Wednesday, June 27, 2018

“Drawn to the Light”

“Drawn to the Light”
Copyright Susan Brubaker Knapp 2018
30" x 50"
This is my latest work, “Drawn to the Light,” which was recently juried in to the Best of Dinner@8 Artists’ exhibition. It will debut at International Quilt Festival in the fall. This is a whole cloth painted quilt (which means it was painted on white fabric) and then free-motion machine quilted. 

It features 13 moth species:

Row one, from top left:
Rosy maple moth (Dryocampa rubicunda) – pink and yellow; upper left
Comet moth (Argema mittrei) or Madagascan moon moth – yellow with brown spots; upper middle
Emperor moth (Saturnia pavonia) – orange and pink; upper right

Row two, from left:
Atlas two column (Attacus atlas) – orange and yellow with white spots; left
Luna moth (Actias luna) – green; middle
Garden tiger moth (Arctia caja) – orange, brown and white; right

Row three, from left:
Blue tiger moth (Dysphania percota) - blue with some yellow; left
Spanish moon moth (Graellsia isabellae)– green with chocolate brown and black; right

Row four, from left:
Oleander hawk moth (Daphnis nerii– green camouflage pattern; left
Giant leopard moth  (Hypercompe scribonia)– black, white and light blue; right

Row five:
Spiny oakworm moth (Anisota stigma) – rusty orange and yellow; left
Green carpet moth (Colostygia pectinataria) – greens; middle
Io moth (Automeris io) – yellow and orange with black spots; right

Here are a few photos of the piece in progress. I drew the moths from specimen photos, then scanned my line drawings and digitally positioned them within the 30x50" space. I printed out the design full size, and stretched fine cotton fabric on top, and painted the moths. For detailed information about my process, see my blog post “FAQs: Wholecloth Painting” here:

This is the first piece I free-motion machine quilted on my new BERNINA 770 QE machine. The extra space (10 inches to the right of the needle!) and the bobbin, which holds 70% more thread  than a normal bobbin, really come in handy on a large piece like this. 

The background is densely quilted in a pattern to suggest cross-hatching. I chose it because it looks a bit like screen, and I am used to seeing moths on my screen doors in the summer. 

A catalog of the exhibition will be available later this summer. I’ve already seen a number of the pieces that were juried in on social media, and it’s going to be a fabulous show!


  1. Just gorgeous, as usual! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Wonderful work...u make Charlotte proud xo

  3. Beautiful! And, the "screen" background is perfect!

  4. Your work is beautiful and well deserving of being juried into the exhibition. Thank you for sharing the “in progress” pictures. I stumbled upon your quilt on Pinterest. It’s the first time I’ve seen your work, so I’m off to see more of what you’ve posted.

  5. Your site has a lot of useful information for myself. I visit regularly. Nice post! This is a very nice blog that I will definitively come back A very interesting proposition. Thank you so much for sharing this information!

  6. It is quite possible that we are so moved and delighted by your art that words fail us!

    Always & everything I love...but you had me at Luna moth!❤️🌿

  7. Such a beautiful quilt! A real labor of love! I love how you quilted the background to look like a screen, too!

  8. I’m anxious to learn your technique at Asilomar next year. It’s something I’ve been wanting to try. See you in March!

  9. Love the idea of painting fabric instead of doing applique to create a design element. Thank you for the information and inspiration.

  10. Do you have the patterns for the moths? They are beautiful.

    1. I'm sorry; I don't. I don't do patterns for my artwork, unless I am teaching it.

  11. As a quilter and ecologist, this piece is breathtaking. What a true work of art!

  12. I saw this design on Pinterest (It's beautiful!) and a quick search later came up with a rip-off on a site called azcozy. I don't know if you have the time, money, or inclination, but after reading the really crappy reviews on another site, I knew the design was stolen from somewhere. You might try having a lawyer write up a cease and desist. Good luck.


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