Jan Patek’s Sweet Connection to Country Threads

Connie and I have been admirers of Jan Patek and Linda Brannock’s work for years and years. In 200 Jan called and asked if I would take a mama goat with a baby. She had bought them at a flea market and one of the babies had already been killed on the road and she decided she just couldn’t keep them. She and her grandson Jake drove the goats in her car to Country Threads. (Why don’t I have a picture of THAT?)

Read more of this story

I always name animals after the people I get them from so the mama became Jan and the baby boy became Jake. This was in June. Fast forward to October 26 – a cold night and Carly barked and barked about something down by the barn which I didn’t investigate at the time. I got ready for bed and remembered the barking – outside the barn I found Jill with a black and white baby! I also heard crying – almost human sounding. There around the corner was a tiny baby goat – still wet and now covered with dirt. I picked it up and put it inside my jacket and ran to the house. (You have to know how excited I was!). Rick made me take it back to the barn and I put Jill and both babies inside together. The next morning at 5 am (I couldn’t sleep) I could not find that tiny baby in the barn pen. After much searching I found her curled up inside a cement block to get away from Jill – who hated her!

That was enough for me. I grabbed that baby and took her to the house, went to a farmer who milks cows and got colostrum to feed her. She weighed 1.9 pounds.

I got a nipple to fit on a pop bottle and she learned to eat quickly!

She grew and became my shadow. She lived in a dog kennel at night but was very much a “house goat”.

She learned to go outside to pee or she used a rug in the kitchen.

It’s quite obvious, isn’t it, that the baby boy goat was older than we may have thought. Jake impregnated Jill who bore Sally and Susannah 5 months after he arrived. I could tell Susannah stories from now till tomorrow and love every minute of it. She is the main character of a series of children’s books that I have inside my head and would love to produce. Except there’s that problem of marketing which I want no part of. I think Susannah the goat could be as famous as Olivia the pig!

On to the story – Jan visited again in April 2002 to teach a class here and got to meet Susannah in person!

Janny the mama goat and Jake the “baby ” lived out their natural lives here on the farm.

Jan Patek remains a friend with a real connection to Country Threads and this Susannah story has been my introduction to Jan’s new book, Tabletop Turnabouts. The size of these little quilts is perfect, 12″ x 12″ and when combined with a piece of sashing between two blocks, it can hang over a small rack or cupboard door.

I love Jan’s introduction that says “perfect appliqué is overrated”! I love her attitude and have decided I will make one of these little quilts while I sit on the porch. When I’m finished I’m going to offer the book as a giveaway. I will enjoy the book first, keep it in nice shape – hopefully not spilling any coffee or beer on it – and then I’ll pass it on to one of you! Now which little “turnabout ” shall I make? I think it will be Garden House because there’s a dog by the house.

Connie might like to make one, too.

Susannah was the love of my life and I will never again have such a close bond to an animal. I am so sorry she didn’t live until we closed the shop and could be free in the yard all day. That was my great hope.

Here’s one of my favorite photos of Susannah and me.

Thank you, Jan Patek, for the greatest fun I’ve ever had!

86 thoughts on “Jan Patek’s Sweet Connection to Country Threads

  1. Donna C. from Kentucky

    Thank you for your great story about Susannah. It made my day!

  2. Rebecca Haines

    Beautiful love story. I have a cavalier spaniel named Scarlett, I got her from a pet store and she’s most likely a puppy mill dog. She almost died but this great vet said we’re going to give it a try. Her lungs were so cloudy you couldn’t see her insides! 3weeks of daily shots, everyone at work took turns holding her.

    Here we are almost 12 years later, she was worth it. Becky & Scarlett

  3. Barbara

    I have to tell you, this story brings back so many wonderful memories. My Husband, Carl, has been known to bring home goats in the front seat of the truck and on a motorcycle,years ago. We raised African Pygmys for many years. There is nothing like a baby goat. I’ve raised many in playpens indoors . We had as many as 15 babies at once during kidding season. I could tell some stories too. I have also had my heart broken from
    the loss of my favorites. Now we are in our 70’s and 80’s and only have a few goats left. Thank you for all your pictures. I really enjoy your blog and I hope you carry on for a long time.

