Moonlit landscape: a handstitched quilt

This quilt has been in the works for a long, long, time. Over a year. In fact, it is my first-ever finished quilt. I had a very clear image in my mind of what I wanted to do: a very New Zealand scene, which I could see clearly enough that the original design only needed to be a few sketched lines to check the form of the landscape. Then I started auditioning fabrics!

(At the time, this was my entire stash. I may be more than a little fond of blue.)

Seen on a very bright sunny day outside.

Now to add scrap-shaped pieces that I’d need to form each area…at this stage I had no exact idea of shapes, but knew what general colours I want and the area each should encompass.

The applique took a very long time. It’s what I now know is called needle-turn applique: no interfacing, pin each piece down, sew in place, then add the next. It didn’t look coherent until here…

At this stage, part of the quilting has been done: the sea, its reflected light-path, in metallic embroidery thread from the Christchurch dyer, and most of the beach. All the quilting is freehand.

Selecting the quilting shape for the large open area of sky was hard: I auditioned a few from the Free Motion Quilting Blog (hey, those designs work just as well done by hand!) but eventually went with an echoing variation of the shapes of the clouds on the right side of the sky.

This interior shot warms the colours a little, but nicely highlights the texture of the quilting.

I rather like how the beams of light spread out across the lower part of the sky. It started forming in the piecing, and I decided to accentuate it with contrasting embroidery thread:

These are “crepuscular rays” (crepuscular = twilight) – when we see them, they splay out radiantly, mostly at sunset. But if you are an astronaut looking down from the International Space Station that orbits Earth, you see them like this:

Nancy Atkinson has more detail about that here. I suspect it’s even more rare to see the Moon casting crepuscular rays, but it’s a dreamlike scene. I can have rare events 😉

The tree on the right was originally going to be a New Zealand pohutukawa, as those are commonly found on coasts. But its upright form is closer to that of another native, the kowhai, so it has kowhai-batik foliage instead.

The beach is pebble-quilted and quilted to accentuate the fabric design and feature shells, in a mix of perle cotton, silk embroidery thread, and normal cotton.

Hmm, the back isn’t too messy either – and I know to do less travel stitching next time!

And here’s the final version, bound in the same black velvety stretch cotton (I think? unfortunately the fabric shop in question was in the centre of Christchurch, so is now well in the red zone) as the fabric that the applique was pieced onto and as used for the backing. It was really really slippery; I would use a different binding fabric next time. This was the only thing I attached by machine, then blind-stitched down by hand.

One quilt, safely delivered for Christmas.


Fresh Sewing DaySmall Blog Meet

Leave a comment


  1. Wow, well done, it looks like a very time-intensive project!

  2. that’s amazing. well done

  3. Love it! The colours and textures are beautiful! Found you through the small blog meet ~ great to meet you 🙂

  4. Hi – just visiting from the small blog meet. This is gorgeous. The quilting really compliments the picture. This is way outside my abilities


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