Archive for the ‘Workshops’ Category

Open Studios at IQF-Chicago

Monday, April 18th, 2016

I was happy this year to present three Open Studios sessions at the International Quilt Festival in Chicago. It’s great to talk to so many interested and enthusiastic people.

For “Quilting Sweater Knits” I hurried up and prepared two more minis in my Yellow Circle series.

 Open Studios—Quilting Sweater Knits  Open Studios—Quilting Sweater Knits

“Tropical Sunflower,” at left, was pieced and ready to quilt. For the one on the right, the pieces were pinned to the foundation but not yet sewn. I may name that one something like “Searchlight in a Blue Norther.”

 Open Studios—Quilting Sweater Knits

On the third yellow circle mini, closest to the viewer in this photo, I demonstrated how to piece knitted fabric onto a foundation.

 Open Studios—Flower Arranging for Quilters

On another day, we practiced “Flower Arranging for Quilters.” Two different groups of Open Studios participants came up with possibilities for my new wall hanging. I like this one a lot. I liked the other one a lot, too.

The wall hanging’s working title is “Blue Onion,” because the inspiration was my mother’s Zwiebelmuster or Onion Pattern china.

 Open Studios—Doilies in Your Quilts

Finally, I showed how to include doilies in quilts using several samples, including this new wall hanging, “Red Vases.”

Whew. That was a lot of prep. But it’s a good thing, because often the most difficult part of a project for me is starting it. True, I was going to start these projects eventually, but because of the Quilt Festival, they’re already begun.

Now all I have to do is finish them.

TextileFusion Workshop, San Jose, CA, April 18th

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Try your hand at TextileFusion in a workshop

on April 18th, 2015
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

at The San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles
520 South First Street
San Jose, CA 95113

This sample quilt is similar to what we will be making. It started as a thrift store sweater.

Register and read more about it here:

After a colorful slide presentation about how TextileFusion techniques came to be, each of us will make a small knitted, embellished quilt from an old sweater. In case you’re wondering—yes!—we will cut it up! You will need scissors, pins, hand-sewing needles and a non-lace sweater (preferably wool or cotton) that you don’t mind cutting up. Skills required: simple hand sewing, sewing buttons.

I hope you will join me and my lovely assistant (daughter) for this quick mixed-media exercise.

San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles

Mosaic Memories Monday: Moments with Barbara Walker

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

It was at the Interweave Knitting Lab, October 2012, in Manchester, New Hampshire. I was teaching a class about how to knit mosaic patterns and design your own. The workshop participants were enthusiastic and they were close to completing our first mosaic sample: a dotty heart pattern.

Barbara Walker

All at once, the door opened, and in walked a small white-haired lady wearing a sparkling mosaic sweater. We saw, as if in a dream, Barbara Walker, the first champion of the mosaic knitting technique, the developer of a very clever mosaic knit charting method, the designer of many, many mosaic patterns. All this and much, much more.

Barbara Walker's bag

Barbara examined the mosaic samplers and graciously allowed us to photograph her and her lovely sweater and bag. She never uses a sweater pattern. She just decides which stitch motifs to use, and then knits from the top down.

She left us star-struck, and we continued our workshop with renewed vigor.

Barbara was the keynote speaker for the conference. I wouldn’t have missed her speech for anything. She produced several treasuries of knitting stitch patterns, which to my mind are the foundation for all modern knit stitch treasuries and the inspiration for many knitting patterns we’ve seen in books and magazines for the last 30 years.

A 1952 graduate of University of Pennsylvania, Barbara wrote for the Washington Star newspaper for years. The paper closed two or three years after she left. At some point, she took two classes in medieval history, where, oddly, no mention was made of the Inquisition. This got her started researching the history of religion. Among other things, this study resulted in the publication of her thoroughly engrossing encyclopedias of feminine symbols and mythology.

Here are a few lines from Barbara Walker’s speech, which made me admire her even more:

Regarding the relative creativity of the people in the room:

“You have probably knitted as much as I have, but you didn’t keep count. You are as creative as I am, but you just haven’t put it in books.”

Regarding how she was able to produce so much:

The television broke. About six years later, she called a repairman. “I got a lot done in that time,” she said.

“I was always solitary. That’s how I got so much done.”

And finally,

“I want to surprise myself. I don’t want to be bored.”

Thank you, Barbara Walker. Your work has made a large and lasting impression on my life.

