Tag Archives | quilt

Sacred Threads in Herndon, VA, through Sunday

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.

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Crochet Comets

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Crochet Comets, by Suzann Thompson

At our 2015 Dublin Rippers quilting retreat, my friend Donna challenged us. She had a black plastic bag full of fabric. We had to close our eyes and reach into the bag. We had until the next year’s retreat to make something from the fabric we drew from the bag. She said we could make anything we wanted. It didn’t have to be a quilt.

My fabric was a tiny print that gave an overall impression of a kind of pinkish gray. It reminded me of the night sky.

Weren’t there a couple of yellow and white doilies in my collection at home that might make good comets? I went home to my doily collection and, yes! There they were.

 step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Crochet Comets, by Suzann Thompson

To get an idea of scale, I photographed the doilies and the gray fabric, plus some yellow fabrics that I planned to use for the comet tails. I used Adobe Photoshop Elements to digitally build the wall hanging, cutting and pasting the images of doilies and fabric.

I put several stars in the sky, just to give me an idea of how they would look. In the real wall hanging, I would use more stars and they would be a lot fancier. And I’d sew on a bunch of buttons as smaller stars.

Photoshop Elements has a click-and-drag tool for drawing boxes and circles and, hey—stars! I clicked on the star shape and dragged the first one. It was black, because that was the last color I had used. I changed the color, and the next stars were yellow.

 step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Crochet Comets, by Suzann Thompson

The sketch was pretty rough, but it served its purpose. I could tell that the quilt would have to be about five feet wide to give the doily comets and their tails enough room. The horizon and a few houses gave me an idea of proportions between sky and earth.

I started laying out the quilt top, stopping only to buy a length of fabric to go between the dark earth and the lighter sky. As I worked and laid out the doilies and houses and moon, I got a feeling. It was definitely located in my chest. It was a feeling of inevitability that seemed to squeeze my heart.

The feeling was that the sketch might be rough, but it was perfect the way it was. Any attempt on my part to fancy things up, would not make the finished product look any better. As I worked I came to know this without a doubt.

So the quilt is as close to the sketch as possible. I did fancy up the comet tails with buttons and beads, but the sky is plain, except for the appliqued stars, including a black one.

 step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Crochet Comets, by Suzann Thompson

The back is made from scraps, many of which were giveaways from my quilting friends. It is quilted in mostly parallel, curving lines. That took a long time.

This was my first mostly-fabric quilt with raw-edge applique and very simple piecing, and I learned a lot. It is also the biggest quilt I have made so far.

Crochet Comets is on display at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, Colorado, until April 23, 2017. Starting July 1, it will be part of the Celebrate Doilies! exhibit, making its debut in Stephenville, Texas, at the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council River North Gallery. (Details here.)

 step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Crochet Comets, by Suzann Thompson

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Arranging Flowers for Winterling

I had to try many different flower arrangements before finding my favorite for Winterling. It was fun! Here are a few:

flower arrangement for TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson flower arrangement for TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

Hmmm. Yeah, the white flowers seem too startlingly bright. So for the next try, I took the daisies off and also the big sunflower, because I thought it was too heavy and large for the composition.

flower arrangement for TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompsonflower arrangement for TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

How about the one on the left?—it’s kind of minimal with a more controlled color selection. Given a choice, I usually go for fancy over minimal. The next one is alright.

flower arrangement for TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

Thinking the sunflower might not be too heavy after all, I added it back in. Yep, I think this is the one.

flower arrangement for TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

After pinning all the flowers and leaves in place, it was time to sit down and sew. And I mean sew for a long time.

Something kept bothering me about the Samarkand Sunflower which has a yellow center, then a white round and a band of periwinkle blue before the round of white petals. The blue band looked too plain and big. A few bright yellow seed beads took care of that problem.

flower arrangement for TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

After sewing the flowers on, I appliqued a crocheted picot vine in the borders. Each picot has a seed bead on it, which is stitched in place to keep the picot from curling. Buttons berries grow from the vine.

That does it for Winterling! Want to know where the flower patterns are from? Visit this post to find out.

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A Worthy Accomplishment

A Worthy Accomplishment, crochet and quilt art, by Suzann Thompson

“Art imitates life,” people say. Recently, I saw art holding up a mirror to life, and the mirror reflected much more than I can usually see with the unaided eye.

