Thursday, August 29, 2013

“Never Enough”

I am calling this little piece “Never Enough.” If you are a quilter, or sewer, or crafter, you will know exactly what I mean. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

“What’s for Dinner?” is in Quilting Arts Gifts

I have a Halloween project in Quilting Arts Gifts 2013-2014; it has just come out. It includes several projects for Halloween, and many more for the holidays and winter season. 

I call my runner “What’s for Dinner?” (my husband came up with the name, which I think is perfect!) but they simply called it “Halloween Table Runner.” Perhaps they thought my name too gruesome even for Halloween?

There are more than 30 seasonal projects in this issue. You can find it on newsstands, quilt shops, or at the Quilting Arts online shop for $14.99.  

I can’t wait for Halloween; it is my favorite holiday, and my birthday, to boot! Here are some close-up photos of my runner:

To start the celebration, I’m giving away a copy of the magazine. Leave a comment after this post and tell me which holiday is your favorite, and why. I’ll pull one name at random at noon, Monday, Sept. 2. 

Note #1: International readers are welcome to participate in this giveaway.
Note #2: If your comment does not show up right away, please don’t freak out. I now have to moderate/approve all comments, because I was getting a ton of Japanese porn spammers leaving comments on my blog! I’m a busy person, so it might now show up for a while, but I’ll approve it as soon as I can. I promise. 

We have a winner: BillieBee (billiemick) has won the magazine. Thanks for participating, everyone!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Suffolk Sheep #4 – better photos

I am always amazed at the difference it makes when I take the time to photograph my work outside, in natural light. This photo shows the same piece I posted about last night. I finished it after dark, so I took some photos inside, under an Ott light, which simulates daylight. Here is that photo: 

Isn’t the difference incredible? Even if the Ott light gets close to the real colors in the piece, it still produces a flat look. By shooting outside, in daylight, but either very early in the morning or very late in the afternoon, I can get much nicer subtle shadows that show off the indentations from the quilting. Can you see how much more dimension the two photos below have because they were shot outside?

Good lighting and good photography in general are very important if you want to enter your quilts in big quilt shows. If you talk to people who have screened and juried these shows, they will tell you amazing stories about out-of-focus shots, distorted shots, or photos with visible people/hands/feet showing. If you send in these photos, you usually don’t stand a chance of getting in.

When I was working on my book, I needed to be able to take good photos whether it was day or night, cloudy or bright. So I borrowed high-quality lights from my friend, Patrick Schneider, who is a professional photographer. I set up a mini photo studio inside my house, and I worked with C&T Publishing’s photography team to get better results. It made all the difference in the world. All the how-to photos were consistent, with good color balance and lighting. 

If you don’t have the time/money/patience/desire to set up a photo studio in your home, or if you don’t have the money to pay a professional photographer, here are five basic tips:

1. Shoot your piece outside, in early morning or late evenings, when shadows are longest.
2. Some people advise shooting on a cloudy day, but I get the best results when the sky is clear. 
3. Put your pieces flat on the ground, and use a ladder or step-stool, if needed, to get high enough that you can shoot straight down. (Very large quilts require a different approach, like hanging them on the side of a building, or off a deck railing.)
4. Place your quilt on a neutral-color sheet, or some other background that will not be distracting.
5. Consider your camera. Some camera’s lenses tend to distort the image, creating “fisheye” bulges. I have one camera I bought specifically because it was advertised as not doing this, and I do get much better results with it.

If you want to learn more, check out the fabulous information on Holly Knott’s website.  I also highly recommend Gloria Hansen’s book Digital Essentials for people who want to know how to save, resize, or manipulate their digital images, or prepare images to submit to quilt shows.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Suffolk Sheep #4, threadsketched and quilted

I think I’m done threadsketching and quilting Suffolk Sheep #4. I think I am. But I’m not sure. I think I’ll sleep on it. I also need to photograph it outside in natural light; these photos were taken very quickly, and inside, and they are still kind of flat.

One sheep down, three to go (#1, 2, and 3).

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Suffolk Sheep #4 in progress

I have been threadsketching Suffolk Sheep #4. I started at Lake Norman Quilt Festival, where I was featured artist this weekend, and needed something to demonstrate. She is coming along nicely, but still needs a lot of thread to bring her to life. 

