Friday, April 12, 2024

The Consortium


“The Consortium”
Copyright Susan Brubaker Knapp 2024

Cotton fabric, acrylic textile paint, cotton thread, cotton batting, glass beads. Stamped, splattered, free-motion quilted.

Collectively, crabs can be known as a cast or a consortium.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024


Copyright 2024 Susan Brubaker Knapp
10.75 x 14.25"

Indigo-dyed cotton, surface-designed cotton fabric, silk, cotton thread, cotton batting. Machine pieced, hand appliquéd, free-motion quilted. 



Copyright 2024 Susan Brubaker Knapp
12-13" x18.5"

“Scintillating” is another piece in a series of experimental small works that I’m creating to try out some new ideas, and just play. I find that this often leads me in different directions in my work, and is a healthy way to work – without expectations or confines – between larger pieces. 

Note that the piece is purposely not square. The top edge is about an inch shorter than the bottom edge. 

Hand-dyed, surface-designed, and batik cotton fabrics, cotton thread, cotton batting, holographic sequins. Raw-edge applique, free-motion machine quilted. 




Thursday, April 4, 2024


Copyright 2024 Susan Brubaker Knapp
12 x 12"


I created this small piece using some special fabrics I made by painting, drawing and stenciling. 

Cotton, dupioni silk, linen, paint, ink, cotton batting, cotton backing, interfacing. Free-motion quilted.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Lichens and Moss
(Copyright 2024 Susan Brubaker Knapp)
11 x 13"

On my morning walks, I pass a neighbor’s mailbox that was encased, years ago, with wooden strips. Now, it is covered with fabulous lichens and moss in beautiful aqua and green colors. I based this piece on a photo I took a few weeks ago, after a good rain. 

I started with a base of fabric, and added several extra layers of batting under the wood fabric strips, to make them more dimensional. I constructed the lichens from painted and heat distressed Tyvek and Lutradur. I free-motion machine stitched the moss with cotton thread, on water soluble stabilizer. (This is a technique I’ll demonstrate on Quilting Arts TV 3100, which we shoot this summer.) The piece also has some hand embroidery.

Lichens have always fascinated me. They consist of fungal filaments (hyphae) that surround green algae cells and/or blue-green cyanobacteria. (The understanding that bacteria may also be part of lichens is relatively recent.)

Lichens provide food, shelter and nesting material, and are an important indicator of air quality.

And in case you were wondering: The dark spots are the fruiting bodies of the lichen. Most lichenised fungi are ascomycetes, and these produce their spores in sac-like asci held vertically in a ‘fruiting body’. These fruiting bodes may be disc-shaped (apothecia) with a margin of the same or a different colour.” – The British Lichen Society.



Monday, March 25, 2024

Falling Ginkgo #7


“Falling Ginkgo #7”
Copyright 2024 Susan Brubaker Knapp
14" x 22”
White cotton fabric, acrylic textile paint, cotton thread, interfacing, cotton batting.
Painted, stenciled, free-motion quilted.

I made this piece as a sample for my “Stencil Magic” class, after selling six smaller versions. I’ll be teaching this class for the first time Aug. 3 at the Old Murphey School in Durham, NC. (This is the home of the Triangle Weavers Guild.) The process involves painting/smearing/scraping paint onto plain white fabric, then stenciling designs on top, and then masking out around imagery (leaves, in this case) and painting again. The class involves no quilting (although we will talk about how to quilt your piece when you get home.

You can get details, see supply lists, and register at

Here are the three classes I have scheduled later this year in Durham:


Pink Angelfish


“Pink Angelfish”
Copyright 2024 Susan Brubaker Knapp
7.5 x 16”
Cotton fabric, cotton thread, cotton batting, interfacing.
Machine embroidered, thread sketched and free-motion quilted.

I’m working on three segments for Quilting Arts TV Series 3100, which we will shoot this summer (the shows will be probably be available and airing on many PBS stations in November). This will be a sample for a segment on using water soluble stabilizers to create embroidered elements for art quilts. I machine embroidered the sea fan at the bottom on water soluble stabilizer – Sulky Ultra Solvy. 



Tuesday, March 5, 2024

East Fork Soup Bowls


East Fork Soup Bowls
21" x 34.5"
Copyright 2024 Susan Brubaker Knapp

I'm a big fan of East Fork Pottery. Based in Asheville, North Carolina, East Fork's stated values are “Accountability, Compassion, Equity, Sincerity, and Adaptive Tenacity.” Gotta love that. They also pay living wages to about 100 employees, and give a lot back to their community, with partnerships that help educate people about projects and services in the area. And their pottery is just plain fabulous. And addictive, so consider yourself warned. 