Suzann and Barbara Walker

Third Grade Art Days

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Third Grade Textile Art

I was the lucky one on October 23! My daughter Ella and I spent a busy morning with third graders at an Austin-area elementary school for Art Days. This is Ella at the beginning of the day.

Parents spent weeks organizing and preparing for Art Days, funded the purchase of most of the supplies, and organized visits by visual artists, musicians, actors, and authors. (Thank you, Carolyn, for inviting me!)

Our work room was all ready to go with a gallon of school glue and an 8 x 10″ canvas for each student. Ella and I brought buttons, beads, sequin trims, felt, and crocheted bits and pieces. After a while, the supplies got scattered around a little by those hard-working third graders.

Third Grade Textile Art

I had lots of…let’s call them crocheted beta-flowers–the prototypes for the flowers that became part of Crochet Bouquet and Crochet Garden.

They’ve been sitting on my storage shelves for years, because I couldn’t imagine throwing them away. The third graders made excellent use of them. Look!

Third Grade Textile Art

I am absolutely thrilled and amazed by every single one of these compositions. The colors, the enthusiasm, instinctive design sense–oh my.

Third Grade Textile Art

Third Grade Textile Art Third Grade Textile Art

Third Grade Textile Art

This is “Superman with a Zipper.” See the green sequin “S” for Superman?

Third Grade Textile Art Third Grade Textile Art

Third Grade Textile Art

Third Grade Textile Art

The mother of the student who decorated the canvas at the bottom left, guessed correctly that it was his, without first seeing his name on the back. “Those are the colors in our playroom!” she said.

Third Grade Textile Art Third Grade Textile Art

Third Grade Textile Art

Third Grade Textile Art

Third Grade Textile Art

Third Grade Textile Art

Third Grade Textile Art

Third Grade Textile Art Third Grade Textile Art

Third Grade Textile Art

Third Grade Textile Art

Can you tell that two friends decorated these canvasses?

Third Grade Textile Art

Look, right in the middle is a “Mumsy”-prototype from Crochet Bouquet, and a “Baby Cornflower” from Crochet Garden in the top right corner.

Third Grade Textile Art

This is a “Byzantine Beauty” from Crochet Garden. I crocheted several different versions of that flower before finally getting it right.

The young lady that created this design was quietly confident. She studied the canvas, rummaged around in the piles of supplies, and came back with exactly the right piece to accent the Byzantine Beauty. She repeated the process until she was satisfied.

Sixth Grade Textile Art

Ella finally got to decorate her own canvas, after helping third-graders all morning.

Sign Up Now for Taos Wool Festival Workshops in October

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Polymer clay buttons

The Taos Wool Festival is always the first full weekend of October, with workshops starting a couple of days ahead. This is a great time to be in the mountains of New Mexico. The autumn colors and crisp weather are just wonderful.

This year I’m offering three classes at Taos:

Polymer Clay Button Boutique, all day Friday, October 3. You’ll go home with lots of colorful, pretty buttons, ready to use. They’re machine washable and dryable. Beginners are welcome!

The buttons in the photo above are Swirl Buttons, which we’ll make in class. You can match your Swirl Buttons to any yarn or fabric.

Mosaic knit fish rug

Knit Mosaic Patterns and Design Your Own, Saturday afternoon, October 4. After this class, you’ll be able to knit any of Barbara Walker’s many mosaic patterns, and you can design your own! Read more about the workshop here.

This fishy rug is from a picture that my daughter Eva drew when she was seven years old. Think of the precious drawings you could capture in knitting after taking this class!

Knit Cables, Bobbles, and Braids workshop

Cables, Bobbles, and Braids, Sunday morning, October 5. You’ll learn how to do these stunning knitting techniques, but more importantly, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of these textural wonders. You’ll go away ready to twist and shout!

Please sign up for classes before September 1, 2014, at

This notice is also on my other blog, but with different pictures. Enjoy!

Updated 2016 to correct a link.

Perk for Picot-Rama Students!

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

Crocheted Picot-Mania Trim, by Suzann

“Look Eva,” I said to my daughter. “This is for my Picot class at the Knit & Crochet Show.”

I pronounced it “PEEK-oh.”

She said, “Awww!” in that adorable teenage way that I have tried to copy, but can’t.

“See all the picots?” I said. “It’s picot…, um, picot…?”

“Picot-MANIA!” Eva said.

The Knit & Crochet Show

It seemed a great name for this trim: Picot-Mania Trim. It looks really elegant around the lower edge of a lampshade. Hmmm. I see a home décor project in my future.

