Saturday, July 19, 2014

“Magpie’s Hoard”

“Magpie’s Hoard” Copyright 2014 by Susan Brubaker Knapp

I’ve been wanting to create a piece to showcase some of the cool embellishments I’ve made, and some of the interesting materials I have found. This is the result. I put it together very quickly, as it is only about 12" x 16", and I already had many of the embellishments made. The hand stitching probably took the longest!

“Magpie’s Hoard.” Cotton fabric (including commercial fabrics and hand-dyed fabrics), burlap, dye magnet, Angelina fiber and film, cheesecloth, Mylar, Tyvek, wire, glass beads, buttons, melted CD, assorted fibers. Hand stitched and machine free-motion quilted.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Come along on the QATV Blog Hop

Woo-hoo! It is day one of the first-ever “Quilting Arts TV” Blog Hop. The first post is by Vivika Hansen DeNegre, the editor of Quilting Arts magazine, on the Quilting Daily Blog.

Series 1400 of “Quilting Arts TV” is all about finding your inner artist, and ways to get inspired and boost your creativity. Throughout the blog hop, guests will share their stories about shooting their episodes, and there will also be some wonderful prizes.

This is the first series on which I am the host (I took over for Quilting Arts magazine’s founder, Pokey Bolton, earlier this year). Shooting these episodes was such an amazing experience. I had a front-row seat to watch some very talented artists explain what they do, how they do it, and why they love doing it. And when you watch, you to have a front-row seat, too! There’s a bit of everything, so whether you are into art quilting, contemporary quilting, surface design, embellishment, or modern quilting, I think you’ll find lots to love.

Series 1400 will start airing on more than 400 public television stations across the U.S. at the end of July. You can enter your zip code here to find out
if your public TV station is one of them.

Can’t wait for the show to air? You can get all the episodes here right now, either on DVD or digital download.

So come along and join us!

Stops on the Blog Hop:
July 18: Vivika DeNegre –
July 19: Luana Rubin –

and Linda Friedman –
July 20: Sarah Ann Smith –
and Karen Gloeggler –
July 21: Carrie Bloomston –

and Catherine Redford –
July 22: Sue Reno –
and Rebekah Meier –
July 23: Lyric Kinard –

and Margie Ullery –
July 24: Cheryl Sleboda –
and Jane Sassaman –
and Julie Creus -
July 25: Susan Brubaker Knapp –

Looks like there is going to be some awesome stuff given away! I’ll list them here as I find out about them:Vivika DeNegre is giving away a copy of the Series 1400 DVD
Linda Friedman is giving away 1 yard of her hand dyed fabric 

Lyric Kinard is giving away “something fun”

Saturday, July 12, 2014


“Beetles” by Susan Brubaker Knapp
Copyright 2014
(10.5"x 29")
This piece is based on sketches I made from photos of a friend’s collection of mounted insects. I stitched the beetles first with black thread on white fabric, then painted them. To make the texture in the background, I quilted a tight meander before rubbing paint over the raised areas created by the quilting.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

“Harlequin Ink”

“Harlequin Ink”  16"x19.5"  Copyright Susan Brubaker Knapp 2014
This piece, which I’ve named “Harlequin Ink,” has been in progress for at least two years. Maybe three. I just finished it this weekend. I started with a piece of clamp-dyed Shibori fabric I made in a dyeing workshop years ago. Then I embroidered it, using different weights of hand-dyed perle cotton and other threads. Much of the texture can be attributed to the couched-down threads, many torn from fabrics after they came out of the dryer. After I finished the hand embroidery, I free-motion quilted it.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I’m teaching at the 2015 NC Quilt Symposium

I’m very pleased to announce that I’ll be teaching at the 2015 North Carolina Quilt Symposium May 28-31 in Flat Rock, NC, at the Bonclarken Conference Center. (Flat Rock is just outside Hendersonville, NC.) The 2015 event is sponsored by the Western North Carolina Quilter’s Guild. 

Don’t know about this event? Then you are missing out! Click here to learn more. This event is open to all quilters, and many quilters from many states attend each year. There is a great mix of classes, and something for everyone: traditional quilters, art quilters, surface designers, and modern quilters.

