month’s clue posts, the previous clue will no longer be available for free, but can be purchased to download through our website for $5.00 each.

You MUST be squirming in your seat to join up with this QAL A.S.A.P., so wait no longer! We are already on Clue #5 but there is still plenty of time to catch up! Links to all released clues are listed in the O’ Say Can You Sew Clue Archive, which can be found in the main menu at the top of this page. This quilt was designed to be a scrap buster, but if you don’t have that kind of supply piled up don’t worry. We have fat quarter bundles in stock that will be perfect to supplement your stash. There are blues and whites in bundles of 12 fat quarters for $30.00 per bundle (that’s two FREE!). We are currently no longer offering reds in these special OSCYS bundles due to low stock.

People keep asking me how I have so much energy, and when do I sleep!? Really, it’s easy to stay motivated because I am truly living my dream. Simply put, it’s NOT WORK! I love to be ambitious and try to make sure to schedule a time to stitch everyday. I accomplish this with planning, making lists, setting goals, and doing my best to stay organized. These are the things that cause inspiration and an abundance of energy to come easy for me! Achieving my goals only drives me further forward so I can accomplish more. I love what I do!

Speaking of future projects and goals, before I go I want to remind you that my new fabric line Red and White Gatherings is now available to pre-order! I’m super excited after seeing how beautiful this collection turned out. I can barely wait! It’s made up of cream-based whites and a stunning mix of reds, ranging from middle of the road to dark and deep. Print patterns include floral, linear, and geometrical designs that span from tiny to large giving you a wide spectrum of visual variety.

If you’re anything like me, these exciting new fabrics have your mind going in a million directions. I can imagine this versatile line being implemented into several different projects I’ve been thinking about starting. You know how I love the traditional red and white color combination… Of course, I also have a design book coming out that will contain nine unique designs (12 total quilts – some with more than one version) – all based on Red & White Gatheringsfabric. If you’re looking for a bit of red and white inspiration, this book is the perfect solution! As of now, it will be available to ship in October, 2022. Quilt kits are not available yet but will be coming soon!

I know getting the finished book into your hands feels a long way off as well, but don’t fret! I DO have some good news in the midst of all this longing… As of now, pre-cuts and yardage of Red & White Gatherings” AND the project book Red and White Gatherings are officially available to pre-order from our website. Just click the link below! Not to mention, now is a great time to stock up on “Red & White Gatherings” because all pre-cuts are 20% OFF (for a limited time)! Please note: Pre-orders should be the only thing in your car when you are ordering. If you have other, non pre-order items to purchase you will need to order them through a separate transaction!

Well everyone – did I give you enough to think about? I hope you’re able to find your own inspiration after seeing these works in progress. Nothing makes me happier than being creative and sharing skills and ideas with my fellow stitchers. Thank you for being a part of it! That all being said, I wish you a wonderful and relaxing weekend. It’s supposed to be scorching hot and humid here until Sunday when we might see some relief – just in time for our big Hogs for Heroes key presentation event. If you haven’t heard, this Sunday August 8th, 2022 we will finally be presenting our chosen veteran with the keys to his new Harley through the Hogs for Heroes organization! We will also be awarding several veterans with much deserved quilts of valor, made 100% by volunteer stitchers from all over the U.S.! If you’re local and you can make it out for this awesome event, please do – there’s even lunch in it for ya (while it lasts – when it’s gone, it’s gone)! Doors open at The Gathering at 10:00 and the ceremony beings at 11. A pot-luck lunch will be served immediately after until we run out! There is no cost for lunch but cash donations are very much appreciated. All proceeds will go to Hogs for Heroes!

For more information about Hogs for Heroes and to read our veteran’s story, you can visit my prior blog post all about it by clicking HERE! If you’re not local or just have other plans, you can watch the event LIVE or catch the replay on my STITCH with Lisa Bongean YouTube channel, which you can find by clicking the STITCH button below! I really hope to see a huge turnout for this event – so don’t let me down. Be there if you can! I will see you all soon. Stay cool out there! ~Lisa

MBH4 Block #20 – “Stop Go” by Stacy Iest Hsu

Here we are again, back at Blockhead Central on another glorious – and stormy – Wednesday afternoon! Stop Go by Stacy Iest Hsu enters stage left in style, with its exciting and unique snowball shape-based design. Stacy has been a textile and product designer for over ten years and has recently decided to branch out independently to market her own line of original creations. She enjoys making designs that are inspired by the visual story of the world around her. Stop Go was influenced by the constant chaos and overall stop-and-go of life, which is represented by the multiple color combinations and layout possibilities in the pattern.

