Tag Archives | art knitting

Crochet Flower Art

 TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

It’s great to have a stash of ready-crocheted flowers, because you may need them for a wall hanging, like this one.

It’s called Winterling and I’ll be posting some in-progress photos later, so you can see how I made it. While we wait for that post, here’s a rundown of the crocheted flowers in Winterling.

Flower Number 1: In the summer of 2006, I pitched a book idea to Lark Crafts, a subsidiary of Sterling Publishing. That book idea became Crochet Bouquet: Easy Designs for Dozens of Flowers. Flower number 1, the buttony sunflower, was one of the sample flowers included in my proposal.

Crochet Bouquet and Crochet Garden readers will recognize all of these flowers:

From Crochet Bouquet:

2 These deep purple leaves and their antique gold partners are “Small One-Row Leaves” from pp. 120-121.

3 The yellow flowers with black button centers are “Small Petals Around,” p. 36.

4 “Circles within Circles,” pp. 22-23. Find a step-by-step photo-tutorial at http://www.textilefusion.com/circles-within-circles-july-crochet-along/.

5 The medium sized “Primrose Layers,” pp. 90-91, with some hints and photos of an in-progress primrose at http://www.textilefusion.com/may-crochet-along-primrose-layers/.

6 You can make several versions of “Five Point,” pp. 85-86. This is Rnds 1-2 only. There’s a tutorial here: http://www.textilefusion.com/five-point-tutorial/.

From Crochet Garden:

7 Rafflesita, pp. 122-123. The step-by-step photo-tutorial at http://www.textilefusion.com/step-by-step-rafflesita-a-pattern-supplement/ will help. The Rafflesita in the middle of the bouquet is an original flower from the book.

8 “Samarkand Sunflower,” in all its sizes, pp. 60-61. The yellow beads really brighten these flowers.

 TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

9 “Forget Me Not,” pp. 86-87. Tutorial at http://www.textilefusion.com/step-by-step-forget-me-not/.

10 “Twirl Center Rose,” pp. 116-117.

11 “Any Color Pinks,” bud and full flower, pp. 96-97. Bud and flower are designer originals.

12 “Anatolian King Flower,” pp. 104-105. The bright King Flower is a designer original.

13 “Russian Spoke Flower,” pp. 100-101, another original from the book. Learn how to do the Russian spoke stitch here: http://www.textilefusion.com/russian-picot-daisy-tutorial/.

14 “Turkestani Star,” p. 70, another designer original.

15 “Perspective Daisy,” pp. 56-57, inspired by the Winterling china factory’s Zwiebelmuster.

And finally, a motif I made for Crochet Garden, but it didn’t make it into the book:

16 “Leaf Spray with Berries,” which you can make from a free pattern.

Winterling will be among the doily-themed quilts at the Celebrate Doilies exhibition, opening July 1, 2017 at the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council in Stephenville, TX. More information, please visit the exhibition schedule or the Doily Heritage Project page.

close up of vase in the TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

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Snowflake Wall Hanging

step by step TextileFusion snowflake wall hanging

My sweet friend Hazel gave me a cardigan she bought years ago in Scotland. It was a pretty example of Fair Isle knitting, done with raglan sleeves. Thank you, Hazel!

The star pattern put me in a wintery, snowy frame of mind, and luckily there were just enough complete star motifs in the sweater for me to cut the long hexagons and form the points of the resulting snowflake.

Knitted scraps from previous wall hangings filled in the background. I sewed the patches together onto a foundation fabric, which won’t be visible in the finished piece.

step by step TextileFusion snowflake wall hanging

Next came quilting and binding, and I used fabrics from another generous person or people. The blue and white fabrics were in the estate of a lady from Germany. Her heirs wanted her fabrics to go to someone who would appreciate them.

I got to be that person! The link was the heirs’ former German teacher, who was also a friend of my mother’s. Thank you to those lovely people! I do appreciate their mother’s fabrics and laces and vintage handwork.

step by step TextileFusion snowflake wall hanging

As I’ve said many times, embellishment is my favorite part in the process of making wall hangings. There would be lots of button-sewing in my future.

step by step TextileFusion snowflake wall hanging

I was conflicted about which look to go for. I liked the subtle transparent and white buttons at the left of this photo and my daughter agreed. However, the bold blue buttons on the right seemed a better design choice.

