Saving Magic. A quilt with a story

Saving Magic. A quilt with a story.

Magic was an Australian greyhound saved from the dreaded Macau Canidrome, a hell hole and death sentence for dogs that were sent there. Australia was the main supplier of dogs to the Canidrome,  sending up to 590 in one year. 

It was closed in 2018 after animal rights activists ANIMA, and public opinion, raised enough concerns and awareness that it was forced to close. A victory for Greyhounds! But this meant rehoming over 600 greyhounds, abandoned by the track when it closed.  Greyhound rescue groups worldwide rallied and organised rescue missions with ANIMA to save the survivors. 

Sadly, many did not survive the appalling conditions. Magic was a lucky one, saved by the Candy Cane rescue, and rehomed in Birmingham UK with a wonderful lady, Kerry, who now runs Greyhound rescues in the UK.  However it was very nearly a very different story for Magic, she was so sick with tick fever and illness that she nearly died, twice.

The rescued dogs are now living the sweet life worldwide in UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand,  Ireland, USA and Canada. Considering the amount of greyhounds that left Aussie shores only a handful returned as rescues for rehoming.  I have had the pleasure in painting some of these dogs, they are true heroes. I painted Magic as a gift from the Busselton Greyhound Awareness to Kerry.

Some of the survivors have since passed, but were so very loved and are missed. 

In 2019 the AQC (Australian Quilt Challenge) announced its theme, MAGIC……

Making Magic step 1
making Magic step 2
making Magic step 3
magic close up detail

I decided to call my quilt “Saving Magic” and tell her story. 

The technique was the same as for the other challenge quilts I had made, starting with a piece of calico I  Ironed and fixed on a piece of black fabric to the shape of Magics profile, this was the main backing. 

From my original painting I worked out my colours and shapes and began to bring Magic to life.

Being a large piece the collar would be made separately, as once I started sewing I knew the piece would warp slightly and so I could use the collar line to cut the piece in two, then reattach and even out any misshapen areas. 

Magic thread painting
Magic close up
Magic, thread painting on the body completed
Close up of Magic, thread painting

The thread painting was the really fun and creative bit, very time consuming, and with only my very basic Janome sewing machine,  just straight and zig-zag stitch, it’s pretty amazing what you can achieve with coloured thread. I used a mixture of machine embroidery thread, polyester threads and cottons, going mainly by the colour. Variegated threads are brilliant and can save a lot of thread changes.  Free motion sewing is very satisfying, giving depth, direction and texture to the quilt. 

sometimes I would rethread the machine for just a couple of stitches!

An example of the threads I use when doing Free motion Thread painting
Magic's Collar
hand dyed background for Magic's quilt
Saving MagicAdding appliqued stars and circles to the background of Magic's quilt

With Magic cut out and her gorgeous, yet complicated Martingale collar completed, it was time to work out how I was going to get my signature watercolour background onto fabric. Watercolours wouldn’t be strong enough or have lasting permanency, so I had a play with alcohol artist inks. Mixing the colour with rubbing alcohol I painted the background, having soaked a piece of white homespun fabric in alcohol, then I splashed it with ink and with raw alcohol, Voila! My signature rainbow watercolour background on fabric and Permanent!

I added pieces of the backing fabric which was rainbow coloured and tonal, with stars and circles, onto the front and used tiny star buttons, with hot fix crystals as embellishments. Using variegated thread I quilted the backing, matching the thread to the background colouring where I could, It took almost as long as making Magic had taken!

Background for Magic's quilt with quilting and embellishments
Background for Magic's quilt with quilting and embellishments
Twinkle in the eye on Magics quilt

I entered Magic in to the AQC quilt Challenge for 2019/20 and was accepted into the final 30, titled “SAVING MAGIC” for obvious reasons, she was well received and travelled around Australia for the Expertise Craft fairs. Can you imagine how incredibly proud I felt when I went to the exhibition when it arrived in Perth, to be met by “Saving Magic” on all the banners and publicity posters? 

She didn’t win anything, she didn’t need to .. she was already a winner in every way imaginable. 

Saving magic banner Textile by Yvonne Chapman Brooks