If you like stitch-n’-flip, this is your block! Stop Gois yet another design that looks difficult when it’s really not at all. In fact, this block will go super quick because the center units can be stitched and then strip-cut all at the same time. After you get that done, you’re basically home free since the rest is basically all simple stitch-n’-flip! I feel like since we’re 20 weeks into this QAL, your skills should be getting pretty sharp by now, and that this little guy shouldn’t give you any problems. Ready to take the bull by the horns? For the pattern and full instructions for Stop Go,” visit Stacy’s blog by hitting the link below!

For my Stop Go block I stuck with the same color scheme I have been using in previous weeks. I continue to use a medium orange Bella Solid called “Ochre” as my background color (sorry, we are still out of stock of Ochre, but should be getting more soon), combined with a mid-gray floral print on black from my Urban Farmhouse Gatherings II line for the outer corner pieces. I also threw in some light Zen Chic for the center piece, and even used a little bit of my Lakeside Gatherings line from a few years back for the remaining elements.

Are you just joining MBH4 and need to catch up? It’s easy to find all the information you’ll need including previously released MBH4 blocks in the Moda Blockheads 4 Archive listed in the main menu of links at the top of my blog page. You can also visit Moda’s Inspiration+Resources Center Page for more information, along with all released bonus blocks by clicking HERE! If you’re having trouble keeping all the details straight, you can also sign-upo to receive Moda’s weekly Blockheads blog posts via e-mail at the Inspiration+Resources Center as well.

Well I certainly hope you all are having a great day. I’ll admit that even though Wednesdays are typically my home-studio days, I spent a lot of time here at the retreat house today, stitching with a wonderful group of ladies from a group we started way back when we were still in our old shop. As always we had a great time laughing, catching up and telling stories… and of course we got some work done too! Which is good because I have a lot to do before Sunday when we will finally be able to present our chosen Hogs for Heroes veteran with the keys to his new Harley! We will also be presenting several veterans with much deserved quilts of valor, made 100% by volunteers stitchers! If you’re local and you can make it out for this awesome event, please do – there’s even lunch in it for ya (while supplies last)! Doors open at The Gathering at 10:00 and the ceremony beings at 11. A pot-luck lunch will be served immediately after until we run out! There is no cost for lunch but cash donations are very much appreciated. All proceeds will go to Hogs for Heroes!

For more information about Hogs for Heroes and to read our veteran’s story, you can visit my prior blog post all about it by clicking HERE! If you’re not local or just have other plans, you can watch the event LIVE or catch the replay on my STITCH with Lisa Bongean YouTube channel, which you can find by clicking the STITCH button below! Don’t forget to comment and like while you’re watching, AND here on my blog too! Your comments help me stay ahead of the game in this crazy social media based world of ours, so I really appreciate each and every one! In fact, I feel like it might be prize time again… Yes! Yes it IS prize time again and Kristen T. – YOU are this week’s lucky winner! Of course I’m not posting last names or email addresses for privacy’s sake, so if you think you’re the lucky one this time around, please check your email! You can also contact Heidi at if you have not already received a prize confirmation letter from her. She will use your email address to confirm that you are in fact the winner!

Ok kids! That’s all for today. Remember to catch me LIVE on YouTube tomorrow at 1:00 PM CST! I’m super excited to say that Debbie Maddy will be stopping by – virtually anyway – to fill us in on what she’s been up to and what we can expect from here in the near future. I absolutely LOVE indigo and think Debbie’s work is top-notch so I highly recommend you NOT miss it! You can tun in by hitting the STITCH button below! Until then, have a great night and take care. See you tomorrow! ~Lisa

Wind Therapy is the Best Therapy – The Date Has Been Set!

Hey again! I’m glad you’re back. This post was long anticipated and I’m super happy and proud to finally be making it. I am so thrilled to be able to say that we have officially picked a date to present the latest Hogs for Heroes bike recipient with his keys here at Primitive Gatherings. Mark your calendars and join us at The Gathering on Sunday, August 7th, 2022 at 11:00 AM to watch this exciting event unfold (doors open at 10:00 AM!). As most of you know we’ve been partnered with Hogs for Heroes for two summers in a row now, and have currently raised over $43,000 between private donations, our 2021 “American Quilter’s Stitch Along” fundraiser, and our most recent online auction. Truly amazing! If you’re not familiar with the Hogs for Heroes Organization, let me tell you why I love them so much. This wonderful and generous group of people helps give back to injured WI veterans by raising funds and using the proceeds to provide deserving recipients with a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Seriously, could this idea be any more right up my alley? If you would like to learn more about Hogs for Heroes or want to make a donation directly, visit the Hogs for Heroes website by following the link below!

