Crochet Bloggers Spread News of Celebrate Doilies!

June 10th, 2017

Crochet Spot Celebrate Doilies blog post

I am very honored to have the Celebrate Doilies! exhibit featured in two well-known crochet blogs! Please follow the links and read new information and a behind-the-scenes look at Celebrate Doilies!

Rachel Choi hosts the popular Crochet Spot blog, where readers can find crochet patterns, news, and tutorials. “Taking a Chance on Doilies” is the name of the post about Celebrate Doilies! Chance comments and other coincidences figured strongly in the making of the exhibit.

* * * * *

Crochet Concupiscence Celebrate Doilies blog post

Kathryn Vercillo is the author of several books including Hook to Heal! (100 crochet exercises for health, growth, connection, inspiration and honoring your inner artist)–find a link to her book below. She studies and practices crochet and other crafts as therapy. Her blog is Crochet Concupiscence, where you’ll find Help Fiber Artist Suzann Thompson and Friends Celebrate Doilies.



Read lots more about the Celebrate Doilies! at my other blog, Curious and Crafty Readers.

Please contribute to the Celebrate Doilies Kickstarter campaign if you can.

Find exhibit dates, venues, and other details at www.textilefusion.com/exhibition-schedule.

CWOW Letters 6

June 9th, 2017

Cold Water at the Café Rouge greeting cards

The ill-fated and ill-conceived American Health Care Act was pulled from consideration minutes before a vote in the House of Representatives on Friday, March 24. These letters were mailed March 27, 2017. On May 4, the ACHA was passed by a narrow margin in the House and will move to the Senate for further consideration. I’m thinking about what to write to our senators about that, and I’m finding it difficult to keep it to the space of one greeting card.

Dear Mr. President,

You may not think so now, but you are very lucky that the American Health Care Act failed. That bill went against your promises to the American people: “insurance for everybody” and better healthcare for less cost. Yes, you promised these things and people believed you.

Now is your chance to make good on your promises. Take your time. Create a health plan that delivers the improvements you said we should expect.

Or, if you can’t do that, at least make changes to the Affordable Care Act so that it will deliver what you promised.

Mr. President, if you can develop and pass legislation that provides better health care at lower costs to all U. S. citizens and taxpayers, you can be proud for it to be called Trumpcare, and you will deserve to be considered for a second term in office.

Sincerely,
ST

Dear Representative Conaway,

We are all lucky the American Health Care Act failed. Now it is up to you and your colleagues in the House of Representatives to craft a healthcare bill that does the following:

  • Extends health care coverage to all U. S. citizens;
  • Funds preventive health measures, including birth control for those who wish to prevent pregnancy;
  • Brings down health care costs by subsidizing medical education and practice, so doctors do not carry such a heavy debt when they graduate from med school;
  • Mandates negotiating prices for medicines, medical supplies, and equipment, for citizens and for hospitals and physicians’ practices.

Please feel free to contact me about my family’s excellent experience when we used England’s National Health System for seven years.

Sincerely,
ST

PS I am embarrassed and very sorry that I misspelled your name several times. I will spell it correctly from now on.

* * * * *

The Senate got up to bad tricks the last couple of years, and caused our health insurance bill to skyrocket in 2017. The cause of the large increase to insurance customers appears to be this paragraph in the appropriations bill in December 2014:

SEC. 227. None of the funds made available by this Act from the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund or the Federal Supplemental Medical Insurance Trust Fund, or transferred from other accounts funded by this Act to the ‘‘Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services—Program Management’’ account, may be used for payments under section 1342(b)(1) of Public Law 111–148 (relating to risk corridors). (Source: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113hr83enr/pdf/BILLS-113hr83enr.pdf#page=362)

This paragraph ended a program put in place with the Affordable Care Act, which helped cushion insurance companies from unexpectedly high payouts. When the cushion was pulled out from under them, insurance companies passed on the costs to their customers.

