Thursday, September 30, 2010

My favorite month

It’s here… my favorite month of the year! I just love October. Fall leaves, crisp weather, Indian corn and gourds, cider and pumpkin pie, and of course, Halloween! My birthday falls on Halloween, and it has always been my favorite holiday.

Today, I also had the thrill of turning over the page in my 2010 Quilting Arts Calendar to October, which features my piece, Autumn’s Bounty.

Here it is up close:

My work was chosen for next year’s calendar – and the month of October – too!

You can order the 2011 Quilting Arts Calendar from the Quilting Arts/Interweave website. If you are interested in participating in the challenge and maybe even having your work chosen for the 2012 Quilting Arts Calendar, put your thinking cap on now! Entries are due at Quilting Arts editorial offices on Jan. 7, 2011. 

All entries must be 12" square, and based on the theme of “Feeling Pet-ty.” Just design your art quilt around an animal, either domestic or wild. Artists of the 13 winning submissions will each receive $200 worth of merchandise from the Quilting Arts online store. You can find all the competition details here. Good luck!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cooped and Seafoam

This little quilt is called Cooped. It is a project I designed for my column on thread sketching for the October/November issue of Quilting Arts magazine. This issue is going out to subscribers and is on newsstands now. There’s lots of great stuff in this issue!
Jane Davila’s “Minding Your Business” column is all about selling your art at fairs and festivals … perfect timing for me and Fiber Art Options, since we are doing that this weekend (see my previous post). 

I met Victoria Gertenbach last month on the set of Quilting Arts TV, where we were both shooting segments, and admired her “Boro Bobbles,” lovely scraps of shot cotton fabrics and handstitched thread stitched into fiberfill puffed beads to display, use in jewelry, or as embellishments. You can learn how to make them in this issue. 

I also was fascinated to learn from Leslie Tucker Jennison’s article about two ways to use shredded paper in your work – as a resist for silk-screen printing, and as a laminated element for the surface of sheer fabrics. Very cool stuff.

And there are also lots of fun entries from the 2011 Quilting Arts calendar contest that won Judges’ Choice awards. Here is the table of contents so you can see all the other goodies:

Cooped is based on this photo, which I took many years ago on my youngest daughter’s kindergarten field trip to a working farm. As you can see, I changed the composition somewhat, giving the headless chicken a head, and changing the “windows” a bit.

I painted the scene on white cotton with acrylic paint, then thread sketched it. Here is a detail shot:

This is the second piece featured in my article. It is called Seafoam, and is made only with varigated Aurifil Cotton Mako 50 thread on hand-dyed fabric.
Here is a detail shot:

This piece is based on a photograph (below) I took several summers ago at the beach. I loved the pattern in the photo, but not the color. And I also felt it lacked a focal point, so I added the sand dollar (which is actually a type of sea urchin called keyhole urchin, I learned when I researched it!) 

If you are a member of the Quilting Arts community (which you can join for free), you can download my pattern for Seafoam. Just go to the website, and then click on “Free Stuff” and then “Online Extras,” and look for my little quilt.
In this column, I also wrote a sidebar on “Fighting the Fear Factor,” in which I give advice to aspiring thread sketchers, and offer tips on getting over the insecurities we all face when trying something new. Yep, even me.

Getting ready for AutumnFaire

This weekend, members Fiber Art Options will be selling small handmade items at AutumnFaire at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens.

It’s this Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 2-3, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is a celebration of nature that includes more than 29 vendors offering “a myriad of craft items made from or based on plants including such things as gourd art, basketry, handcrafted herbal soaps, garden pottery, mosaic art, candles, crochet, artisan jams and jellies, and more.”

I’m selling some of my notecard sets (above) and these stenciled and stitched business card cases like these:

AutumnFaire is free with Garden admission. Food and beverages will be available for purchase from Something Classic Catering. Members are free, $12 adults, $11 seniors 60+, and $6 children 4-12. The Garden is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m., seven days a week. For more information call (704) 825-4490 or log on to

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, located near Charlotte, NC, within 380 acres on the banks of Lake Wylie, offers spectacular gardens, sparkling fountains, a conservatory dedicated to the display of tropical plants and orchids, a visitor pavilion, gift shop and nature walks. HGTV named it one of the nation’s 20 Great Gardens and USA TODAY says the Garden is one of the nation’s best places to welcome fall with a flourish.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Petri progress

I’m making progress on Petri Dish Promenade... I’ve reverse appliqued the silk/cotton border to the embroidered soy-wax batik panel, and I’m working on embroidering some of the circles out into the border. 