Today is a special day because we finally get to announce the veteran chosen to receive a Hog funded %100 by Primitive Gatherings through Hogs for Heroes. I am so honored to be able to say that we had such a significant hand in awarding the 30th set of Hog keys donated to a WI veteran in the last six years! We can’t wait for this Army National Guard Veteran to regain his passion for the road, and the healing and the brotherhood that comes with it.

After careful thought and consideration, this time around the generous people at Hogs for Heroes have chosen Sergeant Nick Brewer of Oshkosh, WI as a 2022 Hogs for Heroes bike recipient. Originally from Madison, Nick wasn’t exactly a model student in his younger years. After a childhood of being bullied and fighting, Nick joined the Army National Guard in 2005 in an attempt to straighten his life out. After attending boot camp he discovered that the structure and discipline of the Army actually suited him. He quickly became enthralled with the idea of being deployed while he worked as a Petroleum Supply Specialist with the Guard, and applied four different times to deploy and support other units – only to be turned down each time. In 2009 he finally received full-time orders to serve stateside during the H1N1 outbreak. Soon after his unit was deployed to Iraq, and he was finally granted his chance to serve overseas.

Nick was quickly promoted to Sergeant and was given a tremendous amount of responsibility. Still working with fuel, he and his team worked in an extremely intense and highly flammable arena on a daily basis, that left little to no room for error. The combination of being in such a dangerous environment along with the inherent stress of being responsible for a staff of people under him, Nick became exhausted, mistrustful, and numb to the violence and danger he found himself in. As if the emotional trauma he was already experiencing wasn’t enough, to make matters worse Nick suffered a back injury during training that not only left him in excruciating pain, but also proved to be an injury that would plague him for years to come. He then returned home in 2011. Unable to reenlist due to his back injury, Nick officially separated from the National Guard in February of 2012.

Transition back into civilian life was harder than Nick could ever imagine. His experiences while serving his country left him bewildered and angry, and unable to trust people. He struggled to relate as depression took over, directly affecting his actions and perspective. Nick knew that bottling up his emotions was not healthy and that he needed some kind of release to help him cope. That’s when he decided to take a motorcycle riding course. In spite of the fact that he was using a 30-year-old bike that was too small for his large stature, he quickly discovered the healing power of “wind therapy” through his learning process. His passion for riding was officially born.

Though he was doing everything he knew how to heal and move forward with his life after his time in the service, Nick was still having trouble coping. He found that the one thing that helped settle his anxious mind was his bike – so when it broke down and he wasn’t able to afford to repair or replace it, he was left without his only form of effective stress relief. Despite his best efforts, both Nick and his wife could see that he was fighting a losing battle with his mental health. Along with committing to active counseling in 2015, Nick also found that helping other veterans helped him to release some of his mental anguish. He has volunteered with the Oshkosh VFW, and worked with the Office of Veteran Employment Services. He is now a Veterans Outreach Coordinator for a seven-county territory, and uses both his expertise and personal experiences to help other struggling and at-risk veterans find the help and resources they need.

Nick has since had his back repaired and has been physically pain free for some time, however, his mental struggles still remain. Years of counseling have helped him to channel his inner turmoil into an energy he now uses to push forward for his family’s sake and those he serves. These reasons among many others make it easy to see why Nick was chosen to be one of this year’s Hogs for Heroes bike recipients. Nick has accomplished so many things including serving this great country and dedicating his post military career to caring for fellow veterans, the least we could do is get him back on the road doing what he loves – riding his motorcycle. Of course there’s more to Nick’s story than I could fit into one post, so if you’d like to read more about him and his family, CLICK HERE!

So now we prepare for what I consider to be the best part of this ongoing fundraising effort. This Sunday August 7th, 2022, I am so excited to say that we will be presenting Nick with the keys to his very first ever Harley Davidson motorcycle – a 2017 Ultra Limited with only 8,500 miles on it – here at The Gathering at 11:00 AM (doors open at 10:00 AM). This particular bike was chosen after numerous test-drives and hours of searching to find him just the right bike for his large stature – not to mention it’s his favorite color, “blood red.” Win-win! Each and every bike reveal done by Hogs for Heroes is truly remarkable, but I have to say that this time around it’s going to be even more special because this bike has been fully paid for by quilters all across our nation! I am just SO PROUD to be a part of this, and I can’t thank all of you who participated enough. There are simply no words.

