Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Susan’s So Thankful Give-Away #11: Six Fat Quarters

This is my new kitten, Wicked, with a collection of six pretty fat quarters in shades of yellow, peach, pink and blue. They look to me like they are from a collection of 1930s fabrics, but I don’t have any more information about them! (If you know the designer or fabric company that makes them, please leave a comment and let me know, so I can share it.) They came in the goodie bag given to teachers at International Quilt Festival.

Here’s your chance to win! Leave a comment after this post and tell me a bit about your pet, if you have one. I’ll pull a name at random at 9 p.m. on Thursday Dec. 8, and send you the fabrics. (But not the kitten. She’s mine!) THE WINNER IS: Rhonda G!

Chocolate Ginger Crinkles

Let the holiday baking begin! These are one of my favorite cookies; they are highly spiced, and require at least one big glass of milk as an accompaniment. They are slightly chewy, not crisp – as long as you don’t cook them too long – and are best served warm. (You can heat the cooled cookies up in the microwave by heating them for just a few seconds.)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Susan’s So Thankful Give-Away #10: Festival Tote Bag

This is the official tote bag of the 2011 International Quilt Festival – Houston! It is made from recycled water bottles and other recycled plastics. You can use it until it wears out, and then recycle it again. It is spacious and sturdy, and features a beautiful contemporary quilt called “Starry Night” by Shirley Fowlkes-Stevenson, from the exhibit Texas Quilts Today: Selections from the Book Lone Stars III: A  Legacy of Texas Quilts 1986-2011. This quilt is featured on the front and back, and there are beautiful stars from the quilt on the sides.

One of the things I love about this tote is that is structured inside. It has a section inside that folds out with spaces to hold three large bottles. The bottom is also reinforced. 

Here’s your chance to win! Leave a comment after this post and tell me what you’d be toting in your tote bag if you win it. I’ll pull a name at random at 9 p.m. on Wednesday Dec. 7, and send you the tote bag. AND THE WINNER IS: Judy Cooper Textile Images!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Susan’s So Thankful Give-Away #9: Quilting Arts Gifts

Here is a give-away for an item you need NOW if you want to whip up some hand-made Christmas gifts in a jiffy! It’s the 2011 issue of Quilting Arts Gifts – 148 pages of fabulous ideas, including two projects by moi! It retails for $14.99.
There’s an iPad sleeve, smartphone covers, tree skirt and fireplace screen ensemble, garlands, stockings, pillows, ornaments, floral brooches, table runners, coasters, journal covers, bags for wine bottles, laptop bag, journal covers, and tons more. Whew!

Plus, you get the recipe for my Tiropetes Greek appetizer, and my kids’ favorite, Chocolate Dream Pie. And lots more recipes by contributing artists. 
Here are my projects – Nametag Pouches: 

And Fire and Ice Candle Wraps:

Here’s your chance to win! Leave a comment after this post and tell me if you plan to make a hand-made gift for someone this year, and if so, what you are making. I’ll pull a name at random at 9 p.m. on Tuesday Dec. 6, and send you Quilting Arts Gifts 2011. And the winner is: Linecat!

Susan’s So Thankful Give-Away #8: EazyPeazy Patterns

I met Margaret Travis of EazyPeazy Quilts at Fall Quilt Market in Houston last year. This year she was back with some wonderful new designs, and she gave me some to share with you! (She is a wonderfully kind woman!)

EazyPeazy’s slogan is “Sew So Easy,” and Margaret aims to create patterns that are simple to make. Many would make great gift items, and hey – you could probably whip them up in time for the holidays. 

This Twistin’ Diamonds Tote uses ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable as a stabilizer, and the Double Diamond Ruler by Bright Quilting Notions to create the very cool (and easy) diamond pattern on the front of the tote. (Please note that these notions are not included in the pattern giveaway; sorry!)

Margaret’s MeeWow Bag would be great for a cat lover! Margaret recommends Soft and Stable for this bag, too:

And here is another stylish, yet easy to make tote bag: the Twist ’n Shop Tote. It has cute twisted handles, and uses Soft and Stable and the Sweet ’n Sassy Rombus Template by Creative Grids.
Make sure you check out Margaret’s Eazier Livin’ line. It includes products – such as a walker saddlebag and a wheelchair backpack – to make everyday life easier for people who use walkers or wheelchairs. 

