Monday, February 11, 2019

New Quilt: Invasive Species

There has been a call for entry from national SAQA called Connecting Our Natural Worlds.  The theme was endangered species, which ones live near you, and how can you protect them.  It premieres next fall at the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum, a place I've always loved.  Then the fall got away from me, and I didn't really think I'd have time to do anything.  However over the Christmas holiday we were out in Tucson and visited the Desert Museum (for the first time since I moved away from Tucson over 14 years ago), and I fell in love with it all over again.  I decided I had to make a quilt for this show, even if I didn't get in.

I started researching endangered species in the area where I live.  Oklahoma is part of the Great Plains, a huge ecosystem the stretches throughout the center of the US and Canada.  There are several endangered species, including species of bat, fish, and freshwater clam, among others, but none that just jumped out as being something I felt compelled to make a quilt about.  I did notice however, that in many cases, they were endangered because of the onslaught of various invasive species that destroy habitat or out-compete native species.  Aquatic invasive species are particularly problematic; water sports including fishing and boating are very popular here and it's so easy to transfer invasive critters from one body of water to another if you're not careful.

It was interesting researching invasive species, trying to find thorough records was more challenging than I thought.  While some species are ones everyone would agree are invasive (I'm looking at you pine beetles,white nose-bat fungus, and nasty giant fire ants) others are things that many people love to use as ground cover or in gardens.  All the same, when they escape, they can cause substantial damage to the surrounding ecosystem!  I chose several different species and designed a simplified Mandala style quilt, similar to these I have done before.

My background fabric was a pale ivory polyester satin, and I made all my animals out of other interesting fabrics, velvet, faux suede, and other shiny fabrics.   Of course I was working on a January 31st deadline, and then both my good sewing machines broke so I had to borrow a sewing machine from my friend Melody (thanks Melody!!!).    Here are a few in process pictures!

Piles of cut out pieces!

I quilted it with 100 weight silk thread, and the shiny surface of the fabric means there's lots of visible texture.

Check back next week to see the finished quilt!


  1. Oh my gosh your quilting really knocks this one out of the park. I hope I get to see it in person sometime.

  2. Shannon, I'm loving this! As an ecoprinter, I'm keenly aware of these pesky invasives, particularly in my own backyard. I can see one of these quilts in my future - you've inspired me!

  3. Holy smokes I love that quilt!!! What a great idea and the design is simple but so effective! Great job!

  4. That quilt is going to be spectacular!