Lately when in doubt, I go to Instagram. Many Instagram friends answered “Go for the bold!” Only one person agreed with Ella and me. I went with the majority.

Here are the blue buttons all sewn on.

step by step TextileFusion snowflake wall hanging

I’m still going to add transparent and white buttons around the flake. Looking forward to enjoying that zen zone of button sewing.

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Afternoon: Flower and Button Arranging

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Afternoon

The blue and orange Czech Festival Flowers (from Crochet Garden) made me think of hollyhocks and other tall flower stalks. For ideas on how to arrange with tall flowers, I typed “tall flower arrangements” into Google Images. My screen was filled with interesting, beautiful examples.

My favorite type of arrangement was where the tall flower stalks were surrounded at the top of the vase by a ring of different flowers. It was like they had a collar of smaller flowers.

Once all the flowers were crocheted and blocked, I tried several arrangements, photographing each one, like the one at right. I chose the best arrangement and started sewing flowers in place. Even then, I continued to fiddle with leaf placement and filler flowers.

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Afternoon

Then there was the matter of buttons. Once again I photographed different button placements so I could compare and choose the best, which was the one at left. I was very pleased with the black button centers on the yellow flowers (“Aster-oid” from Crochet Bouquet).

My personal rule for this wall hanging was “no pink.” But I couldn’t resist sprinkling my dayglow pink buttons across the flower arrangement. They looked so wonderful, so delicious, so mouth-watering (as my mom would say), the no-pink rule evaporated.

TextileFusion wall hanging, Afternoon, detail

Afternoon was finished in time to hang at the Town & Country Quilt Guild’s exhibit at the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council (Stephenville, TX) in the final months of 2015 and in the TextileFusion exhibit at the International Quilt Festival (Chicago, IL) in April 2016. It still needs a couple of tweaks, but there’s time for that later.

TextileFusion wall hanging, Afternoon

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Powerful Motivation

Suzann Thompson's knitted quilts at the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council

Need motivation to make a few wall hangings? Simply agree to show them in a quilt exhibit or two, scheduled for a few months away. Be sure to note how large you said they would be, so you can make them accordingly.

That’s what I did. The result? I’ve been working diligently, consistently, and pretty much exclusively on wall-hangings for the last six months. Tuesday, November 3rd, was the deadline for the last of the quilts. I did it! I met the deadlines!

The quilts in the photo are at the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council River North Gallery, Stephenville, TX, until December 12. If you’re near Stephenville, please drop by and see them plus dozens more quilts made by members of the Town & Country Quilt Guild.

The other result of intense wall-hanging activity? I suffered from “wall-hanging eyes.” That’s when you have been sewing for so long, your eyes are focused at sewing machine distance or hand-sewing distance, and it takes a while to refocus them to see the real world.

And when I refocused last Tuesday afternoon, I saw that my house needed cleaning, papers needed filing, and blogs needed updating. That’s the plan for the next two weeks, before I start the next round of wall hangings. They’re not committed to an exhibit. Yet.

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Valentine’s Day Quilt Finished!

Valentine’s Day Quilt finished!

On Tuesday evening, at the girls’ piano lesson, I sewed the last button onto my Quilting Ladies’ Group Valentine’s Day Quilt. I tried to sew more buttons on, but when I put them tentatively on the quilt, the quilt said, “Enough already!” Usually, I can find a place to tuck in one more, but all my attempts were rejected.

Valentine’s Day Quilt details

So it was finished! Yay!

This quilt combines old and new and bits and pieces that will remind me of friends and fun times. Like this pretty quilted heart will always make me think of Peggy.

The yellowy flower is a Twirl Center Rose from Crochet Garden.

Valentine’s Day Quilt details

These yellow and white applique daisies are from my mother-in-law’s sewing collection. She was a lovely lady named Mary Eugenia Frederick. She went by ‘Gene,” but we thought Eugenia was a beautiful middle name for our younger daughter.

Rachel made the fabric flower with the red center. Our older daughters like to go adventuring together and talk about music. Gail Hughes made the green buttons that serve as leaves for Rachel’s flower.

Valentine’s Day Quilt details

Three pink heart buttons from Hazel are surrounded by flowers from Crochet Garden: Begonia (lower left), Turkestani Star with a button from Gail Hughes, and Any Color Pinks at the upper right.

