Archive for the ‘workshops’ Category

Studying Yellow

Friday, 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.

Shop, See Art, Learn at Quilt! Knit! Stitch!

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

Double Bullion crochet workshop

The Quilt! Knit! Stitch! show in Portland OR next month is going to be great fun! I’m looking forward to taking a folk embroidery workshop and shopping at the market.

In addition to lots of three- and six-hour workshops and the retail market, the event includes exhibits of textile artworks. My own TextileFusion exhibit–knitted, embellished quilts–will make its national debut there. Yay!

I’m the crochet teacher, offering these workshops:

  • Full of Bullion (Stitch, That Is). The double bullion picot petal flower above is one of our samples for this class.
  • Pretty Picot-rama
  • What to do with Grandmother’s Doilies
  • Crochet Charm Lace

Please go to for more information and to register.

April 18th—Create a Piece of TextileFusion All Your Own!

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

First I have to tell you this story. When Lark Books contracted with me in 2006 to write Crochet Bouquet, my editor sent me a stack of pictures of crocheted flowers from the internet. “Here’s some inspiration,” she said, more or less.

I looked through the pictures she sent, and saw my very own wall hanging–Shards 2: Sometimes, the one you see in the photo above! One of my mixed-media quilts had crossed over into the realm of inspiration. It was a good day!

And now, back to the present. Since I use lots of fiber techniques in my wall hangings, I call them “TextileFusion,” which combines knitting, crochet, quilting, and embellishment.

Join me on Saturday, April 18, 2015, to learn how the TextileFusion technique has developed over the years. Then make a small piece of TextileFusion of your very own!

The San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles (520 South First Street, San Jose, CA) will host the workshop from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the 18th of this month.

Read more about the TextileFusion workshop and register soon at:

San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles

Sign Up Soon for Taos Wool Festival Workshops in October

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Polymer clay buttons

The Taos Wool Festival is always the first full weekend of October, with workshops starting a couple of days ahead. This is a great time to be in the mountains of New Mexico. The autumn colors and crisp weather are just wonderful.

This year I’m offering three classes at Taos:

Polymer Clay Button Boutique, all day Friday, October 3. You’ll go home with lots of colorful, pretty buttons, ready to use. They’re machine washable and dryable.

See the blue and orange buttons in the lower right corner of the photo above? We’ll make those as a group project. So fun!

Mosaic knit saguaro cactus

How to Knit Mosaic Patterns and Design Your Own, Saturday afternoon, October 4. After this class, you’ll be able to knit any of Barbara Walker’s many mosaic patterns, and you can design your own! Read more about the workshop here.

This mosaic cactus motif is one of my earliest original mosaic designs. I still like it a lot!

Knit Cables, Bobbles, and Braids workshop

Cables, Bobbles, and Braids, Sunday morning, October 5. You’ll learn how to do these stunning knitting techniques, but more importantly, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of these textural wonders. You’ll go away ready to twist and shout!

Please sign up for classes before September 1, 2014, at

This notice is also on my other blog, but with different pictures. Enjoy!

Yarn & Coffee in Santa Fe to Host Author Visit

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Yarn & Coffee
“Craft. Community. Inspiration.”

These wonderful words describe a shop which carries two of my favorite things: yarn and coffee!

Yarn & Coffee, in Santa Fe, NM, is hosting me for an author visit and book-signing on Saturday, October 19th, from 12 noon to 2 p.m. I will be demonstrating:

  • how to make a flower cloth scarf, like the one in Crochet Garden (pictured here),
  • and how to assemble a crocheted ribbon rose, like the Shelly Rose in Crochet Bouquet

Crochet Charm Cloth Scarf

I’ll be glad to sign your copies of my books, whether you bring your own or purchase one at the shop. We’ll have time to visit, so please bring a project to work on.

Hope to see you on the 19th at

Yarn & Coffee
1836 Cerrillos Road
Sante Fe, NM 87505
For more information, please phone (505) 780 5030.

Bullion Stitch Class at Knit & Crochet Show

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

Bullion Stitch Flower Pattern by Suzann

I’m looking forward to teaching the “Full of Bullion (Stitch, That Is)” class at the Knit & Crochet Show in Greensboro, North Carolina next week!

We’re going to cover the traditional bullion stitch, which is especially beloved among free-form crocheters. Then we will learn the fabulous double bullion stitch. We’ll use both bullion stitches in edging and motif patterns that I designed especially for this class. Here are a couple of them.

Bullion Picot Flower Pattern by Suzann

For information on the Knit & Crochet Show, visit

Suzann at the Knit and Crochet Show

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Crochet Bouquet notebook

I’ll be teaching at the Crochet Guild of America’s Professional Development Day, Wednesday, July 7, 2010 • 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM It is part of the Knit and Crochet Show held every year in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Professional Development Day includes panels of experts who talk about how to make money with crochet, lectures by successful crochet designers, and lots of information on how to profit by your passion for crochet.

I’m part of the afternoon program, where participants have a choice of three different, hour-long, round-table sessions.

My session is entitled “A Book’s Journey – from Idea to Book Signings.” Here’s the description:

You have a great crochet book idea, but where do you start—and end? How do you identify potential publishers? How do you pitch your idea? What basic points should you look for in a contract? How do royalties work? How can you organize your time to meet deadlines? What happens after you submit the final manuscript and projects? What should you do while you wait for your book to appear on the market? Once your book is out, how can you increase your book sales? Learn the answers to these questions and more in this whirlwind lecture.

Crochet Bouquet notebook

When Crochet Bouquet was finally finished, I gathered most of my notes, sketches, inspirational materials, and some correspondence between me and my editor, and put them into a big ring binder. I bring it along to talks like the one I’m giving at Professional Development Day.

Here are some sneak peeks into the notebook: some leaves from the original proposal; a draft of the Thistle pattern; a couple of party invitations that inspired me.

Crochet Bouquet notebook

It’s a wonder how much writing, how many corrections, how many random bits of inspiration, and how much communication goes into a slim volume like Crochet Bouquet.

For more information about the CGOA Professional Development Day and registration information, please visit the Knit and Crochet Show site. Hope to see you there!