Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"Sunny" is done for THE 100

“Sunny” (10.5" x 10.5") Copyright 2014 by Susan Brubaker Knapp
Done! This is my donation to Virginia Spiegel’s “THE 100” fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Based on my sketch of a sunfish, then wholecloth painted and quilted. Someone will win him in February – maybe you! Check out the details on Virginia’s website.

… and Happy New Year to all my blog readers! I hope the new year brings you much joy.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Sneak Peek: The 100

Piece (in progress) that I'm donating to THE 100
On Wed., Feb. 4, 2015, Virginia Spiegel is attempting to raise $10,000 in one day for the American Cancer Society. Fiberart For A Cause has already raised $240,000 through the generosity of fiber artists and patrons. In 2015, her goal with THE 100 is to bump that amount up to a nice, round quarter of a million dollars.

On that day, 100 patrons who donate $100 will be randomly assigned artwork from an extraordinary line-up of international fiber artists (including me!). All the details, including the list of participating artists, are here:
I’ve finished painting my piece, and will stitch and quilt it next!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Catherine Redford’s “Modern Machine Quilting” Workshop


If you are fairly new to quilting, and want to learn some basic machine quilting techniques that can make your quilts look polished and sophisticated right out of the gate, here is a Quilting Arts Workshop for you! In her new workshop, Modern Machine Quilting: Straight Lines, Spirals, Serpentines, and More!, fiber artist and teacher Catherine Redford shares wonderful tips and techniques for using a walking foot on a regular domestic sewing machine to accomplish straight lines, organic curves, serpentines, and square and circular spirals. 

Despite the title, this is a great workshop for all quilters, not just those who work in the “modern” style. These quilting techniques would be wonderful on traditional quilts, contemporary quilts, and art quilts. And the things she teaches are not just for beginners, either; I learned a lot of things I’ll be incorporating in my work in the future.

Me, with Catherine on the set of Quilting Arts TV
Catherine’s been a guest on several seasons of Quilting Arts TV, and here’s why: she’s a great teacher who is able to break things down into simple steps and explain them in ways that make perfect sense. 

I consider myself a fairly accomplished machine quilter, but I learned a lot from this workshop. When I started machine quilting about 20 years ago, I stuck to what I thought was the easiest method: the basic stitch-in-the-ditch way, going around all the shapes in my traditional blocks. The results were not pretty. It took me a while to realize that stitch in the ditch is not easy! 

Quilt and photo by Catherine Redford
Catherine gives great tips for getting better results when you do stitch in the ditch, and then goes on to show you how to add nice graphic elements — such as grids that look like tartan/plaid — and how to adjust the width and length of some of the basic stitches built into most modern sewing machines (such as the gentle wave and zigzag) so that they look great as quilting lines.

Quilt and photo by Catherine Redford
Beginning quilters will also appreciate her thorough coverage of how to choose battings, threads, needles, marking tools, and walking feet before she jumps into preparing the quilt top for quilting. Along the way, she offers many valuable tips that will save you time and heartache.

The DVD is $24.99, and the high definition video download is $19.99; you can order them both at the Quilting Daily Shop

Catherine is giving away two copies of her new workshop on DVD! So head on over to her blog, and leave a comment there by Dec. 25 for a chance to win!

Want to read what others think about Catherine’s workshop? Check out these blogs:
Faith Jones
Bonnie Hunter
Cheryl Sleboda
Maddie Kertay
Svetlana Sotak
Julia Wood
Laura Wasilowski

Pokey Bolton

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Series 1500 of QATV is almost here!

Series 1500 of Quilting Arts TV is almost here! The shows will start airing on more than 400 public television stations in the U.S. in January. The digital download ($34.99) is available now here, and the DVD ($39.99) is available for pre-order here
Here’s what you will see:

Quilting Arts TV Series 1500 DVD Episodes 1-13
Boost your quilting skills as you learn from the experts! Join Susan Brubaker Knapp as she hosts many of your favorite fiber artists, modern quilters, art quilters, and mixed-media artists. 

All 13 episodes from Series 1500 in one place – plus get a bonus segment!
1501: Tradition with a twist
Much of contemporary quilting and needlework is new twists on old patterns and techniques. In this episode, Sue Spargo shows us how to make a beautiful wool pincushion, and Leslie Tucker Jenison demonstrates an innovative method for creating and joining giant, ready-to-quilt hexagons. Two traditional techniques, with a twist!

1502: Back to basics
Get back to basics. Amy Ellis shows us how to practice making perfect mitred corners while creating a quilted placemat. Martha DeLeonardis explains some basic techniques for very special t-shirt quilts. And Susan Brubaker Knapp will teach you free-motion quilting motifs to perfect your curves and straight lines. 