You can read more about them here:

Commercial fabrics, fusible web, interfacing, cotton batting, cotton thread. Fusible appliqué, threadsketched and free-motion quilted.

Monday, March 4, 2024

Falling Ginkgo #6


 Falling Ginkgo #6
9.75" x 21.75"

This is the sixth and final piece in my "Falling Ginkgo" series. All six pieces have sold. 

Copyright Susan Brubaker Knapp 2024. White cotton fabric, acrylic textile paint, cotton thread, batting. Painted, stenciled, free-motion quilted.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Snow Drops


“Snowdrops” (Copyright 2024 by Susan Brubaker Knapp) 15x20” Cotton fabric, interfacing, glue, cotton batting. Raw-edge appliquéd, free-motion quilted.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

“Nothing Gold”

"Nothing Gold" (copyright Susan Brubaker Knapp 2024) 41x 40" White cotton fabric, acrylic textile paint, cotton batting, cotton thread, cotton backing. Wholecloth painted, free-motion quilted. This is a commission, and it will go off to its new owners as soon as I can get the hanging sleeves and slats on. The name is from one of my favorite poems by Robert Frost, which speaks to the ephemeral beauty of nature: Nature’s first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf’s a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay. For information about my wholecloth painting process and materials, please see my detailed blog post:



Monday, January 8, 2024

Convergence – for the Coalesce 2024 exhibition

“Convergence” (Copyright 2024 by Susan Brubaker Knapp) 21.25 x 31.5”
White cotton fabric, acrylic textile paint, interfacing, cotton batting,
cotton thread, cotton backing fabric. Wholecloth painted, free-motion machine quilted.

This is the new piece I made for the Coalesce 2024 exhibition that opened Jan. 5 with a wonderful poetry reading and display of the accompanying visual artworks. I created it in response to local poet Pam Baggett’s poem, “This Hunger,” which is about her experience with a barred owl, and her longing to be close to the owl so that she can “know the world before I’m gone.” 

Part of the crowd at the opening

Exhibition logo by Max Dowdle

Pam with Susan

I immediately connected with Pam’s words, since we hear barred owls often at our house, and their calls run shivers down my spine and make me feel connected to the divine every time I hear them.

My piece incorporates a barred owl and a representation of Pam entwined together in tree branches, with the full moon behind them.

I used a yin-yang formation of the branches to suggest opposite but connected forces, and oneness. Light and dark, expanding and contracting, peace and violence, life and death. The moon is mentioned in Pam’s poem, and is one of my favorite motifs, too. The bit of blood on the owl’s beak is a reference to a line in the poem about the raptor hunting and killing a field mouse. I used the same red color on the woman’s lips.

I added the crescent moon on the woman’s forehead to represents the divine feminine energy of the universe.

This piece is $1400, and is for sale through the Orange County Arts Commission. A portion of the sales price benefits this wonderful organization that provides exhibitions, studio space and classes to our community.

Coalesce 2024 is a project organized by Max and Morrow Dowdle. Max is a visual artist and Morrow is a poet!

The Coalesce exhibition is open Jan. 5-28, 2024
Eno Arts Mill
437 Dimmocks Mill Road, Suite 17
Hillsborough, NC
Open Tuesday-Saturday; 12-5pm

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Falling Ginkgo Series

My “Falling Ginkgo” series will eventually have six pieces, all approximately the same size. Five are completed.

Falling Ginkgo #5

Falling Ginkgo #4

Falling Ginkgo #3

Falling Ginkgo #2
9.75 x 21.5"

Falling Ginkgo #1
9.5 x 21.5"

Tuesday, October 10, 2023



Copyright Susan Brubaker Knapp 2023
6.75 x 18.75" 

An experiment in mark making. White fabric, acrylic textile paint, ink, cotton batting, interfacing. Painted, marked, free-motion machine quilted. 

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Lichen Study #2

Lichen Study #2
Copyright Susan Brubaker Knapp 2023

Another lichen! Lutradur, acrylic textile paint, cotton thread, perle cotton, hand-dyed cotton fabric, interfacing. Painted, heated, machine free-motion quilted.


