Archive for the ‘Curious Stuff’ Category

Celebrate Doilies Opening Reception Today

Saturday, 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!

A Celebrate Doilies Interview at March On! Texas

Thursday, 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

Thursday, 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

Saturday, 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!

Sunday, 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

Tuesday, 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!

Yellow Around the House

Sunday, 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

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.

Natcromo 2017 Celebrates Doilies!

Saturday, March 25th, 2017

Thank you to Amy and Donna of Crochetville.com for inviting me to join this year’s National Crochet Month blog tour! This is a wonderful thing they do, in addition to providing an internet home for crocheters all year round.

NatCroMo 2017 blog tour sponsored by Crochetville.com

Today, the love of crochet ties together thousands of people across the United States and the world. Crochet also reaches into the past to tie us to our ancestors and give us a sense of our place in history. Even for people who don’t do it themselves, crocheted items may bring back memories of happy times, visits, relatives long-gone.

Mrs. Jesse McKinnon's doilies

I’m seeing this effect more and more as I prepare for the Celebrate Doilies! exhibit, which debuts this summer in north central Texas. (See exhibit schedule here.)

The exhibit celebrates doilies through stories and memories from families in the area and beyond, through my own art and the poetry of Sandi Horton. Let me show you!

Stories and Memories

A few years ago, Mac McKinnon, who grew up a mile or so from where I live now, told me he had doilies and other crocheted items from his grandmother who raised him. “What can I do with them?” he asked. He was one of the first people I interviewed for the exhibit.

Mrs. Jesse McKinnon's doilies

McKinnon was orphaned as a fairly young boy. His aunt and uncle adopted him, and he went to live with them in Comanche County, Texas, where the family farmed peanuts and cotton.

McKinnon’s grandmother lived nearby. She was Jesse Pearl Craddock McKinnon, born around 1893. Jesse often took care of him, and McKinnon emphasized that she also “took time with him.” She taught him how to play games, but didn’t let him win just because he was a kid. They did all kinds of crafts together. He remembers making cork necklaces and decorating them with sequins.

Mrs. Jesse McKinnon's crocheted tablecloth

After her husband died in 1942, Mrs. McKinnon made a living sitting with elderly people. They were mostly bed-ridden, so she was there to keep them company and tend to their needs. Since a large part of the job entailed just being there, Jesse filled her time by crocheting.

The two doilies above and tnis table cloth are the work of Jesse Pearl Craddock McKinnon. It’s easy to understand Mac McKinnon’s love for his grandmother and his pride in her crochet skill.

Many more crochet stories and memories are featured at the Celebrate Doilies! exhibit. (There’s still time to share your own family doily stories! I’ll tell you how in a minute.)

Art

To me, many doilies are works of art and I certainly consider doily designers to be artists. For the past year, in preparation for Celebrate Doilies!, I’ve been using doilies in my wall hangings with great pride.

Winterling, a TextileFusion wall hanging by Suzann Thompson

Celebrate Doilies! features around twenty doily-themed TextileFusion wall hangings, like Winterling. Inspired by my mom’s Zwiebelmuster china, I created a bouquet of crocheted flowers in a blue and white china vase. And of course the vase rests on a lovely large doily!

Crochet Comets, a TextileFusion wall hanging by Suzann Thompson

Doilies take to the skies in Crochet Comets, which was my first fabric quilt, in contrast to my usual knitted quilts. If you can’t wait until summer to see it, Crochet Comets is on display now in Golden, Colorado, at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum through April 23, 2017. For details, visit my Exhibition Schedule.

House of Crochet, a TextileFusion wall hanging by Suzann Thompson

Laura Wheeler, Design 673, filet crochet house

I love home. I love to be at home. I love home- and house-themed art and crafts. What a thrill it was to find this lovely antimacassar featuring a filet crochet house! I paired it with a vintage quilt top and added crochet trim and buttons to make this quilt called House of Crochet.

(The original instructions for crocheting this cute, cute house available for purchase online at Today’s Treasures.)

See these and many more doily-rich wall hangings at the Celebrate Doilies! exhibit and at my website, www.textilefusion.com. (follow the gallery links).

Poetry

Poet Sandi Horton and I met at the Langdon Review of the Arts in Texas Weekend in 2016. I spoke about the upcoming Celebrate Doilies exhibit, and how it would include stories and memories about family heirloom crochet.

Doily by poet Sandi Horton

Sandi often writes ekphrastic poetry, which is about a scene or a work of art. Ekphrastic poetry might describe a painting, a piece of music, or a performance.

After my talk, Sandi told me she had doilies and other crocheted items that her mother and grandmothers made. She said, “I would like to write poems about them.”

