Posts Tagged ‘art quilt’

Winterling

Sunday, March 5th, 2017

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling

We don’t normally go around leaving coffeepots on the bed, but this is a special coffeepot. It’s from the now-closed Winterling chinaware factory in Schwarzenbach an der Saale in northern Bavaria. My great-grandmother, Lina Schoedel, worked there. One of Winterling’s patterns was the blue and white Zwiebelmuster or onion pattern.

This coffeepot became a vase in my TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling. But this isn’t the first time the Zwiebelmuster has inspired me: the Perspective Daisy and Curly Curlicues designs in Crochet Garden were inspired by the china, as well as the Leaves and Berries Spray (free pattern here).

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling

So back to the coffeepot on the bed. I photographed this scene to help me see how light and shadow would play in my wall hanging. Sometimes I use photos to create patterns for my wall hangings. After manipulating the photos in Adobe Photoshop Elements, I print a full-sized final draft.

Being a fan of color contrast, I chose orange for the background to the blue and white pattern of the coffeepot/vase. I sorted orange yarns into light, medium light, medium, medium dark, and dark qualities, and set to work knitting orange yardage on my Ultimate Sweater machine.

After blocking and stabilizing with fusible interfacing, the knitted yardage was smooth and even.

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling

It was time to cut up the knitting! For the curtains and vase, I used my paper pattern to cut pieces to the correct size and shape. For everything else, I cut patches of knitting freehand and fitted them together to form areas of light and shadow. I pinned the patches in place and sewed them to a foundation fabric which wouldn’t be visible in the finished piece.

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling

I couldn’t wait to try some flower arrangements. At the International Quilt Festival in Chicago, Spring 2016, participants in my Open Studios session arranged flowers. My first idea was to use blue, violet, and yellow flowers as a contrast to the orange. They soon convinced me that more colors were better.

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling

If you’re thinking the vase in these pictures looks funny, you’re right. It’s because I was using my paper pattern as a place holder. But before finalizing the flower arrangement, I needed to create the vase with knitted fabric. That took a while.

Snowflake Wall Hanging

Friday, February 24th, 2017

step by step TextileFusion snowflake wall hanging

My sweet friend Hazel gave me a cardigan she bought years ago in Scotland. It was a pretty example of Fair Isle knitting, done with raglan sleeves. Thank you, Hazel!

The star pattern put me in a wintery, snowy frame of mind, and luckily there were just enough complete star motifs in the sweater for me to cut the long hexagons and form the points of the resulting snowflake.

Knitted scraps from previous wall hangings filled in the background. I sewed the patches together onto a foundation fabric, which won’t be visible in the finished piece.

step by step TextileFusion snowflake wall hanging

Next came quilting and binding, and I used fabrics from another generous person or people. The blue and white fabrics were in the estate of a lady from Germany. Her heirs wanted her fabrics to go to someone who would appreciate them.

I got to be that person! The link was the heirs’ former German teacher, who was also a friend of my mother’s. Thank you to those lovely people! I do appreciate their mother’s fabrics and laces and vintage handwork.

step by step TextileFusion snowflake wall hanging

As I’ve said many times, embellishment is my favorite part in the process of making wall hangings. There would be lots of button-sewing in my future.

step by step TextileFusion snowflake wall hanging

I was conflicted about which look to go for. I liked the subtle transparent and white buttons at the left of this photo and my daughter agreed. However, the bold blue buttons on the right seemed a better design choice.

Lately when in doubt, I go to Instagram. Many Instagram friends answered “Go for the bold!” Only one person agreed with Ella and me. I went with the majority.

Here are the blue buttons all sewn on.

step by step TextileFusion snowflake wall hanging

I’m still going to add transparent and white buttons around the flake. Looking forward to enjoying that zen zone of button sewing.

A Worthy Accomplishment

Sunday, January 8th, 2017

A Worthy Accomplishment, crochet and quilt art, by Suzann Thompson

“Art imitates life,” people say. Recently, I saw art holding up a mirror to life, and the mirror reflected much more than I can usually see with the unaided eye.

At the movies we saw a preview of a boy who draws a monster into life, who frightens the bullies in the boy’s life. In our main feature, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a sad, desperate, and powerless person inadvertently turned frustration into a powerful external force that destroyed buildings and killed people. This force manifested as a storm of destructive particles.

At home, we watched Star Trek Beyond, where the huge, fancy Starship Enterprise is taken down by a swarm of tiny spaceships, under the command of an unhappy former Starfleet officer.

Two takeaways for me: desperation can turn into a deadly force; lots of tiny things can take down a big thing. These two phenomena are happening in our world’s population right now.

Which brings me quite naturally, I think you will agree, to my latest wall hanging, A Worthy Accomplishment.

Our United States culture worships enormity. Large corporations, huge wealth and fame, amazing feats of technology are admired and given special treatment. In contrast, regular people who do regular thing, like raising children, cleaning, cooking, going to work every day and other essential but not very exciting or profitable things, are treated as insignificant.