  4. Carol at Pin Oak Quilting

    Mary, I e really enjoyed your photos and stories this week, raccoons and goats and quilts projects…oh, my. I love your poster of Susannah, it’s perfect! I wish I could get a good shot of my Kitty but she’s just not a poser.

    I have my 12 projects lined up, numbered, and am trying to finish a few little ones during the next two weeks so I can be UFO focused.

    Enjoy the quilt show!

    I’m Carol with the runaway Kitty (four years ago but the trauma persists!) … but I’m changing it up since you had the giveaway frenzy, next time you have a give away I don’t want to miss out!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Carol at Pin Oak – does your kitty still want to stray away from home? But she always comes back to you after her adventure. It’s a worry for you tho’, isn’t it?

      1. Carol at Pin Oak Quilting

        Kitty is most curious about the outdoors at night, when we have guests going in and out to the patio/fire pit. She’s black and little and I’m afraid she will sneak by without notice. That’s what happened the one and only terrible time she got out and didn’t come home for a week. She is so completely spoiled, I do not know she functioned in the real world! Right now she is sleeping on a pillow that is on top of my ever cold feet!

  5. Rhoda Ebersole

    Mary I heartily encourage you to write these books. Can you do simple drawings with them also? There is a wonderful publishing company in Eagle River, WI named Hahn Publishing. Lori Hahn helped me with the book I did for my hometown Centennial.
    In this age of social media you can put out a few paragraphs about the book and it will sell itself or put it on your blog.
    I would help you do that.
    In this day and age kids need your kind of book on the market.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Rhoda Ebersole – so who will mail out all these books? You forget I was in the mail order business for about 34 years and know how much work it is to mail out orders. No, if I’d ever do it, a publishing company would have to do all the marketing. I’m sorry to be such a killjoy but I don’t want to print just 100 books and mail them out myself –

  6. PJ

    Such a beautiful heartwarming story n one precious
    Goat 🐐 n wonderful photos!!! Thanks for sharing!!

  7. Sunflower from Michigan

    What a great post! Thanks for sharing it today. I also wondered how you got Susannah and now we know. Loved all the photos, too.
    I was reading some earlier posts on your blog and someone suggested we should add where were from in addition to our names, so I’m going to do that from now on when I make a comment.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Sunflower – I always appreciate when someone tells me where they’re from. I’m glad you enjoyed Susannah’s story!

  8. Paula Philpot

    Oh Mary I remember reading about Susannah in the Goat Gazette. It was very obvious you loved/love her so much and she was so cute. Paula in KY

  9. Jeanie Stufflebeam

    Oh Mary, I love to hear Susannah stories–how fun! I wish I liked to do applique, as I really love Jan’s designs. I guess that will be a goal to work on. Thanks for a great story and pictures.

  10. Kate Schloemer

    I have tears from your story. Our pets are our children and always have a special place in our hearts.
    I think you should at least write down your story.

  11. Fiona at Ice Bear Quilts

    Hi Mary,

    What a great story, I always wondered how you got Susannah! Love the photo where she is lounging on the back of the sofa.

  12. Rosalie

    Write the books and find an artist to do the illustration and have the artist find the market!

    Just a thought
    I have a herd of 50 nannies and they all have names. I can tell a lot of stories also and I have bottled a lot of babies to include tube feeding them if necessary.

  13. MaggeyW

    Ohh,I too enjoyed that story. If I was lots younger I would have a goat or two and chickens.. Just love ’em .. Also a big Jan Patek fan. Love her applique method and her fabrics and patterns, especially Aunt Ardas Garden. I get that book would be a seller because goats are more popular than ever. I love goat soap too.. Have a good week.

  14. Sue in Oregon

    What a darling, darling little goat Susannah was!!! Such big eyes. She looks like a little animated cartoon goat in your photos. No wonder you loved her so much. Thank you for the precious story about her. I agree with the others. You should try to write it.
    Jan Patek’s work is s special. I love to applique’ and I love folk art. A win win for me and I hope I do.

  15. VA Mann

    Wish you would check into publishing your stories.maybe online! Whatever happen to your brick goat house? Or am I confusing you with someone else?😬

  16. VA Mann

    So enjoy your stories regarding the goats! Whatever happen to your brick goat house? Or am I confusing you with someone else?😬

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      VA Mann – are you thinking of the goat tower that we visited in southern Illinois? It has been on my ‘want this’ for years but sadly it’s never going to happen. That’s the only brick structure I can think of.