Here’s your chance to win! Take a look at the EazyPeazy website, and then leave a comment after this post and tell me which of Margaret’s designs you like best. (It can be any of the patterns on the website, not just the ones here.) I’ll pull three names at random at 9 p.m. on Monday Dec. 5, and send you each a pattern. THE WINNERS: Marcia W., Woolen Sails, and Deb.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Susan’s So Thankful Give-Away #7: “Celebrate Great Quilts!”

Here’s a give-away for those of you out there who love traditional historic quilts. Celebrate Great Quilts! Circa 1825-1940 (C&T Publishing, 2004) is a book by cousins Karey Patterson Bresenhan and Nancy O’Bryant Puentes, who founded the International Quilt Association (with their mothers). The quilts featured in this book are from their International Quilt Festival Collection.

In the introduction, they tell how they collected these quilts, over many years, when one caught their eye or captured their heart. “We believe that a quilt must make your heart sing and your eyes dance. If it doesn’t, then it’s not meant for you.” If you love old quilts, you know exactly what they mean. (Unfortunately, I have found a number of old quilts that make my eyes dance and my heart sing, but have not had enough money to purchase them!) This is collection to make one drool. 

The quilts are shown by period (1825-1849, 1850-1874, 1875-1899, 1900-1924, and 1925-1940). The book features beautiful photos of each quilt, with what is known about it (materials, techniques, quilting stitches per inch, etc.), as well as general information about the styles, techniques and patterns typical of each era. 

This book is fabulous eye candy and a research volume all wrapped into one. If you love old quilts, you’ll love it.

Here’s your chance to win! Leave a comment after this post and tell me if you have purchased an old quilt, and if so, what it is like and why you love it. I’ll pull one name at random at 9 p.m. on Tuesday Nov. 29, and send you the book. WINNER: Laura T. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Susan’s So Thankful Giveaway #6: Artistcellar stencils

A few weeks ago, Lisa Cousineau of artistcellar sent me some new stencils to try out. Artistcellar sells several brands of stencils, but this is their own, newly designed and produced line, marketed under their name. 
I’ve used stencils a good amount in the past few years, both in my own projects and when teaching my Surface Design Madness class. Here’s what I look for when choosing stencils: First, they have to be cool, or funky, or just downright beautiful. They have to provide striking designs, or patterns that act as subtle background texture. But almost as important is that they are sturdy, because they have to be able to take what ever I throw at them – acrylic paint, oil paint sticks, dyes, inks, markers – and then withstand a good cleaning. Artistcellar stencils deliver on both counts, and are very affordable, too.
All of artistcellar’s stencils are 6" square, and are laser cut from tough 10mil polyester material. They are very sturdy! All are made in the USA, and retail for $4.40, or sell in sets of four (all of the series) for $15.99. 
I’m planning to use these stencils on fabric (wouldn’t it be beautiful to make a notepad cover or some other useable or wearable item out of hand-stenciled fabrics?) and on paper (they’d make great background textures in a sketchbook). 
Here are the four series:

Cathedral Series– This series was inspired by windows in French gothic cathedrals. Here is “Amiens,” stenciled four times to form a circular design. I used blue metallic acrylic textile paint on a strongly patterned pink batik.

Traditional Japanese Series– Inspired by classic Japanese motifs, all stencils in this series can be used alone or as a repeating pattern. I love the dragonfly; I think I’ll be ordering that one!

Japanese Geometric Series. These repeatable patterns are inspired by traditional Japanese textiles. I tested the “Seven Jewels” stencil here using watered-down metallic textile paint, to get a bit of a bleed:

For a crisper design, I used the paint straight, without watering it down, and stenciled several times for a layered look:

And here it is on paper, using watercolors:

Steampunk Series– This line is inspired by gears and mechanical assemblies, and has an urban grunge feel. I love how “Industria” looks stenciled in silver textile paint on fabric:

This one was stenciled first, then brushed with watercolor. While it was still wet, I “stitched” using black paint, and let it bleed and drip.

I also love artistcellar’s “Art is NOT optional” tote bag (left). If you order $50 in products from them (excluding taxes and shipping), you can get one for free!

