Welcome to My Blog!

Hello, I’m Suzann Thompson. I’m glad you’re here.

Though my business is selling books and art quilts, I enjoy all kinds of creative projects. You’ll see how true this is as you read further along.

I would love to hear from you, so if you have comments or questions, please get in touch. My email address is knitandcrochetwithsuzann at outlook dot com, or you are welcome to leave a comment.

Suzann Thompson

Warm regards,

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Artists, Watch for this Clue You’re Being Scammed

It’s great to get an email from someone interested in your art. I’ve made more than one sale through contacts by social media or email. But one “customer” was only interested in parting me from my work and my cash. Luckily, a suspicious mind saved me from losing anything. Here’s the story, which I hope will help you avoid art scammers.

A New Customer?

One day, an email from a Mrs. Robert arrived, asking me about my art. Yay! A possible customer!

How Scammers Target Artists, a Clue

A couple of things about the letter seemed odd, but I could make excuses for them. First, Mrs. Robert’s email server was ukr.net, a server located in the Ukraine. With recent news about Russian hacking and meddling in the United States election, I was on heightened alert about anything associated with Russia, which has clear interests in the Ukraine.

Pretty much anyone can sign on with pretty much any email server, so I wasn’t overly concerned.

Mrs. Robert didn’t write in English very well. Many phishing and scamming emails I’ve received are poorly written.

You don’t have to write good English or any other language, to buy a wall hanging, so I overlooked this fact. I sent Mrs. Robert a price list and directed her to my website to see pictures of my work.

A Sale!

How Scammers Target Artists, a Clue

How Scammers Target Artists, a Clue

Next time Mrs. Robert wrote, she said she wanted to purchase my most expensive piece, Puzzling Pinks, a wall hanging with lots of pink crocheted flowers and buttons. I was so happy! I gave her my mailing address, so she could send a check.

I sat back to wait for the check to arrive, before sending the wall hanging. Artists, do not send your artwork to someone you don’t know, until you have the money in the bank. What about sending artwork to people you do know? The best idea is to wait until the money is in the bank, but use your good judgement.

Two weeks later, Mrs. Robert sent another message:

How Scammers Target Artists, a Clue

Oh good. The check was in the mail. But one thing bothered me about this note. Do you notice that my name is a smaller font than the rest of the letter? The tracking number, which I have masked, was also in a smaller font.

This looked to me like an often-used form letter, which “Mrs. Robert” simply pasted individual names and tracking numbers into. After all, if it was written just to me, why would she change font sizes? My suspicions grew.

The Check

The check arrived. With it, I became even more convinced that “Mrs. Robert” was not quite on the level.

Though Mrs. Robert purportedly lived in Florida, her husband’s check was mailed from a hotel in San Antonio, Texas. It was a cashier’s check with a thermal marker (very impressive), from a man named Larry Bennett, issued by a bank in Colorado.

Okay, my husband and I have different last names, so that wasn’t really a problem. The problem was the amount of the check.

The check was written for $7,900, nearly $3,000 over the agreed purchase price of the wall hanging.

Woo hoo, right?!

Unfortunately, no.

The overpayment was a clear sign I was being scammed.

Scammers often send checks for more than the required amount. They apologize and ask you to please send a money order for the amount they overpaid. Their hope is you will do this before their check clears. Artists, elderly people, and many others, I’m sure, have trustingly sent the overage back to the so-called customer, only to find out that the original check wasn’t good. So you not only don’t get payment for your art, you lose the cash you refunded to the scammer.

I paced around the house, thinking about what to do. I talked to my family. My mom confirmed that overpayment was a scamming technique. She said, “Do not send anything until that check clears.”

My husband had a practical suggestion: “Call the bank and ask them about the check.”

We found the issuing bank online, and I called their customer service line. After asking me for certain information from the check, the bank’s representative said, “Ma’am, I can tell you now, that is a fraudulent check.”

How Scammers Target Artists, a Clue

My policy is to be polite, so I wrote to Mrs. Robert, telling her that I really needed a check made out in the exact amount we agreed on. It didn’t seem necessary to mention that the original check was fraudulent.

I never heard from Mrs. Robert again.

The Clue and What To Do

The biggest clue to a possible scam is that amount on the check is more than the agreed purchase price.

There’s really no excuse for sending a check written for an incorrect amount. I have made plenty of mistakes when writing checks. When that happens, you just void mistaken check and write a new one. Simple.

