Day 1 - 31 Day Blog Challenge - Introduction and Grand Central Mystery Tidbit #1

This year, I'm joining several other quilt artists, lead by Cheryl Sleboda, in attempting to post everyday in the month of December.  It's called the 31 DAY BLOG CHALLENGE 2019  and you can follow through #31dayblogchallenge2019.

The 31 Day Blog Challenge is designed to give our blog followers a daily dose of information about ourselves, our art, our space, our process, etc.  

Each day I'm going to try and focus on the suggested topic, which may be of interest to some of you.  When possible, I'm going to tie it to a tidbit to prepare you for my next Mystery Series, Grand Central, which starts in January.  When I can't tie the suggested topic to my next Mystery, you may get two topics.  Bonus!  Like today.   

Today's 31 Day Blog Challenge topic is to introduce ourselves to anyone who may not be familiar with us.  So, apologies to those who know me well, but maybe you will learn something too. 

I'm Michelle Renee Hiatt, and yes my first name is Michelle Renee, although I most often go by Michelle.   I'm a Quilter, Designer, Blogger and National Instructor.   I've been sewing since before I can remember, and I fell in love with quilting over 20 years ago during a very traumatic time in my life.    

I've lived in Connecticut for almost 7 years.  This is the longest I've lived in one house, other than the house I grew up in South Jersey.  I've lived in 7 states and several of them twice.  

I'm a certified Professional Process Expert (LSSMBB-Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt); In addition to my "Quilting Hat", I still consult part-time in Process Improvement, during the winter months (slow quilt travel months).  Most often in Manhattan, where I've spent most of my professional career.   I specialize in Finance, Human Resources, and Technology processes and systems.   I'm a Rutgers Business School graduate; Bachelors in Accounting and Marketing, Masters in Business and Technology.    I've been a "process fixer" in several industries including; Gaming, Publishing, Wall Street/Financial Services, Tech, Insurance, and most recently Academics. 

I use my process improvement techniques for my Corporate work, as well as applying my process skills to quilting and teaching others how to simplify their piecing while improving the quality of their quilt making.    

I teach and lecture throughout the United States at National Quilt Shows, Quilt Shops, Retreats and Cruises!  My favorite events to host are Retreats and Cruises!

design for my own pattern line Sew On The Go.  My patterns are very detailed oriented with instruction and graphics for both right and left handed quilters.  Several of my designs have appeared in international Quilting Magazines. Additionally, I'm a Certified Instructor for Studio 180 Design and I licensed seven of my earlier patterns to introduce Studio 180 Design's Modern 180 pattern line.   I love the Studio 180 Design tools, because they work!  I used S180 tools in all my designs.  

I blog almost weekly, I think I've missed about 5 weeks in the last 3 years.  I host 2 major Quilt Mysteries a year.  The first mystery runs mid-January through mid-April, which features a modern-traditional quilt.   2020's mystery is Grand Central and you can see some details below.   The second mystery runs mid-May through mid-September, and is usually a modern-traditional Medallion Quilt.  If I have the mental capacity after a year of teaching, traveling and blogging, I may offer a mini-Mystery from October-December.   We are in the midst of Ticker Tape Parade right now and you can find details in prior Blog posts. 

Running two small businesses keeps me hopping and I couldn't do it without great friends and my husband Stephen.   We love to travel, explore, and to go boating, whether it is locally or abroad.  You may have meet Stephen, if you have taken a cruise with me or attended my CT based retreat. 
Stephen and Michelle ~ Aloha Cruise 2019
When home, I'm hanging out with my "best pups"; Hunter, Bella, Jax and Cal.   Who are often featured in my studio photos!
Hunter, Bella, Jax, and Cal
Well, I hope that is enough about me!  I hope I didn't bore you...maybe you learned something new.   Feel free to post some comments or ask questions for anything I didn't cover.

Okay, onto today's second topic. 

JANUARY MYSTERY - Grand Central Mystery Quilt Series

Anyone who follows me on Facebook or Instagram, knows how much I love the architecture of Grand Central Terminal in New York City.   It is just stunning!  Grand Central Terminal is one of the most-visited destinations in New York City (behind only Times Square) for a reason; it’s packed with sights, history, architecture, dining, and shopping all under one magnificent roof.
Grand Central Terminal
I find myself doodling after every visit (maybe I will share some in this series), and those doodles, of the architecture, are the inspiration for this year's January Mystery.  Grand Central Mystery series will run from mid-January to mid-April.  Similar to last year's Sunset on the Sound series.

