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Thank you for visiting! Please feel free to leave comments on the blog. If you prefer email, my address is knitandcrochetwithsuzann at outlook dot com.

Suzann Thompson

Warm regards,

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Doily Premonition

Doily Premonition

On a Saturday in July, I went to my first Needles and Friends meeting in Comanche, Texas. For some reason, as I drove along the driveway, the macramé cord doily that goes on display with the Celebrate Doilies exhibit popped into my mind. It’s a big, eye-catching piece. “People just love big, flashy stuff like that,” I mused. Little did I know this was a premonition of what was to come.

My mom had given me some old macramé cord she bought years ago. I wasn’t sure how far the cord would go, so I searched for a design where it wouldn’t matter if I ran out of cord in the middle of a round.

Also, my mom had three different weights and colors of cord, so the design had to be forgiving enough to accommodate the different thicknesses.

I found the perfect pattern in one of my books of reprinted vintage thread crochet patterns. It was a luncheon set, with coasters, placemats, and a table centerpiece. They all had the same center, which was small enough for the coaster, and the other sizes were made by repeating a sort of spiderweb-type design round.

The pattern was originally published by American Spool Company, with no designer’s name mentioned. Its name is “Peacock Tails Doily Set #7444,” and you can find the pattern free at http://www.freevintagecrochet.com/doilies/7444-doily-pattern.html.

Doily Premonition

Back to the Needles and Friends group. We meet at Tomorrow’s Keepsakes, a coffee-lunch-antique-and-gift shop on the courthouse square in Comanche. One of our members showed her recent quilts and sewing projects, which we admired very much. (Starting in September 2018, we will meet the second Saturday of each month, at 2:00 p.m. Y’all come!)

When she finished, she sat down, and at that point I could see the lovely antique sofa behind her. Draped across its back was the small version of the Peacock Tails doily, crocheted in thread. Cue the theme song of The Twilight Zone…

This premonition thing has been happening to me a lot lately—something pops into my mind sort of randomly and I see it or hear it later in the day. Hmm…I wonder if it would work if I start randomly thinking about things on purpose, like old friends or a book I’ve been looking for. Must try to harness this!

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Expanding the Art and Community of Crochet

The Evening of Excellence at the Crochet Guild of America Chain Link conference in Portland, Oregon, last week was a celebration of the Design Competition winners, the graduates of the Master Crocheters program, and the winners of the Guild Challenge, which was to see how many sets of chemo caps each guild contributed. A set of caps included one each for a man, a woman, and a child. So cool!

After all the awards, everyone (except me) settled back for a presentation about how we might grow the crochet community by…wait for it…appealing to people who don’t crochet! I talked about how we can use family connections, art, and collaboration, to broaden the appeal and appreciation of crochet.

Now you can see the evening’s ceremonies and speech for yourself, because it was live-streamed on Facebook. I come in sometime after minute 58.

Enjoy!

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CGOA 2018 Presentation Notes

I’m thrilled to be giving a talk this evening at the Crochet Guild of America annual conference in Portland, Oregon. The presentation is called “Expanding the Art and Community of Crochet.” One of the points I emphasize is using exhibits and shows to spread the influence of crochet to people outside our usual crochet circle.

Please check back, as I’ll be adding photos and more links over the weekend.

Here are some things for you:

Getting a Public Crochet Project Started

When I talk about a public crochet project, I usually mean a show or exhibit. You will probably come up with lots more ideas.

To me, a show is when lots of people enter things they have made for a two- or three-day display. Think of a quilt show put on by a local quilting guild, and you’ll know what I mean. There might be different categories of entries, and you could award ribbons or a Best-of-Show award.

An exhibit is more like a collection of works that center around a theme, like my exhibit Celebrate Doilies. One person or a committee would curate an exhibit, choosing historical items, artworks, and other materials that support the theme. An exhibit is usually displayed longer than a show, and can travel to different venues.

These links are to articles are about how to organize quilt shows, where lots of people enter their work. They will give you a starting point for planning a crochet show.

https://www.quiltinghub.com/Articles/ArticleID/325

http://lostquilt.com/displaying-quilts/organizing-a-quilt-show/

Talking about Your Crochet Event

If you put on a show, an exhibit, or some other crochet event, you need to let people know about it.

Talk about it early and often. If you can, start at least one year ahead of time.
This post has good ideas for publicity:

http://threadmongers.blogspot.com/2012/08/quilt-shows-attendance-and-publicity.html

You or your group will be the best advocates for your crochet event. To communicate well, you will need:

  • Good photos or samples of what your event will be about, so you can show people what it will look like.
  • Accurate information about your event. Think back to the Five Ws you probably learned about in elementary school: Who, What, When, Where, and Why.