1503: Collage with fabric and paper
The art of fiber collage involves layering different elements - and sometimes different materials - to create a more complex surface. Jamie Fingal shows how she cuts visual elements and text from her fabric, and then collages elements back together to make a whimsical art quilt. Her friend Leslie Tucker Jenison adds paper to the fabric mix, and stitches by hand and machine to make small visual gems she calls “Sweet Little Somethings.” 

1504: On the surface #I
This episode features a variety of surface design techniques. Lyric Montgomery Kinard creates beautiful layered texture on fabric using a Thermofax® screen. Never tried acrylic ink on fabric? Susan Brubaker Knapp will show you how to use a calligraphy pen and brushes to put a favorite quote on fabric. Plus, Roxanne Lessa pushes her work into the third dimension with a technique she calls “3-D textile painting.”

1505: Be your own designer
Take control and design your own textiles, rather than relying on others’ patterns. Trish Bowman shows how to use a variety of materials to make meaningful memory quilts. Susan Brubaker Knapp will explain how simple drawings from her sketchbook ended up in a unique embroidered jacket and apron. Plus, Liz Kettle adds life and energy to a simple drawing with machine thread sketching. 

1506: On the surface #2
We’re back in this episode with more fascinating surface design techniques. Artist Jamie Fingal stencils designs to create color and pattern on fabric, then quilts it to create great pattern and texture. Cheryl Sleboda shares the beautiful and surprisingly easy technique of Suminigashi, a Japanese marbling technique. And Rebekah Meier demonstrates how to spray, paint, and pour pre-mixed dyes onto fabric to easily create different looks. 

1507: Memory keeping
Art quilts are wonderful ways to keep memories alive and part of your everyday life. If you have a special child’s drawing, Tammie Bowser can show you how to translate it into a beautiful art quilt. And Lesley Riley’s modern memory quilts start by looking at old family photos in a new way, and then emphasizing color, scale, and really crazy quilting. 

1508: Fabric fun
In this episode the guests focus on fabric! Rebekah Meier shows us how she uses her complex surface-designed fabrics in a pillow that’s easy to stitch up. Fiber artist Tammie Bowser creates her intricate fiber portraits by carefully selecting fabric for color and value; she’ll walk us through the process. Silk can be a bit temperamental to work with, but Roxane Lessa’s techniques make it more manageable to create lovely dimension and texture in what she calls “sculptured silk.”

1509: Fast and fun gifts
Looking for some gift ideas you can whip up in a jiffy? Fusible adhesives make Pearl Krush’s owl fantasy wall quilt easy and fast to stitch up. Julie Creus shows us how to make a darling scissors fob you can use to identify your scissors if you are stitching in a group or on a retreat. And after you make one of Kristine Lundblad’s easy grocery totes, you may never use paper - or plastic - again!

1510: Shows and exhibitions
Attending a big national or international quilt show is a wonderful way to learn and get inspired. Luana Rubin shows us some of the amazing miniature quilts and intricate quilted handbags she saw at the Tokyo Quilt Festival. Artists Leslie Tucker Jenison and Jamie Fingal are good friends who have curated lots of art quilt exhibitions together. They’ll share their insights into entering exhibitions, and curating them. Plus, if you’re just getting started with quilting and need a simple project to get started, Kristine Lundblad’s cross quilt might be just the ticket. 

1511: Pins and pinning
There’s more to pins and pinning techniques than you may realize. Amy Ellis covers all the basics on different kinds of pins and how to use them. Plus, Angela Pingel pieces perfect Drunkard’s Path blocks using a single pin - really!

1512: Let’s try it!
Step outside of your box and try something new today! Lesley Riley takes fabric scraps, transferred images, quotes, and words to create unique fragment fabric books that tell a story. Contemporary quilter Angela Pingel has a quick, fun technique for making small quilts and pillows using a scrappy raw-edge background with raw-edge applique on top. And Susan Brubaker Knapp will introduce you to magical Mylar and teach you some techniques for using it in art quilts to add shimmer or bling where you need it.

1513: A little of this, a little of that
In this episode, there is a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. Sue Spargo explains the basics of wool applique; this fun handwork is easy to do once you know how to get started. Teri Tope will create a large-size insulated bottle tote for the quilter on the go. Artist Liz Kettle’s beaded cuff is so lovely and luxurious that you wouldn’t dream it uses only a few kinds of stitches on texturized velvet. She’ll teach us how to make one.

Bonus Segment:
Learn easy embroidery stitches with expert Catherine Redford in this exclusive bonus segment unique to the Quilting Arts TV 1500 DVD!