Valentine’s Day Quilt details

For Donna’s quilt, she asked us each to sign a piece of fabric, which she incorporated in to her quilt. The spool charm is from Donna.

Valentine’s Day Quilt details

This heart, cut out of an antique quilt, is from Mindy. Both green buttons and the crystal topped button on the heart are by Gail Hughes. Hazel’s buttons are the red heart-shaped ones hidden next to the big heart.

This quilt is full of love!

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Daughters’ Advice Proves Invaluable

embellishing the Valentine quilt

Ella’s hand hovered over the buttons, ready to sort. From Eva’s position in the armchair, she could oversee our work while texting, facebooking, and doing homework. I sat on the floor with a box of crocheted flowers. It was time to embellish.

Choosing embellishment is my favorite part of making any wallhanging, because of the sheer potential and unpredictability. I also love having my daughters’ advice, because they help me see things differently.

embellishing the Valentine quilt

For instance, I imagined this Valentine’s quilt as a dream in pink, red, and cream. Then I found the applique daisies inherited from my mother-in-law. They had yellow centers.

“Yellow?!” I thought at first. A few minutes later, I was thinking, “Hmm. Yellow. Ah, yes.”

We took great care selecting yellow buttons. Some were way too bright, some were too big (but tucking them under the edge of a flower reduced their impact), a few were just right. We added crocheted flowers with yellow in them. Suddenly the quilt took on a spring-like, gardenish feel, unlike the straight-up Valentine-colors theme I had envisioned.

Ella supplied me with many pink and light pink buttons to surround the heart, and red and purplish buttons to hide in the background. She found every single red sparkly button in the pile.

embellishing the Valentine quilt

“Mom, it needs some green,” said Eva from on high.

Ella got busy finding green buttons and I looked for crocheted leaves.

The flowers, leaves, and buttons cascaded from top left to lower right, looking like a pretty garland. Yes, they were pretty, but kind of dull, just slashing through at an angle like that.

embellishing the Valentine quilt

Ella, inspired by all the buttons, ran off to find some fabric to make a quilt of her own. I searched for an element to counterbalance the diagonal garland, rushing across the face of the quilt.

“Eva, what do you think of this pomegranate?” I asked.

“It sure is big,” she said.

I took it off. “Well, when you take the pomegranate away, the quilt looks all empty and sad,” said Eva.

I put it back on. “That’s better,” said Eva.

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Knitted Willow Pattern Plate

Eva found this shard of willow pattern china

We went out to check on some wild pig bones, which lie in a culvert down the dirt road from our house. We hoped they were bleached and clean enough for us to take home and add to Ella’s collection.

Too bad–they still had fur and other stuff attached to them. Recent rains have partially buried the rib cage and apparently washed the skull away. They are fossils in the making.

Undaunted, Miss Ella spotted the skull of a carnivore, maybe a fox or a small dog. We picked up pieces of armadillo shell, too. Ella wants to study bones someday. Preferably dinosaur bones.

Then Eva spotted a piece of broken china along the roadside. It was a piece of a willow pattern plate, of all things!

detail of Suzann's willow pattern wall hanging

It was a little like our life in England. We were always on the lookout for broken china, especially in places that the earth was disturbed, or where old houses were torn down, or even in our own back yard, where previous owners dumped and burned household trash. We collected boxes and boxes of broken china for making mosaics.

I was so inspired by the china we found in England, that I made a wall hanging about them. In addition to actual pieces of broken china, it has a knitted and embellished willow pattern plate on it. Read more about it here

“What is the story behind these broken pieces of china?” I asked myself. It became the theme for my wall hanging. You can see that the knitted plate is “broken” (the dark blue lines). You can look behind the flaps of the plate to find the story.

And all that started with a trip to look for bones! As Eva said, “Well, it was probably bone china.”

Updated 2016 to replace an old link.

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Iwannaknit: A Garden of Design Class Sample

Rome City, Indiana, is the site of this year’s Iwannaknit ReTreat (June 2-4). This is a new venue for the gathering, and this year, Lea-Ann offers a number of classes for hand-knitters. Download the brochure here.