Other clues may include the fact that the customer has an unusual email server. Or you may notice odd facts about your communications with the customer. For instance, the font changes on my email that indicated a cut-and-paste form letter.

Pay attention to your instincts. When a situation continues to seem strange or off to you, it probably is. Be alert.

You can be alert and still be polite. Like I said about several things in my story, some unusual facts can be explained very easily.

If your online customer pays by check, it should be written for the correct amount. Allow it to clear your bank before you send your artwork or product to the customer.

Again, send your artwork only after the check clears and the money is in the bank.

Once more. Do not send your product until the payment is cleared at your bank.

Puzzling Pinks, textile art by Suzann Thompson

If You Have Been Scammed

Please report scams to authorities. You can find out how to report scams by searching “reporting scams” online.

If the scammer used the United States Postal Service, report the incident at their website. The Federal Trade Commission also accepts reports of scamming. Though they don’t investigate individual cases, these groups collect information, which may help them pinpoint a scammer. Your information can help.

What is Your Story?

Artists, so you have advice about how to avoid scam art purchases online? Do you have a scam story? Would you please share? Information helps us all.

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Snowman Boards Santa Train

Christmas Santa train felt kit, number 86365 by Bucilla

Last time I reported on my Christmas in July project, the Santa Train was being chased by a headless snowman. Poor guy! At least he got a head (ahead?) in Week 9, but it would be two more weeks before the snowman was finally able to climb aboard.

Six eyes Suzann

Because the snowman’s face had a lot of embroidery, I had to add Charles’s old reading glasses to my nose. They help me see the lines on the felt for embroidery, and thread the beading needle for sewing on sequins. With my bifocals and his reading glasses, I can see really well at a very specific distance from my eyeballs. Just an inch further or closer, and everything goes out of focus. Charles fondly calls me “six eyes” during these times.

Anything with stripes quickly runs through my quota of ten pieces per week. For instance, on the snowman’s scarf, each red stripe is one piece, plus two red fringe pieces. It doesn’t seem like I made much progress in Week 10, but ten pieces were definitely used.

Christmas Santa train felt kit, number 86365 by Bucilla

In Week 11, the snowman got his arms, and I could finally sew him onto the train. He still needed a candy cane to help stabilize his grip on the engine. Yep, the candy cane is another stripey piece that stretched out over two weeks.

Christmas Santa train felt kit, number 86365 by Bucilla

I finished the snowman’s candy cane in Week 12, and started a second cane.

Christmas Santa train felt kit, number 86365 by Bucilla

Four weeks to go! I’ll be sewing little gifts and ornaments to decorate the train. Yay!

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Crochet Flowers on Jacket Lapels

Crochet flowers from Crochet Bouquet on jacket lapels

My linen jacket needed something. It needed to be more interesting, beautiful, cool. What was a crochet flower lady to do? Break out the No. 10 crochet cotton, choose a flower from Crochet Bouquet, (see sidebar) and embellish the lapels!

If you read the last post, you may remember that one of the reasons we have Crochet Bouquet at all, is because I was sad that the crocheted flowers on commercial clothing were all so similar. Most of the crocheted flower applique patterns I found were all about round flowers.

Okay, yeah, most flowers are circular. But not all flowers! AND you don’t always see a flower straight-on. That’s why some of the flowers in Crochet Bouquet and Crochet Garden are not round, or they are observed from a different perspective.

Oval Center Rose is one of those. It has been one of my favorites all these years. I chose it for my jacket lapels. Rose Leaf, also from Crochet Bouquet, seemed right for the greenery. For size contrast, I included the Small Flower from Crochet Garden.

Crochet flowers from Crochet Bouquet on jacket lapels

I chose to crochet pink flowers, but which pink? I went to my color consultant, also known as my younger daughter. “Which colors, Ella?” I asked. “The cool pink and the minty green, or the warmer pink and the yellower green?”

“Why not use them all together, Mom?” she said.

So I did. After crocheting and steaming them flat, I sewed around the edges of the leaves and flowers, then I stitched around the oval center of the Oval Center Rose. Mother-of-pearl buttons added just the right vintage look to the grouping.

I finished it in the morning, and wore it in the afternoon to the opening of Celebrate Doilies at the Dora Lee Langdon Center in Granbury, Texas. While in Granbury, I visited a resale shop called Bella, where I bought another linen jacket. That means more crocheted flower embellishment in the future!

