Celebrate Doilies Opening Reception Today

July 22nd, 2017

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!

Sacred Threads in Herndon, VA, through Sunday

July 19th, 2017

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.

A Celebrate Doilies Interview at March On! Texas

June 29th, 2017

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

Doily Yarn Bombs for Art Exhibit

June 29th, 2017

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.

Crochet Bloggers Spread the Love of Doilies

June 10th, 2017

Crochet Concupiscence 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!

Kathryn Vercillo is the author of several book 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.



* * * * *
Crochet Spot Celebrate Doilies blog post
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.

Read lots more about the Celebrate Doilies! here on 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.

Celebrate Doilies Crowd-Fundraiser Launched Today. Please contribute!

May 28th, 2017

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

Free for Two Days Only! Crocheted Oak Leaf Pattern

May 9th, 2017

Fiber artists Alyssa Arney and Liz Flynn (@thread.winners on Instagram) called for community donations of crocheted or knitted oak leaves for “Reveries,” an exhibit they are putting on this summer.

Well, I felt quite a connection there, since I’m also putting on an exhibit this summer (more here).

AND I had a few crocheted oak leaves in my stash of crocheted flowers and leaves. So I’m sending these. Most are “Gambel Oak” leaves from Crochet Garden.

crocheted oak leaves

Alyssa and Liz’s project motivated me to dust off a different oak leaf pattern and publish it. The red and green leaves below are now available in my shop on ravelry.com.

Click here to download my Oak Leaf pattern FREE only on May 9 and 10, 2017. After that, the price will be $1.00. (You can still click here to go to my pattern page on Ravelry).

crocheted oak leaf pattern

Alyssa and Liz are offering a free crocheted oak leaf pattern as well. Find the link at their Instagram account (@thread.winners).

I look forward to seeing their finished project!

Consulting the Experts on Color

April 18th, 2017

This is part 3 of my article about yellow that missed being published in 2006 when a magazine went out of business. The article has been updated.

It’s not something we generally think about much if at all, but most of us see the work of color experts every single day. Fashion, food, and craft magazines, advertisements, variegated yarns, and print fabrics are created for maximum appeal. Creators want you to buy them, so they make them beautiful.

For the price of old magazines and yarn or fabric already in our collections, we can consult their color expertise.

For my study of yellow, I gathered magazines that were destined for the recycling bin. When I saw attractive photos and ads with yellow in them, I tore them out.

Yellow, blue, turquoise collage

I ended up with a lot of pages that featured yellow, turquoise, and blue. That summery combination reminds me of swimming pools and sunny beaches with turquoise waters.

Maybe it wasn’t strictly necessary, but it was fun to make this collage…

…and these swatches.

Yellow, blue, turquoise swatches

Intarsia cables are kind of a pain, but they look so nice…

Intarsia knitted cables

As yarn lovers, we’re very familiar with variegated or multicolor yarns. Yarn manufacturers consult experts, predict fashions, and they pick the colors they think will appeal to the most consumers. The same goes for fabric manufacturers.

Go ahead—borrow their expertise!

yellow, pink, blue knitted swatch

Lion Brand’s Lion Ribbon (probably discontinued now) combines yellow with vibrant pink and blue. Small amounts of green, orange, and violet appear between the major colors. I tried to use similar proportions of solid colors in my knitted sample.

The pattern is Barbara Walker’s “String of Pearls,” most likely from her Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns.

Next time: “A Suffusion of Yellow” (Thank you, Douglas Adams.)

Yellow Around the House

April 16th, 2017

Still working through the unpublished article about the color yellow, this is part 2. The previous post has a list of basic steps for studying a color.

Izzy the cat with fabric and a margarine tub

Awww, Izzy. She was a pretty and sweet cat!

Like many animals we’ve known, she knew how to present herself to her best advantage. The Holstein-patterned fuzzy fabric matched her perfectly and made us wonder “Is it a cat? Is it a cow?” Meow!

The yellow margarine tub happened to be nearby, adding a pop of color to the mysterious scene.

Yellow with black traditionally means danger or caution, in nature and in human environments. Think of bees and some wasps, with their yellow and black abdomens; think of yellow and black striped road signs that alert drivers to bridges or odd intersections.

Yellow, black, and white seed stitch knitted scarf

Yellow and black can be a jarring combination, but I think adding white lifts it from the caution zone into a happy place.

So when I saw Lion Brand’s black and white FunFetti (now discontinued, I’m sad to say), I didn’t even make a study swatch. I combined it with yellow Wool-Ease to make this scarf. It was my first yellow triumph, thanks to Izzy the cat.

Bluebonnets, Winecups, Engleman's Daisies

Around our house, we had wildflowers. In this bouquet we have Texas Bluebonnets, which you probably recognize as lupines; Winecups, which look like brilliant Easter eggs hiding in the grass; and profusely yellow Engleman’s Daisies. They form one of our spring’s most delicious color combinations.

