Hidden Secrets in Sue McCarty’s Masterpiece


Sue McCarty is no stranger to the winner’s circle at AQS QuiltWeek™ – Paducah, Kentucky.

As the 2010 winner of the Janome Best of Show with TRIBUTE TO TOLKIEN , she already has one work hanging in The National Quilt Museum.

An absolute jaw-dropping piece, it has drawn national and international attention from quilters and Tolkien enthusiasts alike.

Now, she has completed the series with her second piece, ADVENTURE AWAITS , which joins the permanent collection as well.

Click above to view larger

This masterpiece is based on  J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Like the well-known story, Sue’s quilt sends viewers on a journey through the fibers of the quilt, following the path of adventure as told by Tolkien. Sue McCarty takes us with Bilbo and Gandalf  on a virtual “walk” through the story.

Encountering river crossings, trolls, dwarfs, and the magical world of the story, viewers relish in intricate detail. Plus, Sue gives viewers a chance to hunt for elements alongside the main characters.

Search for 13 dwarfs, represented by musical instruments, and a variety of birds, butterflies, bats, turtles, fish, and other details to add interest to the story.

AQS’s Bonnie Browning gets the inside scoop on how to transfer such a massive and detailed design to the blank canvas of the solid black backing. Now, we can share those with you:

  • Design and draw each block on paper
  • Lay those blocks on the floor, until you get them in the right position
  • Transfer the image using light box onto black wholecloth fabric
  • Use a white chalk pencil to cover the fabric in the design
  • Move the piece to the longarm machine
  • Outline and stabilize everything
  • Intensify the quilting as you go, rolling the quilt back and forth, increasing the quilting’s density
  • Start at the top of the quilt, in time, the quilter and longarm machine bring the story to life

Watch the exclusive interview with Sue McCarty from AQS QuiltWeek – Paducah, Kentucky 2013.


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Kerri Robinson

I want to thank Sue McCarty and all of the quilters who share their beautiful works of art in the Quilt Museum. I was able to visit the Museum in May and was in awe of the talent of these quilters. If you ever have the chance to visit Paduca, do! The Lord of the Rings Quilt & the Hidden Secrets Quilt are beyond amazing, I want to go back and take my quilt friends just so they can see these works of art also! Thank You!