At the movies we saw a preview about a boy who draws a monster. The monster comes to life and frightens the bullies tormenting the boy. In our main feature, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a sad, desperate, and powerless person inadvertently turned frustration into a powerful external force that destroyed buildings and killed people. This force manifested as a storm of destructive particles.

At home, we watched Star Trek Beyond, where the huge, fancy Starship Enterprise is taken down by a swarm of tiny spaceships, under the command of an unhappy former Starfleet officer.

The two takeaways for me were: desperation can turn into a deadly force; lots of tiny things can take down a big thing. These two phenomena are happening in our world’s population right now.

Which brings me quite naturally, I think you will agree, to my latest wall hanging, A Worthy Accomplishment.

Our United States culture worships enormity. Large corporations, huge wealth and fame, amazing feats of technology are admired and given special treatment. In contrast, regular people who do regular thing, like raising children, cleaning, cooking, going to work every day and other essential but not very exciting or profitable things, are treated as insignificant.

It’s fine to admire amazing things, and we should also value and admire everyday work and achievement. We need to acknowledge the contribution of people who take care of all the everyday things in this country, because they are the foundation on which our society is built.

I’d also like to bring to your attention the contribution of many thousands of women (mostly) who took the time to crochet a doily to beautify their homes, or a pretty trim to make a pillowcase or coverlet more inviting.

Many of these creators would say, “Oh that’s nothing, really. It’s just something I made.”

I say, “It is something, precisely because you made it.” It is something handmade, with love or curiosity and certainly with skill. It is something to be proud of, something beautiful, something worthy.

A Worthy Accomplishment, crochet and quilt art, by Suzann Thompson

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Sweet Home

Sweet Home, crochet and quilt art, by Suzann Thompson

I remember very well the sweetness and simplicity of childhood and the images from that time that are with me to this day. Children’s book illustrations and some idealized picture of home are strong in my memory. I think that’s where a lot of the designs for Cute Crochet World came from.

My current project is an exhibit called Celebrate Doilies! which will debut at the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council Gallery in Stephenville, Texas, in July and August 2017. In addition to a lot of doily history (read more here), the exhibit will include my art quilts made with vintage crochet.

Sweet Home, crochet and quilt art, by Suzann Thompson

At first I couldn’t figure out how to incorporate this thread crocheted placemat into a quilt. My mind apparently mulled over this problem while I wasn’t paying attention. Some days later, my perception of the piece suddenly shifted from a placemat to picture frame. After that, it was easy to decide what picture to frame: a childlike picture of home.

Strip-piecing left over from a previous quilt seemed perfect to frame the frame. Luckily, I still had enough cut strips to fill the gaps.

Sweet Home, crochet and quilt art, by Suzann Thompson

Cute Crochet World came to my aid, with patterns for crocheting the “Cozy Home,” “Cherry Blossom” (I used green instead of pink), “Summer Sun” with clubby rays, and “Cutely Cloudy.” I made several trees and two suns, before finding the right combination of size and color.

Sweet Home, crochet and quilt art, by Suzann Thompson

When button time came around, I turned to family and friends for input on which buttons I should sew around the edge of the placemat: mother-of-pearl or blue?

My mom thought the house looked like it was on an island, the lace edges with blue underlay seemed like a beach, and the dark blue buttons were the deep blue sea. I liked this image very well.

The consensus from Instagram and Twitter was that the blue buttons looked better than white, but some friends said they thought a lighter blue might look best.

Sweet Home, crochet and quilt art, by Suzann Thompson

I posted the comparison of dark blue and lighter blue buttons. @franloveswool summarized my own feelings, saying, “This is trickier than I thought.” @fairetreasures said that the dark blue gave the piece great contrast, and the lighter blue looked nice because it picked up the colors of the house.

What to do? Mix light and dark? I tried that, but meh. Wait. Why just one round of buttons? Why not a round of lighter blue and a round of darker blue? Yes, that was the solution. Thank you, friends and family!

Sweet Home, crochet and quilt art, by Suzann Thompson

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No. 10 Crochet Cotton Flowers are Perfect Quilt Embellishment

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 here and here.

Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson, detail

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Evolution of Minimalism

Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

In the late 1990s, minimalism in home décor was all the rage in England—at least that’s what we read in the newspapers at the time. Minimalist homes were clean, cleaner, cleanest! They were calm, uncluttered. Any decoration not strictly necessary for function was not allowed.

Minimalism is not my style, because I like decoration and stuff within easy reach. But I can see the attraction. It’s so full of potential—lots of surfaces to fill with books, paper, pens, vases, coffee cups.