There’s not much we can do about this after the fact, except urge our Senators to work hard to repair the Affordable Care Act and move it toward a single-payer health system.

Again, these notes were mailed March 27, 2017. I’ll be getting back to writing soon. There’s so much to do!

Dear Senators Cornyn/Cruz,

Well, thank goodness the American Health Care Act failed. Now it’s time for you to repair the damage you have done to the Affordable Care Act.

If Obamacare is collapsing, you have colluded in breaking it. I refer to Senator Rubio’s addition to appropriations bills which prevented planned payments to insurance companies serving high risk corridors, which had the effect of raising my family’s insurance rates by over 70% for 2017. Other citizens suffered even higher rate hikes.

Our insurance company’s letter notifying us of this rate increase was cleverly and suspiciously timed to arrive a couple of weeks before the November 2016 election.

Yes, Senator, we noticed that bit of flim-flammery you took part in. Is it your policy to make political points by hurting your constituents?

I demand that you UNDO the so-called Risk Corridors legislation to allow insurance companies to be reimbursed retroactively and rebates to be paid to customers. When that has been accomplished, you must legislate better and more affordable healthcare for all U. S. taxpayers.

Sincerely,
ST

Celebrate Doilies Kickstarter Campaign to Launch May 28–Please Donate!

May 27th, 2017

On Sunday, May 28, at 12:30 p.m. Central Time, I will launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to cover the remaining expenses of the Celebrate Doilies! exhibit you’ve been reading about on this blog.

Donation levels start at just $5.00, and there are rewards for each level. The more you donate, the better the rewards.

Please visit my Kickstarter page, and donate for art, for poetry, for heritage!

Celebrate Doilies! is a three-part exhibit. First there are doily-inspired art quilts by me. Here’s one called Winter Blues.

Winter Blues, a TextileFusion snowflake wall hanging

Find in-progress photos of this wall hanging here.

Part two of Celebrate Doilies! is poetry by Sandi Horton. She was inspired by the crochet-work of her mother and grandmothers. Read her poem about this pretty green and white doily here (scroll down a bit).

green and white doily by Sandi Horton

The third section of Celebrate Doilies! includes stories and photos of doily crocheters past and present, and their work. Here’s one of the stories that will be in the show:

heritage at the Celebrate Doilies exhibit

The show will be beautiful, and your contribution will ensure that all the heritage posters and poems are printed and hung, and more.

I appreciate your support, and I look forward to sending your rewards!

CWOW Letters, 5

April 18th, 2017

Greeting cards reproducing Iced Water at the Café Rouge by Suzann Thompson

I sent these notes on March 12, 2017.

Dear Mr. President,

I read that you told an Israeli newspaper that settlements “don’t help the process” of negotiating lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinian people. I am so glad someone finally pointed this out! Thank you!

Then, in a press conference, I heard you tell Mr. Netanyahu that you would like to see him hold back on settlements for a little bit. He looked surprised, but he needed to hear this.

All religious labels aside, those settlements represent a straightforward case of international bullying. It is pretty much drawing a line in the sand and saying, “Okay, like this is our side and that is the Palestinian side. Oh, and by the way Palestinians, we’re going to be building some apartments on your side and we’re gonna live there. But like, you are not allowed to come over to our side.”

What?! Like you said, this is not helping the peace process.

So please, please hold firm on this point.

Sincerely,
ST

* * *

Dear Senator Cruz/Cornyn, Rep. Conaway,

Please protect and fund the Environmental Protection Agency. [for Rep. Conway, Please vote AGAINST H. R. 861, which seeks to dissolve the Environmental Protection Agency.]

As you know, some people in our country wish to line their own pockets at any cost, including our health and the cleanliness of our environment. The EPA stands in their way, preserving our (mostly) clean water and air, among other benefits.

I want the continued protection of the EPA for myself, my family, and our fellow citizens.

