The Week Ends on Wednesday

The week ends on Wednesday for my 16-week Christmas in July project. I admit it’s a head game. The lazy part of me doesn’t like having the week end on a Sunday, because if for some reason I’m waiting until the last minute to finish, then I would have to work on the weekend. It’s silly, but it seems to make me more relaxed about the week’s work.

July will be underway for another 10 days, so there’s still time to start a Christmas in July project. Here is an outline for creating a Christmas in July project plan:

  1. Decide on a project.
  2. When does it have to be finished? By December 24th, just in time to give it as a gift? Or around Thanksgiving, so you can use it for holiday decorating?
  3. From now, count how many weeks you have until your deadline. Alternatively, simply decide how many weeks you want to work on it. I chose 16 weeks for my project, because it will be done in plenty of time for decorating, with leeway in case another urgent project comes up, like it did last year.
  4. Divide the work of the project into the number of weeks you have. Remember to leave time for finishing, like sewing blocks together, weaving in ends, blocking, starching, and so on. Be reasonable as to how you divide the work, because the idea is to finish without feeling burned out or overly stressed.
  5. Make a list with each week number, the date the week ends (like my weeks end on Wednesdays), and the portion of the project to be finished by the end of the week.
  6. Get started and enjoy yourself throughout the process.
  7. Remember this is a tool to help you. Don’t use it as a tool to beat yourself up.

I finished my work for Week 2 at the last minute, on Wednesday the 19th:

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

Comments { 0 }

CWOW Continues

Iced Water at the Cafe Rouge, a knitted, embellished quilt by Suzann Thompson, greeting cards

I’m resuming my letters to elected officials with these notes that will go in the mail on July 21, 2017. They’re about a seemingly evergreen topic, health care in the United States.

CWOW stands for Cold Water on Washington, because I’m using my greeting cards with an image of Iced Water at the Cafe Rouge, one of my early knitted, quilting wall hangings.

For the representative in Congress for Texas District 11, and for our Texas senators:

Dear Mr. Conaway,

Back in March, you sent me a letter which began, “Thank you for contacting me to express your views on abortion.”

But Mr. Conaway, I did not write to you about abortion.

I wrote to ask you to fund Planned Parenthood. Federal money cannot fund abortion, so what can your objection be?

As you know, the best way to prevent abortion is to prevent pregnancy. Planned Parenthood does this through education and affordable health care and birth control.

In fact I would bet that Planned Parenthood has prevented more abortions than you ever have.

So here’s a new slogan for you: “Prevent abortion—fund Planned Parenthood!”

Sincerely,
ST

Dear Senators Cruz & Cornyn,

I think you are lucky the BCRA failed. If it should come up again, please vote AGAINST it.

I would like for you to make basic health care and preventive care available to all Americans, paid for by taxes. Preventing disease or catching it early will save us money in the long run. Go ahead, ask the CBO about it.

Address the wildly increasing costs of health care. How about drastically lowering tuition and expenses for medical training, so graduates aren’t burdened with so much debt which they pass on to us? What about negotiating lower prices for medicines, medical equipment and procedures?

I look forward to your future open, better-informed, bipartisan efforts to improve our health care system.

Sincerely,
ST

P. S. for Sen Cornyn: Thank you for sending replies to my letters. I appreciate that.

Comments { 0 }

Christmas in July 2017

Christmas Santa train felt kit, number 86365 by Bucilla

Pacing myself to finish a Christmas project worked so well last year, I’m doing it again this year with this cute felt kit by Bucilla.

Boringly named “Train—Wall Hanging,” Bucilla kit number 86365 features Santa driving a steam train engine decorated with toys, gifts and ornaments, with a snowman catching a ride.

The kit, which I bought at Herrschner’s, my favorite mail-order needlework company, has 147 pieces printed on felt. When you see a piece marked with a solid line, you consult the instructions to find out which stitch and floss color to embroider the line with. Dots show where to attach sequins and beads. Dotted lines show where other pieces are to be sewn.

