Friday, May 8, 2009

Lepidoptera finished and off to Quilt Market

by Susan Brubaker Knapp (2009)
Cotton fabric, wool/polyester batting, fabric paint, cotton thread. 39" x 39"

I finished this piece, “Lepidoptera,” a while ago, but we’ve had so much rain here lately that I couldn’t find a good time to take nice photos. I usually shoot them outside. This aftternoon, after a day of much fog and gloom, the clouds parted and I ran outside to take a few detail shots. Here they are:

Lepidoptera is the order of insects that includes butterflies and moths.
Can you tell that it started with this photo I took in my garden a few years ago?

This is a Painted Lady butterfly. It has wonderful patterns on its wings, but it is not very brightly colored. I used the patterns and completely changed the colors. My quilt is a bit psychedelic in comparison to the butterfly!

Besides being the first wholecloth painted quilt I’ve ever done, it is the first quilt I faced, rather than bound, and the first quilt I made using batting made of wool and polyester (recommended by my friend Nancy G. Cook, who uses it in all her work). I liked it a lot.

“Lepidoptera” is also the first piece I have quilted with Aurifil threads. I had heard many quilters raving about Aurifil, and purchased some thread from them specifically to try on this piece.

I had used Aurifil Cotton Mako 50 thread for needleturn appliqué, but never for quilting or threadpainting. And I must say that I absolutely LOVED using it on this piece. It is very strong, so it didn’t break or shred, unlike other threads I’ve used. Even when my needle was flying.

I also tried piecing with Aurifil Cotton Mako 50 thread, and I love it for that, too. It is so fine that your seams lie nice and flat. I’m eager to try the Cotton Mako 40, which is a little heavier, and good for places you want your quilting to show up more. That’s my next experiment.

I had heard other quilters say that Aurifil thread leaves little to no lint in your machine, and this is definitely true. I made a point of checking every now and then inside my machine, and there’s no comparison between Aurifil and other brands of thread I’ve used (and I’ve pretty much used them all!) I think I’m hooked!

Aurifil noticed I was using their thread, and asked if they could display “Lepidoptera” in the Aurifil threads booth at Quilt Market next week. I was thrilled. If you are going, check it out there!


  1. STUNNING!!!!! I'm looking forward to seeing it in person. Congratulations.

  2. I love this quilt! I also paint whole cloth quilts and just love doing it. your pattern and colors are delightful.

  3. Gorgeous Susan, It reminds me of those psychedelic parts of 2001.

  4. absolutely stunning. I wish I could see it in person. I've been shopping for a new thread to replace some that I'm not happy with, I'll have to give them a try.

  5. How beautiful! And thanks for the tip about the thread. And fantastic that the company wants to display your 'butterfly!' You are indeed spreading your wings. :)

    Your work is so inspiring! The colors alone brightened my day.


  6. What an amazing quilt. I love everything about it, the colors the quilting, the design. It's fabulous!

  7. Just such a joyful piece!!! It brightens my rainy day just to look at it. So pleased it will be on disply at the Quilt Market so many onlookers may also feel joyful.

  8. Susan, What did you use to color the quilt, and did you color before or after the quilting?

  9. The paint I used was Jacquard Textile color, slightly watered down (but not too much so it didn't run). This product is available at my local Michaels craft store. The fabric is Kona Cotton, and the paint barely changed the hand of the fabric.

  10. Totally stunning! Thanks for the tips on Aurifil thread. I've never used that brand before and now will make a note to get some.

  11. Susan
    This quilt is so striking...what a beauty! I am so excited to get to see it in person at Quilt Market! Congratulations on all your great quilted works this year!

  12. Beautiful... love how the natural butterfly pattern was taken to a new imaginative level.

  13. Love, love love the colors and how you did the shapes.


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