Saturday, May 29, 2010

Stitchin’ Heaven offering PPP as BOM program

Stitchin’ Heaven, one of the best quilt shops in Texas, is offering my Pink Petal Party quilt as a block-of-the-month program. Stitchin’ Heaven has one of the biggest block-of-the-month programs in the United States, and I’m tickled that they chose my design to offer.

It is set up as a 12-month program starting in October 2010. There’s a $25 start fee, and then you pay $24.95 plus shipping and handling each month.

You can see all the details on their website,

Friday, May 28, 2010

June/July Quilting Arts hitting mailboxes now!

The June/July 2010 issue of Quilting Arts magazine is hitting mailboxes now! This issue contains the most recent installment in my series on thread sketching, with my portrait of our world famous cat, Max.

If you don't subscribe, look for it at your local newsstand or bookstores. Or order at the Interweave online store. The price is $7.99.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Max gets more press

 Maximum Cat Nap (22" x 18.5")

If you have pets, you know how much hair they produce, and how it gets everywhere. So when I was considering subjects for an article on adding texture to your work with thread for the June/July issue of Quilting Arts, my furry friends came immediately to mind. Our cat Max, whom we often call Maximum Pusscat because he has a BIG personality, decided that he should be the star of the show. He even jumped up into the little stage I’d built to take photos of my smaller pieces, and allowed me to photograph him:

Here’s a closeup of his portrait. I painted him with acrylic paint on white fabric, and then heavily thread sketched on top. 

The piece below, “Wool Yarn,” is also featured in Quilting Arts, and a free pattern (a line drawing and simple directions) is available on the Quilting Arts website in the Online Extras section. This piece was created with colored fabric on a black background. I added some shading with Caran D’Ache water-soluable crayons, and then created lots of texture with thread.

Wool Yarn (12" x 12")

Friday, May 14, 2010

Two things

I have two things to share with you today. The first is this funny pincushion I made from a felted ball and a teacup. I think the teacup was a give-away from Baileys Irish Cream liqueur, and I found it in an antique store. I love how the ball makes her look like she has a giant brain, and how it reminds me of the disembodied doll head with erector set legs in the movie Toy Story. That thing really freaked me out, and I think it is fascinating how something so creepy looking turned out to be so gentle and shy. Kind of like Edward Scissorhands. A good lesson that you can’t judge a book by its cover. 

Anyway, I digress…

The second thing I wanted to tell you about is my discovery that Goo Gone is fabulous for removing sticky fusible adhesive (like Steam-a-Seam or Heat-n-Bond or Wonder Under) from your scissors. I’ve been working on a bunch of projects that use fusible adhesive, and it had really built up on my scissors. A little Goo Gone on a paper towel took it off very quickly.

If you don’t know about Goo Gone, you should. It’s the only thing I’ve found that takes off sticky price tags, and other yucky stuff. Here’s how the company that makes it describes it:
“Goo Gone® is a quick and fast working solution to remove adhesive, chewing gum, grease, tar, stickers, tree sap, labels, tape residue, oil, blood, lipstick, mascara, shoe polish, crayon, wax and even bumper stickers! It leaves no residue behind and contains no harsh odors. Safe to use on carpets, upholstery, clothing, wood, vinyl, plastic, glass, stone, laminate, ceramic, painted surfaces and even cement.”
If you are wondering what the green tape is doing on my scissors, it is there to remind me that these are my scissors for cutting paper, not fabric. My kids know what it means, too!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Candy Corn selected for 2011 QA Calendar

My “Candy Corn” art quilt has been selected for the 2011 Quilting Arts Calendar! Hmmm... I wonder what month they will use it?

It is painted on white fabric (Pimatex by Robert Kaufman, my favorite fabric for painting because it is very fine and tightly woven). The photo below shows the heavy thread sketching I did on this piece before I quilted around the individual candy corn candies. 

This is the third year that my work has been selected for the calendar, and I am no less thrilled this time than the other two years. Yippee!!! Just wait until you see some of the other pieces Quilting Arts has selected. (If you are a member of the Quilting Arts community, you can see some of them in the photo gallery section.) They are really spectacular, and I am honored to be in their company.

Quilting “Nothing”

Look at what a beautiful job Judy Whitehead of Goneaway Quilting did quilting my Nothing Could Be Finer wall hanging! I really love it. 

This is the first time I had someone else quilt one of my quilts (you can read more about this in my previous post), but was I anxious? Not one iota. Judy is a friend and a fantastic longarm quilter. You can read more about how Judy worked on my quilt on her blog.

I particularly like the echo quilting around the morning glories, which really makes them sing! (And if they were singing, it would be “where the morning glories twine around each door, whispering pretty stories I long to hear once more... Oh, nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the morning!”

