The Quilt – The Cheat
The Cheat (a Tawny Abyssinian) is my companion, muse, and sometimes my evil alter
ego. When I am working on my craft he comes and sits by, casting a discerning eye over
my work, and will show his approval by sitting on my projects. I recognise elements of my
own personality reﬂected in his, and I admire his cunning.
He was relaxing on the couch under the Christmas tree on a 38 degree Aussie summer
day. I had my camera handy and he looked just how I wanted to feel, so I snapped a
picture of him. Moments later my six month old son made a lunge for him, and The Cheat,
somewhat startled, did an ungraceful and totally un-cat-like back roll, through the lower
branches of the tree and on to the ﬂoor, taking lights, tinsel and decorations with him. He
looked at me pointedly, then slunk off to a quieter spot. I felt this little spectacle summed
up my hectic life with two under three in the festive season madness, and decided to
capture the moment in quilt form for the competition.
Materials and Method
Commercial fabrics (cotton homespun and printed cotton), scrap of polyester batting,
fusible web (Vliesoﬁx), Pentel Fabric Fun Fabric Pastels, Gütermann threads in cotton,
polyester, and ﬁlament, and a calico scrap for backing.
I began by printing out the photograph in colour and sketching the primary design
elements onto paper. I then traced these and cut them out forming rough templates. I
returned to my sketch and added the primary ʻdesign linesʼ (blacks, whites, highlights and
shadow, elements such as facial features). I decided to make a mock-up quilt on calico
ﬁrst to test the concepts. I selected my colours for the primary design elements in both
threads and fabrics. I created the Christmas tree from hand cut commercial fabrics, fused
and then overstitched. I cut the design elements from plain homespun, then added
sketching and details with the fabric pastels. These design elements were then fused to
the background. I shaded the quilt using my favourite technique which is a combination of
machine thread painting and quilting, working from darkest thread to light to achieve the
desired effect. I added the tinsel in swirling, overlapping quilting in two specialty threads to
add sparkle, and ﬁnished the image with The Cheatʼs whiskers. The quilt is bound in a free
motion zig zag stitch in a bright orange to highlight the brown tones of The Cheat and
make the blue and greens ʻpopʼ.