Friday, November 30, 2012

Art Apron update

I’m almost done with my embroidered Art Apron! Here’s how it looks now. I’ve enjoyed this project so much that I am started with another one, this time, it is a denim jacket.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Quick ink sketches

Here are some of the sketches I’ve done lately. Many are finding their way into some funky embroidery projects I’ve been working on. (I’ll post more on this later!)

Want to see more? Head on over to The Sketchbook Challenge’s blog!

Friday, November 23, 2012

How to make knitted dishcloths

Detail of the pretty edge on the Lacy Dishcloth (directions below)
I have had many requests for the directions for the dishcloths I posted about on Nov. 21. Here is information about the two types I make. Knit!… have fun, make something useful, and reduce your stress level! Plus, these are fabulous dishcloths; they are so much better than anything store-bought I’ve ever had.

These yarns work great for dishcloths
1 ball of knit worsted weight cotton in solid or varigated color (see source info below)

knitting needles (I prefer circular needles) size 4-1/4mm or American size 6
yarn needle

Note: Some of these yarns are widely available in craft stores such as Michaels. 
Lily’s Sugar ’n Cream:
Peaches & Creme:
Lion Brand’s Kitchen Cotton:
Knit Picks’ Dishie:

Super-Easy Dishcloth
Super-Easy Dishcloth directions
This is the easiest dishcloth to knit; it’s a perfect project for a child or a beginner. I make this kind when I don’t want to have to think about what I’m doing at all.
Cast on 40 stitches (or 50 sitches if you are using a lighter-weight yarn such as KnitPicks’ “Dishie”)
Knit each row for a total of 40 rows (or 50 rows if using Dishie). 
Cast off. Use yarn needle to bury yarn tails along the edge of the first and last rows.

Lacy Dishcloth

Lacy Dishcloth directions
This version has a nice lacy edge and creates diagonal rows. 
Cast on 4 stitches.
Row 1: Knit across this row
Row 2: K2, YO, then knit to the end of the row.
Repeat row 2 until there are 40 stitches (or 50 stitches if using Dishie).
Next row: K1, K2tog, YO, K2tog, knit to the end of the row.
Continue decreasing until you have 4 stitches left. 
Cast off.
Use yarn needle to bury yarn tails along the edge of the first and last rows.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Therapeutic dishcloths

Throughout this year, I have been busy knitting what I call “therapeutic dishcloths.” I have found simple knitting and embroidery projects to be a very good way to de-stress. It seems as though if I keep my hands busy, my mind can’t wander down the dangerous alleys of “what if…” that make my heart start to race, my lungs start to hyperventilate, and my levels of adrenaline and cortisol to surge. 

Here are some of the results of my labor. Besides being useful, they are quite pretty, I think! Ah, I feel more relaxed already.

International Quilt Festival – Houston 2012, Part 5

Renaissance Ribbons makes some of the most beautiful ribbons! They now have ribbons designed from quilters like Tula Pink, Kaffe Fassett, Anna Maria Horner and Sue Spargo. This is not your average ribbon; it is very high quality.

Displays in their booth show some innovative ways to use ribbon in quilts and wearables.

Aren’t they delicious? It was so hard to choose, so I came home with quite a few yards. Want some for yourself? You can purchase it here

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Kiss Before You Go

I have loved Danny Gregory’s illustrations for a long time, and am very eager to get his new book, A Kiss Before You Go: An Illustrated Memoir of Love and Loss. Here’s a preview:

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Little Embroidery

“Scissors Stitched”
by Susan Brubaker Knapp
4-3/4" x 7-1/4"
I just finished this little embroidery piece tonight. It is going to the person – Jane Prater – who uploaded the 10,000th photo on The Sketchbook Challenge’s Flickr group. Many of the other artists hosting the Challenge are also contributing wonderful goodies to celebrate. Jane just happens to be from Charlotte, down the road a bit from me! It will go in the mail to her on Monday.

For this piece, I started with a piece of fabric I hand-dyed. First, I sketched a pair of scissors on it, using a mechanical quilters' chalk pencil. Then I put a piece of Pellon 910 – my favorite stabilizer! – behind it, and stitched away, using hand-dyed perle cotton. I stitched this piece during my daughter’s soccer game warm-up, half time and (extremely long) coach’s talk after the game last weekend. 