Grand Central Terminal 
Inspired by the iconic beauty and legacy of Grand Central Terminal, an historic world-famous landmark in Midtown Manhattan.  It is not simply a transportation hub, it’s also a shopping, dining, and cultural destination with 67 train tracks, 60 shops, 35 places to eat, and a full calendar of events all under one magnificent roof.  Including the Magnolia Bakery - my fav!

Grand Central Terminal opened to the public in February 1913, it is a story of great engineering, survival, and rebirth. In 1978, architect Philip Johnson and Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis campaigned to secure landmark status for the Terminal, ensuring the building would serve New Yorkers for generations to come.

“Grand Central Terminal stands as a universal symbol between New York City’s past and present.”

Grand Central Terminal is one of the country’s great architectural achievements and New York City’s unofficial meeting place with thousands of people choosing to meet friends and loved ones each day.   Hailed as a temple to the everyday commuter, this cathedral-like building was constructed to honor the visitors.

Today, I'm going to share one of seven fun facts that were part of the inspiration for my Grand Central Mystery Quilt design.  If you pay attention, you might be able to envision some of the "shapes" that you might find in the mystery quilt.

The Whispering Gallery

The low ceramic arches featuring Guastavino tile, next to the Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant, create an acoustical phenomenon letting you talk to a friend in the opposite corner. 
Grand Central Terminal Whispering Gallery

The next time you are in Grand Central you should try it out, lean your heads into opposing corners, and test it out!  It works!

Grand Central Terminal ~ Whispering Gallery
When I commute into New York City, for my Consulting gigs, I most often come up into the Whispering Gallery.  My train typically pulls into track 105, which allows me to walk to the end of the platform, and I can take stairs that lead me up the staircase pictured to the left in the above photo.    It really is a neat area of the terminal!

If you want more information on the Grand Central Mystery, stay tuned.
  • We are in the process of proofing the final design, cutting and yardage, but I will give you a few details in case you want to purchase the tools during my four-day Black Friday/Small Business Saturday sale (11/29-12/2 only - See last Friday's post).   
  • There will be two sizes to choose from; Large Throw or Queen
  • Required tools are the Studio 180 Design: 
  • Recommended tools are Studio 180 Design:
    • Tucker Trimmer II - for subcut - ideal for sub cutting strips ending in 1/4" and 3/4" 
  • As mentioned above, I will be attempting to blog daily (I might miss a day or two here or there), and I plan on sharing a bit of info on the Grand Central Mystery each day.  I will only be sending a newsletter on the normal schedule, Friday.  So, if you are interested in keeping up on the details be sure to follow my Blog.  If you subscribe to my blog, you will get an email when I post.  To do this, look for the Subscribe button under my Blog Header.  Complete the information and you should be all set. 

Expected topics in addition to the 31 Day Blog Challenge:
    • The first week of December, I will talk about the inspiring architecture of Grand Central... 
    • The second week of December, I plan on taking you step-by-step through selecting the proper border for your Grand Central mystery quilt.
    • The third week of December, I plan on taking you step-by-step through selecting the proper fabric to go with that border.
    • The fourth week, we will see what I come up with!
  • I plan on releasing yardage over the next two weeks.  Make sure to subscribe to my Blog for more information this week.
I created a new Facebook group for those planning on participating in Grand Central Quilt Mystery Series.  

This group is only for those who subscribe to my newsletter and actually plan on participating in the Mystery.    You can join here: GRAND CENTRAL MYSTERY GROUP  Be sure to answer all the screening questions or you will be declined.  If you are a member, in good standing, of another one of my groups, you will not have to answer the questions. 

Hope you've enjoyed today's post, please feel free to post comments.

That's a wrap for today!

Keep Stitching,


  1. The Whispering Gallery sounds like such a neat place. Putting it on my bucket list when I make it to New England

  2. I hope I can keep up this mystery. It sounds very intriguing.!!


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