Funny story about how I met Susan Brubaker Knapp a few years ago. We had both just finished attending the Portland, OR Quilt Market. I was shopping for a chocolate snack at the airport gift shop. Susan and her mother were in the store, too. Her mom admired the necklace I was wearing. We all stopped to chat. Susan knew of Dragon Threads. We exchanged business cards and soon started emailing. Since then, Susan and I have become friends.
The first thing I think of about Susan is that she is generous: of spirit, of heart, and of information. Her generous and creative spirit shows on her brand new DVD by Quilting Arts Workshop. I’ve followed Susan’s terrific work in Quilting Arts magazine articles for years. I was really interested to dig in to the DVD and see how it compared to her magazine articles.
Well, I loved it! The DVD is so well done and easy to understand. Susan’s instruction could not be more clear as she walks you through her workflow. Susan is full of good advice and makes thread sketching seem easy and eminently possible. She starts at the beginning, including what materials you' will need, then moves right through thread sketching demonstrations right on the machine.
The DVD is divided into 5 chapters: Getting Ready, Color, Dimension, Line & Movement and Texture & Pattern. Each chapter is short and concise, but thorough. The information is nicely organized, and the chapters make it easy to go back and find anything you want or need to review. Susan shows how a few lines of straight stitches adds the texture or desired effect such as shading or highlights by the color of thread or the spacing of the lines. Simple right? Here are some samples of the work (photos courtesy Susan Brubaker Knapp):
The techniques Susan demonstrates are straightforward, particularly with such an expert guide. Susan has an artist's eye, and manages to show how and where to place the stitching to successfully achieve a given effect. She illustrates each effect with lots of outstanding quilt samples with amazing details. Objects are sometimes so realistic that they look like photographs! Check these details out (photos courtesy Susan Brubaker Knapp):
When Susan demonstrates stitching on her machine it is mesmerizing. She is so smooth and flowing. She is a natural in front of the camera. I asked her if she did this entire DVD in one take, off the top of her head and basically she did! Here’s a short sample of Susan at work:
Sewing is in Susan's genes. Her mom is a retired home economics teacher who taught Susan to sew at age 10. A co-worker literally 'forced' Susan to take a quilting class with her in her 20's. Despite no formal art training (hard to believe when you see her work) it's now her full-time career of choice! In 2005, she started making her first art quilts and credits a 'life-changing' class by quilt teacher, Bonnie Mc Caffery with giving her the inspiration to start designing her own art quilts.
Susan is everywhere. She's going to continue to be in Quilting Arts magazine. She is very active on Facebook. Her blog, Blue Moon River is terrific and every bit as vibrant, colorful, and interesting as Susan is in person. Go visit. Shop! This week she is giving away a copy of a Dragon Threads book by Noriko Endo, titled Confetti Naturescapes.
One of my lucky readers is going to win a copy of Susan’s new DVD. Post a comment here or sign up for our newsletter. I promise if you’ve already signed up I won’t send you two copies of the newsletter. Do both for two chances to win! We'll pick one person at random on Dec. 22 to get a copy of Master Machine Stitching!