Indian and prairie paintbrushes near Lake Proctor

My workshop, “A Garden of Color, Design, and Shaping Techniques,” is for hand- and machine-knitters. (Class description and supply list at the end of this post.) The difference will be in the size of the finished pieces. As promised, I am going to document the construction of my class sample here.

The photo I chose is one I took last year of the Indian and prairie paintbrushes near our home. You can choose any garden or flower photo: one of your own or from a magazine or book. The fun part about a class like this is finding a way to interpret the photo in knitting. In the process, you do learn valuable design lessons.

My yarn collection is divided into color families, so I placed the photo on top of my green yarns. The best color matches sort of popped out at me. Hurray! I get to break into some gorgeous hand-dyed mohair boucle I bought a few years ago.

yarns to match paintbrush photo for Iwannaknit ReTreat

Then it was on to the pink collection. I found lots of pinks that were pretty good for the flowers in the background. Those brilliant pink ones in the foreground were a problem, but I finally found the perfect color—all four yards of it! I have some ideas for working with this limited amount. We’ll see how they work in practice.

I rounded out the colors with a surprising (to me) choice. I assumed the grasses in the foreground were a light brown. But no, they are really a yellowish gray.

The Ultimate Sweater Machine is out and ready to go, so check back tomorrow to see the knitted background.

I am also teaching “Color Composure,” for people who would like to learn more about color, but would rather not hear about theory. To get an idea of samples we will be making or seeing in class, go to my No Theory Color photo album.

A Garden of Color, Design, and Shaping Techniques Class Description

Choose a picture of a flower garden, and we will interpret the picture in knitting. In the process you will learn to compose with color, knit shapes, and solve design challenges, taking into account the limitations and opportunities of knitting. Go home with a lovely flower garden wall hanging (12″ square for machine knitters, 6″ x 8″ for hand knitters).

In a gently encouraging way, Suzann will show you how to think through a design idea, adapt common knitting techniques to make stems, leaves, rocks, and flowers, compose your flower garden, and embellish it. The skills you learn will improve your confidence and ability in all kinds of knitting.

You’ll start with a discussion of inspiration for our flowery scene (photos, postcards, magazine pictures—bring your own if possible!). Knit the background for the wall hanging, and begin knitting plants, rocks. Continue with composition, embellishment, and finishing. Put the knitted pieces together and knit more if necessary. Then mount the knitting onto batting and backing, and bind it. Add finishing touches of beads, buttons, seashells, and trims.

SUPPLIES FOR GARDEN OF DESIGN CLASS

  • Paper and pencil
  • Photograph of flowers or a garden or flower scene
  • Yarn in colors and textures from the photograph (bring yarn leftovers, any weight)
  • Tapestry needle
  • Sewing needle, pins, scissors
  • A 12 x 12 inch piece of quilt batting (OR you can buy this from Suzann for $1.00)
  • 1/4 yard of cotton cloth that looks nice with your chosen yarns
  • Optional: buttons, beads, trims, other bits and pieces to enhance your picture
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Taos: Great Design Skills for Knitting or Crochet

This is the first of several posts for people who are interested in my workshops at the Taos Wool Festival. I tried to publish them privately, but they are so private, that even I can’t look at them.

In Great Design Skills for Knitting or Crochet, we’ll design an underwater scene on the fly, and knit or crochet it in class. We’ll do it all with no gauge swatches and minimal notes. It is a great exercise to blast through designer’s block, or to give yourself a jump-start toward designing for the first time.

Here’s a sample similar to what we will make in class:

I taught this class for machine knitters at Camp Iwannaknit, which you can read about (among other workshops) in the Workshops category on my blog. Since that sample is machine-knitted, it is bigger than ours will be, but the principles are the same.

Check back with me later in the summer for a crocheted sample.

If you would like to see where this can lead, please visit the Gallery page on my web site.

Updated in 2016 to replace an old link.

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Piecing Iced Water

Alright. I spun the yarn, knitted it, and stabilized the knitting with iron-on interfacing. Then I cut the knitting into irregular patches and pieced them together onto a foundation of light cotton fabric. The yellow paper blocks out the space where I will put the vase.

Once the pieces were arranged to my satisfaction, I machine sewed them to the foundation with a zig-zag stitch. Finally, I quilted the piece, embellished with embroidery, applique (netting or tulle, and crochet), and buttons, and bound the edges.

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