The larger size of Nothing Could Be Finer (82 x 84") is the donation quilt for the 2010 North Carolina Quilt Symposium, to be held in Charlotte at Johnson & Wales University June 3-6. For more details, check out the 2010 Symposium Blog. There’s still time to make plans and join us!

This big quilt, beautifully quilted by Kay Giese, will be raffled off in early June, at the end of Symposium. The pattern, which will include directions for both sizes, will be available there, and all proceeds will go to the Charolotte Guild to cover Symposium expenses. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A reader writes!

I’ve just wrapped up my fourth article in the series I’m writing for Quilting Arts magazine. It will appear in the August/September issue. One of the reasons I love writing for Quilting Arts is that I get to teach the things I love doing, and share my techniques with others. It’s even more fun when the readers write back!

I was pleased to get this photo and e-mail from a woman in Ontario, Canada, yesterday:

Hi Susan,
I enjoyed your articles in Quilting Arts on thread sketching. I had done some before, both with stabilizer and with batting, but was never really satisfied with either. Your method, with a double layer of firm stabilizer, was much easier. I used a variety of rayon threads to get the colours I wanted. I plan on donating Let’s Colour to the mini raffle at my guild's quilt show in 2011. The label includes a credit to you and QA.

I'm going to use this method for a piece I’ve been wanting to make from a photo I took of sumac. And maybe one of my favourite tree, or flowers in the garden, or my cats ....
Looking forward to the next installment in QA.

Cathy Willoughby
Brampton ON
I love Cathy’s version, and I’m so glad my technique helped her achieve what she wanted. It’s funny… when I took one of those tests in junior high where they identify careers or fields in which you’d excel, teaching was one of them. I brushed it off, because I didn’t think I’d like it, be good at it, or have enough patience for it. And I’m still pretty sure I wouldn’t be much good at teaching groups of children. 

But I don’t think I realized then that there are many ways to teach. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May: Brought to you by the color GREEN

If May has an official color, it simply has to be green. Green in all its glorious permutations:







Climbing Hydrangea

Prickly pear (and yes, that is a rusty spatula)

(Okay, this is not green. But it was so lovely, I had to include it.)

I took all these photos in my garden yesterday, after the rain had gone, and everything was lush and fresh with new growth. 

Green symbolizes life, tranquility, health, nature, fertility, growth, renewal, good luck, restfulness. Or jealousy and inexperience.

Words and phrases associated with green: Greenback, Green light, greener pastures, green room, green around the gills, green thumb, greenhorn, green with envy.

National color of Ireland; associated with Islam. 

Words that describe tints and shades of green: Emerald, sea green, seafoam, olive, olive drab, pea green, grass green, apple, mint, forest, lawn green, lime, spring green, leaf green, aquamarine, beryl, chartreuse, fir, kelly green, pine, moss, jade, sage, sap, viridian. 

Reported to be the favorite color of most geniuses.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A coleus… NOT!

Today, I got an e-mail from Pokey Bolton, editor of Quilting Arts magazine, telling me that she had received an e-mail from a woman in Alabama who pointed out that my piece featured on Quilting Arts TV, which I had based on a photo I took at a botanical garden and identified as a coleus was not, indeed, a coleus.

Apparently it is Persian Shield, or Strobilanthes dyerianus. “This unusual plant displays bright highlights on shimmering silvery-purple to metallic mid-blue leaves,” according to the Alabama Grown website. You can see a photo of the plant here. It does look exactly like the plant I photographed, and as the woman from Plantersville, Alabama, pointed out, it is not a coleus!

So now, here’s my quandary: I’ve already named the piece “Coleus.” It is headed to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham England as part of a SAQA exhibition this summer. Should I rename it? Is this feasible at this point? Or should I just claim artistic license and vow to be more careful in my species identification in the future?

I’m pretty certain that the coleus in my Red Coleus piece (below) actually is a coleus. Whew!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A special gift

Look at what my mom made me! Isn’t this the sweetest little scissors case? And isn’t she the sweetest mom for stitching it up for me? 

Actually, she made me a similar case years ago, and when Sophie was a puppy, she found it and chewed it to bits one night. It was one of the few things she destroyed when she was in her chewing stage, but she managed to find one of my most precious possessions to grind to bits. I was heartbroken, and had a hard time telling my mother. She kindly offered to replace it, and has been working on this case on and off for the past two years. It is the tiniest needlepoint you can do, I think, and it is stitched in silk, so it is lovely and soft.  

Together, we made the twisted cording for the scissors, when we were together in Paducah last weekend.

I know it is a week until Mother’s Day, but I want to tell my mom thanks, and that I feel so lucky that she is my mine. Love you, Mom!