    Let people know the details—WHO is putting on the show or whose work is in the show, WHAT is it about, WHEN will it be, WHERE will it be, WHY are you doing this and WHY should people be interested?

  • Finally, how can people help? Maybe you want people to enter their work in a show. You may need volunteers. Think about how people can contribute.

Where to Talk About Your Crochet Event

Involve your crochet friends and guild, but think about who else would be interested in what you are doing. Consider giving talks to:

  • Genealogy groups
  • Senior Citizens groups
  • Service organization meetings. The Lions Club in my town has a weekly luncheon where they have a speaker. You could be one of those speakers.
  • Historical society meetings
  • Art and needlework groups other than crochet

Suzann Thompson with baling twine doily

Writing about Your Crochet Event

At some point you will need to do more publicity. Preferably free. Here’s a list to get you started:

  • Social Media: The key to publicizing anything on social media is to post often and with pictures. See if you can come up with something flashy and eye-catching to draw attention to your project. The great, big doilies I crocheted for Celebrate Doilies got lots of likes every time I post them on Instagram or Twitter. This is me with the doily made with hay-baling twine.
  • Print Media: As early as you can, make a list of magazines, newsletters, newspapers, and websites that have event listings. Find out their deadlines and be sure to meet them.
  • Newspapers: You never know when your listing will lead to further publicity through a feature story–like the Austin360 article below, which happened because I submitted information to the American-Statesman events calendar (click on the picture to go to the article). If it’s a small town newspaper, offer to write a feature article about your event.
  • Try tourist and travel magazines.
  • If you are a college graduate, your alumni magazine or newsletter may want to list an event you created.

verypink.com podcast about Celebrate Doilies

Guest Blogging

Even if you have your own blog, consider writing guest blog posts to expand your audience. Read the host blogger’s guidelines carefully and follow them.

Interviews

Accept offers for interviews. If you’re anxious about speaking off the cuff, ask if you can do a written interview.

* * *

Sandi Horton’s Poem

Modern Girl
Copyright 2017 by Sandi Horton. All rights reserved.

The young girl eyes the multitude of colors
She wants to find just the right one
Should she be practical with a neutral
Or choose a bright, modern color?

Her mother and grandmother chose
Different shades of white and beige
They are so old-fashioned
The girl chooses a dazzling lime green

She wants to represent her generation
Even though most other girls don’t crochet
The girl wants to keep the chain going
Her nimble fingers tighten from the stress

Lime green thread twists around and around
The hook moves slowly, in an unsteady rhythm
Her mom says, ‘Crocheting relaxes me.’
The inexperienced girl continues to struggle

She refuses to give up
A smooth pattern finally takes shape
She finishes her first and only doily
Modern girls have better things to do

 Doily by poet Sandi Horton

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Doily Posters at IOLI

Doily Posters at IOLI

Nineteen of the Doily Heritage Posters from the Celebrate Doilies exhibit are on display at the 65th Annual Convention of the International Organization of Lace (IOLI) in San Antonio, Texas, through Friday of this week.

As advertised, the posters tell about doily crocheters of the past and present, who are mostly from Texas. “Are there really that many stories to tell about doilies?” you may ask. When I first started collecting the stories, I wondered about that, too.

Doily Posters at IOLI

Soon I realized that doily stories are people stories, and there are more of those stories than we can collect in a lifetime. Doily stories are about families. Doily stories are about thrift and creativity. Doily stories are about mystery and mysterious connections.

If you can, go see these stories at the IOLI Convention display room, at the

El Tropicano Riverwalk Hotel
110 Lexington Avenue
San Antonio, Texas

Hours:
Thursday, July 26 and Friday, July 27
11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

Many thanks to display coordinator and fiber Renaissance woman Pat Tittizer, who worked hard on several aspects of the IOLI convention, and provided these photos.

For more information about the IOLI, please visit www.internationalorganizationoflace.org.

Doily Posters at IOLI

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Dublin Rippers Reception

Scenes from the Dublin Rippers Reception

At least 40 people attended the opening reception for the Dublin Rippers Quilt Exhibit on July 6th. I got so busy talking I forgot to take pictures, so imagine our 40 visitors (at least), a table full of nice cheeses, fruit, and crackers, and a white and purple cake with deliciously sweet icing.

