Patterns,  Quilts

One bite, Paradise Lost?

‘One bite, paradise lost?’ was my entry for the Australian Modern Quilting show. It was only a small, improv quilt, measuring 32″ x 35″. It was said that is was not my usual style but secretly I have many styles that I love making but rarely get time to do. I suppose that statement is one of the underlying themes in this quilt. In late 2010 I decided to make a hobby a business and take that bite of the apple. It meant focusing on design elements in my quilts that were not entirely free expression of my art and most of the time had to have a purpose based on commercial goals. Did I lose paradise? Not really. How many people can get up every morning and say they love their job? I do. I still find abundant fruits of creativity in the Garden of Eden. I may not be able to explore the whole garden on a whim but I still feel like paradise is truly present.

The fabrics chosen for the apple were favourites from my stash, you know the ones you keep forever as you don’t want to make that first cut. I am a lover of orange and lime green so those two were definite contenders for the selection and my other favourite, Chocolate brown, a rich, earthy colour and also a calorie-free version of my nemesis – chocolate was included. I deliberately stayed away from solids as this small quilt needed another dimension found in hand-drawn prints and meaningful text (words that described something about my creativity and how I fueled it). 

The piece is all improv – no pattern and built by randomly piecing and cutting tiny pieces of fabrics. There are pieces in this quilt that are no wider than 1/8″ wide. Starting in the middle of the apple, I worked my way out, inserting some pieces or sections using the dreaded Y-seams and gentle curves to provide a subtle rebellion and break away from straight lined piecing. The piece is organically quilted using patterns that flowed rather than straight lines or defined shapes, in various weights of thread, variegated and plain.

Have you ever made an improv quilt or style outside your comfort zone? 

P.S I made this small quilt entirely for me with no aspirations of getting a place in the show but was humbled and very chuffed when they announced the winners for the show. One bite, paradise lost? received Lisa Cahill’s Judge’s Choice and 1st place in the Small quilt category. I am very thankful indeed.


  • Linda Caldwell

    It is lovely. I love your sentiment. I stitch daily. It provides me with much needed positive mental health.?

  • Penny

    Your right, this is totally not what I expected from you, but I really like it. If I were a fan of orange, I’d love it. Nice work, Jane.

  • Laurie Reissler

    Your quilt is so pretty and cheerful. It makes me smile. I can only imagine how great it looks in person.

  • Serena @ Sewgiving

    It was fantastic seeing this mini in real life and meeting you as well! I still think we should start the Camellion Club … I like to sew all types of different styles too … sew what you love … I’m glad you get yo do what you love everyday too 🙂

  • Rosalie Roberts

    Thanks for letting us see your beautiful, prize winning quilt. It is wonderful and I love the story of its inception and your making it. Just love it. Great work, as always dear friend.

  • Jacqui Delchau

    Very creative and beautiful thankyou for the story of its making. So pleased you won the awards, very well deserved :o)

    Thankyou also Jane for the Splendid Sampler journey, I’m loving it, not just the making of the blocks but the comradery on Facebook . I too have other commitments ( I sew for Aussie Hero’s) So I will be doing catchup for a while. Enjoy the Christmas break. Happy Christmas to you and yours Jane.

  • Jerri

    Congratulations! Truly a work of art! You inspire me. I’ve never done any improve piecing. I have only used patterns. My daughter, middle of three, tells me all the time I should create my own patterns. Maybe one day I’ll be brace enough. I love that you took a chance and went for it. Certainly reveals your courage. Thanks for sharing your story behind this project.

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