The Sewing Whisperer

Sewing Whisperer © Copyright 2013 Nancy Zieman

The Sewing Whisperer

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By Nancy Zieman with Marjorie L. Russell
Illustrated by Philip Ashby
Sewing Whisperer © Copyright 2013 Nancy Zieman

Not far from here, beside a wide river,

The village of Sewland was in quite a dither.


It wasn’t a normal crisis, no ma’am,

No cats caught in trees, no shortage of ham.


No, this was a crisis concerning their notions –

A bobbin and needle and thread-led commotion.


In a challenge too big to wrap thoughts around,

The peace in each project could no longer be found.


Bobbins were bouncing and couldn’t be caught,

Needles were jabbing more often than not.


Scissors were snippy, and rotary blades blunt,

And runaway thread was the goal of a hunt.


Sewland called for my help in the middle of night,

Their knock on my door gave my dress form a fright.


What could be done to bring order, they asked,

And I knew who to go to from far in the past.


I blew off the dust from an old address book,

To find the right name, I knew just where to look.


The Sewing Whisperer was our only hope.

We needed her help in order to cope.

Sewing Whisperer © Copyright 2013 Nancy Zieman

Years it had been since I knocked at her door,

Not since the great panic of late ‘94.


Back then Sewland’s people feared while they weren’t lookin’

Their friends and neighbors would turn to scrapbookin’,


Putting an end to the sewing they treasured

A thought that brought sadness ‘way beyond measure.


“Be calm, carry on dears,” the Sewing Whisperer advised,

Not one to be hurried, her counsel proved wise. 

Sewing Whisperer © Copyright 2013 Nancy Zieman

So now with a challenge of a new style,

I drove to her house, mile after mile.


She opened the door with a sweet little grin,

Offered me tea and invited me in.


I told her the story, and gave her our plea

For help with crazed notions that seemed ready to flee.


“Sewland,” she said, “has just too much to do.

Projects piled high hide both gray skies and blue.”

Sewing Whisperer © Copyright 2013 Nancy Zieman

“Needles scatter,” she added, “bobbins run away

Since they just want to work, or as they call it, ‘play’.”


“All that is needed,” the Sewing Whisperer confided,

“Is for Sewland to finish what’s already started.”


“To start and get through it you need intervention

A come-all, all-nighter, just-sewing convention,


By sewing and sewing and sewing beyond measure,

You’ll finish old projects and bring back your pleasure.”


 “Sewing Whisperer,” I asked in a confidential way,

“Will you join us next weekend for an all sewing day?”


She turned to start packing as she gave me a smile,

Then we drove back to Sewland, mile after mile. 

Sewing Whisperer © Copyright 2013 Nancy Zieman

Blogs and newspapers announced a Stitcher’s Sew-A-Ree

On the very next Saturday, at quarter past three. 

Sewing Whisperer © Copyright 2013 Nancy Zieman

A sewing all-nighter, snacks and sips of sweet wine

Would calm frayed nerves in the nick of time.


On that day City Hall was the sewing place to be.

Townspeople gathered—young and old—it was something to see!


Soon the machines were a hummin’ – it was almost a song.

Then, like children, unruly notions calmed and sang along. 

Sewing Whisperer © Copyright 2013 Nancy Zieman

Quilts, skirts, tote bags, pajamas—so many completed,

Brought smiles to faces once sewing defeated.


And this is the lesson we learned on that day,

A happy occasion when we found a new way,


To cope when our projects are unruly and beyond,

No need to call the Sewing Whisperer, just “Stay Calm and Sew On!”


The End

I hope you enjoyed my silly sewing rhyme. Thank you to my friends, Philip, for illustrating, and to Marj for helping me fine tune this rhyme. It will be back to the normal writing fare when you return to the blog next time.

Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

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  • Mary Jo Pigott Groom
    March 9, 2013

    🙂 very enjoyable.