Many thanks to Lori LaRue of Tarleton’s Fine Arts Center and Tarleton’s catering crew for their fine work in welcoming us all and cutting such large slices of cake.

The Dublin Rippers left with big smiles on our faces. We met some people for the first time, reconnected with others, and enjoyed time with family and friends.

In other Dublin Rippers news, Ashley Inge, managing editor of the student-run Texan News Service at Tarleton State University, interviewed me about our exhibit. Here’s her article or you can click on the image at left.

And if you missed the reception, here are some more photos from the show:

Scenes from the Dublin Rippers Reception

Donna Timmons made a wall hanging-sized quilt with these cute appliqued horny toads, or horned lizards, if you want to be more correct about it. They are from a pattern called “Horned Toad” by designer Susan Cranshaw.

Scenes from the Dublin Rippers Reception

Peggy DeLaVergne’s son Austin has loved to draw since he was just a little guy. Peggy preserved some of his drawings in embroidery and made a very cute quilt with them. Here are some animals he drew when he was around five years old. Now he’s in college, studying art.

My husband Charles knapped the spear points I used on the mini-quilt on the right-hand side of the photo below. Flint or chert tools are sharp, so I made a polymer clay surround for each one. Handmade spear points are a great conversation starter.

Scenes from the Dublin Rippers Reception

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Dublin Rippers Quilt Exhibit

Scenes from the Dublin Rippers Quilt Exhibit

The Dublin Rippers Quilt Exhibit is the work of a group of five friends who get together once a week for quilting and crafting. We’ve picked our favorite quilts to display at the Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts Center Gallery, Tarleton State University, Stephenville, Texas, through August 3, 2018.

You might be tempted to say “This is not your grandmother’s quilting.” The Dublin Rippers might reply, “Oh, this is definitely your grandmother’s quilting, and she was a lot more amazing than you realized.”

The group has been together since the early 2000s, and has been through changes as some members moved or passed away, and new members joined. I started showing up every week in 2011 (I think), when the group included Peggy DeLaVergne, the founder of the Rippers, Donna Timmons, our host, Hazel Ashcraft, and Sonja Banister.

Scenes from the Dublin Rippers Quilt Exhibit

The Dublin Rippers’ work reflects the larger quilt community, not only in our range of styles, but in the purpose we put our quilts to. Members make quilts for home, family and friends, group exchanges and raffles, for everyday use, and for art exhibits.

If you can, come and see the work of my friends Hazel Ashcraft and Donna Timmons, who carefully select patterns and add their personal style and color choices to make quilts that comfort family and friends. Hazel’s quilts are in the photo at the beginning of this post, and a detail from Donna’s hexie garden quilt, is at left.

Scenes from the Dublin Rippers Quilt Exhibit

Enjoy Sonja Banister’s work, which she offers for sale in her etsy.com shop, TwoOldeYoyos. I’m the very happy owner of two of Sonja’s flower basket quilts, at right. Tarleton featured her Texas-themed quilt in a press release for the exhibit.

When you visit the Dublin Rippers Quilt Exhibit, you’ll see African-inspired quilts and more, by Peggy DeLaVergne, whose work has been honored with a solo exhibit at the annual International Quilt Festival in Houston. Peggy’s bulls-eye sunflower quilt, below, fills me with joy whenever I see it.

Scenes from the Dublin Rippers Quilt Exhibit

My own knitted, embellished quilts have been honored with a solo exhibit at International Quilt Festivals in Houston and Chicago. You’ll see them and the doily-inspired quilts from my Celebrate Doilies exhibit (below).

Scenes from the Dublin Rippers Quilt Exhibit

Scenes from the Dublin Rippers Quilt Exhibit

We are joined in this show by Elaine Fields Smith, author and ambassador for the 70273 Quilt Project. The double red xs on her quilt at left are meant to make people aware of the 70,273 people murdered by the Nazis in the 1940s, because they were mentally or physically disabled. From the website “The 70273 Project” we learn:

Though they never even laid eyes on the disabled person they were evaluating, the Nazi doctors read the medical files and, if from the words on the page, the person was deemed “unfit” or an “economic burden on society,” the doctor placed a red X at the bottom of the form. Three doctors were to read each medical file, and when two of them made a red X on the page, the disabled person’s fate was sealed. Most were murdered within hours.

For information about how you can take part in the 70273 Project, visit the 70273 website.

Scenes from the Dublin Rippers Quilt Exhibit

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Colour Collective Fridays

Colour Collective Fridays—Cherry Blossom Pink

Fridays are fun on Twitter. The process actually starts the Saturday before, when Colour Collective (@Clr_Collective on Twitter) posts a color for the week. The idea is for artists to create a piece using that color, or to find a previous work that has the color in it.