Monday, September 11, 2023

Lichen Study #1


Lichen Study #1
(Copyright 2023 Susan Brubaker Knapp) 6x8”

I’ve been reading Merlin Sheldrake’s book Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures, and it is fascinating. I’ve always been interested in mushrooms and lichens, but this book helps me understand how important they are to our world.

Mycologists are only recently starting to understand that lichens are composite organisms – they can be an algae and fungus; or an algae, fungus and cyanobacteria; or contain multiple fungi species. They live together in a relationship that helps them all.

This small piece is not meant to represent any specific lichen. I just tried to represent lichen-ness when I made it. 

Lutradur, acrylic textile paint, cotton thread, perle cotton, cotton fabric, interfacing. Painted, heated, machine free-motion quilted and hand embroidered.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

The Emperor and Cinnabar Moths

The Emperor (16 x 11")
Copyright Susan Brubaker Knapp 2023
Batik, hand-dyed  and commercial fabrics, glue, cotton thread, cotton fabric, cotton batting.

The Emperor (detail)

I’ve been moth obsessed (again) lately. Shown here are two smallish pieces, “The Emperor” and “Cinnabar,” that I made using a quick technique where I create a line drawing, then trace the pieces using a light box, and stick them down to the background (wonderful hand-dyed fabrics) using a little diluted school glue. The threadwork does the magic, adding the details and texture.

Cinnabar” (16x12")
Copyright Susan Brubaker Knapp 2023
Batik, hand-dyed and commercial fabrics, glue, cotton thread, cotton fabric, cotton batting. 






Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Tamarack Jacket from an old quilt


Yes – it’s kinda crazy! This is the jacket I made from an old, damaged quilt. Overall, I love it, even though it’s rather weird because of the large-scale design on the quilt. Here are the details:

I used the Tamarack Jacket pattern by Grainline Studio, and it was terrific. Very clear and well-written. (The designer also has a series of wonderfully instructive videos on YouTube that walk you through every step. Highly recommend.) This is a great pattern if you are someone who does not do much garment construction (or any). I have limited experience (my mom’s instruction; she was a home economics teacher before I was born), and making a bunch of Halloween costumes for my kids when they were little. I made this jacket in one (long) day in my studio.

I used my regular size (there's guidance for measuring yourself and using the sizing chart that is very helpful). The finished coat fits me very well. I love that it's not overly bulky through the arms, because that can make you look like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. It has small darts at the bust that also help it fit well.

I chose this pattern because it is pretty simple, with large uninterrupted areas for quilt pattern to show, and I made it simpler by leaving off the pockets (because of the green and red applique design running down the front panels). I also made it 6 inches longer. The original falls at the hips (usually not a flattering look on me), and I wanted to feature more of the quilt design. 


If you are working from regular fabric (not a quilt), the instructions have you cut out all the pattern pieces from all three layers of what quilters call “the quilt sandwich” – the top, the batting, and the backing – and then layer them and quilt them. I’d recommend cutting out all the pieces with about 1” extra, quilting it, and then cutting out the pattern pieces, because if you quilt heavily, it’s going to shrink in size, sometimes a LOT, in my experience.


There’s binding around all the outer edges, but next time, I may just roll the edges under, like I did on the sleeve cuffs. I also ended up folding under the front edges of the jacket (the placket) and stitching them down, because there was way too much overlap (I think I cut out the pattern designed for buttons and button holes). And I rather liked how it looked with the pattern going all the way to the edge, without being interrupted by a binding. If I do bind the edges, I’ll stitch the first side on by machine and finish on the back with hand stitching. I can do a much prettier job by hand.


You can order a paper pattern, but as usual, I wanted it NOW. So I downloaded the PDF pattern (it comes in tiles/sections and you print them out and tape them together.) I’m going to make this jacket again, probably with pockets. Maybe with a quilt of my own design. The main pattern comes with patterns and instructions for a welt pocket, and Grainline also makes a pattern for a hood, collar and patch pockets, if you want those.


The old quilt I used had extremely thin batting (before cutting it open, I wouldn’t have believed that it had any batting at all). I think it may have been hand-carded cotton. I love how lightweight and drapey it is. So when I do it again, I will probably use the thinnest cotton or wool I can find. I haven’t done any kind of closures yet, and I may not do any.

Tamarack Jacket ($20 for paper pattern, $18 for a PDF)

Tamarack Hood, Collar & Patch Pockets Variation Add-on ($12, PDF only)