I think we need a more balanced approach. It’s fine to admire amazing things, and we should also value and admire everyday work and achievement. We need to acknowledge the contribution of people who take care of all the everyday things in this country, because they are the foundation on which our society is built.

For my own part, I want to bring to your attention the contribution of many thousands of women (mostly) who took the time to crochet a doily to beautify their homes, or a pretty trim to make a pillowcase or coverlet more inviting.

I can guarantee you that many of these creators would say, “Oh that’s nothing, really. It’s just something I made.”

I say, “It is something, precisely because you made it.” It is something handmade, with love or curiosity and certainly with skill. It is something to be proud of, something beautiful, something worthy.

A Worthy Accomplishment, crochet and quilt art, by Suzann Thompson

Threads of Texas Quilt Show 2016

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

Threads of Texas Quilt Show 2016

The Town ‘n Country Quilt Guild’s biennial quilt show, Threads of Texas, is over for 2016. I imagine there are some members still recovering from organizing and staffing this wonderful exhibit.

My friend Peggy and I sold tickets for four hours. We met lots of people eager to see the quilts, shop for supplies and gifts, and have a little lunch.

Along with our friends Hazel and Donna from the weekly Dublin Rippers bee, we entered several quilts in the show. We laughingly considered changing our name temporarily to “The Ribbon Ladies,” because between us, we won a total of ten or eleven ribbons!

Afternoon won a blue ribbon (first place) in the category “Other Techniques—Small.” I posted in-progress photos of Afternoon earlier in this blog.

Threads of Texas Quilt Show 2016

You’ll also find some blog posts about Red Vases, which won second place in the same category. Same for Antelope Horns, coming in at third place.

I haven’t written about Crochet Comets yet (but I will!). It is my first quilt made from quilting fabric, and it’s embellished with doilies. Crochet Comets and Red Vases won merit ribbons for embellishment.

Threads of Texas Quilt Show 2016

Peggy has already planned what she’s going to sew for Threads of Texas 2018. I’m not sure what I’m going to enter, but I am sure looking forward to it!

Threads of Texas Quilt Show 2016

Finally Finished Red Vases

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

Four a day flower sewing worked well for Firewheel Meadow, so I started with that regimen until a more urgent project distracted me.

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Red Vases

While appliqueing flowers (not my absolute favorite job in a wall hanging), I listened to The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu. Listening helped me stay focused, because I really wanted to hear the next chapter and so I had to keep on sewing.

At last, all the flowers were sewn in place. My friend Peggy said, “Those bluebells need something. How about beads?” Again, a different perspective helped. I added the beads.

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Red Vases

The wall hanging rejected all but a few of my attempts to add buttons. A Gail Hughes green button nestled comfortably among leaves, a polymer clay button was a good flower center. But mostly, the buttons were too showy and they detracted from the flowers.

Okay, so… less showy buttons?

Yes!! I hid small tan buttons among the flowers, adding texture and interest, without drawing too much attention.

Red Vases is finished, and it will make its debut at the Town and Country Quilt Guild Show in October. Peggy said, “It will win a ribbon.” That would be nice!

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Red Vases

The crocheted flowers and leaves on Red Vases are from my books Crochet Bouquet and Crochet Garden. To purchase these books, please follow links on the sidebar to amazon.com.

Arranging Flowers in Red Vases

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

When I’m arranging embellishments for a wall hanging, I like to get other peoples’ input. It helps me see things from a different perspective.

In the past, my daughters helped me out (and here, too). In April, participants in the International Quilt Festival (Chicago) Open Studios event arranged and rearranged flowers for Red Vases. We discussed the merits of different color combinations, flower shapes, and number of flowers.

Here are a few options we came up with:

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Red Vases step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Red Vases step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Red Vases

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Red Vases

Back at home, I consulted these photos while making the final arrangement for Red Vases, and this is it:

Wait! On second thought, this became the really, really final arrangement.

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Red Vases

Now to sew all those flowers in place.

How Red Vases Began

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Red Vases

Quilters and other crafters are generous people. I picked up this long, skinny seed packet panel at a quilt guild meeting—someone was cleaning out old projects and brought it to the giveaway table. The panel was about 11 inches wide and 37.5 inches long.

It lay in my fabric stack for a few years, while I contemplated how to incorporate it into a project. Finally it challenged me to use it as the backing fabric for a long, skinny quilt.

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Red Vases

That was the beginning of Red Vases, only the vases didn’t start out red. Originally I was going to recycle a tan lace sweater. You would be able to see green stems behind the lace and it was going to be great!

Only, as you can see, it wasn’t very great. It was boring.

I dug out some red and red and white checked knitting left over from another project (scroll to the end of the post). Much better!

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Red Vases

Luckily this change of vase didn’t set me back too far, because the wall hanging had to be pieced, quilted, and bound in time for the International Quilt Festival in Chicago in April, and time was growing short.

At the Open Studios event in Chicago, various people joined me in arranging flowers on Red Vases. Our first major decision, unanimously approved, was the choice of Edelweiss over Van Wyk Roses in the little vase.