I took these photos outside this morning, and it is a dreary day, so there are no shadows – not good conditions for photographing fiber art – and it looks flatter than it is in real life. I’ll keep stitching, and will post photos when she is done – in the next few days, I hope! 

I am working on two large versions of this sheep, and two smaller ones. It is interesting how they all have their own personalities, as I painted them slightly differently!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Wanna be my (Facebook) friend?

If you are on Facebook, and would like to be friends, please look me up here and send me a request! If you’d just like to follow my fiber-art-related pursuits – and not hear about my kids or my recipes, look me up here

One of the things I like to post on Facebook are photos I take while walking my dog (most mornings). I do the same route each day, so I challenge myself to take a photo of something new and beautiful to post. I call it “beauty on my morning walk.” These are some of the photos I’ve taken – and shared on Facebook – recently:

Quilt! Knit! Stitch! August 14-16, 2014

International Quilt Festival has just announced that it will be holding “an entirely new show” in Portland, Oregon next summer: Quilt! Knit! Stitch! is scheduled for August 14-16. Sounds like fun! And Portland is a great city.

There’s not much information up about the event yet, but check back on the Quilts, Inc. website here later for more information. No, I’m not teaching there; I'm just passing on the info!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Lake Norman Quilters 2013 show

My exhibition at the show
I had a wonderful time at the Lake Norman Quilters’ quilt show this Friday and Saturday, where I was featured artist.  I got caught up with a lot of old friends, met some Facebook friends and blog followers face to face for the first time, and made some new friends. 

View from above
Display of red-and-white quilts
View from above
Some of the more than 200 quilts on display

The raffle quilt
Susan Dunne-Lederhouse demonstrates spinning
The spinning wheel turning
Many thanks to my special “minions” who helped me set up my booth on Thursday. I truly could not have done it without you!

Saturday, August 17, 2013


I’m pleased to announce that my piece, “Heirloom Pumpkins,” has been selected for the PAQA-South (Professional Art Quilters Alliance-South) annual Members’ Exhibit, ARTQUILTSfreezeframe. The show will showcase fiber art based on photography, revealing how artists find inspiration in photography and how they interpret that inspiration in their art quilts.

The Artists Reception is Sept. 27 from 6 to 8 p.m.; it is open to the public, and many of the artists will be there. (Unfortunately, I won’t, as I’ll be teaching in Massachusetts that day.) 

The exhibit runs Sept. 26 through Oct. 20 in Cary, NC (see details below). Each piece of fiber art will be shown with the photo that inspired it. It will feature 43 quilts created by 30 PAQA-South members, an expert group of professional fiber artists from across the United States who come together to promote innovative fiber and quilting arts. 

To learn more about PAQA-South or to join online, please visit  Sample photographs of previous shows and member artists’ works are available on the website.

Sept. 26 – Oct. 20, 2013 
Page Walker Arts & History Center
111 Ambassador Loop
Cary, North Carolina
(919) 460-4963 under Parks and Recreation

My photo, on which Heirloom Pumpkins was based.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Come see me at Lake Norman Quilters’ show next weekend!

New Zealand Chook #4
by Susan Brubaker Knapp
Painted but not yet stitched. 24" square

Now that I’ve done some small versions of New Zealand Chook and Suffolk Sheep, I’ve started on big versions. The one above is called “New Zealand Chook #4,” and it is 24" square. I’ll be stitching away on this, and a big version of the sheep, at next weekend’s quilt show, Sail Into Quilting 2013, in my town, Mooresville, North Carolina. I’ll have a lot of my work on display (as much as I can fit in my display space), and I’d love to meet you!

I’ll probably also be stitching on the smaller versions of the sheep and chicken that I painted on fabric last week. I plan to be there most of the time, unless I’ve made a mad dash for food or the bathroom!