I also went in and did a bit of machine stitching in this area so I could see how it would look. It really makes the embroidery more dimensional.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fiber on a Whim

Let me introduce you to two very creative women: Janelle Girod (left) and Kristen Girod Rodriguez of Fiber on a Whim. I took this photo of them today at the Cabarrus Quilters Guild 2010 quilt show, where they are vending. They operate their online business from their base in Marietta, Georgia (near Atlanta), and sell all sorts of wonderful products for the contemporary quilter, fiber artist or mixed media artist. 

There are fabrics (including hard-to-find mouthwatering Lonni Rossi fabrics I love! as well as fabrics for dyeing), paints, inks, dyes, threads, yarns, embellishments, metal, books, beads and magazines, hand-dyed and painted fibers, silk items (including cocoons, hankies throwsters, carrier rods, noil confetti), ExtravOrganza, TAP, Lutradur, Cedar Canyon Patterns and rubbing plates, and tons more.

You can read their blog here

Blue Moon River featured on We All Sew

My blog is featured today on This website, sponsored by Bernina, is updated weekly with great online stuff for sewers and quilters. There are links to charity sewing and crafting sites, free downloads, and ways to connect with fellow sewers and quilters. 

Through We All Sew, you can find Facebook pages, Twitter handles and Flickr and YouTube accounts that feature the best in quilting, sewing and crafting. How cool is that?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My second DVD will arrive in October!

I am thrilled to announce that my second Quilting Arts Workshop DVD will be released next month! This 70-75 minute DVD is called “Master Machine Stitching: Thread Sketching Beyond the Basics” and it follows up on the techniques I introduced in my first DVD, “Master Machine Quilting: Free Motion Stitching and Thread Sketching.”

Here’s more information from the blurb on the back of the DVD jacket:
Following up on the concepts introduced in her first DVD,
“Master Machine Quilting: Free-Motion Stitching and
Thread Sketching,” Quilting Arts columnist Susan Brubaker
Knapp delves even deeper, teaching you how to add color,
dimension, texture, pattern, line, and movement to your
quilts using thread. After a quick overview of the basic
materials you’ll need, as well as some helpful tools to make
things easier, Susan breaks down each of the six topics (from
color to movement) and provides step-by-step machine
stitching demos. She shows numerous samples that illustrate
the basic thread-sketching concepts being discussed. Prepare
to expand your view of the opportunities for using stitch on
your quilts.
Thanks so much to all of you who have purchased my first DVD. My oldest daughter has braces because of you! :-) 

Here I am on the set of Quilting Arts TV about three weeks ago. I was there to tape three segments for the TV show, and my DVD. All in one day! Whew; what a whirlwind! Quilting Arts managing editor Helen Gregory took most of these photos. (Thanks, Helen!)

Here are some other shots, some taken from the videotape, and some shot between the “chapters” of the DVD, on the set:

Here are some photos of the projects I used to demonstrate techniques on the new DVD. This one is called Prepared for Takeoff:

It is based on this original photo:

The second project I work on in this DVD started with this photo of a Cripps Pink apple:

I used the photo to create a very simple pattern, with only two colors for the apple:

On the DVD, I demonstrate how I got from the simple fused fabric piece above to this:

I can’t say enough kind words about all the folks at Quilting Arts and at Beachwood Studios for helping me make this DVD. In particular, I must say many thanks to the smart, sweet, kind and incredibly helpful Helen Gregory. 

The DVD will be available for purchase from Interweave/Quilting Arts website, and on my website, sometime in October. I’ll keep you posted. I’m off to sip some champagne and celebrate!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Petri Dish Promenade

More than a year ago, I started embroidering a piece of fabric that I had soy wax batiked and then dyed. I am not an embroiderer, and I don’t know what the heck I am doing, so was just having fun. It was a very portable project, and I took it to my kids’ soccer practices, piano lessons, dentist appointments and our beach vacation. I just stuffed the fabric, flosses – and bits of thread I had been collecting that unraveled off fabric when I washed and dried it — into a little basket, and took it with me whenever I knew I’d have some time to work.

I called this embroidered piece Petri Dish Promenade because it reminded me of bacteria cultured in a petri dish. You can see the embroidery stage of this piece in my previous blog post here. But everything came to a standstill because I couldn’t make up my mind about how to finish it.

Then, earlier this summer, I dyed a piece of silk-cotton blend fabric called “Radiance” and it turned out beautifully. The silk gives it a wonderful sheen and shimmer. Even better, lots of the colors were similar to those in the embroidered piece. Last night, I trimmed a window in the silk-cotton fabric, and I’m getting ready to hand appliqué the pieces together. Next I have to decide whether to do more embroidery out into the frame, and whether to quilt the piece by hand or by machine.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Gingher scissors factory sale… and a giveaway!

Some of my friends and I took a road trip to Greensboro, NC, today to attend the Gingher scissors factory sale. The photo above shows just some of the loot I brought home. I’m not going to tell you how many pairs I got… that would be too embarrassing!