  17. Bobbie

    Mary, I love this sorry and am so impressed with your photos. You brought a smile to my face and made my day.

    Thank you!


    I am a “city girl”, so your story of Susanna and those darling pictures of the two of you just touch my heart!! Your blog post just enlarges my view of the world and I thank you for your sweet sharing. I often wonder about the fun expiereces we will have with all of God’s animals when He returns… May God bless your sweet days! Carolyn

  19. Kathy in western NY

    It’s stories like this that need to be shared for people to read so thank you for taking the time to write this one for all of us to enjoy. I will buy Jan’s book as I have a 12” tabletop stand on my mantel I change little quilts frequently on. I will forever be reminded of this story as I make something from the book now.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Kathy in Western NY – thank you, Kathy! I’m going to make the house with a goat instead of a dog to remind me of Jan’s part in this incredible story.

  20. Cheryl in St. Paul

    Mary, I am always excited when I see that you have a new posting. Your stories are so much fun to read and always surprise me. This may be the best one yet!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Cheryl In St. Paul – THIS definitely is my best story and best experience! I could go on and on about her!

  21. Marie Fibelstad

    Love Jan’s books and have taken classes from her and been to her home.
    The goat you are holding like to butt our little cooker, Cricket when we visited at Country Threads years
    ago, she was a cutie.
    Thanks for showing the pictures of the goats and Jan.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Marie Fibelstad – and that was the problem! She wanted to butt anybody except me so eventually I had to face the music and lock her up during business hours which made me so sad. And I’m sorry if she hurt Cricket – I hope she didn’t!

  22. Melody Lenart

    I throughly enjoyed your sweet story. How wonderful your relationship with Susannah, very special.

  23. Sue in Marion, IN

    Susannah was an adorable baby! Aren’t all babies precious? (Human and animal). My baby kitty Emily will be 20 on July 3rd…her brother Little Bear died just after his 18th birthday two years ago. I wasn’t going to acquire any more kitties until Emily passes, but….last summer my quilt guild friend Joyce was looking for a home for a half-Siamese, not-quite-a-year-old kitty. Her neighbor moved out and left him (grr!) She wanted to keep him but her husband didn’t as their cat didn’t get along with him. So we took Henry. Then in November I ended up with my daughter’s five year old kitty that she’d had since he was 8 weeks old. She had gotten a half black lab, half pit bull puppy that was driving poor Frankie insane. So that’s how I got three cats….

    And I love Jan’s new book!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Sue in Marion, IA – and that’s a pretty sweet story, too! I’m not planning on getting any more cats and when Telly and Hazel are gone I plan to do senior dog fostering.

  24. Diane, Squeak;s Mom

    Awww, Mary, what a great story. I remember when Susannah and Sally were born and you put pictures in the Goat Gazette. She was soooo tiny. Jan Patek has great patterns and books.
    Your connection to Susannah was much like mine with Squeak, the Big Lots parking lot 4 wk, 20 ounce kitten. She’ll be 8 at the end of July and still follows me everywhere:)
    Please DO write your books. You might contact the University of Iowa or Iowa State. Sometimes universities do publishing. There is also self publishing and sometimes places like Scholastic will publish books that could be used in schools.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Diane, Squeak’s mom – there are numerous publishing companies BUT somebody has to market all those thousands of books and I can’t. There is no sense bothering to self publish this story because I’m the only one who really cares and what’s going to happen to all those books when I have to downsize? I am being brutally honest here.

  25. Bobbie Woodruff

    Oh Mary, what a wonderful story. How long did Savanna live? You are like me if a animal comes to my house they are mine for there life time. I get so sad when people just take a animal for a little while and just take them to the pound. You will never have truer love than the love of a fur baby. No matter what it is. Dog, cat, goat, horse, cow, squirrel you just have to look into those sweet eyes to see the love shining. I love the little quilts in the book also. You should put a little goat by the house instead of a dog.
    Have a wonderful day!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Bobbie Woodruff – yes, I think a goat in front of the house would be the perfect Jan Patek quilt!