Christmas Santa train felt kit, number 86365 by Bucilla

It’s such an indulgence to have everything marked and thought out ahead of time by someone else! Kits like this include the felt, floss, sequins, beads, and needles. You provide a small amount of stuffing and other bits. “Train” requires chenille stems and cardboard for stiffening certain pieces.

For the next sixteen weeks, I’ll be working on nine or 10 pieces a week. And I’ll report to you here and on Instagram, which help motivate me to keep up with the plan.

And here’s the first week’s work finished:

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

For more frequent updates, follow me on Instagram @suzannthompson (see sidebar for link).

Comments { 0 }

Sacred Threads in Herndon, VA, through Sunday

A Worthy Accomplishment, art quilt with doily and other crochet, by Suzann Thompson

As you walk through the Sacred Threads art quilt exhibit, you can listen to a recording of artists talking about their work. (More about the exhibit below.)

Coming up with a one-minute commentary about my piece, A Worthy Accomplishment, was a new challenge for me. I wrote and *cut and practiced reading,* and repeated between *s several times. That’s a reference to knitting and crochet instructions, in case you were wondering.

The volunteers at Sacred Threads set up a telephone recording session, where artists could call in and record their speech. I was able to listen to my recording and decide whether to save or re-record. It took me about three tries to get it just the way I wanted it.

* * * *

Sacred Threads is an exhibition of quilts that express life’s journeys. Through their art, quilters express joy, inspiration, spirituality, healing, grief, and peace. Read lots more about this thoughtful and interesting exhibit at www.sacredthreadsquilts.com.

The project is run by volunteers, like these two who were hanging the quilts for the 2017-2019 show, which debuted in Herndon, VA. This photo from the Sacred Threads Facebook page is used with permission.

A Worthy Accomplishment, art quilt with doily and other crochet, by Suzann Thompson, at Sacred Threads

The exhibit will be at the Floris Methodist Church in Herndon, Virginia, through Sunday, July 23. After that, A Worthy Accomplishment is coming home, but thirty-six of the original 300 quilts in the Sacred Threads exhibit will travel around the United States through June 2019. These are the venues so far:

  • Flint Festival of Quilts, Flint MI – September 2017
  • HeART Gallery, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Toledo, OH – October 18-30, 2017
  • Grace Episcopal Church, Gainesville GA – November 1 – December 15, 2017
  • Voice of the Spirit Gallery, West Raleigh Presbyterian Church, Raleigh, NC -January – February, 2018
  • Southeastern Quilt & Textile Museum, Carrollton GA – March-June, 2018
  • Good Shepard Episcopal Church, Hayesville NC – July, 2018
  • The Rectory Cultural Arts Center, Norcross, GA – August, 2018
  • Virginia Quilt Museum, Harrisonburg VA – September-December, 2018
  • Best of the Valley Quilt Show, Lindsay, CA – April, 2019
  • A World of Quilts, Danbury, CT – May 2019

If you or your venue is interested in receiving a portion of the 2017 exhibit, please indicate your interest by filling out the Traveling Exhibit Interest form.

If you aren’t able to see the show in Virginia, I hope you will like to read the speech about A Worthy Accomplishment:

Hi. I’m Suzann Thompson, talking to you from Comanche County, Texas.

I’ve met a startling number of people who feel unworthy.

I think our culture feeds this perception. As a society, we seem to admire enormous wealth and power. We marvel at technology. And then we go to the movies and see heroes swooping in to save the world!

Those are BIG, IMPORTANT things.

My quilt, A Worthy Accomplishment, draws attention to the SMALL important things that most of us do every day. We take care of ourselves and others, work at home or away. We are kind and thoughtful. And sometimes, we take time to make something, like a delicious meal or a quilt.

We probably won’t become famous or rich for doing these things, but I think they are worthy accomplishments and because we do them, WE ARE worthy. I hope you think so, too.