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Fifty Thousand Copies Sold

Crochet Bouquet, a book of crocheted flower motifs by Suzann Thompson.  Fifty thousand copies sold!

Thank you to all the crocheters and people who love them who have bought my book, Crochet Bouquet! As of June 30, 2017, over 50,000 copies of Crochet Bouquet have been sold since its publication in 2008. I am honored by your support.

The book started with a trip to the mall in 2006. While my husband shopped at the big and tall store, our daughters and I sashayed in and out of clothing shops. It turns out, you can sashay with a three-year-old in a stroller. We studied the fashions and gave our wise and considered opinions to each other.

Quite a few clothes had crochet flower appliques. I thought that was so cool! It was inspiring to consider that a crocheter could customize clothing and accessories by adding a crocheted flower.

But after seeing slight variations of one basic flower over and over, I became sadly disillusioned. “I could do better than that,” I told myself. For one thing, I reasoned, not all flowers are round. Furthermore there are flowers other than the admittedly popular crocheted Irish rose.

Crochet Bouquet, a book of crocheted flower motifs by Suzann Thompson.  Fifty thousand copies sold!

Back at home, I searched the internet for crocheted flower patterns. At the time, there were some pattern leaflets, a couple of German and French crochet flower books, and quite a few single patterns. There was no book of crocheted floral motifs. This was before Nicky Epstein’s crochet flower book was published.

The absence of a flower motif book for crocheters was so glaring, even I couldn’t miss it!

I designed and crocheted some flowers and leaves, photographed them, and sent them out to a publisher. The proposal was rejected, so off it went to the next publisher on the list. That was Lark Crafts, and they accepted the proposal in the summer of 2006.

Designing, crocheting, and writing instructions for the flowers, leaves, and projects for Crochet Bouquet took about ten months.

Crochet Bouquet, a book of crocheted flower motifs by Suzann Thompson.  Fifty thousand copies sold!

Halfway through the process, we had some drama. Sterling Publishing, the parent company of Lark Crafts, was publishing another crochet flower book with one of their other subsidiaries. It was Nicky Epstein’s book that I mentioned earlier. She was (and is) such a well-known and loved designer, it seemed silly to publish a competing book by a mostly unknown author.

Luckily, we were able to convince those in charge that the books would have very little overlap. In fact, we thought the books would be different enough that customers might buy both of them. Thank goodness we were allowed to continue with the project.

In May 2008, the book hit the bookstores, and has been selling steadily ever since. The book has also been translated into Spanish and Russian. Very exciting!

Thank you very much for your part in the success of Crochet Bouquet!

Crochet Bouquet, a book of crocheted flower motifs by Suzann Thompson.  Fifty thousand copies sold!

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Only Three Days Left to See Celebrate Doilies

doily textile art by Suzann Thompson

Don’t wait too long! You have only three more days to see the Celebrate Doilies exhibit at the Dora Lee Langdon Center in Granbury, Texas. The exhibit’s last day in Granbury is Wednesday, September 27, 2017.

Art quilts, stories, and poetry fill the first floor of the historic Gordon Home, beginning with Constant Comets and Sweet Home, which greet you as you walk into the front door.

The two front rooms have fireplaces and bay windows, and I really like how gallery manager Joel Back displayed some of the posters on the mantels.

doily heritage poster by Suzann Thompson

In one bay window, we decorated the grand piano with Sandi Horton’s family heirloom crochet and poetry.
Sandi Horton's family heirloom crochet and poetry

In the other bay window, you’ll find posters about doilies of the past and modern doilies from Coats & Clark. They loaned designer doilies for us to display as well. The modern doilies are by designers Susan Lowman, Kathryn A. White, and Lisa Gentry.

Doilies Past and Present by Coats & Clark

Come ready to read Sandi Horton’s poetry and about crocheters of the past. Once you’ve been through the exhibit, it’s a short walk to Granbury’s historic town square, where you’ll find great food, coffee, and shopping.

doily textile art by Suzann Thompson

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SAQA Quilt Show Opens in Abilene

Antelope Horns, textile art by Suzann Thompson

Today’s Quilts: Art in Stitch, a juried show of works by Texas members of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) opens today at The Center for Contemporary Art in Abilene, Texas.

