moth quilt

Busy time of year!

This time of year is mental but in a good way! I've managed to squeeze in the odd bit of sewing around all the fun stuff - we headed to the beach for a few days with another family and I even managed to get something done there! I've been working on JM's Quilt - the quilt is finished now and I'm just doing the binding.

Since JM is finished (to all intents and purposes) I've headed back into moth/bark territory, and I've been making some 'practice' moths. I approached them a little differently, they are all about 15cm across, and they are made to be self-supporting, unlike the ones on the quilts which are sewn directly onto the quilts in parts.

I've made them as brooches, with a tiny felt 'stick' in the abdomen as a support, and copper antennae. The wings are a combination of hand-dyed felt, cashmere, Italian wool, silk and gold lame. Plus some other bits I've forgotten :)


They're handy to take travelling, as everything I need fits into a small box -


We got home from camping on Saturday just in time to meet my brother and sister in law (and little Maggie) who have all come to Cairns for Christmas - OMG this girl is gorgeous, she's so smiley and friendly and loves watching the big kids play.

So she's a bit distracting... not much sewing getting done this week!


Hope you're all having a good run-up to Christmas!

Out of Office

James finally got home on Monday!!! So I've been somewhat less productive than normal as we've been catching up and enjoying family time - the kids are also on school holidays so we're having a bit of a mini holiday. I've picked up the majority of the fabric I need for Jaimee's quilt, and the formal approval for the Women in Defence Exhibition came through from the CDF as well so I'm good to get stuck in!

In the meantime, here's a close up of the moth from the Yellow Box quilt I made recently,


It's hanging above our bed right now and I love the patterns and texture you get on it with the natural light in our room - very pretty.

He's attached.


I made the body with throwsters silk, it took a few layers to get right but he has a curly, generous tummy now. I kept it simple with the eyes and antenna, I just used a tiny bit of florists wire to give the antenna a bit of shape, and his wings are slightly molded - they don't lift off the quilt but they're not flat either.

So he's pretty much done! Just in time for my deadline as well! I can't post any more pics yet sorry :(

Have a great weekend!

Bark quilt 4 - more moth


I finished his wings last night, I used the mid grey fabric, the copper sheer and the gold foil. The stitching is good, I started with normal free motion straight stitch but I ended up using mostly free motion zig zag, it's just a bit softer and more feathery.


The wing on the left had been edged with zigzag in the same copper as the fabric, the one on the right is pre-edging.

I'm still not sure how/where to put him, I've moved away from the idea of two, it might be more dramatic with multiple bugs but I think it can become too cluttered and kitsch, I like how with just one he is almost camouflaged.

He's ended up about 30cm across and this pic is about a third of the quilt to give you an idea of how big it all is.


Bark quilts again.

I'm taking a short break from all the people quilts to head back into the bark quilts this week. I'm going to be making three big versions of Eucalyptus Melliodora for a project due early next year and I'm warming up with one that will be for me and our new house (we're building up here in Cairns). It's a bit of a novelty to be making something just for us, although I'm sure I'll end up submitting it into something since I seem to keep running out of quilts to send away. I'm sending off Eucalyptus Melliodora again next week for judging so I'm just about all out - everything is away! Mum normally 'stores' them for me on her walls and she's a bit blue about them all gone so she's pinned strips onto the completed panels of the Anzac Quilts and hung then instead.

The new bark quilt will be big, 60 x 180cm, and I haven't worked out which creepy crawlies to use yet, maybe another spider? If you have any good looking bugs in your garden I'm happy to take suggestions (and your photos!)


Here's a close up of the plan sketch (the little sketch is 10 x 30cm which gives you some idea of how big the sections will be.)


Back to quilting!

I must admit that I'm a much better quiltmaker than printmaker. I really enjoyed the process of learning, and I have so many new ideas for the quilts now, but I'm definitely not clean enough to make multiple fingerprint free prints.

I'm just finishing up my journal for the printmaking block and then I'm going to dive back into the Anzac Quilts.