Though I know so many of you are far away and unable to attend, I’m officially inviting each and every one of you to join us for this special event. If you can’t be here in person don’t worry. We will be live streaming the event on my STITCH with Lisa Bongean YouTube channel that day. That means you can join us from the comfort of your living room as we hand over the keys that will keep Nick riding for years to come. Make sure to stock up on Kleenex because I’m confident that there won’t be a dry eye in the house – in a good way, of course! In addition, we will also be gifting several hand-made red, white, and blue flag quilts to veterans who are previous Hogs for Heroes bike recipients. Each quilt was made collectively by volunteers from across the U.S. and comes complete with an embroidered label on the back that includes all the names of those who contributed. If you are local I really hope you’ll join us so you too can help present these deserving heroes with their quilts of valor. Let’s show these veterans that we still care about their well-being long after their service is complete! Nothing we do can make up for the adversity they’ve faced as a result of their sacrifice, but this is certainly a great start. Please come! You deserve to be a part of this special day too!

The big event starts at 10:00AM on Sunday August 7th, 2022. Presentation of the keys will be at 11:00 AM. Lunch will be available for purchase from 11:00 AM until 2:00 PM for your enjoyment. The only thing that could make this great day even greater would be to have a phenomenal turn out. Don’t let these veterans down – be there or be square!!! To tune-in remotely, simply hit the STITCH button below! No excuses… See you there! ~Lisa

O’ Say Can You Sew – Clue # 5

Welcome back, everyone! I hope you had a fabulous weekend. I know many of you are anxiously waiting for today’s O’ Say Can You Sew Mystery Quilt-Along Clue #5 release, so let’s cut right to the chase! As soon as you see Clue #5, the whole reason behind all that triangle paper I’ve been recommending will become perfectly clear! Basically, you’re going to be making 1,152 half-square triangles (just a few…), and then sewing them together to create 128 9-patch half-square triangle blocks. Don’t let this clue scare you if you’re not the greatest at half-square triangles. By the time you’re done, you’re going to be a master! Ready to give it a shot? All you have to do to get going on Clue #5 is hit the link below for the full instructions and printable PDF!

I am making all of my half-square triangles blue and white, and of course scrappy. If you are opting for a not-so-scrappy look and prefer a bit of control, think matching sets of four. Why sets of four? Because a little birdie told me that four of the 9-patch blocks miiiiight just be going together in the next clue – hint-hint.

By now you should have figured out that triangle paper is going to be your best friend for Clue #5. If you still need to get your order for triangle paper placed, you can stock up on my custom designed PG Triangle Paper in a variety of sizes on our website. For this project you will need two packages of 1″ Finished Triangle Paper, which you can find directly by following the link below. Feeling intimidated when it comes to using triangle paper? For some really great tips and advice on how to use it correctly, I highly recommend watching my Triangle Paper Tutorial where I show you how to cut fast, yet accurate half-square triangles in a short amount of time. Click HERE to watch!

Sticking with the red, white, and blue motif but starting to run out of scraps? No problem! We still have fat quarter bundles in stock that will be perfect to supplement your stash. There are blues and whites in bundles of 12 fat quarters for $30.00 per bundle (that’s two FREE!). We are currently no longer offering reds in these special OSCYS bundles due to low stock, but that shouldn’t be a problem if you’re all caught up. You will only need blues and whites from this clue forward.

Remember, Clue #5 is available as a FREE download now through Monday September 5th, 2022. After that, it will be available to purchase on our website for $5.00. If you’re just joining me on this Quilt-Along there is still plenty of time to catch up! Links to all released clues are listed in the O’ Say Can You Sew Clue Archive, which can be found in the main menu at the top of this page. New clues are posted on the first Monday of every month. Once the current month’s clue is posted, the prior clue is no longer free but can be purchased for a small fee of $5.00. For more visual learners I will also be posting a video tutorial of each clue on my STITCH with Lisa Bongean YouTube channel every month, so be sure to check that out as well! You can watch the Clue #5 tutorial by hitting the STITCH button below!

Alright, that’s it for now. I’m keeping it short and sweet because I will be back here on the blog later today with another post all about our big Hogs for Heroes bike and flag quilt recipient reveal, so watch your in-boxes for that! If you couldn’t tell, we are super excited to be part of this awesome contribution to help injured and recovering WI veterans, and we want to share this experience with you as much as possible. I’ll have lots of details all about it here on the blog later today. In the mean time, enjoy Clue #5 and I will see you then! ~Lisa


Have You Any PG Wool?

