According to tradition the second year anniversary is commemorated with gifts made of cotton.

Sounds good to me. I’ll take mine in fat quarters, thank you!

So, yeah. Here we are two years after my first blog post. I’m proud to say that we (Tom and I) haven’t missed a single week in two years. Some of the posts have been more involved and detailed than others, depending on my schedule. But so far, you my readers have been able to count on having the blog appear in your inbox every Saturday morning. Barring the unexpected, I have no plans to change that.

Like last year, I have created a list of Top Ten Blog Posts. I call it a “best of” but really I guess it should be called the “most popular,” since the list represents the ten most viewed blog posts of the year.

The anniversary is a good excuse to look back over the year and take stock. In a way the blog is like a diary or journal, documenting my career. Last November at this time I was in Houston at the International Quilt Festival with my show “Specimens.” What a fantastic experience that was.

A portion of my 2016 International Quilt Festival exhibition.

Around that same time I launched my new website, which had Tom pulling his hair out at first, but has settled down to be quite manageable and a big upgrade to the old one.

In the year since then I have taught 15 weeks of classes and had around 300 students. Check out the “On the Road” blog posts for pics of their work.

As I look back at the blog posts for the year, I notice that there are lots of posts about fabric collage technique. This reflects my own efforts to wrestle into submission an online class. Many of the posts are rough drafts, or brain dumps about certain topics that I need to cover in the online class. Of the the top ten posts listed below, six of them are technique oriented.

I also made a commitment to include more video in my blog posts. Since several of the top ten posts are older blog posts that I updated with video to enhance or clarify the points I was trying to make, I assume that folks liked the addition of video. I’ll continue to do those where they make sense and I have time.

In January I created a Patreon page to allow readers to support the blog and creation of the online class should they choose to. At the time I set a “pie in the sky” goal of $1000 per month. Well, this month we passed that goal. This support is very much appreciated and certainly makes the blog a worthwhile effort as well as providing motivation to keep our unbroken streak of weeks intact. I want to continue to earn that support by providing useful and inspirational information. If you are a Patreon subscriber I definitely want to hear from you. Have you felt that your support has been earned? What else would you like to see as a subscriber?

Whether or not you are a Patreon subscriber, if you are reading the blog and find something useful or interesting, please let us know by leaving a comment.

Also, I would be remiss, if I did not encourage all you social-media-savvy folks out there to SHARE my post on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or other pages.

Thanks for a great year. Now what is the traditional year-three anniversary gift? Crystal or glass. Hmmm. Can we just have cotton again?


1. Copyright and Copywrong: Finding an Image for Fabric Collage

This post was all about raising awareness of copyright issues—and considering the response it received I’d say that goal was achieved. This and its followup post (#2 on this best-of list) were not only well-read but generated a great discussion in the comments sections of the blog itself and on Facebook. I didn’t try to make this a comprehensive resource of all the ins and outs of copyright. Basically, it boiled down to: Be nice. Still, several readers requested permission to share the post with quilt guilds. It was obviously a discussion that was worth having.


2. Copyright and Copywrong: A Followup

The first post on copyright generated discussion in the comments sections of my blog and on my Facebook page. Readers were asking questions and providing resources and tips I hadn’t been aware of. So a follow-up post was necessary. Folks such as Edna Taylor (maker of Bella the siamese, above) shared their stories of attempting to obtain permission to use copyrighted images, with mixed results. It seems the discussion eventually reached the conclusion that, unless you could get permission of the original creator, if an image was not explicitly copyright free, then it was best not to use it.


3. Kissin’ Cousins: An Online Class Preview Part 1

This post, the first in a series of four, introduced the first steps I used in creating a specific fabric collage quilt of my son and niece. As the title suggests I used these posts to work through the steps and techniques that I would include in my online class, which is due to be tested by my $10 and $20 Patreon subscribers starting the end of November.


4. The Finish Line: The Belgian Connection

The “Finish Line” series of blog posts, displaying the completed work of my students, has been popular since the first edition. In this post, I focused on two students, Rit Verhoeven and Ria Mille of Belgium, who really wowed my readers. They traveled to Maine for a class with me in 2012, their first crack at fabric collage. They then took the technique and ran with it. Ria and Rit are impressive both in their interpretation of fabric collage and in their productivity—so much so, we had to give them their own post.


5. Quilt Stories: “Not-So-Goldfish”

Sometimes the response to posts surprise me. I’m still not sure why this one was so popular, though it happens to be a favorite quilt of mine in that it started with one direction in mind and took on its own personality. Like many of my “Quilt Stories” it provides in progress shots that show how the quilt grows from a simple sketch to a finished piece.


6. Eye for an Eye: Updated with Video

This blog post originally appeared in year one and was one of the top ten then as well. Since it was so popular I decided it should be one of the first blogs I updated with video. This technique of working “top down from the bottom up” is challenging to explain using only text and photos. The first post does a pretty good job at it, but sometimes there’s just no substitute for seeing it done.