Sail Into Quilting 2013
August 16 and 17, 2013 (Friday and Saturday)
9 am to 5 pm
Talbert Recreation Center
210 Talbert Pointe Drive, Mooresville, NC 28115

More than 200 quilts on display
Raffle Quilt
Gift Shoppe
Door Prizes 

Directions: Take I-77 to Exit 36. Go east on NC 150 for 0.7 miles. Turn left onto Talbert Road and go 0.5 miles. Continue on Talbert Point Drive for 0.4 miles. Talbert Recreation Center is at the end of the road on the right. (If you have lived in the area for a while, you may know this location; it is the former building of The Gym Company.)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Suffolk Sheep #1, painted

I have finished painting the first of the Suffolk Sheep. Tonight or tomorrow, I will try to get her stitched. I think she will look great with lots of texture in her wooly coat. I love how she looks against the bright blue background … like a clear June morning! On the photo, her face was a bit dark, so I lightened it up in Photoshop so I could see the details and paint it so that her face would be more expressive.

Here is the original photo. I think I took it in Cartmel, which is a village in the Lake District. 

“Rituals” exhibition featured on Bonnie McCaffery VidCast

The “Rituals” exhibition – which featured my piece “I See the Moon,” (left) is featured on Bonnie McCaffery’s latest VidCast. 
I was there last year in Houston when she shot it, and am featured – along with the Dinner at Eight Artists curators, Leslie Tucker Jenison and Jamie Fingal, and some of the other artists in the exhibition. It’s fun; take a look (you can even hear me singing!).

“I See the Moon” is home one more time before it leaves to be part of Karey Bresenhan’s collection. (Karey is founder of Quilts, Inc., and of International Quilt Festival and International Quilt Market. She is one of the most influential women in the world of quilts today.) 

I am overjoyed that she is purchasing it. I hadn’t planned to sell it, as it has deep personal meaning, but when she asked, I simply couldn’t say no, as it is such an honor to be part of her collection. I remember seeing her show some of the art quilts in her collection at a 2007 SAQA Convention. She has collected the work of some of the finest fiber artists in the world, and to be a part of that is simply a thrill. (Karey also owns my piece “Hope is the Thing.”)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

New Zealand Chook #2

I have been working on a series of small wholecloth painted pieces based on a photo I took of a chicken in New Zealand (where chickens are often called “chooks.”) This is #2, painted and stitched. The three I have completed are nearly identical except for differences in their background colors, which are all different shades of green. They are all about 7" square.

I am really liking these small pieces, and plan to do some more small ones based on photos I took of sheep! After that, I might do a big version of this chook.

Here are some detail shots:

My Schedule

I'm only teaching a few classes this year because of COVID. I’d love to have you in one of them! 

2021 Schedule
Raleigh NC
Sept. 25
Wholecloth Painting: Botanicals
Sept. 26
Thread Sketching: Still Life with Three Fruit

Bernina World of Sewing

6013 Glenwood Ave

Oak Park Shopping Center

Raleigh, NC  27612


Orange County Artists Guild Open Studios Tour

Tour the studios of about 100 artists at more than 80 locations in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough, NC. My studio will be open both weekends. I'll have large and small art quilts and notecards for sale, and will be doing demonstrations as time permits. 

725 Kenmore Road, Chapel Hill, NC

Saturday, Nov. 6 – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
Sunday, Nov. 7 – noon to 5 p.m. 
Saturday, Nov. 13 – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
Sunday, Nov. 14 – noon to 5 p.m. 

I'm teaching in Minnesota June 11-14, 2014

I’m pleased to announce that I'll be teaching at the Minnesota Quilters’ 36th Quilt Show and Conference on June 11-14, 2014! This event will be held at River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud. There are classes, lectures, quilt exhibits and special events, plus vendors.

Other teachers already announced for this event include LIsa Bongean, Sherri Falls, Page Johnson, Gwen Marston, Mari Michell, Sue Pelland, Kari Schell, Sandra Starley and Elizabeth Dackson. 

To automatically be the first to receive the Show Registration book at the end of December 2013 and the first to be invited to sign up for classes, join and become a Member of Minnesota Quilters here.  
If you would like only to receive the Show Registration book in January 2014 please send $3 and your full name and address to: 

MQ2014 Registration Book
Minnesota Quilters, Inc.
1203 5th St SE
Minneapolis MN 55414-2030