Usually, North Carolina Quilt Symposiums are held on college campuses, and students and teachers stay in dorms. So this event will be a bit different. What will stay the same is there will be a great lineup of nationally known teachers. I’ll post the list once it is finalized.

I’ll be teaching a 1-1/2 day class on wholecloth painting where students will work from their original photos; my 1-day Wholecloth Painting: Botanicals class; and I’ll be giving my “Thread Sketch it!” Lecture. You can read more about my classes and lectures on my website here.

Quilt Symposium has a website, and it also now has a blog, where news will be announced as soon as it is known. Another important feature of the blog is its list of North Carolina guilds. The draft of the list has been posted, so if you have information on your local NC guild, you should check it and make sure that everything is up to date. This will be a great resource for NC quilters when it is finalized.

Typically, class registrations start early in the new year. I’ll try to keep you posted when registrations are about to open.

So check it out and mark your calendar; I’d love to have you in one of my classes!

Monday, June 30, 2014

QATV Series 1400 now available!

Woo-hoo! It's here! You can now get the entire 13 episodes of Quilting Arts TV Series 1400 (the first series on which I am host) on the Interweave Store.

It is available as a DVD ($39.99) or download ($34.99). Both come with a bonus section where I show how I quilt vintage linens. 

Shows will start airing on about 400 public television stations in the U.S. in late July. Stay tuned!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

“October Morning”

“October Morning”
by Susan Brubaker Knapp (2014)
15.5" x 20"
I just finished quilting this piece, “October Morning.” It is based on this photo I took of my neighbor’s dogwood tree last fall:

I loved the colors in the leaves, but wasn’t as crazy about the background, and decided to change it to a clear blue. I used a piece of fabric I had hand dyed, which is blue mottled with a darker blue-purple.
I made this piece to illustrate an article I am writing for the October/November issue of Quilting Arts magazine in my threadsketching series. I really love how the oranges and yellows in the leaves are playing with the blues and purples in the background.

Friday, June 20, 2014

QATV Series 1400 is almost here!

“Quilting Arts TV” Series 1400 is almost here! The preview of each episode is already on the QATV website here, and the download and DVD will be available in the next month. Here’s the preview of the first episode: 

I have to say that it is extremely weird to watch yourself on TV. When I get the series on DVD, I’m thinking about having a viewing party so that my local quilt friends can mock me. But I’m very excited to share with you the many talented guests in this series. I loved talking to them and learning from them… and you will, too!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Blog Hop! “Heirloom Sewing Techniques for Today’s Quilter”

Welcome to the first stop on the blog hop celebrating Cheryl Sleboda’s brand new Quilting Arts Workshop! It’s called “Heirloom Sewing Techniques for Today’s Quilter: Smocking, Pintucks, Gathers & More.” The 76-minute workshop is available in both DVD and digital download.

Cheryl is a fiber artist who loves to manipulate fabric; she also has found cool ways to light up her work with LED lights. She uses heirloom dimensional fabric manipulations like smocking, pleating, or tucking; and cutting-edge technology like LEDs, microprocessors, or circuitry to create unique fabric art.

I first met Cheryl last year on the set of Quilting Arts TV, and then again this March, when I was hosting for the first time. Cheryl works in the comic book industry, where she attends lots of Comic Cons (short for Comic Conventions) and meets some pretty interesting characters. For fun, she makes innovative fabric art.  

“As art quilters we tend to want to add volume to our work, by adding embellishments and other surface design techniques,” says Cheryl. “These are just more techniques in that arsenal for quilters to use. All of the techniques in garment and heirloom sewing are usable to bring a different dimension to your work, and I love that.”

I have to admit that these techniques were all completely new – and mysterious and somewhat intimidating – to me. But by the end of watching Cheryl’s DVD, I felt certain that I could do them successfully. 

In the first section, Cheryl introduces viewers to the materials needed for the techniques. She’s developed a special grid called the Heirloom Smocking Template (available on her Etsy shop) to help sewers draw a smocking grid more quickly. She discusses fabrics and threads, rulers and templates, hand needles, pins, and feet. 

