Monday, January 6, 2014

The First Finish of 2014

Having just arrived back from the holidays, my blog reader is full of wonderful year-in-review posts and goals-for-2014 posts.  I may share something like that but today I wanted to share the first finish of 2014.  As regular readers know, I've spent the last two and a half months working on this every single free minute, including vast quantities of time finishing it up at my parent's over the holidays (beading all the eyes took forever).  I'm really pleased with how it turned out and super glad to have been able to leave it in New Mexico (the first show it's going to is there) since I now have no more ability to putter with it. My design wall is empty and my brain is going to take a break.

I'm calling it "Ring Around the Mole".  My mom came up with the name and it really struck my fancy.  Not least because the moles are the hardest animal to identify so I think having them in the title really helps.

Ring Around the Mole, Shannon M. Conley, c. 2014 62" x 62"

I feel like I've been so busy working on this quilt that I haven't had much time to talk about it.  So a few details.

This is an original design I made using primarily adobe illustrator.  It features one or more mammals from each order/superorder represented in Oklahoma (the state where I live).  They're listed on the label which looks like this:

In twelve-days-of-Christmas fashion, there are:

32 bats
20 armadillos
20 prairie dogs
16 oposusms (with 64 baby opossums)
16 mice
12 rabbits
8 moles
4 bison
4 deer
4 bobcats
4 coyotes
(but no partridges or pears....)

The quilt is constructed entirely from apparel fabrics.  The only 100% cotton fabric used was for the backing.  It's mostly different silks and polyesters in all kinds of weaves including velvets, and some weird microsuedes (which I think are also polyester).  I also painted and used some evolon, a non-woven stuff that feels gross but looks pretty cool and is easy to work with.  The white/ivory background is a polyester bridal satin.

The animals were cut out based on my illustrator vectors using either my silhouette cameo or by hand.  They're all fused and machine appliqued down.  Each animal has a beaded eye, except the mice who have thread eyes, and the moles who have no eyes at all.  Even the bats each have two little black eyes you just can't see in the picture.

The quilt contains two layers of batting, one layer of cotton and one layer of wool.  It was all free motion quilted on my janome horizon 7700 home sewing machine.  All the background quilting is 100 wt. YLI silk thread (if only I could afford more of this).  The quilting on the animals is mostly 40 wt polyester (glide and isacord are my favorites).

The final quilt is 62 x 62 and is faced in contour with the shape of the bats.

This has been a fairly emotional and draining project for me, and I've learned a lot about things and ways of doing things that I want to avoid in future.   I really hope you enjoy seeing it!  Many thanks to my dad Doug for taking all the pictures, it's a really hard quilt to photograph.

Blogger informs me this is my 300th post, which just feels like a lucky numb

I'm linking up to TGIFF at Quilt Matters, Nina-Marie's Fabulous Art Quilt Linky, and Richard and Tanyas.


  1. It's fabulous and I see lots of ribbons I your future!

  2. Very cool. Your artist's statement is an education in itself! Congratulations on completing such a beautiful piece!

  3. Amazing, everything about it. If this is a judged show it's sure to win a blue ribbon.

  4. Really fabulous! I love everything about it especially the non-cotton thing! how liberating!

  5. Oh, Shannon!!! It looks AMAZING!!!! Job well done! Hope you take a well deserved break to recharge. :-)

  6. Great work. I wish I could see this quilt close up and personal. I think it's amazing.

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  8. Wow, wow, wow! Shannon, this is amazing! Such incredible detail -- you should be very proud of this quilt -- it's a work of art!

  9. wow, wow, and triple wow! this is a great quilt!

  10. oh my word, Shannon, this is awesome!! I'm sending your link to my sewing group. This is going to be big at shows. I can't wait to see it!!
    LeeAnna Paylor

  11. What an extraordinary piece! WOW! Beautiful down to the very last detail.

  12. Lovely quilt! I especially like the armadillos- they've long been my favorite animal. Great work!

  13. Why aren't the armadillos bigger? Jk sis. I really like how this came out. Glad you got it done!

  14. Wow, wow, wow! Shannon, this is amazing! Such incredible detail -- you should be very proud of this quilt -- it's a work of art!Top Ten Web Hosting Reviews

  15. AMAZING!!! This is such fun and the work and detail is so impressive. This name is just perfect :)

  16. My word! Just loved your entry in the 2015 bloggers festival, and clicked through to see this. It is magical and amazing. Words escape me! I love this incredible quilt! Thanks for sharing!

  17. This is an amazing quilt as well Shannon! I love the details and so fun to see the differences between the two quilts. Each beautiful in their own right. The free motion quilting is wonderful!!