Posts Tagged ‘quilt’

Crochet Comets

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Crochet Comets, by Suzann Thompson

At our 2015 Dublin Rippers quilting retreat, my friend Donna challenged us. She had a black plastic bag full of fabric. We had to close our eyes and reach into the bag. We had until the next year’s retreat to make something from the fabric we drew from the bag. She said we could make anything we wanted. It didn’t have to be a quilt.

My fabric was a tiny print that gave an overall impression of a kind of pinkish gray. It reminded me of the night sky.

Weren’t there a couple of yellow and white doilies in my collection at home that might make good comets? I went home to my doily collection and, yes! There they were.

 step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Crochet Comets, by Suzann Thompson

To get an idea of scale, I photographed the doilies and the gray fabric, plus some yellow fabrics that I planned to use for the comet tails. I used Adobe Photoshop Elements to digitally build the wall hanging, cutting and pasting the images of doilies and fabric.

I put several stars in the sky, just to give me an idea of how they would look. In the real wall hanging, I would use more stars and they would be a lot fancier. And I’d sew on a bunch of buttons as smaller stars.

Photoshop Elements has a click-and-drag tool for drawing boxes and circles and, hey—stars! I clicked on the star shape and dragged the first one. It was black, because that was the last color I had used. I changed the color, and the next stars were yellow.

 step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Crochet Comets, by Suzann Thompson

The sketch was pretty rough, but it served its purpose. I could tell that the quilt would have to be about five feet wide to give the doily comets and their tails enough room. The horizon and a few houses gave me an idea of proportions between sky and earth.

I started laying out the quilt top, stopping only to buy a length of fabric to go between the dark earth and the lighter sky. As I worked and laid out the doilies and houses and moon, I got a feeling. It was definitely located in my chest. It was a feeling of inevitability that seemed to squeeze my heart.

The feeling was that the sketch might be rough, but it was perfect the way it was. Any attempt on my part to fancy things up, would not make the finished product look any better. As I worked I came to know this without a doubt.

So the quilt is as close to the sketch as possible. I did fancy up the comet tails with buttons and beads, but the sky is plain, except for the appliqued stars, including a black one.

 step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Crochet Comets, by Suzann Thompson

The back is made from scraps, many of which were giveaways from my quilting friends. It is quilted in mostly parallel, curving lines. That took a long time.

This was my first mostly-fabric quilt with raw-edge applique and very simple piecing, and I learned a lot. It is also the biggest quilt I have made so far.

Crochet Comets is on display at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, Colorado, until April 23, 2017. Starting July 1, it will be part of the Celebrate Doilies! exhibit, making its debut in Stephenville, Texas, at the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council River North Gallery. (Details here.)

 step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Crochet Comets, by Suzann Thompson

Arranging Flowers for Winterling

Monday, March 27th, 2017

I had to try many different flower arrangements before finding my favorite for Winterling. It was fun! Here are a few:

 TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson  TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

Hmmm. Yeah, the white flowers seem too startlingly bright. So for the next try, I took the daisies off and also the big sunflower, because I thought it was too heavy and large for the composition.

 TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

How about the one on the left?—it’s kind of minimal with a more controlled color selection. Given a choice, I usually go for fancy over minimal. The next one is alright.

 TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

Thinking the sunflower might not be too heavy after all, I added it back in. Yep, I think this is the one.

 TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

After pinning all the flowers and leaves in place, it was time to sit down and sew. And I mean sew for a long time.

Something kept bothering me about the Samarkand Sunflower which has a yellow center, then a white round and a band of periwinkle blue before the round of white petals. The blue band looked too plain and big. A few bright yellow seed beads took care of that problem.

 TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

After sewing the flowers on, I appliqued a crocheted picot vine in the borders. Each picot has a seed bead on it, which is stitched in place to keep the picot from curling. Buttons berries grow from the vine.

That does it for Winterling! Want to know where the flower patterns are from? Visit this post at the Curious and Crafty readers blog to find out.

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

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!

Evolution of Minimalism

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

In the late 1990s, minimalism in home décor was all the rage in England—at least that’s what we read in the newspapers at the time. Minimalist homes were clean, cleaner, cleanest! They were calm, uncluttered. Any decoration not strictly necessary for function was not allowed.

Minimalism is not my style, because I like decoration and stuff within easy reach. But I can see the attraction. It’s so full of potential—lots of surfaces to fill with books, paper, pens, vases, coffee cups.

For all the functional trendiness of minimalism, I feel that human eyes crave variation and decoration. So here’s a wall hanging all about how we may enjoy the starkness of minimalism for a while, and what happens next. Its title is Evolution of Minimalism.