  • k cullen
    March 9, 2013

    Love it. Will print it out, frame it and hang it by my sewing machine.

  • Denise Lafleur
    March 9, 2013

    I enjoyed reading it, and it sounds like I need the Sewing Whisperer!

    March 9, 2013

    Enjoyed very much. Missing you today as WVIZ has as special on.

  • Linda Yosick
    March 9, 2013

    Very cute!

  • Nancy Knight
    March 9, 2013

    Loved it thanks brought a smile to my face.

  • Carol Breault
    March 9, 2013

    That was delightful! thanks

  • Carrie
    March 9, 2013

    Love it! It would make a great wall hanging -artwork included! 🙂

  • Conchita
    March 9, 2013

    Nancy it’s wonderfully entertaining. I think you should publish it. I would definitely buy. Well done!!!!!

  • Mitzi Weber
    March 9, 2013

    How cute was that! I need the Sewing Whisperer at my house. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Patty O'Neill
    March 9, 2013

    I love the sewing wisperer. It is wonderful. I also think I will print it out and hang it in my sewing room. It is a classic.

    Thank you Nancy.

    Patty O’Neill
    Porcupine Point Designs

  • ToniS
    March 9, 2013

    What a fun way to start my morning! Loved it!

    And now, inspired by your show,
    It’s off to my own little sewing room to sew……….

  • Marianne
    March 9, 2013

    Thank you. How very, very funny and very apt too. One of my daughters and I are getting together next week-end to do just this -finish off a multitude of started-but-not-finished sewing; pairing patterns to fabrics in her stash; repair or cull garments that are hanging around in her basket awaiting attention and generally just have a great sewing week-end. I hope she returns the visit later in the year so I can get sorted too 😉

  • Judith Stalcup
    March 9, 2013

    You are truly a woman of many talents, and I love and follow them all! This is delightful and should be published!

  • Laura Jean
    March 9, 2013

    What a wonderful way to brighten my day. Thank you Nancy, Phillip, and Marj!

  • Rita Sheloff
    March 9, 2013

    I loved the rhyme!!! Please do more of them!

  • Rita Sheloff
    March 9, 2013

    I loved the rhyme!!! Please do more of them!

  • Sandra Pickard
    March 9, 2013

    Loved it!! It would make a cute wall hanging!! It was wonderful to finally get to meet you after watching your your show for 23 years!!! At the Sew Expo in Washington last weekend. Thank you

  • Joanna
    March 9, 2013

    That is terrific. I love the sketches and poem itself. I am a resident of “Sewland” it apparently. Thanks for this.

  • Mary Gordon
    March 9, 2013

    That was really cute – thank you. 🙂

  • L Carolyn Ghearing
    March 9, 2013

    Hahahahahaha!!!! LOVED it!

  • Barbara
    March 9, 2013

    I love it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

  • Cherie
    March 9, 2013

    Thank you for making me smile. I love this rhyme. Very cute!

  • Mary
    March 9, 2013

    Very clever Sewing Whisperer. Can relate.

  • rita
    March 9, 2013

    We knew you were talented but this is a new side of you! Amazing!

  • Ginette
    March 9, 2013

    I just love it. Thanks. I would love to print this out. It is also very encouraging.
    I love the idea of the Sewing Whisperer. It encourages me to finish some project. And Sewland, I love this idea. Will share this poem with my daughter.

  • Shirley Burns
    March 9, 2013

    Absolutely adorable, brought a big smile to my face and almost a tear realizing I need the “whisperer” to help me out too!! It is a classic that should hang on every sewing room’s wall…..Great lesson for us all…..Thanks Nancy !!

  • Kelly
    March 9, 2013

    That is classic beautiful art all by itself!!!! I love it!!

  • Nancy Owens
    March 9, 2013

    Oh, this would be such a great poster for my sewing room…….print them and I’ll buy 3 for myself and my sisters!

    Always knew you were talented!!!!!!!