I have to say that I really love all the stencils she sent me, and I want to keep them all for myself! But I’m trying very hard not to be greedy, and my give-away is about sharing the love – and the goodies! I think I can part with a few, so…

Here’s your chance to win! Leave a comment after this post and tell me how you use stencils in your work (or if you never have, tell me what you’d like to try). I’ll pull two names at random at 9 p.m. on Monday Nov. 28, and send you each a stencil to try. WINNERS: Ruth and Tesuque both won a stencil. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Susan’s So Thankful Giveaway #5: Patterns


Today’s give-away is a bunch of great patterns by different designers. First up is a groovy garment pattern, the BoHo Frock by Cheryl Kuczek of Paradiso Designs. Cheryl has some very arty designs for bags, skirts, jackets, dresses and vests on her website, so make sure to check them out. 

I have three patterns by Aunties Two, who offer lots of creative bag designs, plus baskets, bowls, boxes, and rugs. Here is their Saturday Shopper pattern, which features four pockets inside, and outside easy-access slash pockets on the outside, plus two side pockets that work well for water bottles. The handles are very sturdy, so you can pack a bunch of stuff inside.

Their Dufflette pattern is great for organizing and storing small items, such as toiletries, or stuff for sports, school or quilting. And they are so darn cute!

These sweet little Finger Pouches can be carried either on a finger (there's a loop on the back), or hung around your wrist: 

If you are a penguin lover, this one is for you! Castilleja Cotton has a bunch of different penguin designs, including this one called Catching Hearts for a small wallhanging:

Indygo Junction’s Koozie Kouture pattern by Amy Barickman has multiple designs that would make fast, fun gifts. Use up some of your special fabric scraps making designs for all types of drinks you need to keep hot or cold – soda or beer cans, coffee cups, water bottles or wine glasses.

Okay, here’s the deal: Leave a comment after this post and tell me which pattern you’d most like to win, and why. I’ll pull six names at random at 9 p.m. on Sunday Nov. 27, and try to match you up with the pattern you want. WINNERS: Jan in AZ wins the Koozie pattern; Louise wins Catching Hearts; Doreen K wins Finger Pouches; Linda Dalton wins Dufflettes; Julia in NZ wins Saturday Shopper; and EverythingQuilts wins BoHo Frock!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Win my new DVD on wholecloth painting

Here’s a chance to win my new DVD! SewCalGal has posted a review, and is giving away a copy of my DVD. Check it out, and leave a comment on her blog post for a chance to win.

In 2012, I will be participating in SewCalGal’s Free-Motion Quilting Challenge designed to help you improve your free-motion quilting skills (and win fun stuff along the way). If you want to stay on top of the fun, make sure you sign up to follow her blog. 

Here are some of the experts who have already signed on to provide free monthly tutorials:
I’ll have more information on this soon!

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Susan’s So Thankful Give-Away #4: Quilting Arts TV Series 700 DVD

    Today, I’m giving away the Quilting Arts TV Series 700 DVD! This is a four-DVD set that includes all the episodes for an entire season of Quilting Arts TV with host Pokey Bolton. (I’m in three of the episodes in the 700 series, which started airing on public television stations in the U.S. last fall.) It retails for $39. 

    Guests on these shows include Deidre Adams, Shelley Brenner Baird, Julie Fei-Fan Balzer, Mary Jane Butler, Malka Dubrawsky, Jamie Fingal, Victoria Gertenbach, Dianne Giancola, Candy Glendening, Kerr Grabowski, Mary Hettmansperger, Leslie Tucker Jenison, Susan Brubaker Knapp, Jeannie Palmer Moore, Judy Coates Perez, Beryl Taylor, Jean Wells, Valori Wells, and others.

    Psssst! Notice those cute little houses on the cover of the DVD set? They are the work of Candy Glendening, whom I featured in yesterday’s giveaway. There’s a chance to win her DVD in that post. 
    Here’s your chance to win! Leave a comment after this post and tell me why you like Quilting Arts magazine or Quilting Arts TV, or about a technique you’ve learned from them. (And if you haven't looked at either, what the heck are you waiting for?) I’ll pull one name at random at 9 p.m. on Tuesday Nov. 22, and send you the DVD set. We have a winner! Cornwoman has won the set of DVDs. 

    International Quilt Convention – Africa!

    Big news flash! 
    I will be teaching at the first ever International Quilt Convention–Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa next year! The event will take place July 27-29, 2012 at the luxurious Emperors Palace resort. I am so excited to be taking part in this convention; it will be wonderful to meet African quilters, and to see a bit of their beautiful country. 

