Archive for the ‘Books/Reviews’ Category

Sweet Home

Saturday, November 19th, 2016

Sweet Home, crochet and quilt art, by Suzann Thompson

It’s nice to have a relatively quick project to do, after a very time-consuming one. So…Sweet Home.

Normally I would write about it here, but since it there are so many motifs on it from Cute Crochet World, its story is over at my book blog, Curious and Crafty Readers. See you there!

Poets and Paint Rock

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Langdon Review of the Arts in Texas weekend, Granbury, Texas

Last week was Langdon Review Weekend in Granbury, Texas. The weekend celebrates the publication of the current Langdon Review of the Arts in Texas journal, and features poetry and prose readings, art exhibits and talks, and musical events.

I was pleased to present a talk about my TextileFusion artwork at this year’s event. In conversation with people after the presentation, the subject of Paint Rock came up.

Paint Rock, Texas, is not too far from San Angelo. Native Americans painted interesting and beautiful motifs on overhanging rocks along the river.

How exactly did this happen? I’m racking my brain for the exact phrase or question that caused us to start talking about it, but I can’t remember.

petroglyphs at Paint Rock, Texas

Anyway, for whatever reason, poet karla k. morton asked, “Have you been to Paint Rock?”

I said I hadn’t, but my husband was there and took lots of pictures so I could see how wonderful it was.

“My dear friends own the land that Paint Rock is on,” she said.

“I designed a sweater with images from Paint Rock,” I said. I’m sending her pictures of the sweater.

petroglyphs at Paint Rock, Texas
This was the original sweater, made with Joseph Galler RBC Parisian Cotton, a long discontinued, fabulous cotton yarn. I used US size 3 knitting needles.

Sweater inspired by petroglyphs from Paint Rock, Texas

Later, I designed a similar sweater with heavier cotton, which was published in Southwest Crafts* magazine. Southwest Crafts has been out of print for years, but I still think of it fondly, because my Paint Rock sweater in the magazine was the first pattern I ever published for pay.

Sweater inspired by petroglyphs from Paint Rock, Texas

Sweater inspired by petroglyphs from Paint Rock, Texas

*”Ancient Indian Pictures in a Knitted Sweater,” Southwest Crafts, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp. 7 ff., January/February 1991.

More PopKnitting

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

practicing the patterns of PopKnitting

Britt Marie Christoffersson created variations on garter stitch, using double pointed needles to enable knitters to slide the work back to the beginning of a row, instead of always turning the work to the other side before knitting a new row.

That’s what’s going on in these two samples. They both have garter ridges separated by one row of plain knitting, plus a little or a lot of garter stranding.

practicing the patterns of PopKnitting

The swatch below is straight-up garter stitch, sometimes turned, sometimes slid back to the beginning of the row to start a new row. Slipped stitches form some of the color patterning.

practicing the patterns of PopKnitting

The orange bands of this stripey sample are knitted welts, with garter ridges above and below, and a row of elongated stitches in teal. It will always remind me of listening to Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce novel #7, As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust.

practicing the patterns of PopKnitting

Why Another Gingerbread Kids Pattern?

Friday, December 18th, 2015

Crocheted Gingerbread Cookie ornament

Years ago, my mom crocheted very cute gingerbread man Christmas tree ornaments. They were a lot of work, she told me, because there were lots of starts and stops, leading to lots of ends to weave in.

Do you recognize this pattern? Do you know where it appeared?—if you do, will you please leave a comment to let me know, so I can acknowledge it here?

The front and back pieces were crocheted back and forth. The back piece hides the wrong side of the embroidered buttons and face, and gives the piece more stability as an ornament. The sides are joined with a round of sc.

I always have a difficult time crocheting neatly into the sides of stitches to make borders or, in this case, to make a border and join two pieces. I can never make it look professional or even good.

Also, I’m not the only crocheter who wants to minimize the ends she must weave in at the end of the project.

When I was writing Cute Crochet World, I wanted gingerbread for the “Seasons” chapter, so I pondered the possibilities. The only way to minimize yarn ends AND avoid having to crochet into the sides of rows, was to crochet a gingerbread person in rounds.

