Sue's first introduction to quilting was watching Alex Anderson’s Simply Quilts. After attempting to make a couple quilts and getting some dismal results, she gave up trying to be a traditional quilter. Several years later she read Quilting Arts magazine and realized she could make wall hangings. She spent a few years experimenting with various surface design techniques. Eventually, she shifted her focus to hand-dyeing and began building the body of work which she's known for.
Sue tells us, "I admit to being very persnickety about the thread that I use! I spend a lot of time hand-dying my fabrics and will only use a quality thread that I can depend on to perform flawlessly. I can find a match for each of my hand-dyed fabric colors in the King Tut color range. There are no color shifts from spool to spool. If I run out halfway through a project I know that it won’t look like I used two different colors on my quilt. King Tut produces a minimum amount of lint, meaning less time taking my machine apart to clean. I started using Superior MonoPoly in my bobbins about a year ago and now I don’t use anything else! Using MonoPoly means less time starting and stopping. I can get a lot of thread on a bobbin and I don't have to wind a bobbin to match the top thread. I love it!"
- Sue Bleiweiss -
Favorite Thread: King Tut and MonoPoly
Non-Quilting Hobby: Cooking
Quilting Since: 2003
Sue's Featured Quilts
Tutti Frutti Alleyway
I created Tutti Frutti Alleyway because I wanted to experiment with perspective and I was inspired by some photographs of alleyways in Italy and France that I had seen online. Although I was inspired by the photographs that I saw, this quilt is not a replica of any of them. I created this quilt, just as I do all my quilts, by starting with a series of sketches in my sketchbook. It took several pages of drawings to get the perspective of the alleyway and the shape of the buildings right. I wanted to maintain the element of whimsy so the shape and placement of the buildings, windows and doors had to be perfect.
Once I had the buildings in place, I added the clothesline. It was tricking placing the clotheslines. They had to hang above the door on the back building but not so high that they were above the top of it. I made paper templates of the clothing to test the sizes first. Too big and they’d be a focal point, too small and they would get lost in the quilt. Once I was satisfied, I used the templates to cut them out of fabric, fused them in place and quilted them.
The quilt was created with all my own hand dyed fabric and I quilted it myself using Superior Threads' King Tut in a variety of colors to match the colors of the dyed fabric. I used Superior MonoPoly in the bobbin. Tutti Frutti was quilted entirely with the feed dogs up and the walking foot engaged using the shapes of the elements that I am quilting to guide my quilting lines.
Tutti Frutti won 3rd place in the Art Whimsical category at the International Quilt Festival in 2015 and I was thrilled to be able to accept the award in person that year - a very proud moment indeed!
Work in Progress
My goal is to design and create bright, colorful fiber art that draws in viewers. I begin my designs in my sketchbook. I love the ability to sketch, explore, and alter my design before cutting fabrics. Next, I enlarge my sketches to the actual size I'm intending to make and then I can begin working with fabric and constructing the quilt.
Work in Progress was created for a juried invitational exhibit that premiers at the Houston International Quilt Festival. Each year a new theme for the exhibit is announced and for 2017 the theme is Personal Iconography: Graffiti on Cloth. I struggled with the theme at first and spent many hours working through different ways to approach it in my sketchbook.
My original thought was to create a piece that played on the word graffiti but I just couldn't get anything to come together. Once I stopped focusing on the word graffiti to drive the content of the quilt the idea for Work In Progress came together quite quickly. I started with a few small rough sketches and then once I had a good vision for what I wanted it too look like, I drew it full scale. One thing I love about my quilts is dyeing my own fabric. This allows me to have a consistent color palette. I love the process of going from plain white cloth to something that vibrates with color. It is still a thrill for me. All the fabrics are hand dyed with the exception of the gray.
I used my Sizzix die cutter to cut the letters for the dye pots. It was quilted entirely with the feed dogs up and the walking foot engaged using the shapes of the elements that I am quilting to guide my quilting lines. I'm looking forward to this quilt being on display at the 2017 Houston International Quilt Festival.