That sounded wonderful to me! Sandi’s poems about her family’s crochet and even about my wall hangings are featured in Celebrate Doilies. Here’s a poem about her experience with crochet. It is used with permission.

Modern Girl
Copyright 2017 by Sandi Horton. All rights reserved.

The young girl eyes the multitude of colors
She wants to find just the right one
Should she be practical with a neutral
Or choose a bright, modern color?

Her mother and grandmother chose
Different shades of white and beige
They are so old-fashioned
The girl chooses a dazzling lime green

She wants to represent her generation
Even though most other girls don’t crochet
The girl wants to keep the chain going
Her nimble fingers tighten from the stress

Lime green thread twists around and around
The hook moves slowly, in an unsteady rhythm
Her mom says, ‘Crocheting relaxes me.’
The inexperienced girl continues to struggle

She refuses to give up
A smooth pattern finally takes shape
She finishes her first and only doily
Modern girls have better things to do

 Doily by poet Sandi Horton

Find Sandi on Facebook at My House of Poetry.

You Can Still Participate!

Do you have beloved family heirloom crochet you would like for me to show in the Celebrate Doilies! exhibit?

If you do, please visit the Doily Heritage Project page online. It will give you information and links to the Doily Interview, plus hints for photographing your doilies.

To be included in the July-August exhibit in Stephenville, Texas, I need your information and photos by May 1, 2017. The deadline for entering the next show in Granbury, Texas, is June 1, 2017.

Support the Celebrate Doilies! Exhibit and Crochet Art

I hope you like the idea of Celebrate Doilies! enough to support this effort!

For as little as $1.00 per month (that’s $12 a year), you can help me to pay for making posters and cover other expenses associated with putting on the Celebrate Doilies! exhibit. Visit my page at patreon.com to read more and donate.

Support the art and craft of crochet on Patreon!

You can choose one of several levels of support: $1, $3, $5, $10, $25, $50, or $100 per month. All of my patrons have access to a patrons-only feed, where I share exclusive news about my work and previews of blog posts. The rewards get better the higher the amount you pledge.

For instance, at the $5 level, you can participate in polls about names of wall hangings and design decisions, receive at least one art postcard per year, and have access to the patrons-only feed. And coming soon, at the $5 per month level, you can contribute a piece which I will use in a wall hanging.

Celebrate Doilies is Available to Travel

Crocheted Cars, pattern in Cute Crochet World, by Suzann Thompson

Celebrate Doilies! will be available to travel to other galleries and shows after October 1, 2017. Please email me at knitandcrochetwithsuzann at outlook dot com for scheduling and fees.

Small galleries and arts councils may be eligible for grant money to pay for exhibits like Celebrate Doilies!

Free Pattern for You, March 25 Only!

Crocheted Turkey and Penguin, by Suzann Thompson

Thank you for reading this far! As a gift for you, today only (March 25th, 2017) you can download the patterns for these cute crocheted Turkeys and Penguins for free—normally a $2.00 value. Here’s the pattern link: Turkey and Penguin at Ravelry Store.

From March 26-28, 2017, the “Turkey and Penguin” pattern will be half-off. That’s one dollar.

Postcards for You!

This is the first of two postcards I will be mailing for the Celebrate Doilies! exhibit. If you would like to be on my list for ONLY these two postcards, email me your mailing address (U. S. addresses only, please) at knitandcrochetwithsuzann at outlook dot com. I will not share your information.

Celebrate Doilies postcard

Thank You!

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed reading about Celebrate Doilies! Will you share your doily photos and stories for the exhibit? Please do!

And remember, doilies are perfect for your glamping décor needs.

Heart Garland from a pattern in Cute Crochet World, by Suzann Thompson

No. 10 Crochet Cotton Flowers are Perfect Quilt Embellishment

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson, detail

I wondered and planned and fretted about how to strongly stabilize a quilt so it would hold up a bunch of crocheted flowers.

As it often happens, my projects change as I work on them and begin to understand how they are developing. So instead of my original plan of crocheting flowers with yarn, I decided to crochet with No. 10 crochet cotton. The flowers turned out to be so light, the quilt didn’t need extra stabilizing. Yay!

My collection of Aunt Lydia’s No. 10 crochet cotton had the perfect colors to make the “Five Point” flower from Crochet Bouquet (above), and “Forget Me Nots” from Crochet Garden (below).

Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson, detail

You can use crocheted flowers to embellish bed quilts, too. To attach them, use sewing thread to sew all around the flower’s edge. Tack down the flower center. Use your judgement whether you need to add more stitching between the center and the edges of the flower.

Most of the time, sewing thread disappears between the loops of crochet, but use a sewing thread that closely matches the color of your crochet thread or yarn, just in case.

The wall hanging is called Evolution of Minimalism. You can read more about it at Suzann’s TextileFusion.

Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson, detail