Read more about this wall hanging at www.textilefusion.com/blog/?p=a-worthy-accomplishment.

Comments { 0 }

A Celebrate Doilies Interview at March On! Texas

I met writer and historian Kelly McMichael at a town hall meeting of our U.S. Representative last spring. It was a nice surprise to find out that Kelly is a textile artist, too!

Kelly offers a different spin on the Celebrate Doilies exhibition in this post at the March On! Texas blog.

press for Celebrate Doilies

Comments { 0 }

Doily Yarn Bombs for Art Exhibit

The Celebrate Doilies will open in two short days! Yay!

But let’s dwell for a moment on the past.

Baling twine doily for Celebrate Doilies exhibit

My parents have raised cattle for a long time, and cows need hay during the winter. Mom and Dad buy big, round hay bales, which used to be tied up with yards of blue and white synthetic string called baling twine.

My dad can hardly stand to throw away anything that might be useful someday, and so he has a tub full of baling twine. “Suzie,” he has often said, “you could knit something out of that baling twine.”

Yes, I could knit something with baling twine, but as we say in my little family, “Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.”

All that changed when I was looking for a good fiber to make a doily to yarn bomb the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council gallery during the Celebrate Doilies exhibit. I tried crocheting the baling twine. It was kind of stiff and springy, but it could definitely be crocheted.

In the photo above, I’m on round 13 of the baling twine doily.

Doily yarn bomb for Celebrate Doilies exhibit

My mom offered a softer option: macramé cord that had been among her craft supplies for about 25 years.

The five hanks of cord totaled about 270 yards, so the crocheting went relatively quickly. The vintage pattern accommodated the varying weights of the cord perfectly. It was pattern number 7444 for a luncheon set. You can find the pattern by searching the internet with the terms “luncheon set 7444.”

In this photo, my assistant is stretching the doily on a length of PEX pipe, with the help of the dogs. The doily measured about 40 inches across when stretched.

Comments { 0 }

Crochet Bloggers Spread News of Celebrate Doilies!

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.

Comments { 0 }

CWOW Letters 6

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

Comments { 0 }

Celebrate Doilies Crowd-Fundraiser Launched Today. Please contribute!

Exciting news! Today, I launched 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.

(This is a screenshot of the Kickstarter page, so the video isn’t available. A live link is below the picture.)

Celebrate Doilies! Kickstarter launch

Please donate for art, for poetry, and for our crochet heritage at the Celebrate Doilies! Kickstarter page.

And to give you a little extra incentive to donate, the first ten people to contribute $24 or more to Celebrate Doilies! will receive a unique package of crocheted flowers or leaves, crocheted by me!

A few of these items are designer originals from my crochet flower books. The tape measure is in the photos so you can get an idea of how big these flowers and leaves are. Inches on top, centimeters below.

This is the Paisley and Friends collection:
flowery incentive for Kickstarter contributions
Here’s Fleur-di-Lys and Friends:
flowery incentive for Kickstarter contributions
Big Orange Flower and Friends:
flowery incentive for Kickstarter contributions
Maple Leaf Collection:
flowery incentive for Kickstarter contributions
Purples Plus:
flowery incentive for Kickstarter contributions
Pineapple, Pomegranate, and Friends:
flowery incentive for Kickstarter contributions
Sweet and Simple:
flowery incentive for Kickstarter contributions
Pink Plus:
flowery incentive for Kickstarter contributions
Three Dimensional Flowers:
flowery incentive for Kickstarter contributions
Sparkle Collection (see close-up at the end of this post):
flowery incentive for Kickstarter contributions
Orange Collection with Leafy Spray:
flowery incentive for Kickstarter contributions

Wait! Why are there eleven packages for only ten contributors? Two reasons: even the 10th person to donate $24 or over will have a choice; and I’m very curious to see which one is left.

Close up of sparkly flowers incentive packet

Comments { 0 }

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

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!

Comments { 0 }