Here are my friends with all of our stuff stowed in the back of Alisan’s van.
There were cutting mats, all kinds of scissors, rotary cutters (left handed only, boo!), acrylic rulers, and paper cutters. Nothing was more than $10. There were lots of small Gingher utility scissors like these for 50 cents:

The nice heavy dress shears were only about $4 a pair, and lots of the embroidery scissors were only $2 a pair. I also got some wonderful serrated kitchen scissors. These are all overstocks or discontinued merchandise.

We all bought an 18" paper cutter or two. At $10 each, how could we pass this up?

If you live in the area, there’s still time to get some of the goods! The sale is today and tomorrow (Sept. 19) and next weekend, Saturday and Sunday Sept. 25-26. Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday hours are noon to 5 p.m. The address is 322-D Edwardia Drive, Greensboro NC 27409.

And now for the fun part!

I bought an extra pair to share with you! One lucky reader will win these darling 4" embroidery scissors,with a retail price of more than $35. Just leave me a comment before noon on Saturday, Sept. 25, and tell me about your favorite road trip (where you went, why, and with whom) and you’ll be entered in the drawing. I’ll pull a name at random. Please enter only once. Check back on Saturday afternoon to see if you’ve won.

The give-away is over... Congratulations, Robbie (from Michigan)... You won!

Friday, September 17, 2010

More great pieces for the SAQA Auction

by Karen Kiley Olson

Cotton fabric, sun-printed by the artist using Setacolor paints. Hand embroidered with perle cotton, hand-dyed and commercial embroidery floss, rayon threads.

It’s right around the corner! The Studio Art Quilt Associates’ 2010 Benefit Auction starts this Monday, Sept. 20 at 2 p.m. EST! Here are more of the wonderful pieces of fiber art up for auction. SAQA artists have donated more than 280 small works, most 12" square. The funds raised through the auction allow SAQA to support exhibitions, catalogs and outreach programs. Last year 235 members’ work brought in $47,325.

All pieces start at $750 on the first day, then drop each day, to $550, $350, $250, $150 and $75. Want to learn more about how the auction works? Click here.

Here are a few of the fabulous pieces available for purchase, shown with the artist’s comments. You can click on the names (if highlighted) to go to their websites, and click on the photos to see the pieces close up. 

A Balancing Act
by Patricia S. Kicklighter
Circles consist of leather, silk, silk brocade, tweed, batik. Machine and hand-stitched.

Poppy Fields
by Desiree Dianne Habicht
I rescue all of the paper towels my students throw away after teaching a fabric painting class. These paper towels are often more beautiful than some of the fabric. Background is painted fabric, poppies are painted paper towels. Stitched and beaded.

Nature: Personification of Chaos & Order
by Anna Hergert

Hoarfrost is my favorite winter phenomena, which quickly disappears once the sun appears, warming up the air and causing the ice to fall in chunks from tree branches.

The Gift
by Carol Tamasiunas

My sister gave me a beautiful bouquet of tulips for my birthday. I decided to memorialize my gift of spring.

Petal Study
by Jeri C. Pollock

Petal Study is about creating transparency and depth as well as texture to produce an organic feel and natural movement while not attempting to re-create nature itself.

Growing Roots
by Tove Piraja Hansen

Time is in: no more obstacles, no more fights, no more excuses. The right frames and right timing are here. Now is about growing and consolidating your choices. Enjoy it! Hand-dyed background (shiny fabric) with tulle. The land and tree are miscellaneous fabrics that are layered as a bas-relief.
My piece, Red Coleus (above), goes on the auction block the first day. You can read more about it on my blog here or on the SAQA website here

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fun in the Cotton Patch

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of teaching a workshop for the Cotton Patch Quilters of Athens, Georgia. What a great group! 

This was my Wholecloth Painting workshop. Students worked from one of three of my original photos to create a small painted fabric piece. Here are my samples for the class (shown painted, before stitching):

Here are the students in action:

And here are some of them with their pieces at the end of the workshop:


I was so proud of what this group of students achieved. Some had painting experience, but had to adjust to working with a different type of paint, and on fabric. Some had never painted. It was amazing to see how different each woman’s work was. While some struggled at first to make theirs look like my sample, I encouraged each student to do what came naturally, and develop her own style. They all turned out great in their own way.  

I also tried hard to discourage “negative talk” and get each student to think about what they liked in their work, rather than the things they were not so happy about. Or to frame their criticisms in a constructive way, so that we could work on changing what they did not like. Too often, students listen to that little devil on the shoulder whispering put-downs.

The workshop was held at the Lyndon House Arts Center in Athens. What a marvelous place! It has gallery space, as well as wonderfully equipped classrooms and meeting areas. 

A special thanks to Mary and Fay, who made everything so easy and pleasant for me. These kind of program chairs are a joy to work with!