Saturday, October 22, 2016

I'll be on the cover of Quilting Arts!

I just learned that my work “Crystalline” will be featured on the cover of the December 2015/January 2016 issue of Quilting Arts magazine! I’m so honored. The issue features quilts (including mine) from the Dinner at Eight Artists exhibition, “Pattern,” which will debut at International Quilt Market and Festival in Houston later this month. Jamie Fingal and Leslie Tucker Jenison curated the exhibition. The issue should hit newsstands and subscribers’ mailboxes in about a month.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Vote! (for the next Quilting Arts cover)

I’m honored that my snowflake piece, “Crystalline,” is being considered for the December/January cover of Quilting Arts. But I love Sarah Ann Smith's Queen Anne’s Lace piece (cover 2), and voted for it! Cast your vote here:

Monday, October 10, 2016

Teaching at MISA

What a wonderful week I had at Madeline Island School of the Arts! MISA is one of the top art and craft schools in the country, and if you take a class there, you’ll find out why. A spectacular location. Tasty food, spacious classrooms, lovely housing, accommodating staff.

This building houses the dining room downstairs and a classroom upstairs.

This large building has two spacious classrooms.

The students in my five-day “Paint and Stitch” class did some outstanding work based on their own photos:

You take the ferry from Bayfield to Madeline Island.
The state park on Madeline Island has gorgeous walking trails with amazing views of Lake Superior. 

LaPointe, the smalll town on the island, is funky and arty, with restaurants, pubs and shops featuring local art and craft.

One of the highlights of the week was a cruise out to see the Apostle Islands. It was set up for a photography class offered the same week, and we were lucky enough to go along. I get seasick easily, but I was so glad I had gone. What views!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

“Art Quilt Collage” review and giveaway

My friend, artist Deborah Bochert has a great new book out called Art Quilt Collage: A Creative Journey in Fabric, Paint and Stitch, and to celebrate, she’s hosting a book release blog hop with video chats! There’s a chance to win the book at each blog hop stop.

Deborah’s book focuses on her interesting collage technique, combining fabric elements with surface design and stitch (both hand work and machine stitching). If you are looking for good basic information about art quilt design, this book has it. It has tons of photos with specific examples, practical advice, and exercises to help you get started or take your work in another direction. It’s a fun read and a valuable resource. I especially enjoyed the section on finding and working with your personal symbols. (One of Deborah’s is the ladder.)

You can get a copy through C&T Publishing here:

Through Amazon here:

and Deborah has signed copies in her Etsy shop (buy one of the first 50 copies and you’ll get a bonus of original surface designed fabric she made!)

Here’s my video chat with Deborah:

Here’s a chance to win a copy of the book. Leave a comment after this post before noon EST September 30. Tell me if you have a personal symbol. If so, what is it? And if you don't have one (yet), what would it be? One of mine is the moon… constant and comforting, yet changeable; mysterious, and sometimes spooky; far away and unreachable, yet ever present in the night sky.

I’ll pick a comment at random. Make sure you include a way for me to reach you in case you win.

If you live in the USA, you’ll get a paper copy of the book. International winners will receive a e-book version.

Don’t forget to check out the other blog stops for more chances to win!

Art Quilt Collage: A Creative Journey in Fabric, Paint and Stitch
Book Release Blog Hop with Video Chats!

September 20: Teri Lucas, Generation Q Magazine

September 21: Susan Brubaker Knapp

September 22: Sue Bleiweiss

September 23: Lyric Kinard

September 26: Lori Kennedy

September 27: Maria Shell

September 28: Jane LaFazio

September 29: Judy Coates Perez

September 30: Melanie Testa

UPDATE: We have a winner! Shilsenbeck has won the book. Thanks, everyone!

Monday, September 19, 2016


A week ago, I was in Cleveland, shooting my sixth series of “Quilting Arts TV” – Series 1900. (I’ll post photos from the shoot later this week!) One of our guests was Teresa Shippy, who is well known for her Cool Classic Rides series, featuring wonderful old cars, buses and campers. They are absolutely fabulous. She demonstrated how she makes these art quilts in a segment, and I came home dying to try it.

Me, with Teresa Shippy, and some of her groovy VW vans!

I’ve been wanting to make a piece for my Dad, based on an old photo he took of his car, Ione (named this because it was the first car he owned: I OWN!)