On any given Friday, at 19:30 GMT (that would be early afternoon, here in Texas), everyone posts their work, including the tag #colour_collective, and the name of the color for the week. It’s a fun challenge, and my Friday afternoon Twitter feed is just beautiful!

Lots of illustrators join in, which I love, because I have been fascinated by illustration since childhood. However, artists in all media are welcome to take the Colour Collective challenge.

Making textile art takes me a while, so I had to go back to Puzzling Pinks, a piece from 2015, to find Cherry Blossom Pink for our May 11th challenge. (Read more about Puzzling Pinks here and here.) The pinks seem to match a lot better on my phone than they do here.

Colour Collective Fridays—Cherry Blossom Pink

Color Collective Fridays—Dioxazine Mauve

After working (and being distracted from working) on a large, complicated piece for quite a while, I needed a break. Usually, creating something small and relatively quick helps me feel like I’m accomplishing something, and I can go back to complex work with renewed enthusiasm.

So for the next two weeks, I made mini-quilts especially for the Colour Collective challenge. For May 18th, the color was Dioxazine Mauve, a dark violet. I put together previously-knitted purples with old and newly-crocheted stars in Stellar Perspective, a 10 x 14″ knitted, embellished quilt. (The star crochet patterns are in my book, Cute Crochet World.)

Colour Collective Fridays—Stellar Perspective

Doily and Fabric Match Made in Heaven

In February of this year, I posted about a wonderful discovery. A happy doily from my stash, with red, yellow, and green accents turned out to be the perfect match for some rainbow-striped fabric my friend Donna was giving away. On a whim, I had put the happy doily onto the rainbow fabric, and, as the young people would say…OMG! The happy doily and rainbow fabric were clearly made for each other!

I rolled together the doily and fabric and put them carefully away, to work on later.

Colour Collective Fridays—Gamboge

The time came in May, when the Colour Collective challenge was Gamboge. Of all the fabric I have accumulated, the rainbow fabric was the only one with any gamboge in it. Yay! I posted the mostly-finished Fiesta Flower in the Rainbow Jungle on May 25th.

Colour Collective Fridays—Fiesta Flower in the Rainbow Jungle

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Antelope Horns on Display at the Bastrop Library

Antelope Horns and Suzann at the Bastrop Public Library

We were back in Bastrop, Texas, last weekend for another Bastrop Art in Public Places event. This time my daughter came along, and our first stop was the Bastrop Public Library on Church Street.

For the next year, the library will be home to Antelope Horns and several of the sixteen 2-dimensional art pieces chosen from a field of about 60, back in April. We took photos to show to you and of course to my parents. They love that kind of stuff!

We also took the opportunity to change from our driving clothes to our party clothes, because our next stop was the Lost Pines Art Center, where we attended a reception for the artists represented in this year’s Bastrop Art in Public Places program. Delicious cheeses and chocolate mousse were on the menu, and we nibbled while the organizers talked about the program and showed us the various sculptures and 2-D pieces on display around town.

The most exciting part was the awards. Antelope Horns won an Honorable Mention and a cash prize. Hurray!

Texas artists, please consider entering your work in next year’s competition. Find links and more information here.

Antelope Horns wins a prize

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Celebrate Doilies in Austin360

verypink.com podcast about Celebrate Doilies

Hot Snakes and doilies? Yeah, I was kind of confused, too, when I read the first paragraph of this article in Austin360 by journalist Dave Thomas of the Austin American-Statesman. But read on. It all begins to make sense.

Many thanks to Dave for writing about the Celebrate Doilies exhibit during its time at the German Free School in Austin.

Next up for Celebrate Doilies:

  • The doily-inspired art quilts of Celebrate Doilies will be part of a group exhibit at the Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts Center gallery at Tarleton State University, June 26 – August 3, 2018.
  • The doily heritage posters may be on display at the International Organization of Lace conference in San Antonio, Texas, this summer.
  • The Celebrate Doilies exhibit will travel to Houston in 2019. More details to come!
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Celebrate Doilies on Red Heart Blog

Celebrate Doilies on Red Heart Yarns blog

Please enjoy a short, sweet blog post about the Celebrate Doilies exhibit on Coats & Clark’s Heart Strings, a blog by Red Heart Yarns, where you’ll get an insight into the secret power of doilies!

Here’s the link: http://blog.redheart.com/celebrate-doilies-exhibit-enchants/.

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