ST

Crochet Comets

April 6th, 2017

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Crochet Comets, by Suzann Thompson

At our 2015 Dublin Rippers quilting retreat, my friend Donna challenged us. She had a black plastic bag full of fabric. We had to close our eyes and reach into the bag. We had until the next year’s retreat to make something from the fabric we drew from the bag. She said we could make anything we wanted. It didn’t have to be a quilt.

My fabric was a tiny print that gave an overall impression of a kind of pinkish gray. It reminded me of the night sky.

Weren’t there a couple of yellow and white doilies in my collection at home that might make good comets? I went home to my doily collection and, yes! There they were.

 step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Crochet Comets, by Suzann Thompson

To get an idea of scale, I photographed the doilies and the gray fabric, plus some yellow fabrics that I planned to use for the comet tails. I used Adobe Photoshop Elements to digitally build the wall hanging, cutting and pasting the images of doilies and fabric.

I put several stars in the sky, just to give me an idea of how they would look. In the real wall hanging, I would use more stars and they would be a lot fancier. And I’d sew on a bunch of buttons as smaller stars.

Photoshop Elements has a click-and-drag tool for drawing boxes and circles and, hey—stars! I clicked on the star shape and dragged the first one. It was black, because that was the last color I had used. I changed the color, and the next stars were yellow.

 step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Crochet Comets, by Suzann Thompson

The sketch was pretty rough, but it served its purpose. I could tell that the quilt would have to be about five feet wide to give the doily comets and their tails enough room. The horizon and a few houses gave me an idea of proportions between sky and earth.

I started laying out the quilt top, stopping only to buy a length of fabric to go between the dark earth and the lighter sky. As I worked and laid out the doilies and houses and moon, I got a feeling. It was definitely located in my chest. It was a feeling of inevitability that seemed to squeeze my heart.

The feeling was that the sketch might be rough, but it was perfect the way it was. Any attempt on my part to fancy things up, would not make the finished product look any better. As I worked I came to know this without a doubt.

So the quilt is as close to the sketch as possible. I did fancy up the comet tails with buttons and beads, but the sky is plain, except for the appliqued stars, including a black one.

 step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Crochet Comets, by Suzann Thompson

The back is made from scraps, many of which were giveaways from my quilting friends. It is quilted in mostly parallel, curving lines. That took a long time.

This was my first mostly-fabric quilt with raw-edge applique and very simple piecing, and I learned a lot. It is also the biggest quilt I have made so far.

Crochet Comets is on display at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, Colorado, until April 23, 2017. Starting July 1, it will be part of the Celebrate Doilies! exhibit, making its debut in Stephenville, Texas, at the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council River North Gallery. (Details here.)

 step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Crochet Comets, by Suzann Thompson

Arranging Flowers for Winterling

March 27th, 2017

I had to try many different flower arrangements before finding my favorite for Winterling. It was fun! Here are a few:

 TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson  TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

Hmmm. Yeah, the white flowers seem too startlingly bright. So for the next try, I took the daisies off and also the big sunflower, because I thought it was too heavy and large for the composition.

 TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

How about the one on the left?—it’s kind of minimal with a more controlled color selection. Given a choice, I usually go for fancy over minimal. The next one is alright.

 TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

Thinking the sunflower might not be too heavy after all, I added it back in. Yep, I think this is the one.

 TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

After pinning all the flowers and leaves in place, it was time to sit down and sew. And I mean sew for a long time.

Something kept bothering me about the Samarkand Sunflower which has a yellow center, then a white round and a band of periwinkle blue before the round of white petals. The blue band looked too plain and big. A few bright yellow seed beads took care of that problem.

 TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

After sewing the flowers on, I appliqued a crocheted picot vine in the borders. Each picot has a seed bead on it, which is stitched in place to keep the picot from curling. Buttons berries grow from the vine.

That does it for Winterling! Want to know where the flower patterns are from? Visit this post at the Curious and Crafty readers blog to find out.