  • joy smith
    March 9, 2013

    Loved it all, earlier this week our daughter brought a little poster for the sewing room “Keep calm and get the seam ripper”! Perfect timing, many thanks for all you do.

  • Kristin Krause
    March 9, 2013

    Nancy, that was delightful!

  • Susan
    March 9, 2013

    Very clever!

  • Margaret Lawrence
    March 9, 2013

    Thank you, Dr. Sew-ss! Sew clever…

  • Margaret Graham
    March 9, 2013

    This was a treat! THANKS!

  • Betty Hedges
    March 9, 2013

    I loved it!!! I think a poster would be great, or maybe a sewing kit. You know just another project to start. LOL

  • Nancy
    March 9, 2013

    What a delight! You’ve really told the story of all us quilters. Keep up the good work.

  • Marsha Nelson
    March 9, 2013

    Sew cute and a great reminder to get to those UFOs’.

  • Judy Brennan
    March 9, 2013

    This is so fun, Nancy! Thanks for creating this and posting it. I loved it. Great to see you at Sew Expo and get a pic with you. Loved your lecture and your evening program with Mary.

  • Marty
    March 9, 2013

    Love it! And the illustrations are wonderful! Love, Carry on and Sew!

  • Rita
    March 9, 2013

    Yes, definitely you need to make a poster for us to purchase. Really hit home. Love it.

  • Marilyn M
    March 9, 2013

    That was great. Makes me want to get up and finish all of my unfinished projects. Too many to count.

  • Janice Elkins
    March 9, 2013

    Loved the poem and it certainly hits home for a lots of us, I’m sure. Thank you.

  • Natalie Sewell
    March 9, 2013

    Delightful! A new side of you has emerged! Charming!

  • NancyD
    March 9, 2013

    Was in the middle of something complex, so I took a time out to check my email, and was so ready for a sewer’s smile! Very well done!

  • Laurel
    March 9, 2013

    What a fun reminder of what I need to do – finish up a few projects! Thanks for the treat!

  • Claudy Arfaras
    March 9, 2013

    Nancy Zieman just like a dream can, stitch away your backed up day! Looked inside for our trusted guide to find these words in such away! Now that’s talent she’s kept silent until this lucky day! More we say of your words like clay and an easy way to buy it….

  • Juliet Smebakken
    March 9, 2013

    Hmmmm. “Finish what you have started …. O.k., maybe over a reasonable period of spare time, but pulling all nighters is an extremely unhealthy “solution” to what is essentially a problem with gluttony, Nancy. Forgive my directness, but at the risk of being rude, I think that having too much to do is essentially symptomatic of wanting too much, or being unable to say ‘no’ to others, rather than do what is in your own best interest.

    Once upon a time, I followed the same “all nighter” work- harder solution/philosophy to life and passed it along to my precious daughter, as well. While simultaneously maintaining her place in the top one percent of students at her school academically, she was an athletic-scholarship recipient as the result of year-around athletic/leaderhip in each team she competed in – soccer, gymnastics, track; she was a participant and/or leader of multiple school organizations – national honor society, band, school play, environment club, etc. etc. etc. She won numerous awards for her skills in French, music, and sports. She was a full-time lifeguard and canoe-camp counselor every summer.

    The over-achieving came to a climax in her junior year in high school when she slipped into a grand mal seizure, after an all-nighter of setting up (and then participating in ) her school prom. The neurologists tell us that we may never know what caused her seizure, but that in all liklihood, it was the stress and lack of sleep due to her relentless academic/athletic/social pursuits that triggered it.

    Obsessed with creative ideas? Now I am satisfied to simply write them down in a journal, to tackle at another time, or pass them along to others, instead. Sometimes I’ll even staple a swatch of “the perfect fabric” I found for the project in the notebook. For some reason, this helps me let the idea go until another time.

