Friday, May 16, 2014

Bloggers Quilt Festival: Ring Around the Mole

Welcome to anyone clicking through from the always fabulous Bloggers Quilt Festival.  Super shout out to Amy for hosting and organizing it all!  I'm entering two quilts, this one in the Home Machine Quilted category.

It's called "Ring Around the Mole", and 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).  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"

This is the label.

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

32 bats
20 armadillos
20 prairie dogs
16 opossums (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.

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 bead 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).  It was actually quilted twice- the first time the animals were quilted with only the top and a single layer of batting.  Then I layered the second layer of batting an backing and quilted the rest.  This way, the animals puff in a faux-trapunto way, but still have thread quilted detailing.

The final quilt is 62 x 62 and is finished with a facing contoured with the shape of the bats.

View of the back.

This was been a fairly emotional and draining project for me, and I 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.

For more info on this quilt, check out my other posts on it, and be sure to check out all the other Blogger's quilt festival entries!


  1. This is definitely a one-of-a-kind quilt, and it appears to be wonderfully made ! Congrats on such fine work !

  2. Your quilt is amazing and a true labour of love!

  3. Wow! Your quilting on this is very beautiful but so is your inspired design (this could have just as easily been in the "original design" catagory!). I love the idea that you detail stitched some of the motifs first and then went back and relayered and stitched to give the trapunto effect. This is also such a great educational quilt that I hope there might be a public place to have this displayed for all to see!!

    1. I totally agree! Please move your quilt where it deserves, as I never saw something simlar. It's so dreamlike and modern, really out of common.

  4. Very cool - and definitely thought-provoking!

  5. Absolutely amazing! I had seen some of the progress on this quilt and now to see it finished is a real treat. Your skills are over-the-top.

  6. There is such a lot of work in this quilt - such detail and such thought. There is so much to see and look at and that's before you get to the quilting! I love this list of creatures! Great skills.

  7. I am so floored by this quilt! It is amazing!!! I love the mandala effect! Absolutely gorgeous! I am so surprised by the use of non-traditional quilting fabrics. I also like to use various kinda of fabrics but I have never been as brave as you have been in using mostly non-cotton fabrics!

  8. Woooaaahhh I love this so much!

  9. Holy wow - that is so very amazing! The colour changes you used when the animals overlap is especially well done. I hope this was nominated for a viewer's choice!

  10. This is a stunner. And now you are making another one? (I know, I know. . .)

    I love the rings of animals and the thought behind those rings, and I also checked out your amazing quilting. (Have you tried Bottom Line thread by Superior? It's a really really fine thread and I've used it before when I wanted thread to just disappear into the quilting. You mentioned the silk, and I wondered if you've tried that.)

    I'm just generally blown away by this, Shannon. It's a stunner!