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All Aboard the Crochet Express! NatCroMo 2016

Friday, March 25th, 2016

All Aboard the Crochet Express! Blog tour sponsored by

When Amy and Donna of asked me if I would take part in this year’s National Crochet Month blog tour, I was thrilled. That was last September, and I started thinking about my blog post right away, because March would be here in the twinkling of an eye. Time flies!

Time Flies, winged clock pattern by Suzann Thompson

And now March is almost over—time flies!

Time Flies, winged clock pattern by Suzann Thompson

In honor of fleeting time, the pattern for the Time Flies flying clock motif is free through March 31, 2016. The “buy now” link will take you to the pattern at my Ravelry store–promotion will be applied at checkout.

After the 31st, you can purchase “Time Flies” on Ravelry for $2.50. But don’t wait—get it free! Hurry, because…what am I going to say?


Thank you very much for joining the Crochet Express blog tour and stopping by my blog today. Your visit is my birthday present! I’m 57 today, but it seems only yesterday that I was 25 years old. Talk about time flying.

At 25, I had already been crocheting and knitting for half my life. I was a single, working woman, living in my hometown of Austin, Texas, and dating a really nice guy named Charles. I was the founding member of our local Knitter’s and Crocheter’s Guild.

inspiring vintage craft magazines

The year was 1984 and here are some random memories of that time.

  • I loved Irish Crochet Lace… My reprints of old Irish Crochet pattern books were just about worn out because I looked at them so often.
  • I collected crochet, knitting, and craft magazines, like the two shown above… As I studied the designs and patterns, a little voice in my mind would say, “I can do that.”
  • I couldn’t forget my childhood dream of being an artist…

How did all this work out for me?

Well, it worked out in a very organic, connected way that I can see now in hindsight.

In 1987, I made a collar from one of my Irish Crochet books. The pinwheels, leaves, and round motifs were crocheted separately. As one does in Irish Crochet, I basted them to a fabric template. But instead of joining them with a crocheted mesh, the instructions said to sew the motifs together wherever they touched.

I sewed the collar to the dropped waist of my wedding dress and wore it when I married that really nice guy, Charles.

Irish Crochet embellishment on Suzann's Wedding Dress

And what about my beloved craft magazines? Living, breathing people came up with the designs in those magazines and wrote the instructions, and I wanted to be one of those people!

designs by Suzann Thompson

Through our guild, I met Pam Noel, a published crochet designer who lived in the Austin area. She connected me with an organization called the Society of Craft Designers (SCD). At the SCD conference in 1990, I sold my first knitted sweater pattern. Using what I learned at SCD, I published many needlework and craft designs, including my first crochet patterns in 1994, which you see here.

designs by Suzann Thompson

The Society of Craft Designers is no longer around, but the Crochet Guild of America offers an excellent professional day at its annual conference, where you can learn about the business of crochet designing.

designs by Suzann Thompson

The patterns shown here are

  • “Fun & Sporty: Striped Shell Vest,” McCall’s Crochet, pp. 10 and 13 ff., October 1994.
  • “Autumn Flavors: Half–Moon Tunic,” McCall’s Crochet, pp. 10 and 13 ff., October 1994.
  • “Hat and Scarf Set,” Annie’s Crochet Newsletter, pp. 20 ff., November–December 1994.
  • “Take–Along Blocks—Crimson Bouquet,” The Needlecraft Shop Afghan Collector’s Series, Paradise 962290.


The art part of my life took longer to develop. I wanted to make pictures, but hanging crochet or knitting on the wall causes it to stretch. Not good.

Through trial and error, purposeful research, and accidental discoveries, I figured out that quilting stabilizes knitted or crocheted fabric. You can hang quilted knitting or crochet on the wall and it won’t stretch. That’s how my signature style came to be. It is called TextileFusion, because it incorporates knitting, crochet, sewing, quilting, and embellishment together in a project.

I definitely went through a learning curve, both in technique and artistry, and here are a couple of my latest pieces.