And that’s why “Gingerbread Kids.”

Step-by-step tutorial to supplement the instructions in the book at my blog Curious and Crafty Readers. Instructions for making cute Gingerbread Kid ornaments are there, too.

Crocheted Gingerbread Kid Ornament

Crocheting Flowers for Puzzling Pinks

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

Suzann Thompson's Puzzling Pink quilt at the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council

Crocheted flowers for Suzann Thompson's Puzzling Pink quilt

Pink! It’s my most favorite color. It’s a good thing too, because the Puzzling Pink wall hanging is covered with dozens of pink flowers and I crocheted them all. And appliqued them.

Crocheted flowers for Suzann Thompson's Puzzling Pink quilt

These softly variegated flowers, made with Prism’s Kid Slique, are adapted from the Russian Picot Daisy pattern in Crochet Garden. Such luscious yarn!

Also from Crochet Garden, I made Anemones in Aunt Lydia’s No. 10 crochet cotton, Begonias in a Spud & Chloe yarn, and Tabby Ovals in a long discontinued yarn.

Crocheted flowers for Suzann Thompson's Puzzling Pink quilt

Crocheted flowers for Suzann Thompson's Puzzling Pink quilt

The long-stemmed buds are from the Valentine Roses pattern in Cute Crochet World.

Crocheted flowers for Suzann Thompson's Puzzling Pink quilt

See You at TNNA!

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Flower Cloth Scarf with Trilliums and Violet Leaves from Crochet Garden

Yarn shop owners, yarn manufacturers, and needlework professionals are getting pretty excited about The National Needlework Association Summer Trade Show, this coming weekend in Columbus, Ohio.

Dale of Norway Yarns is hosting a book-signing for Crochet Garden, at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 23. We’ll have a limited number of books to give away. And you can see this pretty Trillium Flower Cloth Scarf up-close and personal.

If you’d like to read more about TNNA’s show and find links to the organization, please visit my other blog.

Hope to see you there!

Crochet Bouquet Sequel Finished!

Monday, May 16th, 2011

teaser for new crochet book

Since about October, I’ve been working on a new crochet book.  On Tuesday, May 10, I mailed off the last package of samples, and emailed the last bit of text.  What a relief!

Now it’s the publisher’s turn.  The folks at Lark Crafts will photograph the samples and projects, edit the text, and lay it all out very beautifully.

Sometime in late summer I get to proofread the lasers.  When text was all set by a typesetter, they were called galley proofs.  Nowadays everything is done on computers by experts at layout and design, and we get lasers instead of galleys.

The book will probably be available for prepublication ordering at Amazon.com early next year. About a year from now, we’ll find it at fine bookstores everywhere.  It’s a lot of waiting, but I can’t help but be excited about it.

Old Crochet Book at Comanche Museum

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Royal Society Cordichet crochet book

The Comanche County Historical Museum (Comanche, Texas) is open to the public for only a few hours a week: Saturday afternoons from 2:00 to 4:00, Thursday afternoons 2:00 to 5:00, or by appointment. If you’re near, you should go. It is a lovely local museum, with old handwork, machines, rocks and bones, dolls, photos, uniforms, and all sorts of things that give you a glimpse into the history of the community.

It even has an old surrey with a fringe on top. Believe it or not, kids are allowed to sit in it!

My eye was drawn to an old book called Tatting and Crochet Lessons, published in 1915, apparently by a thread company that manufactured Royal Society Cordichet—”The Perfect Crochet Cotton.”

“May I take some pictures of this book?” I asked. “You bet!” the docents said. That’s the beauty of a small local museum—the people in charge are usually right there.

crocheted hair receiver and hat pin, Royal Society book

What a difference a century makes in what kinds of things we crochet! For example, the book offers patterns for a crocheted candlestick cover and a candle-shade cover. My favorites were these two: a hair receiver and a hatpin holder.

Irish Crochet Collar in Royal Society book

“Why would you want to save your hair?” asked my daughter. I knew that ladies used pads of their own hair to lift their hair-dos. Also, people used to make hair jewelry, as sentimental gifts or memorial pieces. “Ewww!” my daughter said.