7. Making a Pattern for Fabric Collage: Updated with Video

Another update of a previous blog post. Once again, as I promised my Patreon supporters, where appropriate or helpful I’m updating blog posts with video. This post uses several of my quilts as examples for creating a design for fabric collage. When trying to do a portrait, whether of a pet or a family member, creating an accurate design is a requirement for capturing their likeness. The video focuses on a photo of my dog Felix, and includes a time lapse of me drawing the tracing above.


8. Free-Motion Quilting on Fabric Collage Quilts

It took me almost two years to do a blog post about the quilting part of fabric collage. This post covers it soup to nuts, beginning to end, with three—count them—three videos. I think it took me so long to do a post about quilting because for me the actual act of quilting is such a small part of what I do and in how it impacts the finished piece. I spend months on the collaging of my quilts, then a few days on quilting. I don’t use thread work to help define the image, instead using an overall “stipple” pattern to provide the finished quilted texture.


9. Using Sheer, Netting, and other Semi-Transparent Fabrics

It’s difficult until you see my quilts in person, to notice the sheer fabrics I often use on the images—they don’t always photograph well. I use these fabrics for highlights and shadows and to add visual interest. I especially like adding sheers with sparkles for a little extra bling. In fact, sheers can be so important (and fun) to use that I will include a whole section about them in my online class.


10. Choosing Fabric for Fabric Collage: Updated with Video

Choosing fabric to buy and use for fabric collage is so integral to the technique that when I updated the original blog post I included two videos. One focuses on what fabrics in general to collect for fabric collage when you’re out visiting your favorite fabric store. The other video concentrates on choosing fabrics (either from your stash or from a shop) based on your subject matter.

18 Comments

  • Happy Anniversary, Susan! I am a newbie, but am enjoying catching up on your previous posts and look forward to new ones every week. Thank you for inspiring us!

  • Happy 2nd Anniversary Susan and Tom. Thank you for your dedication, inspiration and education.
    Your blog is my “Happy Place”.

  • Looking forward to online class. Constant updates from you only add to the interest factor. Your sharing of information is incredible- thank you and scrappy anniversary. Wendy

  • An awesome achievement indeed! Your blog arrives with my saturday morning coffee. Blisfull moments.. keep up the inspiring newsletter Susan!

  • Thank you for your hard work and for freely sharing your technique. It is much appreciated. I took a two day class with you several years ago and I love revisiting your style and technique every week.
    Helene

  • Hi Susan, I have made several pictorial quilts in the past, using the pre-planned, template style stuck down with steam a seam 2, but had started to lose enthusiasm for it. Then I came across your blog and quilts, which I love reading, and was inspired to give your method a go. It has been challenging, and I almost gave up, but persevered and am now at the stage of trying to choose my background, also challenging! You are so generous in sharing your knowledge, and I just want to say thank you so much, and good luck for the next year.

  • Susan, I love starting my Saturdays reading your blog, and I so appreciate that you and Tom have not missed a week, as it would be like starting the day without breakfast! Your content and the writing is inspiring…congratulations on creating a community of very happy and informed fabric collage groupies! You are the best!

  • Susan and Tom,
    Happy Blogiversary! I love Saturday mornings and eagerly anticipate each week’s topic. In this season of gratitude and thanksgiving, I thank you for sharing your technique and your travels and student work so generously!

  • Hi Susan,
    Happy Anniversay and Rhanksgiving. Has the Patreon program started? If so, how do I begin to participate? I signed up at our Portland session this year. Thanks, Cyn

  • Susan, thank you so much for sharing your techniques and for all the work you and your husband do to create this blog. I find it so inspiring and will one day take the plunge and try it myself. Congratulations on your 1 year Anniversary!!!!!!!!

  • I love your work and your blog is excellent. The topics and advice give me hope that I can begin to explore your technique. Working on having some information as well as the courage to just jump in and do. Going to start on a spiral in the new year after doing some traveling. Thank you for sharing.

  • Congratulations on 2 years. You are an inspiration. I bought your book Serendipity Quilts and refer to it often. I have my first one glued and ready to quilt. That is going to be the scary part. Keep up the good work and thank the hubby also.

  • HI Susan,
    I read your blog every Saturday morning; it gives me something to look forward to on the weekend. I too am
    working on a fabric collage piece and thank you for all your blog posts and videos. Unfortunately, I am unable to support you financially but I do appreciate all the work and effort you pour into your blog and videos. I am learning alot.

  • Happy Blogversary!
    Thank you so much for taking the time to write your blog. Reading this on Saturday mornings has become the highlight of my week. I love your work, and you are so generous with sharing your knowledge.
    If it ever becomes possible I will support your Patreon page without hesitation.
    Again, thank you!

  • Thank you Susan and Tom for an incredible blog!! So inspiring, full of information on technique, your travels and your students work!! Your readers and students reap the benefits. Keep up your great work.

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