Friday, December 12, 2014

A great review for “Point, Click, Quilt!”

Gabi Maier has just published a review of my book, Point, Click, Quilt! on the website QuiltArtNews. It is a lovely review (she calls it “one of my favorite quilting books of all time.” WOW!!! What a thrill to hear that!

And it contains a trailer that somehow I forgot about. C&T Publishing has produced these book trailers (similar to the movie trailers that you see when you search for online information on movies or see in the movie theaters). Fun! 

The first edition of the book has sold out, and it is now only available in print-on-demand and e-book format. I bought the remaining stock of the first edition, fewer than 100 copies, and I’m selling them when I teach and through my website until they are gone. Snif!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

“Creative Journeys” by Lisa Walton

Fiber artist Lisa Walton has a new e-book out called Creative Journeys: Fun & Easy Textile Surface Design Techniques. If you are new to surface design or have never tried it, I encourage you to take the plunge with this book. It’s perfect for the beginner, as it walks you step by step through many surface design techniques, with simple explanatory text and photos. And for the price, this book can’t be beat!

Note: This is an e-Book, and it is not designed like a printed book. Each idea is presented on its own page, with photos on the following pages that show the steps. There are also many links to videos or related books, and Lisa does a great job of explaining the tools and materials you need. An excellent resources section toward the end of the book will help you locate the supplies you need. 

There is a wealth of information here! Lisa covers fabric painting, stamping, rubbing (with Shiva Paintskiks), metallic foils, simple screen printing, and creative stitchwork (bobbinwork, hand embroidery), felting, and more. 

Pleated fabric colored with transparent fabric paint
A rubbing using oil paint sticks
A stamped design from a hand-carved stamp
Paint screened on dark fabric
One of Lisa’s thermofax designs

She also shares a few ways of combining fabrics you create into beautiful art quilts. (Learn more about how to use your fabrics in Lisa’s first book.)

One of Lisa’s “Fantastic Fusion” quilts
Lisa’s quilt “Mottainai”

Lisa plans to release future books in the Creative Journeys series that focus on other techniques, such as beading embellishment.

Lisa, with students, on a recent trip she led to Japan
Lisa lives in Sydney, Australia, and runs her business, Dyed & Gone to Heaven, with her husband Peter. She teaches all over the world. She is vice president of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA). Her first book is Beautiful Building Block Quilts: Create Improvisational Quilts from One Block (C& T Publishing, 2013). This book is available for purchase here on

Creative Journeys costs $8.95 and is available here on (To read the e-book, you need to download the free Kindle Reading App. But you don’t need a Kindle; the app allows you to read the book on your smartphone, tablet or computer. There’s a link to the app on the page where you order the book.)

Want to know more about Lisa’s book? Other artists are posting reviews on the dates below:

Dec. 8 – Sarah Ann Smith –

Dec. 9 – Lyric Kinard –

Dec. 10 – Erica Spinks –

Dec. 11 – Susan Brubaker Knapp –

Dec. 12 – Brenda Gael Smith –

Dec. 13 – Judy Coates Perez –

Dec. 14 – Shelley Stokes –

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

“The Little Spark”

I’ve read a fair number of books and articles on creativity. It is a topic that fascinates me the longer I teach fiber art classes. Why is it that some people know they are creative, and some people absolutely deny that they could ever be creative? I always insist that everyone is creative, but some people have simply shut down this essential part of themselves. Artist and author Carrie Bloomston agrees with me. She’s just written one of the best books on creativity that I’ve ever read. Not to sound overly dramatic, but it’s already changed my life.  

It’s called The Little Spark: 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity (C&T Publishing, 2014), and  it is 128 beautifully written, photographed, and designed pages to help you try new things, think about things from a different angle, and get motivated to build the artistic life of your dreams.

Carrie writes with great passion, joy and honesty about her creative life. She shares her enthusiasm, her struggles, and her discoveries on her path to greater creativity and personal fulfillment. This is a deeply spiritual book. Not a religious book, but a book about finding meaning and contentment through personal growth, connections, and giving back. It’s about harnessing your essential core – your creativity – and why it is so important to finding your bliss.

Want to get inspired? Watch Carrie’s short video here:

So much of what Carrie says resonates with me. Much of it is stuff I believe, stuff I’ve been telling my students, too. Some of it is stuff I know, but need to be reminded about. “The fact about a creative life is that it is messy and imperfect,”says Carrie. Don’t you love that? Permission to make messes and screw things up? Yes, yes, yes! 

You can buy of The Little Spark copy at bookstores, or here on It would be a great holiday gift for a creative person you know. Or a person you know who wants to be more creative, but just needs a little friendly encouragement to achieve greatness.

