Wednesday, December 6, 2017


16" x 17" (Copyright 2017)
Cotton fabrics, Tyvek, acrylic paint, cotton thread, wool batting. Free-motion machine quilted.

This is a piece I started while doing a demonstration for my “November Leaves” class at the Charlotte Quilter’s Guild in November. The leaves are painted Tyvek that are stitched down and then heated. The main project for this class features maple leaves, but I was a bit bored with them and decided to try something different. I love the results!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies

This is a perennial favorite of my family. I adapted this recipe from a Martha Stewart recipe I discovered several years ago. These are dense, highly spiced cookies; get your cold glass of milk ready before you dig in! Baking them has the added benefit of making your house smell amazing. 


1 c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. molasses
2 t. baking soda
1 T boiling water
white sugar for rolling
4 t. ginger
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cloves
1/2 t. nutmeg
2 T cocoa powder
3 c. all-purpose flour
12 oz. semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips

In mixing bowl, beat butter, brown sugar and molasses until smooth. In small bowl, disolve baking soda in boiling water. Add in, then add spices and flour. Mix in chocolate chips. Roll into balls and roll in sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and press flat with the bottom of a glass. Bake at 325˚ for 13-15 minutes. For chewy cookies, do not overbake; they will appear a bit puffed, but will not spread much. Cool for a minute on cookie sheet, then transfer to wire racks. 

Monday, October 30, 2017


“Duel” by Susan Brubaker Knapp
Copyright 2017 – 32x26"
White cotton fabric; black, white and red threads; ink; wool batting. 
Thread sketched, free-motion quilted, hand embroidered. 

This is my entry for Studio Art Quilt Associates’ exhibition called “Guns: Loaded Conversations.” The juried exhibition examines America’s “heritage and current cultural norms” and encourages civil conversation about ways to reduce our gun violence.  

The deadline is tomorrow, Oct. 31, so I am just getting in under the wire! I’d had this piece in mind for the exhibition for some time, but did not have time to work on it until I got back from teaching at the New Zealand National Quilt Symposium earlier in the month. 

It is based on a sketch I made of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr and their dueling pistols, and is thread sketched (on the surface and through a layer of interfacing for stability) in black thread, then quilted and hand embroidered (the red blood and wound). There is also some hand stippling (dots) and cross-hatching (crossed lines) using a Micron Pigma Pen to add extra dimension and shading. 

Artist’s Statement: The 1804 duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr took the life of one of our most brilliant founding fathers, and destroyed the career of a vice president and Revolutionary War hero. I remember learning about dueling in elementary school and being in total disbelief about the stupidity of it. Shooting someone in a bizarre social ritual over a disagreement or a slight to one’s honor? Even more shocking is that more than 200 years later, Americans are still shooting each other at record pace, but with far more lethal weapons, and that we seem unable to find any real solutions to the violence.

Here is the text from SAQA’s Call for Entries for the exhibition:

Americans have owned and used guns throughout the history of our nation. Whether used for hunting, sport, protection, commerce or collection, guns have been a part of our shared heritage and culture. Today we find ourselves living in a society in which gun violence feels commonplace. Gun violence has taken its toll all over the world, in many different ways. An enormous divide exists between people who cherish their heritage of gun ownership and others who are concerned that guns contribute to the rising tide of gun violence.

If we are to find ways to reduce injury and death from gun violence, we must find a way to bridge this divide and talk openly and honestly about potential solutions while at the same time respecting legitimate uses for firearms. This challenging problem continues to be complicated by polarizing political positions, various underlying causes of violence in today’s society, emotional responses, and the desire to enjoy shooting for sport, hunting, or protection as well as maintaining family traditions. Layered on top of these competing and conflicting opinions are the forces of both sides' sophisticated lobbying efforts and a lucrative marketplace.

Artists have been a catalyst for difficult societal conversations throughout history, here and abroad. This ever-broadening divide between opposing opinions on this subject will require creative thinking and an evaluation of a wide host of possible solutions, if we are to find ways to reduce gun violence. Artists are encouraged to explore the heritage and current cultural norms reflected in gun ownership; to consider how their personal experience with guns may influence their opinions; to find ways to engage those of differing opinions to listen to each other in a thoughtful manner; and to investigate and encourage community initiatives that may inspire action in seeking solutions. Truly valuable conversation requires looking at all sides of a subject, and considering those differing viewpoints will be essential in building a bridge over that divide. 

San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
San Jose, California
April 22 - July 15, 2018 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

August projects

I just finished the second block in Susan Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore” quilt. It is needleturn applique with embroidered details. All the rigging is embroidered with 50-weight applique thread. 
I am calling this piece “Mish-Mash” because it is a small piece full of leftover bits – Tyvek, Mylar, Angelina, metal mesh, cheesecloth, charms, and then a bunch of machine and hand stitching. I created it for a short segment I’ll be taping for “Quilting Arts TV.”