Do you know any other old-time uses for saved hair?

Royal Society crochet book, the end

In contrast, this collar would be fine to wear today. It was presented sideways in the book, just like you see it here. The publishers probably thought the readers, having read that it was a collar, were intelligent enough to turn the book to see what the collar would look like around the neck of a garment. You might be surprised to know how much thought goes into modern publications to spare us having to use our imaginations.

I’m glad the people at the museum thought an old crochet book was important enough to keep.

Wrapping Up Taos

Monday, October 27th, 2008

rug yarn from Earth-Arts

Here are a few more things about our trip to the Taos Wool Festival.

This is the rug yarn I bought from Liesel Orend of Earth Arts. Liesel’s yarns are dyed with indigo, cedar, sage, cochenille, madder, and other natural dyestuffs.

Ellen's Wooly Wonders Cactus Basket

Ellen of Ellen’s Wooly Wonders continues to produce realistic and whimsical knitted designs, like this basket of knitted cactus with a knitted lizard. My photo doesn’t do it justice. It’s much nicer in real life. Ellen designed a knitted wall-hanging of a desert mountain, which I hope you’ll check out here (better photo of the cactus basket, too). From a distance, the wall-hanging looks like a photo.

The Yarn Shop, Taos

The Yarn Shop on Bent Street is under new ownership. I went in to have a look around and to promote Crochet Bouquet. The owner, who is called Granny G, said, “As you can see, I don’t have many books in this store, because I’d rather encourage people to design their own patterns.”

Wow! I never thought I would hear a yarn shop owner say something like that! It made me very glad. I replied, “They can design their own patterns, and then decorate them with crocheted flowers from my book.” She bought two copies.

7 Lazy Steps CD

Granny G wrote and narrated a CD called 7 Lazy Steps: Using Chakric Energy for Self-Healing. We listened to it on the way home. Granny G describes the chakras and their attributes, then leads the listener in prayers that ask for release from habits and thoughts that keep us from enlightenment. The sound of bells separate each step. I could feel them resonating in my bones.

Granny G’s voice is joyful and full of good humor. Listening to 7 Lazy Steps is uplifting.

You can buy a copy of 7 Lazy Steps at

The Yarn Shop
120B Bent Street
Taos, New Mexico
(575) 758-9341, (877) 213-7732

Or you can order from FarOutThings.com.

The day we got home, the skies were dramatic and stormy. We missed all the rain, but saw all the glory.

Northwest Central Texas sunset and storm

A Little at a Time Gets the Job Done

Saturday, July 5th, 2008

Oval Center Roses for Roses Cape

We’ve all heard that every journey begins with a single step. It’s true, sometimes actually, but often metaphorically, because many journeys do not involve moving from one place to another.

It would be more accurate to say, “Every journey begins with a single step, and the traveler must continue making single steps until the journey is done.” But that doesn’t sound as good, and it takes much longer to embroider.

blue flowers for the Roses Cape

My Roses Cape journey began with a single stitch back in summer 2006. I knew it would take a long time to make. Some things distracted me from working on it steadily. I’ve been back at it for about six weeks now, with a checklist in hand.

I broke the tasks into manageable chunks, so I could keep up with my daily crochet tasks and still be able to have a life.

On May 22, I still needed to make 46 roses (2 per day would take 23 days), 80 leaves (4 per day), and 140 blue flowers (10 per day). I figured I could reasonably darn in ends of 20 flowers per day (25 more days). It would take about 4 days to pin out all the flowers on the cape pattern, and 49 days to sew them all together.

the clipboard for the Roses Cape

I made a list of days with checkboxes by them. The check marks are piling up, and so are the flowers! I can almost see light at the end of the tunnel! At the planned rate, the cape will be done on October 14, in plenty of time for me to wear it to Stitches East.

This post was brought to you by Crochet Bouquet, the book that has patterns in it for the flowers in the Roses Cape: “Oval Center Rose,” “Simple Five,” and “Rose Leaves.”