In the beginning, we have the most minimal nine-patch ever. Sewn with patches of the exact same plain fabric, it is totally uncluttered. It’s so calming, so clean, so… Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

…so, well, boring. Hey, could we vary the color a little? Just to give it some interest?Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

That helped. A contrasting color would perk it up even more. But don’t worry, we can hold on to our minimalist roots by using the original colors.Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

Oooo! That squiggly pattern in the middle is kind of fun. It might be even more interesting to have some texture.Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

Love that single button in the middle, and the mother-of-pearl button fabric! Very subtle, how the pearl button fabric is next to the ocean wave patterned fabric. Clever. If one button is good, four buttons are better. Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

The nine-patch is getting kind of old. Whoa—this log cabin block is perfect. Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

Do you sense a tipping point? The log cabin is turning into a log pentagon. Do I see some red? Woo hoo!Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

Colors and buttons and flowers are busting out all over! Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

This is great! Lots of color! Lots of pattern! Lots of texture! It’s wonderful! Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson Wow. All this stuff is wearing me out, making me tired. Let’s clean up all this clutter and get back to basics. We’re going back to the beginning. Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

And so the natural evolution of minimalism goes.

It’s all coded in the DNA.

Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

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.

Afternoon in the Making

Monday, May 30th, 2016

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Afternoon

Slanting afternoon shadows fill me with anticipation, melancholy, satisfaction. Late in 2014, I knitted yardage to make a wall hanging with slanting shadows and those feelings in it. And for once, no pink was allowed. I put pink in almost everything, because I love pink. But not here.

The yardage sat on my stack for months, while I finished other projects. Finally, in the summer of 2015, I started working on Afternoon, the wall hanging.

I considered afternoon-ish things. Afternoon tea is a thing, so I photographed a teacup and a vase in the afternoon, to get the shadows and highlights just right. I enjoy reading a book with afternoon tea or coffee, so I included two books in the photo. Autumn is kind of like the afternoon of the year, so I crocheted flowers in autumn-like colors. Afternoon light seems more golden, so I used a lot of golden yellows in the knitting.

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Afternoon

Thank goodness for technology! I planned the wall hanging with Adobe Photoshop Elements and then printed it at actual size, putting the printed sheets together with low-tech scissors and tape.

The piecing began. Red and green pieces leftover from other projects suggested leaves and flowers in the background. I shaded from dark to light, using stripes and checks for slanting shadows. As usual, I cut shapes without any pattern, fitted them together, and pinned them to a foundation fabric. The foundation for this wall hanging was fabric that a friend gave away.

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Afternoon

To block out space for the vase and cup, I cut those shapes and more from my printed pattern and pinned them onto the foundation fabric as place-savers.

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Afternoon

The oblong shape of this doily from my collection gave the impression of perspective.

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Afternoon

Embellishment Troubles or Joys?

Friday, December 11th, 2015

The title of this post was originally going to be “Embellishment Woes.” This project is causing me trouble. I’m not quite satisfied with any arrangement of flowers and buttons so far. But after thoughtful consideration, I remembered that this is my favorite part of the process. So no woes.

Titled 360 Degrees, this piece is for one of the member challenges at Visions Art Museum next year. It is a small quilt, made from a rug I knitted many, many years ago.

Once again I say, “Thank goodness for digital photography!” It’s so quick and easy to photograph different options and look at them all together. Here are photos of the arrangements I have tried so far.

Embellishment options for 360 Degrees wall hanging

Embellishment options for 360 Degrees wall hanging

Embellishment options for 360 Degrees wall hanging

Embellishment options for 360 Degrees wall hanging

Seems pretty likely there will be more photos before I make the final decision about embellishment. Really, I’m waiting for the thrill. The thrill will tell me when I’ve got the combination right.

Knitting and Quilting Puzzling Pinks

Monday, November 16th, 2015

Suzann Thompson's Puzzling Pink quilt

At 42″ x 31″, Puzzling Pinks is among my largest wall hangings. That’s a lot of knitting! Luckily, at the Ultimate Sweater Machine, I can crank out the stockinette stitch in record time.

Knitting for Suzann Thompson's Puzzling Pink quilt

As usual, I knitted a varied, shaded fabric by changing yarn every one or two rows—easy on the USM. With the green yarns sorted into groups of gray greens, yellow greens, and plain old green greens, I hoped to knit the impression of sun and shadow. There’s even a little blue for the sky in this garden of pink flowers.

Knitting Suzann Thompson's Puzzling Pink quilt

To create the patchwork squares of green background, I tried a little something different, cutting squares from fusible interfacing first, fusing them onto the knitted fabric second, and finally cutting them out. This worked pretty well.

Suzann Thompson's Puzzling Pink quilt

My quilting friends look forward to summers, because we get together in Dublin, Texas, for a three-day quilting retreat. Of course we sew, but it’s also three-day talk and laugh fest with yummy food and fun games.

My goal was to have Puzzling Pinks pieced and ready to quilt in time for our get-together. Managed. Quilting the piece took several hours, but this fun group of women helped the time pass quickly.

With three days of mostly uninterrupted sewing, a person can get a lot done. We were all very productive. By the end of our retreat, Puzzling Pinks was quilted, labeled, and bound.

Suzann Thompson's Puzzling Pink quilt

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