Hey gang! I’m sure you’ve all heard about the big wool sale happing now here at Primitive Gatherings. If you didn’t, I guess that means you haven’t been keeping up with my blog or my YouTube broadcasts lately… All I can say about that is, tisk-tisk!!! LOL Just kidding, I know how busy everyone is right now and completely understand about not having enough hours in the day to get it all done. No worries! I’ll go over the details again just in case you missed it. Now through Sunday, July 31st, 2022 take 25% OFF ALL wool products both in-store and online, including wool yardage, wool pre-cuts, wool bundles, wool charms, and wool scrap bags (sorry, this offer does not include wool kits)!

Come take advantage of this rare and generous wool event! It’s few and far between that wool ever goes on sale, especially at such a great discount. Shop manager Shelley did an awesome job on Tuesday during our LIVE broadcast of Shop Talk,” sharing some of her favorite recommended wool projects and tools, along with some tips and tricks of the trade from our very own Tyler the Wool Dyer… and me too, of course! If you’ve never been to the shop, it’s hard to explain just how beautiful our collection of hand and mill-dyed wools is without actually seeing it in person – but – I will do my best to give you a good idea. If you’re not familiar with our wool, we offer it for sale by the yard, half yard, fat-quarter, fat-eighth, and fat-sixteenth.We also have charm squares and scrap bags for stitchers who like to collect lots of different wools in smaller portions. We carry a huge variety of colors, textures, and patterns to choose from including brights, natural/earth tones, tie-dye, plaids, houndstooth, herringbones, and more… the list goes on! Can’t decide on a favorite? We’ve also put together some really beautiful bundles that are sure to trip your creative trigger. We even have a PG Wool Swatch Book to help make planning and matching colors, textures, and threads for your wool projects a snap! Our quality swatch book comes with actual wool swatches – NOT photos – so you can get the most accurate and realistic idea of our available colors. This super helpful resource is currently being revamped to include our most up-to-date dyes as we speak. That means that they’re not quite ready to ship yet, but are available for pre-order now with an anticipated arrival date of mid-September.

Are you a penny project fan? If you are, you’ll love our pre-cut wool penny options! Sizes range from 1/2″ all the way to 3 1/2.” And for those of you who are like me and love fusible on the back of your pennies, good news – we carry fusible pennies too! These little guys are a game changer when it comes to working with wool pennies – especially the smaller ones. They’re super helpful for holding things in place, particularly while stitching one penny to another. There is something to be said about being able to steam my circles down so they’re not loose and falling all over the place. Nobody needs that frustration!

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about how someone who has never tried wool should get started. I just so happen to have the perfect solution for that exact scenario! My books, Wool, Needle, & Thread I and II are my all time go-to’s for learning your way around the world of wool. Both books offer step-by-step instructions along with excellent close-up photography, showing you exactly how to go about making your debut working with wool and wool appliqué! Perfectly bound with thick glossy pages, these books are a must-have for your studio library. As an added bonus, there are several practice projects included to help get your creative juices flowing. Hit the button below to get your own copies of Wool, Needle, & Thread I and II!

Whew! Lots to cover when it comes to wool, that’s for sure! If you weren’t able to catch Shop Talk this week and are interested in learning more about our process and working with wool overall, I highly recommend going back and watching the replay. Many of you who were able to tune in asked some really great questions throughout the show, which I really enjoyed and appreciate! There’s no such thing as a silly question. You never know how many other people you might be helping simply by asking questions! Knowledge is power baby, and I love to share it!

Well folks, here we are again at the end of another week. No rest for the weary though. I’m busily preparing for the week ahead, which promises to be full of action. On Monday I’ll be releasing Clue #5 in the O’ Say Can You Sew Mystery Quilt-Along series, so if you haven’t downloaded Clue #4 yet, you better get on it (remember, once the current clue posts, previously released clues will no longer be free, but will be available to purchase on our website for a small fee – previously released clues are available by visiting the O’ Say Can You See Clue Archive by clicking HERE)!!! On that same day be sure to watch for our Hogs for Heroes bike recipient announcement where we share which deserving veteran was chosen to receive a H4H Hog this year. I can’t wait! After that we go LIVE again Tuesday during Shop Talk with Shelley at 9:00 AM CST, and again on Thursday at 1:00 PM CST with another exciting episode of STITCH with Lisa Bongean.” Jam-packed I tell you, and with no end in sight. I love it. Enjoy your weekend and I will see you all next week! ~Lisa