And this is “Totality,” made to commemorate the total solar eclipse that I witnessed in August. (Charlotte, NC, was not in the path of totality, but we got to enjoy some of the eclipse here.) The moon and the rays of the sun peeking out behind it are made with Angelina, and this piece also contains other unusual fibers and materials.

Friday, August 4, 2017

“Friends of Baltimore” – Eagle block

I’ve just started Susan Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore” pattern. Here’s my first block! I’ve always wanted to do a Baltimore Album quilt, and I’m finding that intricate handwork is a great stress reliever. I was recently diagnosed with osteoarthritis, and I don’t know how long I’ll be able to do this kind of work, so I figured I better start now if I want to complete a quilt like this in my lifetime. 

Baltimore Album quilts are a style that originated in Baltimore, Maryland, around 1840. Each block is intricate and different, and most feature flowers; buildings, ships and bouquets. Many of these quilts were signed, using ink, and embellished with embroidery. These were not common bed quilts. They were highly prized family heirlooms, and were carefully preserved, so a fair number of examples survive today.   

In Susan Garman’s design, the eagle holds an American flag (I embroidered my stars in the circular Colonial formation), and an olive branch and arrows, symbolizing America’s desire for peace but readiness for war. In his beak, he holds a spray of wild red roses, the national flower. He also holds in his talons a “Liberty Pole” topped with a red “Liberty Cap.” I was not familiar with the Liberty Pole until a few years ago, when researching my genealogy. I discovered that I am a descendant of Robert Philson (my fourth great grandfather), who was arrested after protesting taxes on whiskey during the Whiskey Rebellion. Here’s information about him from Wikipedia:

Robert Philson (c. 1759 – July 25, 1831) was an Irish-American soldier and politician.
Philson was born in County DonegalUlsterIreland, and immigrated to Pennsylvania with his uncle John Fletcher. They kept a store in BerlinBedford County, Pennsylvania.
In 1794, Philson was arrested for his involvement in the Whiskey Rebellion. He was sent to Philadelphia for trial, but he and his co-defendant, Herman Husband, were acquitted.[1]
Philson served as associate judge of Somerset County, Pennsylvania, for twenty years, and also served as a one-term congressman during the 16th United States Congress.
Philson was commissioned a brigadier general of the Second Brigade, Tenth Division, Pennsylvania militia on May 9, 1800. During the War of 1812, he served as a brigadier general of the Second Brigade, Twelfth Division, Pennsylvania Volunteers.

The Liberty Pole was used as a symbol of freedom during the American Revolutionary war, and was later used as a protest against federal taxes on whiskey during the Whiskey Rebellion. It was erected in towns across the thirteen colonies, and often topped with a Liberty Cap, which dates to the 4th century BC! It was used as a symbol during the French and American Revolutions, and starting in the 1790s, was used on U.S. coins, which featured Columbia/Liberty wearing the cap. It is usually portrayed as a red knit hat. (The pussyhat is an echo of this symbol!)

A note: Susan Garman died in January 2017; this was such a loss for the quilting community. Many of her patterns are available here: 

“Friends of Baltimore” is available here:

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Behind the scenes of QATV Series 2000

Here’s a look at the talent at the shoot (in Cleveland in March) for Quilting Arts Series 2000. It’s aired on about 400 U.S. Public Television stations, but if it’s not shown in your area, you can also purchase it now on DVD and digital download

Pepper Cory

Sherry Kleinman

Lisa Walton

Jenny Lyon


Cathie Hoover

Martha Wolfe

Enid Gelten Weichselbaum

 Laurie Russman

Malka Dubrawsky

Timna Tarr

Sarah Ann Smith

Behind the scenes

Vivika Hansen DeNegre, Quilting Arts magazine editor, and me with a cake to celebrate the show’s tenth anniversary. It was started by Pokey Bolton, founder of Quilting Arts magazine, and producer Kathie Stull of KS Productions. 
Early morning view from my car, coming into the studio. I’m the first one into makeup at 7:30 a.m.

One of the cameras on set.

Kristine Lundblad, associate editor of Quilting Arts, helps carry Cathie Hoover’s jacket to the set.
Bernina sponsors the show, and provides us with all the state-of-the-art machines we have on set. 
Jeanne Delpit of Bernina USA gets a machine ready on set. (She’s from Florida, and yes, she’s so cold that she’s wearing a scarf and fingerless gloves!)
Lisa Walton headed into dinner, in a blizzard. She’s from Australia, and doesn’t see much snow, so she had to get this photo to prove the conditions in Cleveland to her friends back home.

Crew hanging one of Lisa Walton’s quilts.

Timna Tarr gets wired for her microphone. 

Sarah Ann Smith gets her paint ready.

 I made the rosettes to decorate the set and celebrate the tenth anniversary.