Want to see what other people think about the book? Twenty-four other bloggers are posting reviews of Carrie’s book this week:
  1. Fat Quarter Shop’s Jolly Jabber
  2. Amanda Herring of The Quilted Fish
  3. Shea Henderson of Empty Bobbin Sewing
  4. Shelly Figueroa of Figgy’s
  5. Anna Graham of Noodlehead
  6. Karen LePage of One Girl Circus
  7. Rachael Gander at Imagine Gnats
  8. Amie Plumley wrote Sewing School 1 & 2!
  9. Sam Hunter of Hunter’s Design Studio
  10. Generation Q
  11. Cheryl Arkison
  12. Erica Sage of Craftyblossom
  13. Heather Givans at Crimson Tate
  14. Tia Curtis 
  15. Jill McNamara Photography
  16. Susan Brubaker Knapp
  17. Verena Ehrhardt at Einfach Bunt
  18. Kerry Green from very kerry berry
  19. Sally Keller
  20. Reets Rags to Stitches
  21. Cristy Fincher
  22. Stephanie Kendron at Modern Sewciety
  23. Anne Beier
  24. Jennifer Sampou
  25. Amanda Haas
Carrie is giving away five copies of her book on her blog! Go to her blog, and leave a comment there by midnight Dec. 9, Mountain Time Zone. (Don’t leave a comment on this post on my blog, because it won’t count.) Also, play along with her Instagram giveaway where three additional people will win a copy. (U.S. winners will receive a copy of the book. International winners will receive the digital copy.)

Registration is open for my retreat!

Blue Ridge Center at Blue Ridge Assembly YMCA
Details of my “Once in a Blue Moon” Fiber Art Retreat with Lyric Montgomery Kinard are now up on my website. You can download the registration packet, which contains information about the classes, pricing, supply lists, and the registration form, by clicking here. It will be Oct. 1-3, 2015 in Black Mountain, NC.

We are so excited about this event, and are trying to make it very special. So we had to start with a special place: Blue Ridge Assembly YMCA, near Asheville. I held my 2012 retreat here. It is a place with a lot of soul, and a lot of beauty. The grandeur of the Blue Ridge Mountains, lush forests, lovely creeks and walking paths, and amazing historic buildings that have stood here for nearly 100 years.

Lyric and I want this retreat to be more than just three days of classes. We are building an event that will be a time to center yourself, to make new friends, and relax. That’s why we are planning special things like photography hikes, a campfire, sketching sessions, and creativity exercises. (Maybe even some simple yoga!)

Most of all, we want it to be a safe, supportive environment to take risks and stretch out new places inside yourself for your creative spirit to thrive. 

For 1-1/2 days, you’ll study realistic wholecloth painting with Susan:
Learn the basics of creating wholecloth painted quilts based on photos. Working from your original photograph, you’ll use acrylic textile paints to bring it to life. Don’t worry if you’ve never painted anything before.… this may look complicated, but my technique breaks the process down into simple steps. I’ve seen students who were utterly terrified to try painting, and then completely astounded at what they were able to achieve. You will learn how to select the right photos; trace your photo to create a pattern; transfer the design to fabric; mix colors, shades and tints; choose paints and fabrics to use; transfer your design to fabric; and paint and blend colors. 

For 1-1/2 days, you’ll study abstraction with Lyric:
Abstraction: Freedom from representational qualities in art. Taking away or removing characteristics from something in order to reduce it to a set of essential characteristics. Abstract-a-licious: Freedom from pressure or the need to make it real. Taking away or removing fear and the need for perfection in order to enlarge the artist’s essential joy in creation. If you’ve looked with hidden longing over an imaginary wall to the world of art quilts but don’t know where to start, this is the class for you. Lyric will gently guide you through concrete exercises designed to help you create ideas for original abstract quilts. Doodles will be scribbled, eyes and minds will be opened, and fun will be had. You will learn the basics of fused collage as you assemble your quilt top. Even students who have never created their own designs before will end the class with at least one small and unique art quilt top. Learn more about Lyric at

We hope you can join us!

Monday, December 1, 2014

“The 100” Fundraiser is coming!

I am excited to announce that I am an invited artist for “The 100” to be held on Wed., Feb. 4, 2015. The goal for this fiber fundraiser for the American Cancer Society is to raise $10,000 in one day.

How? You guessed it: Virginia Spiegel is at it again! Fiberart For A Cause has already raised $240,000 through the generosity of fiber artists and patrons. In 2015, her goal is to bump that amount up to a nice, round quarter of a million dollars.

I’m sure you will want to be one of the very exclusive 100 patrons who will be randomly assigned artwork from an extraordinary line-up of international fiber artists.