Mama Lion, a TextileFusion creation by Suzann Thompson

Mama Lion was made in honor of Lion Brand Yarn Company, which sponsored exhibits of my work at the International Quilt Festival. The lioness in the picture was at the Fort Worth (TX) Zoo, watching over her three babies in the grass below the ledge she rested on. Read more about the making of Mama Lion at the Lion Brand blog, and here.

Firewheel Meadow, a TextileFusion creation by Suzann Thompson

Firewheel Meadow, finished in 2014, features about 65 crocheted flowers with button centers as well as crocheted leaves and more buttons. It was a lot of applique! Pacing myself helps a lot, so I made a plan to attach four flowers or leaves each day until it was done. And one fine day, it was. Read about the making of Firewheel Meadow here.

The rest of my TextileFusion wall hangings are at


Life in our family goes on around all this yarny activity. Charles and I raised two daughters, Eva, now 20, and Ella, who is in seventh grade this year. We moved across the Atlantic twice. We built an earthen house.

We were out shopping as a family in 2006, when we noticed fashion garments embellished with crocheted flowers.

“That is so cool!” we agreed. But the more garments we saw, the more we noticed how similar the flowers were. That little voice in my mind spoke up: “I can do better than that!” The seed of an idea was planted that day. It eventually grew into two books: Crochet Bouquet: Easy Designs for Dozens of Flowers (Lark, 2008), and Crochet Garden: Bunches of Flowers, Leaves, and Other Delights (Lark, 2012). (I’m giving away a copy of my latest book, Cute Crochet World, below.)

Crochet Bouquet by Suzann Thompson

Crochet Garden: Bunches of Flowers, Leaves, and Other Delights, by Suzann Thompson

Crochet Charm Lace cape

Suddenly I had many crocheted flowers and not enough garments to embellish. Hmmm. Could I make collars with my yarn flowers like I made the collar from the Irish Crochet Book? Why, yes I could! And not just collars, but table mats, scarves, and even a poncho.

Crochet Charm Lace trillium scarf

I call the technique “Crochet Charm Lace.” Crocheted motifs are arranged on a fabric template, pinned in place, and sewn together where they touch. When the sewing is done and the fabric removed, you have an interesting, lacy piece. Read lots more about Crochet Charm Lace here.

Crochet Charm Lace pineapple runner

You probably noticed how my book and magazine designs come around to embellish my artwork. In the search for art inspiration, I run across new ideas for book and magazine designs. Things I learned or did a long time ago, crop up to inform what I’m doing now. Sometimes, I can trace a current project to an inspiration from many years ago.

Crochet Charm Lace TelevisionStars scarf

Time flies, but I think it flies in a kind of spiral pattern. Like crocheting a beautiful doily, time comes around and goes around. It lets us build on the past. Gradually, through time, we create the pattern of our lives.

Time Flies, winged clock pattern by Suzann Thompson

Crocheted Twirly Rose Scarf in Love of Crochet magazine

So as 2016 flies by,

  • Watch for my designs in Love of Crochet magazine. The Spring 2016 issue is on newsstands right now, featuring my Twirly Rose Scarf and lots of other cute patterns. The Summer 2016 issue will have more fun designs. (Photo of Twirly Rose Scarf is used with permission. Copyright 2016, Love of Crochet.)
  • Visit the wonderful International Quilt Festival, Chicago 2016, and see me and fourteen of my TextileFusion artworks. The Festival is at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, April 7-9. I’ll be with my exhibit or in the Open Studios. I would love to meet you!
  • Check out my other blog, Suzann’s TextileFusion, which is an online journal of my crafty life. It’s where I post about making wall hangings.
  • If you tweet or post on Instagram, please follow me. I post pretty pictures, mostly of crochet and knitting projects. Take a moment to reply to one of my posts, and I’ll follow you back. I’m @textilefusion on Twitter and @suzannthompson on Instagram.
  • I’m scheduling workshops and exhibits for 2017, so come back often for updates!
  • And finally,

Cute Crochet World, by Suzann Thompson

A Little Dictionary of Crocheted Critters, Folks, Food & More

To enter, make a comment at the end of this post, no later than 11:59 p.m. on March 28, 2016 (U.S. Central Time). Come back to this post on Tuesday, March 29, to see who won the book. Good luck!