  26. Linda Schluchter

    Thank you for sharing Susannah with us, I love the story of such a sweet little soul. She was precious and I know how the little creatures take a big piece of your heart. I always wanted goats and my husband did too until he saw my friends goats on top of his car – that put an end to me and goats (but I have enough room in the barn to build climbing walls!) Like you, I grieve terribly when I loose one of my dear babies, I know we all have a limited time on God’s glorious earth, but animals are so innocent and give me so much love and happiness that it’s hard to suffer through their passing. I think they understand when it is time for them to pass, but not being able to know for sure is difficult. Thank you again for Susannah.

  27. Mary Roen

    I think I may have met Susanna- at the Chicago quilt show? Such a sweet story.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Mary Roen – I don’t think I took her to Chicago – the hotel would never let her stay! Were you in a class at Iowa City in the fall of 2001? I took her there with us.

  28. Jessica

    Oh, Mary! What precious pictures and amazing love story. Animals definitely do worm their way into our hearts, don’t they? I have 4 cats and my youngest is my shadow. He always knows when I’m not doing well and will lay on me and then flip over so his paws and belly are in the air because he knows I can’t help but laugh! He will only do it when I’m sick or sad. Susannah sounds like a wonderful goat, I hope you share more stories! I love your choice of Tabletop Turnabout!

  29. Angie from Baltimore

    She looks like Zak that I was so honored to meet and have many wonderful cards with him on it. Your goats are amazing.
    Love the house with the dog you should do that first.
    Thank you for sharing your stories they bring back happy memories.

  30. Bonnie McKee

    What a sweet story!
    I love goats, and Jan’s appliqué, so this story made my day!
    I hope we all have a great one!
    Bonnie, in Oregon

  31. Bonnie McKee

    What a sweet story!
    I love goats, and Jan’s appliqué, so you made my day!
    I hope we all have a great one!
    Bonnie, in Oregon

  32. Diane Bauer

    What a sweet story!! And a sweet love! I have to hold onto the belief we will see our beloved animals again in Heaven!!
    Love Jan’s little quilt, too! I will have to look for the book!

  33. Vicki

    I remember you brought Susannah to a quilting class in Iowa City. She was so small and cute. I enjoyed making my mystery quilt that day, but really enjoyed that baby goat as she was so “happy” and sweet.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Vicki – YAY! Somebody from the Iowa City class! Were you Vicki W. from Crystal Lake?

  34. Holly Woodyatt

    What a precious story. It brought tears to my eyes. As a fellow animal lover I enjoy your stories. Hope you write that book. Wish I could meet you on Thursday but alas the bus trip I signed up for goes on Friday. I met Jan in the 90’s when I had a quilt store in Northern Illinois and had Jan and Linda for a class at my store. It was a wonderful experience . Sadly, Linda is gone but Jan is still giving us fabric and patterns.

  35. Teresa

    What a lovely story you shared today, Mary, thank you.

    On the children’s books, I’d like to encourage you to write them. Worry about distribution later.

  36. Janine

    What a great post! We were lucky to come to Quilt Camp many times and met the goats. Susannah was the cutest thing. She sure loved you, Mary. It was fun to see her trotting behind you. Once when we were getting ready to leave, I had a tote bag of fabric on the ground next to me. We were saying goodbye and I looked down and Susannah had her head in the bag nibbling on a fat quarter. I was laughing and you were trying to scold her, to no avail. I kept that FQ on my design wall for a long time because it made me smile to see it. And Karen and I took a class with Jan at Country Threads – we worked on several projects over a couple of days. Jan has such a unique, relaxed style that’s very forgiving if you’re not all that great at applique. I’m ordering this book. Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane!

  37. Sue H

    The love & joy you brought to this Susannah story has brought tears to my eyes. She was truly a beauty as well as a cutie!

  38. Judy in MO

    Loved this story! I just made my first project from Tabletop Turnabouts. Only I made tea towels! The appliqués are the perfect size for them. Hope to make a tabletop quilt next.

  39. Kate

    Love the story about the little goat. You really should write your stories that are in your head for someone to read some day. I write stories all the time and never have tried to publish them although I think they are better than many children’s books today. I bet your Susannah books would be so popular. If nothing else, write them on this blog, just be sure they are copyrighted so someone won’t steal them from you and profit from them. I’d love to read them.