I'm going to work on the close-up panels next week, since I've had just about enough of backgrounds for now. I've got the age old problem of lots of different options for how to construct them, almost too many choices. I have a feeling next week is going to involve buckets of trial and error. I'm currently leaning towards a linear approach, similar to what I did for 'Linc and me', and I've been looking at a lot of Rosie James's work. She uses black outline drawings with FMQ and pops of colour. You can find her work here: And Jenny Bowker's incredible work for the Canberra Centenary

Also, this weekend is the Sydney Quilt Show! I didn't enter anything this year, I had no new work that isn't occupied elsewhere, but there is a lot of other beautiful to see. You can find out more (and check out the winners) here:

And finally, I've just updated the gallery with the moth quilt!


The moth is all done.

close up 2 I decided he looked a bit naked with only one pair of wings, so I added another pair on top. It helps balance out his head and body and just looks a bit nicer. I'm still not sure if hanging his body over the side was a good idea - I like the effect but the neat freak in me is worried it might get bent in transit or somewhere along the way. I suppose only time will tell and if his wings drop off I can always make new ones!

When I first got into making art quilts (instead of doing hand needlework all the time) I would always wonder about how to finish the work on the back. I wondered about covering the entire back of the quilt with another piece of fabric, or burying the threads as much as possible, or trying to keep the threads on the surface and not go through to the back at all. I tried to work out what other quilters had done, and if I was lucky I would be able to find a lovely white glove lady at a show who would let me see the back of hand-worked pieces, but most of the time I just guessed. So, for anyone who is interested here is the back with the handstitching for the moth:


My approach goes along the lines of - no one will ever need to see the back and I should do whatever it takes to get the look I want on the front. I don't want to compromise what I can create on the front by being picky about my finishings on the back. That being said, it's really important to make sure any work will be properly secure, especially if it includes any hand-work and even more so if it will also be travelling around. I know not everyone will agree with my approach (and some might even think I'm being sloppy) but I'm happy with it and that's the most important bit!

Moth wings.

I've been busy doing heaps of admin (including sending the soldier on quilt to the US for the World Quilt Competition and Free To Roam to France) and I've also been putting together the components for this moth. image

I've started with the sketch of the mottled cup moth, and I'm going to use some of the felt I made the other day for the body. The wings are done on the machine, using the same brown and bronze fabric as is in the quilt.


I stitched them with a cream cotton using some straight stitch and since zig zag stitch (all free motion).

Next I have to put it all together by hand.


I quilted the bark today.


But as per usual I forgot to take a photo in the daylight so I've only got dodgy pics.

I had a few false starts as the fabric was too thick so the visofix hadn't stuck so well, I just blasted it again with a super hot iron and it was fine. I love all the straight lines, the obsessive compulsive part of me loves getting them 1mm apart without touching.

For the critter I'm thinking I'll go with a version of a cup moth, something like this:


I try to use mostly the same fabrics for the bark and the bugs, but I didn't have anything bumpy enough for this moths chunky body so I've felted a little piece I might use, no pics I'll take one in the sun tomorrow once it's dry.

Photos from Buda Contemporary Textiles

My lovely mother in law was kind enough to drive out to the buda exhibition today and she took some pics for me. I've never seen a quilt hung in front of a window before but it doesn't look too bad!


And the label close up:


She said she really enjoyed seeing the work there, she's used to seeing mostly quilts so it was nice for her to be able to see some other kinds of textile works.

I'm having a few days break from the quilts over the long weekend, and James has been bugging me to do a little piece on paper for his ship so I've been playing around with ideas and might have something to show for it tomorrow!


I finished the spider on the quilt last night, but I wanted to create the moth tonight. I wanted a grey moth that blended with the grey on the tree, without being too bland. I found this pic of an actual moth like what would be found on my tree:

and I remembered that Annemeike Mein often created moths, so I took a few ideas from this one:

and I made my own! I think it is quite effective really, he's noth stitched on yet, that's tomorrow night,  but I'm happy with him so far.