The bouquet inspired me. I wanted to knit the blue, magenta, and yellow.

But wait! Let’s go back to the basic steps above and answer the questions:

What other colors are near the study color (yellow)?

In the garden, I saw blue and magenta near the yellows, but also green.

Are the nearby colors lighter, darker, or similar in tone to your color?

The magenta is darker than the yellow, but they seem to have the same saturation. They’re brilliant. The blue and greens seem paler and recede from the brilliance of the yellow.

Do you see shadows or highlights that enhance the study color?

There are some shadows in the greenery, but to me they don’t enhance the yellow.

What are the proportions of the various colors?

In the bouquet, the proportions of yellow, magenta, blue, and green are roughly the same.

intarsia sample of wildflower colors

Instead of using a pattern with rigidly spaced repeats, I went for randomly colored intarsia squares. I love this sample!

Really, it’s one of my favorite samples and I have wanted to expand this idea into a project for a while—I knitted the sample in 2006. But what would I make?

Within the past year, I think I have settled on a project.

Poet Sandi Horton (read one of her poems here) has written several pieces for my Celebrate Doilies exhibit. She sent me a few as inspiration for a wall hanging. Her poem “Texas Hillside” describes these flowers almost exactly, and someday I’ll make a randomly-colored intarsia check wall hanging about it.

Next time: Consult the Experts.

Studying Yellow

April 14th, 2017

This article was written for a magazine that went out of print before publishing it. It seemed a shame to keep it to myself, so here it is, and I hope you enjoy it.

Yellow crochet, the start of a doily

Sunshine, cowardly, lemon, journalism: yellow is many things. I was surprised learn that yellow is also “difficult.”

A friend took a creative color workshop with a well-known knitting instructor. Each student chose one color to study for the day. “But don’t pick yellow,” said the instructor. “It’s difficult.”

I scoffed at this, but to my amazement, I later heard the same pronouncement at an international quilt show.

Well, I say if a color is allegedly difficult, working with it is the only way to learn to use it well.

So let’s take a look at yellow together, and then you can use these methods to study any color you may find difficult. The best part is, no color wheels are necessary.

Basic Steps

Decide which specific color you want to study.

Yellow ranges from pale creams (yellow + white) to rich olive shades (yellow + black). Yellow school-buses are really orange-yellow, while fluorescent yellows have greenish overtones. Given the large variety of yellow, I concentrated specifically on brilliant yellows.

Observe your color in different surroundings.

Look for your color in nature, in human environments, in magazines, quilts, your own home, photos, museums, and books. At this stage, the goal is to gather lots of information about the color, and avoid judging the color combinations you see.

Answer these questions about the color and its surroundings.

  • What other colors are near the study color?
  • Are the nearby colors lighter, darker, or similar in tone to your color?
  • Do you see shadows or highlights that enhance the study color?
  • What are the proportions of the various colors?

Answer the questions in words rather than just taking a visual impression in your brain. Writing answers on paper may help you focus on words, rather than just relying on a mental snapshot.


Make sample swatches.

Knit or crochet samples with the color combinations you observed. This is your chance to try out some interesting stitch patterns. I still use Barbara G. Walker’s treasuries of knitting patterns. For crochet, my favorite is Harmony Guide to Crocheting Techniques and Stitches, by Debra Mountford, editor (1992).


Yellow in Nature

Yellow wildflowers along a caliche road

We have lots of yellow out here in rural Texas, and so I took some photos for this study. Here’s a picture of a county roadside near our house.

I wrote answers to the questions listed above:

The lemon and orange-yellow flowers are surrounded by deep yellow green and paler dusty green leaves; also light brownish gray dried leaves. The caliche road and the earth are light beige with pink undertones, but very bright. Flower centers and shadows are dark. Shadows aren’t exactly black. The amount of yellow is small in comparison to the greens and browns.

Just so you know, you may not like how your samples turn out. I didn’t like this one.

Yellow flowers and caliche knitted sample

Going back to the original photo and my own words, I realized I didn’t include the deep shadows that added contrast to the scene. Here’s the next sample with the deep shadow color added.

Yellow flowers and caliche knitted sample

I didn’t like this one much either, but I have learned not to let this put me off. Making these samples was not a waste of time. I learned something about these colors together. They may be perfect for a wall hanging someday. They may look better in different proportions. They may look a lot better to me in a few years.

Yellow flowers and caliche knitted sample

But it was time to move on.

Like you see in this picture of nightshade berries and a grasshopper, yellow in nature is often seen with black, gray, and various shades of brown. Sometimes a tan or grayish bird has a surprising patch of yellow feathers.

Here are knitted samples of yellow with grays and tan.

Yellow knitted with grays and tan

They’re okay. I won’t be making a garment with these colors, probably. But the yellow and gray combination makes a pretty good wall hanging!

Yellow knitted with grays and tan

Next time: Yellow Around the House.