CWOW Letters, Week 4-ish

March 24th, 2017

I missed a week in my Cold Water on Washington letter-writing campaign. It wasn’t for lack of material, believe me! I’m back to the grindstone, with these notes written on March 7, 2017:

Dear Mr. President,

Many people have asked or demanded that you release your tax returns. I know you don’t want to do it, but Mr. President, you should.

You are proud of your success in business, and your tax returns are simply one type of record of your business acumen.

Okay, maybe you think something in your tax returns will be unflattering to you. Well, own it! Even fantastic businessmen have their low points, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Besides I’m afraid the longer you wait, the more people will begin to believe that you are afraid of what your tax returns reveal about you. But you are the president now, and you must step up and take responsibility for your tax returns and whatever may result from their release.

Surely you are not afraid to release your tax returns. Are you, Mr. President?

Sincerely,

ST

The Senate created its own Joint Resolution to roll back protection of certain wildlife on wildlife refuges. So I wrote about this issue again, to cover the SJ Res 18. Again, you can look up this bill and more at www.congress.gov.

Dear Senator Cornyn/Cruz,

Please vote against SJ Res 18.

National wildlife refuges exist to preserve the natural diversity of wildlife in certain areas. Natural diversity includes predators and predator/prey relationships. Allowing hunters to kill predators, particularly when they are raising young, skews the natural balance of wildlife on these refuges.

I add that the methods used to hunt bears in particular, like picking them off at a bait station or airborne hunting are extremely unsportsmanlike.

Your disapproval of the rule mentioned in SJ Res 18 benefits a very, very small percentage of U. S. citizens.

Frankly, you have more pressing issues to attend to.

Sincerely,
ST

The House of Representatives unveiled their health care bill, H. R. 370, which we know now will not even come to a vote. I will be writing a lot more about healthcare in these United States.

Dear Representative Conaway,

FUND PLANNED PARENTHOOD!

Sincerely,
ST

Iced Water at the Café Rouge note cards

Winterling, The Vase

March 15th, 2017

 TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

The Zwiebelmuster chinaware design is full of flowers, leaves, stems, and curlicues. All of that can be crocheted, appliqued, beaded, and embroidered. So that’s what I did, and it took some time.

You know from reading the earlier post about the Winterling wall hanging, that I photographed a coffeepot as a model for the vase. I enlarged the photo to the size of the wall hanging and printed it. The coffeepot/vase became my pattern, which I consulted for size and shape as well as light, shadow, and the actual blue design.

 TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

For a project like this, I will cut out the paper shape and use it for a template. The photo above shows the paper template next to the fabric vase, which I’ve already pieced from knitted fabrics. The fabric vase is a little bigger than the paper, to give me room to fold under the raw edges.

 TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

Various shades of blue knitting created some highlight and shadow. But tulle or netting is the best for making shadows. More layers of tulle mean darker shadows, as you can see in the photo at right.

 TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

Here are the first few crocheted leaves and flowers, made with No. 10 crochet cotton. I crochet without instructions, measuring my foundation chain against the printed template. Sometimes I have to unravel and recrochet a piece several times, but eventually it turns out alright.

I try to get most of the pieces crocheted before sewing them in place. That’s because I have to pin, unpin, rearrange, and repin many times to get the flowers and leaves to look right.

 TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

Then it’s time to sew. And sew. And sew some more. One day in the middle of February, the weather was so nice and warm, I was able to sit outside with my coffee to do some sewing.

 TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

It’s just about finished here. Yay! After this, I folded under the raw edges and whip stitched them down before handsewing the vase to the wall hanging.

 TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

CWOW Letters, Week 3

March 9th, 2017

detail of Iced Water at the Café Rouge by Suzann Thompson

Written on February 18, 2017:

Dear Mr. President,

This note is in regard to your comments about the retailer Nordstrom. Would you as a businessman, drop an account if you disagreed with the policies of the management of the company or their families? Of course you would!