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Red Vases--Edelweiss

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Red Vases—Van Wyk Roses

Patterns for the crocheted “Edelweiss” and “Van Wyk Roses” are from Crochet Garden: Bunches of Flowers, Leaves, and Other Delights. See sidebar for a link to the Crochet Garden page at Amazon.com.

Powerful Motivation

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Suzann Thompson's knitted quilts at the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council

Need motivation to make a few wall hangings? Simply agree to show them in a quilt exhibit or two, scheduled for a few months away. Be sure to note how large you said they would be, so you can make them accordingly.

That’s what I did. The result? I’ve been working diligently, consistently, and pretty much exclusively on wall-hangings for the last six months. Tuesday, November 3rd, was the deadline for the last of the quilts. I did it! I met the deadlines!

The quilts in the photo are at the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council River North Gallery, Stephenville, TX, until December 12. If you’re near Stephenville, please drop by and see them plus dozens more quilts made by members of the Town & Country Quilt Guild.

The other result of intense wall-hanging activity? I suffered from “wall-hanging eyes.” That’s when you have been sewing for so long, your eyes are focused at sewing machine distance or hand-sewing distance, and it takes a while to refocus them to see the real world.

And when I refocused last Tuesday afternoon, I saw that my house needed cleaning, papers needed filing, and blogs needed updating. That’s the plan for the next two weeks, before I start the next round of wall hangings. They’re not committed to an exhibit. Yet.

When is a Wall Hanging Really Finished?

Monday, July 13th, 2015

Mama Lion wall hanging finishing

“The painting isn’t finished until you label the slides,” said Gay Fay Kelly, a painter and my former business partner about 20 years ago. Artists sent slides when they entered their work in juried shows or contacted potential buyers or galleries.

In this digital age, we don’t send slides much anymore, thank goodness! So after the last decorative stitch of a wall hanging is embroidered and the last button sewn in place, when is it REALLY finished?

Mama Lion wall hanging finishing

First, at the back of the work, I attach a 4-inch hanging sleeve. To hang the quilt, you slide a rod through the sleeve, which puts a layer of fabric between the rod and the quilt itself.

At home, I attach wire or monofilament to the ends of the rod and hang the whole assembly from a nail. If you use a wooden rod, you can install screw-eyes to the ends and hang the piece with nails through the eyelets.

Mama Lion wall hanging finishing

I often machine-stitch the title of the work, a copyright date, and a by-line into the quilt’s backing fabric. Mama Lion’s backing fabric was too colorful and busy for successful sewn-in information, so I attached a small hand-written label. Some of my quilting friends make beautiful labels. So far, mine are plain.

 Mama Lion wall hanging finishing

My brother Van turned me on to American Textile Recycling (atrscorp.com), so now I save all fabric scraps and trimmed yarn ends for recycling. Our family has recycled for ages, and so I was glad to find a place to take old linens, clothing, shoes, and fabric scraps.

Now, part of my personal finishing routine is gathering the scraps, yarn bands, and empty plastic thread spools and other containers, and delivering them to their respective recycling sites.

 Mama Lion wall hanging finishing

Finally, it’s picture time. The west side of the house usually has bright shade that is perfect for photography. At the moment, this is my photo studio–can you see the tripod at the left? I’m working on a better way to hang the quilts. A ladder isn’t really the best.

Today’s equivalent of labeling the slides is cropping the digital photos and saving them in various formats and resolutions for print and web-sharing. When that is done, the wall hanging is truly finished.

Knitted Willow Pattern Plate

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

Eva found this shard of willow pattern china

We went out to check on some wild pig bones, which lie in a culvert down the dirt road from our house. We hoped they were bleached and clean enough for us to take home and add to Ella’s collection.

Too bad–they still had fur and other stuff attached to them. Recent rains have partially buried the rib cage and apparently washed the skull away. They are fossils in the making.

Undaunted, Miss Ella spotted the skull of a carnivore, maybe a fox or a small dog. We picked up pieces of armadillo shell, too. Ella wants to study bones someday. Preferably dinosaur bones.

Then Eva spotted a piece of broken china along the roadside. It was a piece of a willow pattern plate, of all things!

detail of Suzann's willow pattern wall hanging

It was a little like our life in England. We were always on the lookout for broken china, especially in places that the earth was disturbed, or where old houses were torn down, or even in our own back yard, where previous owners dumped and burned household trash. We collected boxes and boxes of broken china for making mosaics.

I was so inspired by the china we found in England, that I made a wall hanging about them. In addition to actual pieces of broken china, it has a knitted and embellished willow pattern plate on it. Read more about it here

“What is the story behind these broken pieces of china?” I asked myself. It became the theme for my wall hanging. You can see that the knitted plate is “broken” (the dark blue lines). You can look behind the flaps of the plate to find the story.

And all that started with a trip to look for bones! As Eva said, “Well, it was probably bone china.”

Updated 2016 to replace an old link.