  40. MartyCae

    I hope you find a way to get the book(s) out. I got to meet that goat and she was precious. I love hearing all the stories about her!

  41. Patti in W Barnstable

    Thanks for the sweet story! I love the pictures. It made my day.

  42. Sharon Lowy

    I have that book and am so envious you really know her! I love her and the book is such fun. I have just finished looking at and reading it. I am going to make “Lady Liberty “ and I got the littlrrack today from Amazon. I wish I had one like the one on the cover.

    Please write those books for children. Your little goat was precious.

  43. Katherine Gourley

    What a wonderful story. I would love to see a book about your special relationship. I can just see the illustrations of a goat sitting on a sewing machine and cuddled up in a Mary or Jan style quilt.

  44. Montana Kathy

    What a great story! I love goats – and Jan Patek. Wish I could have met Susannah, she looked like a little doll. How wonderful for you to have such sweet memories of her. Thanks for sharing.

  45. Linda in NC

    Love this story. You really need to write the book. Maybe someone out there could help with marketing or you could just publish it yourself for friend and family. Don’t you think our loving animals will be on the new earth with us at the end of the age. After all there is the white horse in Revelation. I’m going to order Jan’s book. I have made many of her patterns and love them.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Linda in NCN – yes, I will see Susannah again in Heaven along with all the other animals in my life – I always remember that “the best is yet to come!”

      1. Linda Thompson

        The best is rest to come, reminds me of the lady with the fork in her hand in the casket. Will you have an odd baby bottle in your hand the best comes for you?

        1. CountryThreads Post author

          Linda Thompson- the visual of me with an animal baby bottle in my hand as I cross the Rainbow Bridge is delightful! And I love the story of the lady with a fork – I’ve told it many times.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Kathy Zuehl – like I said, I could tell Susannah stories till tomorrow. At a week old I took her along to Iowa City where we were teaching a class. I had to stop and feed her and could hardly keep my mind on the class!

  46. Launa

    Thanks for making this quilter’s day with your Susannah story, Mary! Great photos, too!
    Hope my copy of Watermelon 🍉 pattern is in my mailbox this sunny morning!

  47. Kathy Hanson

    What a wonderful story!! Such a special relationship! Love the little quilts.

  48. Jo in Wyoming

    My theory about timing for the ads just blew out of the water! I closed 6 ads and you just posted!

    You can turn that house into a barn and the dog into a goat and it would be a perfect start project from this book. The flip side can be a house and dog.
    Those pictures of Susanna are precious, what a bundle of joy she brought to you.
    Thanks for starting the day with a smile.

    1. Mary

      For the turnabout little quilt, I was thinking the same thing as Jo in Wyoming. Make the back side quilt your next fave one, maybe a goat???


  49. Gloria, CC

    Mary – that’s the nicest story I’ve heard in a long time. You had a relationship with Susannah as I have with Pooh Bear as he is the love of my life. Your story made me cry because I know that Pooh’s days are numbered. He’ll be 17 next Monday and he has been a joy in my life each day for seventeen years. Experiencing an animal’s unconditional love is beyond compare.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Gloria, CC – when I brought out the pictures, they brought tears to my eyes. I loved her beyond measure! Janny’s next twins were Buckwheat and Alfalfa who just died at age 17 and 1 month. Buckwheat is now failing as well and will soon join his brother Alfalfa at the Rainbow Bridge. Hugs to Pooh Bear!

  50. DonnaG

    Great story, Jan Patek is a hoot. Have met her at Crossroads Quilt shop in Cameron MO. I swear Mary your life not boring….Iook forward to your blog daily. You heart the biggest heart….

  51. Karen H

    Loved your story about Jan and your goats- it certainly should be a book !!! I really enjoy reading your blog every day- take care

  52. Carole S.

    I’m pretty sure I’d be in love with that little goat, too. What a sweetie! I’m so glad you followed your instincts and brought her inside.

    1. Mary

      Yes, Mary, that is an adorable baby goat!!!!!

      As for writing the Susannah stories, why don’t you try writing a couple and let all of US help you market them?
      I wonder if That Patchwork Place would take it on, given their long association with you?

      Mary Evans

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