I fear your reaction to Nordstrom’s dropping your daughter’s product line will be seen as what we call “projection.” That means you think they cut her products because they don’t like your policies, since that’s exactly what you would do.

People can learn a lot about you by your reactions to events like the Nordstrom decision. Particularly these days, a lot of readers and viewers assume that oddly bad over-reactions are a result of projection. So if a person wants to be inscrutable or to mask some of his or her more unpleasant character traits, restraint is the best policy.

That’s all for this week.

ST

My Senators and Congressman received postcards this time about legislation that would roll back a policy by the Fish and Wildlife Administration to preserve natural diversity in national wildlife refuges by stopping culls of predators.

The explanation of this rule was that natural diversity among wildlife includes predators. By killing predators in specific, humans skew the natural predator/prey relationship. Emphasis on ‘natural.’ And remember this applies to wildlife refuges. Emphasis on ‘refuge.’

I can’t see the benefit of disapproving this rule, and I think the House and Senate are doing this pretty much because the rule was instituted during the Obama administration.

You can look up bills currently active in Congress at https://www.congress.gov.

Dear Senator Cruz/Cornyn,

Please vote AGAINST HJ Res 69!

HJ Res 69 is a cruel and mean-spirited attack on our nation’s wildlife in places that were set aside specifically to preserve it. Wildlife is part of our amazing natural heritage. Please protect it!

Ask yourself, sir, whether you really want to be responsible for killing creatures, already struggling for survival, for the fun of a few people. I sincerely hope your answer is no.

ST

* * *

Dear Representative Conway,

Please vote AGAINST HR 424 and HR 717!

Our nation’s wildlife is a huge part of our natural heritage. Please protect it!
Humans are very resourceful, and we can continue to prosper and survive AND preserve our natural national treasures. Those treasures include wildlife and their habitats.

ST

Winterling

March 5th, 2017

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling

We don’t normally go around leaving coffeepots on the bed, but this is a special coffeepot. It’s from the now-closed Winterling chinaware factory in Schwarzenbach an der Saale in northern Bavaria. My great-grandmother, Lina Schoedel, worked there. One of Winterling’s patterns was the blue and white Zwiebelmuster or onion pattern.

This coffeepot became a vase in my TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling. But this isn’t the first time the Zwiebelmuster has inspired me: the Perspective Daisy and Curly Curlicues designs in Crochet Garden were inspired by the china, as well as the Leaves and Berries Spray (free pattern here).

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling

So back to the coffeepot on the bed. I photographed this scene to help me see how light and shadow would play in my wall hanging. Sometimes I use photos to create patterns for my wall hangings. After manipulating the photos in Adobe Photoshop Elements, I print a full-sized final draft.

Being a fan of color contrast, I chose orange for the background to the blue and white pattern of the coffeepot/vase. I sorted orange yarns into light, medium light, medium, medium dark, and dark qualities, and set to work knitting orange yardage on my Ultimate Sweater machine.

After blocking and stabilizing with fusible interfacing, the knitted yardage was smooth and even.

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling

It was time to cut up the knitting! For the curtains and vase, I used my paper pattern to cut pieces to the correct size and shape. For everything else, I cut patches of knitting freehand and fitted them together to form areas of light and shadow. I pinned the patches in place and sewed them to a foundation fabric which wouldn’t be visible in the finished piece.

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling

I couldn’t wait to try some flower arrangements. At the International Quilt Festival in Chicago, Spring 2016, participants in my Open Studios session arranged flowers. My first idea was to use blue, violet, and yellow flowers as a contrast to the orange. They soon convinced me that more colors were better.

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling

If you’re thinking the vase in these pictures looks funny, you’re right. It’s because I was using my paper pattern as a place holder. But before finalizing the flower arrangement, I needed to create the vase with knitted fabric. That took a while.