    Nancy, I want you to be a role model and “Stop the Madness” of the “MORE,MORE, MORE” culture that is killing us all. I want you to do it for your beautiful self, your beautiful family, your hard-working loyal staff, and all the people that look up to you for ideas, advice, and companionship.
    Juliet Smebakken, one of your biggest fans

    (P.S. My daughter is doing very well in college, since she [and I] have learned to let go of the need to complete or conquer “everything”. Thanks be to God.

    • Claudy Arfaras
      March 9, 2013

      Oh come on Juliette! Seizure because of hard work? First of all Nancy isn’t a child! Yes it’s true we can take on to much but to tell our Nancy she’s doing a dis-service or at least implying she is because of hard work is a joke! That’s downright unAmerican! I am very familiar with brain abnormalities because I have MS. I suggest you get a second opinion and maybe a third and fourth about the nature and cause of your daughter’s seizure! Hardworking woman unlike men seem to get this you do to much! If Nancy were a man would you tell him you work to hard? I bet not! The fact is many woman work their you know what off! How about some acknowledgment for the service to Nancy’s viewers and all the charities supported and you back off! Sounds like guilt to me for your daughter’s unfortunate illness and definitely a rare occurrence you choose to beat yourself up for and now others! Forgive yourself…..

    • Ann B
      March 11, 2013

      To Juliet,
      It’s true, we only have one life to live and that is our own. Pushing ourselves beyond our body’s capacity is not kind. Attempting to micromanage another’s life is not kind to them or yourself. Forgive yourself for any influence you ‘might’ have been.
      The poem was a fantasy….and a one time all night sewing bee with a group of friends to complete UFOs could be a delight. The same delight and joy quilters experience at quilting retreats when they are too excited to sleep. These retreats can be physically tiring, but mentally/emotionally rejuvenating.
      Beating yourself up and pulling repeat all-nighters because of perfectionism is not kind to yourself or others….which if we are paying attention will eventually learn to stop.
      I agree with Claudy that your daughter may need to look beyond overwork for cause of the seizure. However, self-imposed stress can create hormone and mineral imbalances with potential for seizure….especially progesterone and magnesium. You may both benefit from extra multiple B-Vitamins. She may also have experimented with medication or illegal drugs/alcohol, of which she’s unwilling to admit.

  • Diane Dugan
    March 9, 2013

    Very clever. Thanks for the day brightener.

  • Linda Heck
    March 9, 2013

    Wish you could have this printed up? I think of few of us sure would love to have it hanging in our sewing rooms. Your words of wisdom are always so much appreciated.
    Thanks Nancy!!

  • Barbara Landi
    March 9, 2013

    Was Mary Mulari the model for the sew-whisperer? Looks like her!

  • Brunella
    March 9, 2013


    I guess somehow I’ve always known; but today I’m saying it…
    you’re here to make the world a better place. Thanks so much for your lovely poem and the art, and thanks for all that you do to inspire and teach.

  • Roberta
    March 9, 2013

    Love it – thanks for doing it!!!

  • Joyce J
    March 9, 2013

    I thought your “Kick It Up A Stitch” production was a hoot, now you expand your repertoire with poetry — so well done and clever!

  • Shirley Clark
    March 9, 2013

    Too cute!

  • joanne rose
    March 10, 2013

    You always inspire us to move on without fear. So many projects where does one start indeed. with so many new things to also learn.
    It is comforting to know I am not the only one with multiple projects awaiting my attention. All clearly marked in their own containers.
    to add to not just my own chaos, I have many my Mom could not complete. With her passing I have vowed to complete all that she started.
    Oh my this takes me thru most crafts.
    I will complete them all thou. we just have to hope for long winters. Oops that didn’t work this year maybe next

