Welcome to My Blog!

Hello, I’m Suzann Thompson. Thanks for being here.

Please enjoy reading about my creative projects. I write about process, inspiration, and interesting stuff about the artistic, writing life.

If you have comments or questions, I hope you will get in touch. My email address is knitandcrochetwithsuzann at outlook dot com, or you are welcome to leave a comment here.

Suzann Thompson

Warm regards,

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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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Celebrate Doilies Opening Reception Today

Doily yarn bombs at Celebrate Doilies by Suzann Thompson

We’re celebrating Celebrate Doilies today, July 22, with an opening reception from noon to 2 p.m. at the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council, 204 River North Boulevard, in Stephenville, Texas.

Just look for the big doilies on the front of the building. The one on the left is made from macramé cord from my mom’s stash. Thank you, Mom!

Suzann Thompson with baling twine doily

The doily on the right is from my dad’s stash of baling twine. Thank you, Dad!

A friend saw this photo of me with the baling twine doily and wrote, “You look so tiny.” That was sweet, and it gives you an idea of the relative size of this doily.

Once inside the gallery, turn to the right to find the Doily Panel, made by participants in a workshop at my studio on July 8–Anna, Ella, Janetta, Royce, and me.

Doily covered panel at Celebrate Doilies by Suzann Thompson

And there’s more—doily heritage, doily art quilts, and doily poetry. Come and see for yourself!

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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

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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!”


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.


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

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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).

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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.

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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

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