Where can a person find a pattern for Picot-Mania Trim? For the moment, it’s only available to the wonderful crocheters who signed up for my Picot-Rama class at the Knit & Crochet Show in Reno next month.

There’s still time to sign up! More information here:

Sonja Knows What to Do With Buttons!

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Felt penny wreath wall hanging

What in the world can a person do with bunches of buttons?

My friend Sonja, who owns the “Two Olde Yoyos” shop on Etsy, knows! She made this wreath wall hanging in the penny-rug style, then added hand-made polymer clay buttons (by me!).

It is so pretty, I bought one for myself. At the moment I write this, there’s one more penny wreath wall hanging at Sonia’s Etsy shop. She also has lots of mini-quilts and more, at very reasonable prices.

The Knit & Crochet Show

“But wait,” you may be saying, “How can I get hold of some hand-made polymer clay buttons?”

You can make some! In fact, there’ still time to sign up for my polymer clay button workshops at The Knit & Crochet Show next month in Reno, Nevada. For more information, please visit this site:

Interweave Knitting Lab

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Suzann’s Color Composure workshop

When someone mentions the name “Interweave,” I think of fine publications about fiber and textiles.

It’s a prestigious name!

So you can imagine how very excited I am to be teaching for Interweave Knitting Lab New England, October 4-7, 2012 in Manchester, NH!

I’m leading several workshops that are full of information. Workshop participants will see lots of samples and practice the techniques as well.

  • Color, Texture, and Structure with the Elusive Slip Stitch (all day, October 4)
  • Color Composure (all day, October 5)
  • Knit Mosaic Patterns and Chart Your Own (morning, October 6)
  • Seamless Argyles in the Round (afternoon, October 6)

Suzann’s Elusive Slip Stitch workshop

I’m also giving a talk, illustrated with a colorful slide show, that shows how “TextileFusion” began and has developed over the last nearly 20 years:

  • TextileFusion: A Knitting of Art (evening, October 4)

For more information, please visit Interweave Knitting Lab New England at I hope to see you there!

Polymer Clay Button Cloth

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Suzann’s polymer clay button cloth

Polymer clay buttons are so much fun to make! They’re colorful and pretty. They’re machine-washable and dryable. Button-lover that I am, I have enjoyed making these little beauties since the 1980s. The buttons started accumulating. How could I display all those buttons? A button cloth!

Suzann’s polymer clay button cloth, up close

Since there were so many colors of buttons, I needed a colorful button cloth. Borrowing a color-meandering technique from quilter Jinny Beyer, I arranged the hues of the rainbow in different shades and tints.

Suzann’s polymer clay button cloth, up close

Using the wonderful Ultimate Sweater Machine and yarns from my collection, I knitted blocks of color, alternating with cream and white, and with black and gray at the beginning and end of each strip. I used the join-as-you-knit method to add new strips of color blocks.

After blocking the knitting, I added quilt batting and fabric backing. Then I quilted it and added binding all around.

Suzann’s polymer clay button cloth

Now to sew buttons onto the cloth! It took a long time to work through my backlog of buttons. After that, whenever I made a new button style or color-way, I sewed a sample onto the cloth right away.

It’s such a fun piece to show. I always take it to my button workshops. People are surprised to learn that all the colors are the colors of the clay—no paint!

More Buttons at the Knit & Crochet Show

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Early Friday morning I made my way to the button classroom to finish baking buttons we made the day before. As the start of class came closer, familiar faces and new faces greeted me for Polymer Clay Button Boutique 2.

hard at work making polymer clay buttons

At nine o’clock, Jane, Susan, Mary, Diane, Mira, Rae, Ingrid, Charles, Joyce, Willett, June, Barb, Mary, Judy, and Camilla got busy mixing colors for faux turquoise buttons. We grated clay, applied paint to the grated shreds, cut, twisted, and squished the clay. We worked hard all day. The piles of buttons grew and grew. There was lots of talking and laughing.

Judy and Charles’s polymer clay buttons

By the end of the day, we finished the turquoise buttons, made twisty mica-shift buttons, flower millefiori buttons, and mosaic buttons. I had to take them back to my room to finish baking. Find lots more photos from our button classes here.

One of the great things about teaching is that I learn from the people in my classes. They try things I’ve never thought of, like this new way to do millefiori flower buttons by Judy and Charles.

Saturday afternoon’s button baking line-up