  • Michelle
    March 10, 2013

    In response to Juliet, I can understand what you’re trying to convey………………
    But being Busy is not the problem; it is being disconnected to an intelligent pure inner flow that is always pouring out of each individual life, for if this was not so, none of us would be appearing and existing as we are, as Self-expressed living beings.
    What causes stress, sicknesses of all kinds and scenarios as you have described, is the unconscious disconnection to the inner creative life flow of our own innate individual self-essence and expression.
    We all need rest and renewal periods of solitude and quiet gentle conscious contemplation periods, so as to reconnect to the true inner Self, letting go of all outer happenings for a while, and then make way for the imprisoned splendor of the inward flow of intelligent Life, to pour out naturally and without obstruction, stress or struggle. Each individual is an actual distributor of Life.
    Becoming conscious and getting out of a mechanical mind trap, is a key factor in balancing the centripetal and centrifugal forces that exist continually within each of us and manifest through each individual being. If these forces go out of balance then your outer world will appear out of balance also.
    The creative life forces are always in a pure but powerful intelligent neutral state. Each one of us has the responsibility to awaken to this fact and learn how to direct and balance the inward and outward flow in our own microcosmic world. Everybody has their own microcosmic world that they create within the one macrocosmic world.
    We are co- creating at every turn in our lives whether we know it or not.
    Waking up to this fact is why we are all here.

    Happy Sewing Everyone,

  • Barb
    March 10, 2013

    I truly enjoyed the the cute story, and your illustrators pictures, and it also did help me remember some of those ufos.

    I do appreciate your comical side as well. A wonderful educator.

  • Betty Siple
    March 10, 2013

    I just received your email about the Sewing Whisperer. I am one of those that loves to start new projects and hate to finish them. I attended a meeting where our speaker said she worked on only one thing at a time. When it was finished, she would start another. I told this to an owner of a quilt shop I was visiting. She made me feel better, she said that she had many projects going and didn’t intend to finish them. I guess my family can worry over my UFO’s when I am gone. Thanks, I really enjoyed the poem!

  • Sharon J.
    March 10, 2013

    Your poem and artwork brought smiles and chuckles. This is definitely a keeper. It brings me much comfort knowing I am not the only one with unfinished projects — And it is a Hallalula Day when a few of these get completed. We must all Stay Calm and Sew On!!

  • suzanne Kauffman
    March 11, 2013

    Maybe you can take up book writing. So we have something to read when the sewing day is through.
    Nice respite.

  • Marie
    March 11, 2013

    Thank you for the “silly” poem, it put a smile on my face. My sister and her daughter go once a year to a place called Shipshiwanna (sp?) for a sewing weekend. I don’t know if they pull “all-nighters” but they get a lot of UFO’s completed. I recently retired and am finding my sewing time a bit lonesome, so I hope to find a sew-a-ree nearby or maybe in far away Shipshiwanna.
    Marie in the Mountains

  • Judy H
    March 11, 2013

    Oooh so cute and oh so true….I have lots of UFO’s and apparently sew do you…..

  • Ginger
    March 17, 2013

    Nancy, have you tried writing books for your grandchildren? They would love it and so would you. [You need something to do in your free time.]

  • Sandra Van Lankvelt
    March 19, 2013

    And, up in my sewing room I heard such a clatter,
    I had to go look to see what was the matter.
    My scissors and cutters were dancing all over
    and even my sewing machine started it’s motor.
    Well finally I said okay I am here
    to finish my projects that have sat here all year???

    Thank you so much Nancy for your beautiful story. I honestly did not realize that I had left a few of my projects unfinished for so long, until I read your “Sewing Whisperer”. How lovely it was to read and it started me to write a bit of a rhyme. LOLOL. I certainly hope that you maintain this story for a very very long time on your site it was GREAT.

    God Bless

  • Louise Marie
    March 19, 2013

    What a treat. You are truly amazing. i have always loved the dog whisperer and the horse whisperer. Now i have the sewing whisperer to love!

  • Karen Luers
    March 23, 2013

    Oh how so true this is!! UFO’s can haunt! lol Keep up the fantastic teaching Nancy!!

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