My dad has dementia/Alzheimer’s, and his memories of things far in the past are much better than those of what he had for breakfast. He loves looking at old photos, and for his eightieth birthday, I made him an album filled with photos from his life, from birth to the present.

My Dad, in 1956, with an earlier family car.
For this piece, I used Teresa’s techniques, working on a piece of painted canvas, and collaging the pieces for the car from cotton fabrics, canvas, and some specialty fabric (the tires are a fake leather). I’m really thrilled with how it turned out. Thanks, Teresa! I’m excited to share Teresa’s techniques with our QATV viewers. Series 1900 will air this winter. 

I hope Dad likes this piece, and it brings back good memories.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Little birdies

Here’s my latest needleturn applique project, some sweet little songbirds. The background newsprint fabric is by Tim Holtz, and I think it sets the birds off really nicely; it’s a neutral, but with enough interest that it’s not boring. I’m creating simple patterns from photos. These are very small 4" blocks, so I can’t add too much detail or it gets too intricate to stitch.

I’m not sure what project I’ll make with these. I’d love to do enough for a small art quilt, maybe about 24x36". I’m using some funky textured sequins, trimmed to size, for the pupils of the eyes. Have you seen all the amazing sequins that are available these days? Check them out on Cartwright’s Sequins.

I’m getting some requests for a pattern for this, but I’m hesitant. I haven’t done patterns in ages! Would you be interested in a pattern for these little birdies?

Thursday, September 1, 2016


I’m getting my ducks all in a row this week to shoot Series 1900 of “Quilting Arts TV.” Unfortunately, one of our guests had to cancel due to medical issues. (But she’s being rescheduled for Series 2000.) That meant filling her spots in the lineup. So I’ve been hopping here!

Here’s another piece that will be featured in an episode. It’s based on this sketch of a feather:

And here’s a detail shot so you can see the stitching better:

I’ll explain how I transferred the basic outline of the feather and spine, and then free-motion stitched the feather onto a piece of hand-dyed fabric.

Want to see all the behind-the-scenes photos from the set of “Quilting Arts TV”? I’ll be posting some each day. Follow me on Facebook here (Susan Brubaker Knapp, fiber artist):

… or on Instagram here:

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


“Wicked” (12x16") Copyright 2016 by Susan Brubaker Knapp. Wholecloth painted, free-motion machine threadsketched and quilted. White fabric, acrylic textile paint, cotton batting, cotton thread

This piece is a portrait of my cat, Wicked. It is based on a photo I took several years ago. I love how the green fabric (a duvet cover) picks up the same colors that are in her eyes. I will be demonstrating how I painted her eyes in a segment for an episode of “Quilting Arts TV,” the public television show I host. We shoot Series 1900 in a few weeks!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

“Resurrection” finished

“Resurrection” (41x72")
Copyright 2016 by Susan Brubaker Knapp

“Resurrection” is done! 

You can read about how I made this piece, and the inspiration behind it, here:

My cat, Wicked, was very interested in this piece. She was all over it, almost all the time.

After tacking down thousands of little pieces of fabric (mostly triangles) with glue to the fabric foundation, I stitched them down to a layer of fabric and cotton batting. And then I added another layer of batting (wool/polyester this time) and the backing fabric, and free-motion quilted around the flowers and leaves, and around the triangles in the blue background, to make the flowers and leaves more dimensional.

It’s a big piece, so it was a bear to quilt on my domestic machine, a Bernina 153QE. This photo gives you an idea of the scale. It was as big (lengthwise) as our king-size bed. (And again, Wicked is helping.)

Here’s how I photographed this piece. I laid out a big piece of vinyl tablecloth in a nearby parking lot, and smoothed the quilt out on top of it. Then I got up on the ladder, and shot down. I always try to shoot in the early morning or late afternoon to get the best lighting conditions. The shadows cast by the low rays of the sun create wonderful texture on the quilting. I eliminate the background in Photoshop. 

Making this piece was partly art therapy, partly an offering and a prayer for my husband’s recovery, and partly a way of keeping my eyes and my mind on the goodness and beauty that is all around, even when things get dark and scary.

Many thanks to all of you who have sent your good thoughts and prayers to my husband. He is doing well, but doctors are still not sure what’s causing the inflammation that brought on the seizure. The adventure continues…