    The convention will feature exciting quilting and fiber art workshops by popular South African teachers, as well as these international teachers:
    The organizers have already lined up a impressive group of sponsors, and there will be a large vendor hall and exhibitions from selected international and local quilters. I’ll be teaching three classes:
    Thread Sketching: Snowflakes
    Thread Sketching: Dragonfly
    Start With a Photo: Round Red Barn
    Here’s a little video clip I made for the organizers of the show to use in their promotion of the event:

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    Susan’s So Thankful Give-Away #3: Dyeing to Stitch DVD

    I met Candy Glendening of Candied Fabrics last summer when I was shooting my second DVD for Quilting Arts, and some episodes for Quilting Arts TV. This year, I was there to cheer her on while she shot her first DVD for Quilting Arts, “Dyeing to Stitch: A Comprehensive Guide to Creating Colorful Fabric Art.”

    I just finished watching the DVD, and it is wonderful! I’ve done some dyeing before, and Candy does a great job of covering the basics in a very approachable way. If you’ve never dyed fabric before, you will know everything you need to know to get started after you finish watching.

    Candy describes herself as “obsessed with color” and it certainly shows in this DVD, where she talks passionately about her love of chartreuse, and her obsession with capturing the exact color of a moss she discovered while camping. Her excitement about low-water immersion dyeing with fiber-reactive dyes comes through loud and clear, and you’ll find yourself getting excited, too.

    Candy presents the material in an organized, straight-forward fashion that will make it very easy for beginner fabric dyers to select the tools, dyes, chemicals and fabrics they need to get started. She is, after all, a teacher and research scientist by profession, and she clearly explains and demonstrates each concept in detail.

    Check out her “Candiotic Table of Elemental Color” below!

    The DVD includes recipes for six jewel-tone hues (gold, red, plum, peacock, navy and chartreuse), and Candy explains how to dye a very specific color, and consistently match that color each time you dye. I was particularly interested in the section of the DVD where Candy demonstrated different ways of scrunching and pleating the fabric to get different effects.

    Lots of people are afraid to cut into their beautiful hand-dyed fabrics. This DVD will entice them to dive in. After all the dyeing information, Candy shows how she uses her hand-dyed fabrics like the one above to make beautiful stitched items, and demonstrates free-motion machine stitching techniques.

    Don’t forget: Today’s give-away is part of a blog tour! If you really, really, really must have this DVD, check in on these blogs on the dates below for more chances to win:

    Friday, 11/11 – Victoria Gertenbach of The Silly BooDilly
    Monday, 11/14 – Susan Brubaker Knapp of Blue Moon River
    Wednesday, 11/16 – Kathy Mack of Pink Chalk Studio
    Friday, 11/18 – Melody Johnson of Fibermania
    Monday, 11/21 – Amy Ellis of Amy’s Creative Side
    Wednesday, 11/23 – Diane Doran of Ooh! Pretty Colors
    Friday, 11/25 – Vicki Welsh of Field Trips in Fiber
    Monday, 11/28/11 – Brenda Gael Smith of Serendipity and the Art of the Quilt
    Wednesday, 11/30 – Amy Webb of Amy Lou Who Sews
    Friday, 12/2 – Robin Ferrier of Simply Robin
    Tuesday, 12/6 – Natalia Bonner of Piece N Quilt
    Thursday, 12/8 – Beth and the gang from Sew Mama Sew

    Here’s your chance to win. First, take a look at Candy’s blog here:  Which of Candy's products do you like best? Her little houses? Messenger bags? iPad covers? Scarves? I’ll pull one name at random at 9 p.m. on Monday Nov. 21, and send you Candy’s DVD. WE HAVE A WINNER: Jodi has won this DVD.

    Sunday, November 13, 2011

    Foto/Fiber 2012

    Virginia Spiegel is at it again! This woman is simply unstoppable. Her “Fiberart For a Cause” has already raised more than $215,000 for the American Cancer Society (ACS). In February, Virginia is hoping to raise $7,000 for the ACS in just ten hours over two days through “Foto/Fiber.” I’m donating some of my artwork. I hope you’ll mark your calendar for Feb. 15 and 16, 2012, and consider making a donation to this worthy cause. 