For all the functional trendiness of minimalism, I feel that human eyes crave variation and decoration. So here’s a wall hanging all about how we may enjoy the starkness of minimalism for a while, and what happens next. Its title is Evolution of Minimalism.

In the beginning, we have the most minimal nine-patch ever. Sewn with patches of the exact same plain fabric, it is totally uncluttered. It’s so calming, so clean, so… Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

…so, well, boring. Hey, could we vary the color a little? Just to give it some interest?Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

That helped. A contrasting color would perk it up even more. But don’t worry, we can hold on to our minimalist roots by using the original colors.Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

Oooo! That squiggly pattern in the middle is kind of fun. It might be even more interesting to have some texture.Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

Love that single button in the middle, and the mother-of-pearl button fabric! Very subtle, how the pearl button fabric is next to the ocean wave patterned fabric. Clever. If one button is good, four buttons are better. Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

The nine-patch is getting kind of old. Whoa—this log cabin block is perfect. Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

Do you sense a tipping point? The log cabin is turning into a log pentagon. Do I see some red? Woo hoo!Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

Colors and buttons and flowers are busting out all over! Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

This is great! Lots of color! Lots of pattern! Lots of texture! It’s wonderful! Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson Wow. All this stuff is wearing me out, making me tired. Let’s clean up all this clutter and get back to basics. We’re going back to the beginning. Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

And so the natural evolution of minimalism goes.

It’s all coded in the DNA.

Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

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Another Wall Hanging with Crocheted Flowers

Five Point crochet flower from Crochet Bouquet

The Five Point flower from pages 85–86 of Crochet Bouquet was perfect to embellish my latest wall hanging. The Five Points in the photo are made with Aunt Lydia’s No. 10 crochet cotton. They are really small and cute.

I’m making the wall hanging to enter in a juried show with an evolution theme.

You can crochet three different sizes of flowers from the Five Point pattern, one size growing out of the previous one. To me, that is a visual way to show how something might develop over time.

The quilt design also goes from plain to fancy, another sort of visual evolution. Here’s a peek at one of the steps in this wall hanging’s evolution.

Another TextileFusion wall hanging in the works

Find step-by-step photos and hints for crocheting the Five Point flower here.

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Arranging Flowers in Red Vases

When I’m arranging embellishments for a wall hanging, I like to get other peoples’ input. It helps me see things from a different perspective.

In the past, my daughters helped me out (and here, too). In April, participants in the International Quilt Festival (Chicago) Open Studios event arranged and rearranged flowers for Red Vases. We discussed the merits of different color combinations, flower shapes, and number of flowers.

Here are a few options we came up with:

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Red Vases step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Red Vases step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Red Vases

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Red Vases

Back at home, I consulted these photos while making the final arrangement for Red Vases, and this is it:

Wait! On second thought, this became the really, really final arrangement.

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Red Vases

Now to sew all those flowers in place.

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Afternoon in the Making

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Afternoon

Slanting afternoon shadows fill me with anticipation, melancholy, satisfaction. Late in 2014, I knitted yardage to make a wall hanging with slanting shadows and those feelings in it. And for once, no pink was allowed. I put pink in almost everything, because I love pink. But not here.

The yardage sat on my stack for months, while I finished other projects. Finally, in the summer of 2015, I started working on Afternoon, the wall hanging.

I considered afternoon-ish things. Afternoon tea is a thing, so I photographed a teacup and a vase in the afternoon, to get the shadows and highlights just right. I enjoy reading a book with afternoon tea or coffee, so I included two books in the photo. Autumn is kind of like the afternoon of the year, so I crocheted flowers in autumn-like colors. Afternoon light seems more golden, so I used a lot of golden yellows in the knitting.

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Afternoon

Thank goodness for technology! I planned the wall hanging with Adobe Photoshop Elements and then printed it at actual size, putting the printed sheets together with low-tech scissors and tape.

The piecing began. Red and green pieces leftover from other projects suggested leaves and flowers in the background. I shaded from dark to light, using stripes and checks for slanting shadows. As usual, I cut shapes without any pattern, fitted them together, and pinned them to a foundation fabric. The foundation for this wall hanging was fabric that a friend gave away.

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Afternoon

To block out space for the vase and cup, I cut those shapes and more from my printed pattern and pinned them onto the foundation fabric as place-savers.

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Afternoon

The oblong shape of this doily from my collection gave the impression of perspective.

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Afternoon

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