We have a winner. Congratulations, Stephanie! And thank you, everyone, for leaving such nice comments.

Thank you for visiting Curious and Crafty Readers.
Come back soon!

Time Flies, winged clock pattern by Suzann Thompson

National Take Your Dox to Work Day

Friday, June 26th, 2015

Today is really National Take Your Dog to Work Day, according to the completely fun website Holiday Insights.

But if you don’t have a doggie of your own, or you truly cannot take pets to work, here’s a sweet doxie for you to crochet and tuck into your pocket or handbag. No dogfood necessary. No walking, only blocking (and you only have to block once).

The pattern is on pages 40-41 of Cute Crochet World: A Little Dictionary of Crochet Critters, Folks, Food & More.

Our word for a certain kind of sausage, wiener, comes from Austria. In German, the city Vienna is Wien (pronounced “VEEN”). So in Germany, a sausage from Vienna is a Wiener. I’m telling you this, because I know how to spell wiener. Just read the book, and you’ll know.

Happy Valentine’s Day and Excuses, Excuses!

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

crocheted hearts

The good news is that, by summer, we may be able to move into the house we’ve been building for the last three years. The other good news is that I’m writing another crochet book.

The bad news is that house-building and designing are consuming my life and taking time away from my blogs. I think that I’ll be back posting frequently and regularly by the beginning of this summer. I hope so, because it’s fun to blog, and I owe tutorials to a couple of readers.

Would you like to see our house? Here’s a photo album showing our progress:

These crocheted hearts are a sneak peek at my new book, which will be published in Spring 2014. Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

A Great Afternoon at Front Street Books

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Front Street Books, Alpine, Texas

Charles drove me the three blocks from our hotel in Alpine to Front Street Books, where “A Crochet and Knitting Afternoon with Suzann Thompson” would start at 2 o’clock.

Why did we drive, when the weather was so nice? Because I had too much stuff to carry, as usual.

delicious snacks at Front Street Books

We spread flowers and flower projects on every surface, except for the few square feet that held snacks. I lingered over the flowers near this area, so I could breathe in the chocolaty goodness. Yum.

The talking started as soon as the first yarn lovers walked through the door, which won’t come as a surprise. We talked about yarn and where to buy it, the steps of writing craft books, and much more.

I showed my precious spiral-bound copy of Crochet Bouquet. Julie, the manager of Front Street Books, confirmed that book store owners do not like spiral-bound books. “They’re difficult to display,” she said.

“Besides, you can’t read the spines,” said Kay, who also showed a clever hand-held loom called a Weav-ette.

Susan's crocheted daffodil

As we discussed yarns and technique, Susan sat crocheting a daffodil with a “How to Crochet” book peeking from underneath her copy of Crochet Bouquet. We were amazed at how quickly she learned to crochet. “Well, I knit,” she said modestly, to explain her quick mastery.

Sandy enjoys the crocheted flowers

Many knitters I know use “I knit” as an explanation for why they can’t learn to crochet. Go figure!

After a while, our discussion broke into smaller groups and we helped ourselves to treats and coffee. Susan, twelve-year-old Kara, Alison and I had a crochet lesson. Julie’s aunt, also named Julie, almost finished a rib-and-shell hat she started that same afternoon.

It was a happy day.

August is Poppy Crochet Along Month!

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

Poppy Crochet Along

The poppy is the flower for August, according to Folklore and Symbolism of Flowers, Plants and Trees, by Ernst and Johanna Lehner. It’s probably because in Europe, poppies are seen at harvest time, in August.