    Here is Virginia’s post about how this fundraiser works:

    Foto/Fiber 2012
    90 Photos AND 90 BONUS Fiber Surprises
    Beauty and Mystery Unite to Fight Cancer

    Gold Donor Day - February 15, 2012
    Make a minimum donation of $100, choose a photo by Virginia A. Spiegel, and choose a BONUS Fiber Surprise by a specific artist from an amazing list of generous fiber artists.

    Regular Foto/Fiber - February 16, 2012
    Make a minimum donation of $50 and choose a photo by Virginia A. Spiegel. Your BONUS Fiber Surprise will be chosen at random  for you from the list of generous fiber artists.

    Artists donating BONUS fiber surprises include:

    Natalya Aikens,
    Frances Holliday Alford

    Pamela Allen
    Liz Berg
    Sue Bleiweiss
    Nancy G. Cook
    Jane Davila
    Vivika DeNegre
    Diane Rusin Doran
    Jane Dunnewold
    Jamie Fingal
    Leonie Hartley Hoover
    Leslie Tucker Jenison
    Lyric Kinard
    Susan Brubaker Knapp
    Lynn Krawzcyk
    Jane LaFazio
    Susan Lenz
    Jeanelle McCall
    Linda Teddlie Minton

    Karen Musgrave
    Gail Myrhorodsky
    Karen Stiehl Osborn

    BJ Parady
    Cate Coulacos Prato
    Yvonne Porcella
    Wen Redmond

    Sue Reno
    Lesley Riley
    Susan Schrott
    Cynthia St. Charles
    Lura Schwarz Smith

    Sarah Ann Smith
    Terri Stegmiller

    Drawings for Fiber Art throughout the event.
    All patrons of Foto/Fiber 2012 will also have multiple chances throughout Foto/Fiber to win amazing fiber art donated by:   
    Leonie Hartley Hoover
    Lyric Kinard
    Lynn Krawczyk
    Yvonne Porcella
    Mary Ann Van Soest

    For updates on Foto/Fiber 2012, go here:

    Want to help? Need to know more? Contact Virginia(at) for more information. That’s

    Susan’s So Thankful Give-Away #2: Quilt Blocks Across America

    Today, I’m pleased to offer you a wonderful book called Quilt Blocks Around America by Debra Gabel of Zebra Designs. This book features applique patterns (which can be done by hand or with fusible adhesive) for 50 states and Washington, D.C. It comes with a CD so that you can print the patterns in any size you choose, and each design is shown in color on a separate page in the book. 

    The first part of the book explains exactly how to use the CD to enlarge the designs and print out one you want. It also shows how you can mix and match Debra’s design elements to create a custom block. (You can take a barn from Wisconsin and put it on Illinois. A bird from Ohio and put it on Virginia.)

    Debra also explains her technique of raw-edge sewing the pieces in place to minimize fraying. She recommends using Lite Steam-a-Seam 2, which is also the fusible adhesive that I find works best for my process. (It offers a very firm hold, but with less glue than regular Steam-a-Seam or other fusible adhesives, so you don’t gunk up your sewing machine needle when you are stitching through multiple layers of fabric and adhesive.) 

    Finally, the Gallery section shows how you can use Debra’s state designs in other projects, including banners, purses, tote bags, and other small quilts.

    Debra at Quilt Market several years ago

    I met Debra several years ago at Quilt Market; at that point, she had just started designing quilt designs honoring different states and cities that were framed to look like stamps. Debra’s training as a graphic designer really comes through on her designs. (I have also worked as a graphic designer, so maybe that is part of what attracted me.) I also ran into Debra while shooting episodes of Quilting Arts TV this summer. Look for Debra in the 900 Series of Quilting Arts TV, which starts airing on many U.S. public television stations this fall.

    In the years since then, Debra’s been mighty busy! She’s designed and released tons of new designs, written two books, and created some of her designs in fabric panels.  

    Debra’s follow-up to her first book is coming soon. It is Quilt Blocks Around the World (C&T Publishing, $21.95). This sequel – available in January 2012 – features new patterns for 50 locales such as Tokyo, Puerto Vallarta, Venice and Sydney.

    Here’s your chance to win. First, take a look at Debra’s blog here: blog Then leave a comment after this post and tell me which of her recent designs you like best. A bird? A flower? Or maybe that hilarious Quilt Police Doll panel? I’ll pull one name at random at 9 p.m. on Sunday Nov. 20, and send you the book! WE HAVE A WINNER: Mom2four has won the book.