I fused it to a piece of Pellon 72F Double-Sided Fusible Ultra Firm Stabilizer that was in my Mom’s stash that I inherited. It’s the first time I’d used it, and I really like this stuff. It’s perfect for postcards and ATCs (artist's trading cards), and I think it would be great for small art quilts, too. I free-motion quilted only around the scissors on this piece.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

“A Year of Art” to benefit American Cancer Society

I am proud to to announce that in memory of my mother and cousin (both breast cancer survivors), I will be a sponsor of “Inspiration Month” for the “A Year of Art” fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Virginia Spiegel’s Fiberart For A Cause has already raised more than $220,000 for the American Cancer Society, and it is still going strong!  

On Feb. 12 and 13, 2013, everyone who donates to the ACS through Fiberart For A Cause will be entered in the Inspiration Month drawing now valued at more than $1000. 

Artwork from these 11 amazing and generous artists will arranged on a calendar grid and be up for bid:

Pamela Allen

Pokey Bolton

Linda Colsh

Jane Davila

Vivika DeNegre

Jane Dunnewold

Jamie Fingal

Karen Stiehl Osborn

Yvonne Porcella

Laura Wasilowski

Virginia A. Spiegel

December in the Year of Art will be Inspiration Month, with a collection of beautiful books, tools, and materials which will all go to ONE lucky person. You are entered in the drawing for this prize package automatically by placing a bid (winning or not) or by making a donation to the American Cancer Society through Fiberart For A Cause during A Year of Art. Can you imagine receiving more than 20 boxes in the mail full of fiber and mixed media books, specialty fabrics, beads, stencils, DVDs, Inspiration Packs, and more?

100 percent of donations will be made directly to the American Cancer Society through Fiber Art for a Cause.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

I'm teaching at the Hudson River Valley Fiber Art Workshops in December


Want to give yourself a special holiday gift? How about five days of creativity and inspiration in the beautiful Catskill Mountains of upstate New York?

There are still openings in my five day class, Paint, Fuse, Stitch!, the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops December 9-15. This five-day format will allow students to create pieces based on their own photos, something there is simply not time for in my one-day classes. So it is a great opportunity to learn my techniques while you make meaningful, original pieces. 
I’ll cover fusible applique, wholecloth painting, thread sketching and free-motion quilting.

Beyond the six hours of class time each day, I am sure we will be spending time in the studio in our pajamas, with lots of laughter and fun. 
You'll learn how to:
  • Distill a photographic image into shapes for fused applique. 
  • Create a pattern for fused applique
  • Transfer a design to fabric for painting. 
  • Paint on fabric, including mixing and blending colors
  • Layer and fuse fabric pieces to build your piece
  • Add detail with thread sketchingFree-motion quilt your piece.
Here are some examples. Here’s a photo of my cat, Max:
And here’s the wholecloth painted, thread sketched and quilted Max:

Here’s a photo of a beautiful butterfly I took at the Chattanooga Aquarium:

And here’s the fusible appliqued, thread sketched and quilted butterfly:

The Hudson River Valley Art Workshop is a unique art center in New York’s inspiring Hudson River Valley in the Catskill Mountains. Since 1982, fiber artist Kim LaPolla and her husband Mark (Chef de Cuisine and Chocolatier) have been holding art workshops in the gorgeous 1889 inn, The Greenville Arms. USA Today named their program “one of the ten best learning vacations.”

If you want to see what is going on recently in the art workshops, check out the blog. Here are some photos of the inn:





A recent workshop with Hollis Chattelain (far right)
Oooooh, I can’t wait! Please join me! We are going to have such fun!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Texas Junk Co.

On my last full day of International Quilt Festival, I hitched a ride to Texas Junk Co. with some of the friendly folks who work behind the scenes at The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims. We were in search of cheap cowboy boots, and a little bit of Texas atmosphere. 

Texas Junk Co. looks like junk on the outside, but a charming, funky kind of junk. You can find it at 215 Welch Street in Houston. Look for this sign:

The outside of the store boasts:

And there’s lots of interesting and amusing stuff on the outside of the building: 

When you walk in the door (and there were people lined up for the store to open, to get first dibs on the boots!) this is what you see:

That, and a TON of boots. Yee-haw!

This is the owner (for more than 30 years), Robert:

I found a pair I liked!

 Randi tried on a fancy pair:

There’s lots of other cool stuff, including hundreds of vintage frames:

Cowboy hats:

Vintage albums:

You know you need this! (Well, not really, but isn’t it fun?)

Tennis anyone?

Robert stretches out a boot for a customer:

Mary Kay wore her cowboy hat back to International Quilt Festival, looking quite a bit more Texan than she was before shopping:

 Maybe she wanted to look more like Ricky!

Check out the slideshow featuring me and this trip on The Quilt Show’s blog!