The next section is about smocking with grids. Cheryl demonstrates “North American or Canadian smocking” techniques, where she draws grids (using her special tool or regular rulers), then marks patterns and hand stitches them, sometimes pulling in the fabric, and sometimes knotting it to stop it from pulling up. This creates fabulous texture on the other side (the right side) of the fabric. She shows samples of basketweave, arrowhead, and serpentine smocking. Here’s her basketweave smocking:


Next, Cheryl covers sewing in circles. She draws patterns of circles on fabric, then hand stitches in a running stitch around each one, pulls it up and knots it to create five variations: puff, petal, pancake, pompom or pucker. These make beautifully textured and dimensional patterns.

In the fourth section – Gathers, Puffs and Flowers – she demonstrates how to adjust tension and stitch length to create gathering effects that makes the fabric scrunch up.  Gathering along a long strip (hemmed on one side) and rolling to create a rosette. She goes on to explore pleats and pintucks in the next two sections. Creating pintucks was a mystery to me, but Cheryl clearly demonstrates how to select and use pintuck feet. They come in different widths, and you have to select the correct size of double (or “twin”) needle to match the foot. She shows you how to use cording to stuff a pintuck.

At the end, Cheryl
talks about how to approach sewing these dimensional pieces into a quilt. This requires explanation because the techniques pucker and draw up the fabric, so it has to be stitched down and squared up before it is trimmed. Then she uses some of her beautiful work to demonstrate how to use the dimensional, textured pieces you can create with the techniques from her DVD. They include blocks for quilts, garments, samplers, pillows and entire quilts. 

The techniques in this Quilting Arts Workshop were completely new to me. I feel like I’ve learned some new tricks to put into my repertoire; they just might show up in future projects! Cheryl is a great teacher. Her calm, step-by-step approach makes these techniques easy for anyone to learn.

You can buy Cheryl’s new DVD, her “sewing skull” merchandise – t-shirts, tape measures, mugs – as well as her Heirloom Smocking Template and other goodies, on her Etsy shop. From the Quilting Daily Shop, you can purchase a copy of the DVD for $24.99 here, or a digital download for $19.99 here

Here are all the stops on the blog hop. Come along and post comments for a chance to win fun stuff!
June 9 - Susan Brubaker Knapp -
June 10 - Maddie Kertay -
June 11 - Faith Jones -
June 12 - Lynn Krawczyk -
June 13 - Julie Creus -
June 16 - Catherine Redford -
June 17 - Megan Dougherty -
June 18 - Pokey Bolton -
June 19 - Jamie Fingal -
June 20 - Cheryl Sleboda -

Win one of Cheryl’s Heirloom Smocking Templates and a copy of my newest DVD, “Fabulous Finishes: Seven Techniques for Binding, Facing, Framing & Hanging a Quilt”!
Leave a comment after this post and tell me a little bit about why you’d like to win. I’ll draw one winner at random at 6 p.m. Eastern time on June 20. Make sure you leave me your e-mail address, or some way to reach you. And check back on June 20 to see if you’ve won. Make sure you visit the other bloggers listed above for more chances to win. (Sorry; my giveaway is limited to U.S. residents only.) 

Note: If your comment does not show up right away, please don’t freak out. Please post only one comment. I now have to moderate/approve all comments, because I was getting a ton of Japanese porn spammers leaving comments on my blog! 

We have a winner! BeckyPB won. Thanks for reading, everyone. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Spring Quilt Market: Pittsburgh 2014


Spring Quilt Market was held a few weeks ago in my hometown, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania! I was there for “Quilting Arts TV,” to meet with sponsors and seek out new talent. Here are some of the things that caught my eye. 

Ruth Chandler of Textile Evolution has a new book out called Modern Hand Stitching (Landauer) that is a fabulous resource for those who want to delve into contemporary hand embroidery. It has large photos that clearly demonstrate how to create each stitch, and fabulous gallery shots of what you can do with those stitches.

Melanie Testa was printing in her booth, and launching her first fabric line, “Meadowlark,” with Windham Fabrics. It is beautiful!

