dragonflies, flowers and a bit of bright orange

Teresa Duryea Wong. "Dragonflies, Flowers and a Spot of Orange" 42 x 48 inches.
Cotton Yukata prints, Oakshott, wool. Machine quilted. 2015.
Photo shoots always work better with a prop.

I finished this 'improv' quilt today and I was looking around for a prop to use in the photo to help give the quilt some perspective when Tom the dog and his bright orange collar laid down in the perfect spot.

Teresa Duryea Wong. "Dragonflies, Flowers and a Spot of Orange" 42 x 48 inches. 
Cotton Yukata prints, Oakshott, wool. Machine quilted. 2015.
The dragonfly and flower prints are Japanese Yukata (summer kimono) fabric. These are hand-dyed, vintage imported prints and they are a lot of fun to work with.

Read more about these interesting cottons on my previous blog post.

The other fabrics are shimmering Oakshott cotton and I think they set these prints off nicely.

Everything is 'improv' - meaning no pattern, no rulers, just cut and sew. The wonky lines and off-kilter edges are what give this small quilt its own personality.

The flower print has a taupe pallette, yet there is one beautiful orange leaf that just pops out, so that inspired me to add just a touch of bright orange wool to the overall design.

Orange is such a compelling color.

Working in the improv style takes a certain amount of fortitude!

Like, when you get to the edge and the blocks don't line up - don't cut them! Just go with it... these are some of my favorite parts.

I had one of those spelling crisis moments (you know, when your mind tricks you... is it dragonflys or dragonflies? Dragonflies is correct, btw).

I bought this dragonfly from a sidewalk artist in Kyoto. It balances on your finger! So cool.
I could not resist... made of wood, hand painted.
Anyway, I was really drawn to these blue on blue dragonflies because I learned while researching my book on the history of Japanese quilts that in Japanese culture, the dragonfly is associated with strength and victory, especially military strength. There is a stunning dragonfly quilt by Yoshiko Katagiri in my book. You can see a photo of it here, on my website.

So when I looked this word up today, I learned that (according to dictionary.com) in the Northern and Western US, another name for dragonfly is darning needle, devil's darning needle or sewing needle. Hmmm... I have never heard this. Have you? Fascinating...

Thanks to Tom the Dog. You and your orange collar make the perfect model!
Linking up to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays
and Lizzie Lenard's Free Motion Mavericks
Check out the other blog posts there!


  1. That is stunning, Teresa! You are so talented, and your work is beautiful!

  2. I love this piece and those pops of orange are perfect!

  3. The wonky edging is great, as is the wonky piecing.

  4. Hi Teresa ! I know, I've been MIA from blogging lately, but I'm keeping up with your adventures. Wow! What a beautiful quilt ! Tom knew it too....smart dog !

  5. Hello Teresa,

    I am totally in love with this quilt. The colours are sensational, even Tom the dog can tell. The combination of Japanese prints with Oakshott cottons is just perfect. I am featuring your quilt on this weeks linky, I love it so much!

    Yes, I have heard of dragonflies being called darning needles before. Also we have nice red dragonflies called darters.

    Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks!

    Love, Muv

  6. This is really beautiful! I lived in Japan for a year and loved seeing all the luscious designs on traditional clothing, especially during festivals! Thank you for taking me back there again. :) (Much better than a wet West Wales, lol!)

  7. Wow! Teresa your improv quilt is gorgeous. The orange does make it pop! Love Tom the dog :-)


Post a Comment

Popular Posts