Of course those are the simple and pretty field poppies, not the lush Oriental poppies that inspired the poppy in Crochet Bouquet (pp. 65-66).

But we don’t mind–August is Poppy Crochet Along Month!

You can join the Crochet Bouquet Alongs anytime. We’re crocheting a flower a month, more or less. Follow this link to find out how to join. We now have a Crochet Bouquet Along Yahoo group in addition to our Ravelry group, where you can post photos and join in the discussion.

A crocheter in the Crochet Bouquet Alongs group on Ravelry requested that we have a Beginner’s Corner. Since the poppy is a fairly advanced flower, let’s do the Large Fancy Five (page 24) as August’s Crochet Along for beginner and intermediate crocheters. There’s a correction for the Large Fancy Five, which you can find here.

It has picots on the petals, similar to the poppy. In fact, I think if you use black for Round 1 and red for Round 2, it will look very much like a poppy–especially if you add the stamens or Fun Fur center.

Have fun! Let me know if you have questions.

Crochet Bouquet Book Signings in Texas

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

Yarntopia in Katy, Texas

Yarntopia, Katy, Texas, will host a book signing for Crochet Bouquet on Thursday, August 21, 2008, from 5-7 p.m. I’ll be there with lots of samples and projects from the book, and I’ll be happy to autograph your copy!

Yarntopia was busy this morning, when I went for a visit. Two classes were in progress, and a couple of friends were on the comfortable sofa, discussing yarns and projects.

I couldn’t resist a skein of Noro sock yarn in shades of green, with touches of turquoise and black. It will crochet up into gorgeous leaves. My friend Woolwinder told me that Yarntopia is unusual because the shop encourages crocheters.

inside Yarntopia

The shop is at 2944 South Mason Road, which is at the intersection of Cinco Ranch Road and Mason Road.

For more information, phone Yarntopia at (281) 392-2386.

On Saturday, September 6th, I’ll be in my hometown of Austin, Texas, to visit and sign books at the Knitters and Crocheters Guild meeting, 2-4 p.m, at the Howson Branch Library, 2500 Exposition Blvd. I am so proud of this group, still going strong after 25 years, and I’m especially proud, because I started it back in 1983.

Sunflowers, Workshop, Signings

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

inspiration for Sunflower on a Grid

I met a lady on Ravelry who has already crocheted several flowers from Crochet Bouquet, including the “Sunflower on a Grid.” (Her Ravelry tag is iCrochetiCreate.)

I worked out the pattern for that flower on the long drive from our house to Alpine, Texas. My husband went to a conference there, and I got to tag along. * I crocheted and ripped and crocheted some more and took notes. * Rep bet *s several times.

Finally the proportions were just right, and I crocheted it all in black Euroflax Sport. Why black? Because the inspiration for this flower was all black.

crocheted sunflower on a grid

The Grammar of Ornament, by Owen Jones (Dover Publications), is one of my favorite design books. Right there on the bottom right corner of “Plate 1: Ornament from Oceania,” is this design, which looks like it might have been from a piece of bark cloth. I have admired those flowers and the colors for years. “Sunflower on a Grid” is my interpretation of that design.

The black flower didn’t make it into the book, because black is very difficult to photograph. Sometime in the summer, I’ll post a project that uses the black “Sunflower on a Grid” and takes advantage of the grid for a special effect.

Workshop and Book Signings—Hope to See You There!

I’m teaching a crochet flower class at the Estes Park Wool Market, June 13, 2008, in Colorado. We’ll practice several unusual crochet techniques from Crochet Bouquet, including how to use padding threads. By the time we’re done, you’ll have a bunch of pretty crocheted flowers. Check the sidebar for more information.

Crochet Bouquet book signings:

  1. Dublin Public Library, May 10, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Dublin, Texas.
  2. Hastings Books, May 24, 1 to 4 p.m., Stephenville, Texas.
  3. Showers of Flowers yarn shop, June 10, Denver, Colorado.