I’m pretty excited about the show, because two of my quilts are in it. Gaudi Gaillardia (below) and Antelope Horns (detail at right) are both fairly recent pieces, and importantly, they do not include any doilies. All my doily quilts are in the Celebrate Doilies show. I’m glad I had something to enter.

We live about halfway between Fort Worth and Abilene. It’s a two-hour drive to either one, but we seem to head east to Fort Worth more often than not. This show is a good excuse to go west, young woman!

Gaudi Gaillardia, textile art by Suzann Thompson

My daughter and a friend are coming along. We’re going to shop at JoAnn Fabrics and a couple of quilt shops. There’s a book festival in town, which we may look in on, before we meet other quilters for supper. Hey, you’ve got to take advantage of being in the big city.

The show runs through November 10, 2017, at the Center, which is at 220 Cypress Street in Abilene. An opening reception is planned for Saturday, September 23, 2017, at 7:30 p.m.

After that, Today’s Quilts: Art in Stitch moves to the Texas Tech University Museum in Lubbock, to be displayed through February 2018.

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Almost Christmas

In August 2016, I heard the first rumblings of “It’ll be Christmas before you know it.” I was feeling pretty happy (or even smug) at the time, because my Christmas in July project was well underway. This year, SAME!

Bucilla kit “Train—Wall Hanging” is coming along fine. The difference between last year and this, is that we now have satellite TV. So we watch the news and I sew sequins and felt. Just a little every week gets the job done!

Week 5. Christmas crafts, one week at a time

Week 6. Christmas crafts, one week at a time

Week 7. Christmas crafts, one week at a time

Week 8. Christmas crafts, one week at a time

I’m done with Christmas in July for the week, so today I’m off to the studio to quilt a wall hanging.

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Chugging Along on Christmas in July

Week 2 of working on my Christmas felt kit ended with sequinning and sewing red stripes to the white rail that will eventually be sewn to the bottom edge of the train.

Christmas train felt kit, number 86365 by Bucilla, one week at a time

Week 3 was all about sequinning and sewing red stripes, too, because there were so many of them. It was good to finish this, so I could move on to a really exciting week.

Christmas train felt kit, number 86365 by Bucilla, one week at a time

In Week 4, the train transformed! I worked a little out of order, because I wanted to sew the appliques onto the green felt before sewing the entire piece to the background. It made sewing easier.

Every time I cut out a felt piece, I put the scraps into a bag for recycling. Bits of thread go into the bag, too. Next time I drive to Austin, I’ll drop the scrap bag (clearly marked “SCRAPS”) into an American Textile Recycling Corporation bin. To find out if ATRS has a bin near you, visit their website at www.atrscorp.com.

Christmas train felt kit, number 86365 by Bucilla, one week at a time

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Finding Life Valance

Now that the Celebrate Doilies exhibit is up and running (details here), I’m taking a break to make other stuff. Yep, I can’t stop making.

We live in the country, and no one is close enough to peek into our windows. So since we moved into our house three and a half years ago, our windows have been bare. As much as I like the no-fuss nature of bare windows, they do look a little stark. And that is why I’ve been making valances.

recycled vintage doily valance

A lady from Germany lived in San Antonio and loved to sew. When she died, her children went to their former German language teacher, Mary El-Beheri, asking, “Do you know of someone who would use and value our mother’s sewing things?” My mother, also a German language teacher, was Mary’s friend. Mary asked her if I would like the German lady’s fabrics and books.

That is how I came to have the fabric and trim for our new red and white dining room valance. Thank you to those students, the children of the German lady, for so thoughtfully taking care of their mother’s possessions.

recycled vintage doily valance or curtain

I think these filet crochet triangles must have been sewn to a table runner or dresser scarf. The sewn edge was frayed, possibly when someone snipped out the stitching.

But that’s okay, because those frayed edges are hidden in the fabric top of the valance.

recycled vintage doily valance

I cut a square crocheted table mat in half and bound the cut edges inside the fabric top of these cute little curtains.

recycled vintage doily valance

Pineapple patterns are among the most popular and beloved of crochet motifs. The pretty pineapple triangles are part of a crocheted chair set—they were meant to cover the back of an upholstered armchair to protect it from hair oil.

You can find the vintage instructions for making the crocheted pineapple chair set at Today’s Treasure. They have lots of old patterns for sale.

More curtains to come—we have a lot of windows!

recycled vintage doily valance

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