While I was there, I ran into Teri Lucas, a talented free-motion quilter and teacher, and we just had to take a selfie:

I got to see some friends I met while teaching in South Africa in 2012: Barb and Mary of Me & My Sister, who were there with a lovely new fabric line from Moda:

I tried to take a lot of photos of the floor before Market opened, when you could see the booths more clearly:

Alexander Henry’s booth featured Ghastlie decorations celebrating its new fabric line: 

Linda Poole (left) and Sherry Rogers-Harrison were doing demonstrations in The Warm Company’s booth. They have been teaching together recently. Sherry is a professional longarm quilter known for her coloring techniques called Ink-Liqué and Paint-Liqué.  Linda has a new book with AQS called Painted Applique: A New Approach

psssst… if you’ve been waiting for the return of The Warm Company’s Steam-a-Seam 2 or Lite Steam-a-Seam 2 (the fusible adhesive that works best for my fusible appliqué technique), it sounds like they may both be available later this year! I can’t wait, as my stockpile is running low. There’s an update on their website here.  

Here is Elaine Quehl’s beautiful new line of batiks, “Falling Leaves,” for Northcott:

Ellen Medlock has some new fabric line with cute little houses called “Charmville” that is, well, simply charming!

Oliso is coming out with this limited-edition darling pink iron in July. For every purchase of  the TG1100 pink, Oliso will donate $10 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Linda Lindsey of Square Rose had some innovative bag designs I loved:

Most of the time, the floor was busy with quilt shop owners and other industry professionals. The credentialing process was tightened up this year, and the event was only open “to the trade.” Most of the vendors I spoke to were pleased with this, and said that orders were up at this Quilt Market.

The David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh is a great venue for Market. Pittsburgh (and it’s spelled with an h, folks!) is where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers meet to form the Ohio River, and the convention center pays homage to that, both with some beautiful waterways and fountains on the ground level, and with spectacular views on the Allegheny River upstairs. The structures in the ceiling inside echo the shapes of Pittsburgh’s many bridges.

Mixed-media star Tim Holtz was at Market with his “Eclectic Elements” fabric line with Coats.  He’s done some neat dies for Sizzix that look like cathedral window and hexie designs.

I took a lot of photos in Alison Glass’ booth, as it was beautifully designed and decorated with her quilts and her fabric collections for Andover.

Fairfield was showing of a nifty product called Foamology Design Foam that has a sticky surface on the back, so you can wrap fabric around and secure it to the back easily:
Design Foam features a stickybase™ self adhesive foam board back for foolproof covering and wall application. When you have a stickybase™ to help you, 0nly ordinary household tools are needed — just choose your fabric (or other fun material) and simply peel, wrap, stick and done! Create wall art panels or fashion unique wall hangings of no-sew patchwork designs — even create memo boards with tufted effects — the options for creating with Design Foam are endless - See more at:
Design Foam features a stickybase™ self adhesive foam board back for foolproof covering and wall application. When you have a stickybase™ to help you, 0nly ordinary household tools are needed — just choose your fabric (or other fun material) and simply peel, wrap, stick and done! Create wall art panels or fashion unique wall hangings of no-sew patchwork designs — even create memo boards with tufted effects — the options for creating with Design Foam are endless - See more at:

Kathy McGee of Hemma Design has a new line with Swedish influences by Red Rooster, and her booth had some darling projects made with oilcloth/laminated fabrics and three-dimensional elements.

Art Gallery Fabrics’ booth was so fresh and springy!

Serbian designer Katarina Rocella’s collection for Art Gallery Fabrics, “Indelible,” caught my eye because of its mix of cool and earthy colors with woodland motifs and strong graphics:

And of course I loved Carrie Bloomston’s new line for Windham, “Paint,” with its images of paintbrushes, paint swatches, and newsprint: 

Olfa is celebrating 35 years since it created the first rotary cutter, a device that revolutionized quilting. They had a gigantic rotary cutter and everyone (including me) was posing with it:

Camelot Fabrics has a fun new line featuring Star Trek motifs:

Dale Riehl of The City Quilter in New York City showed off their “All the Buildings in New York” fabric. Love it!

Oooooh, there are some gorgeous designs in Interweave’s “The Unofficial Downton Abbey Sews”:

Overall trends I noticed:
An emphasis on hand and “slow” stitching, including embroider
Fabric lines with rich, saturated color schemes
Fabrics with graphic themes
An explosion of batiks in every pattern and color
Many fabric lines with a Nordic or Central European feel
Lots of darling patterns for children’s clothing