“Crocodylus Smylus,” 21 feet 6 inches by 70 inches

I figured it was about time to introduce “Stevie”, my my 20 foot saltwater crocodile, to those who might not have seen her the first time around. And reintroduce her to those for whom it’s been a long time since they saw her. Here’s a brand new video I created especially for this purpose:

A year and a half ago I kicked off this weekly blog with the first of three posts about the making of my quilt “Crocodylus Smylus.” Writing the posts about the quilt was almost as big an undertaking as making it. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. However, there’s a lot of good information there: lots of photos, lots of technical descriptions, and even a time-lapse video which to date has viewed more that 56,000 times:

I made Stevie (nicknamed for the late Steve Irwin, Australian conservationist and “Crocodile Hunter”) in 2015. As always I work better with a deadline, so the commitment to have her ready to premier in an animal inspired quilt exhibit at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts provided good motivation. Stevie has since gone on to anchor my special exhibit, Specimens, at the International Quilt Festival in Houston this past November. Before that she visited her (saltwater crocodile) homeland of Australia, then appeared on “Quilting Arts TV.” Currently, as you can see in the video above, she resides on the pinning wall in my studio.

Rather than repeat everything I said the first time around, I have created a reference guide with links to the existing blog posts starring or featuring Stevie. As you can see, she has been a busy girl. Have fun exploring.

Making a 20-Foot Crocodile Quilt: Part 1 of 3

I begin to describe the experience of making my quilt “Crocodylus Smylus,” a life size fabric collage creation of a saltwater crocodile.

Making a 20-Foot Crocodile Quilt: Part 2 of 3

I continue relating the experience of making “Crocodylus Smylus.” A time-lapse video shows the progression of piecing the quilt and reveals how success isn’t always a straight line.

Making a 20-Foot Crocodile Quilt: Part 3 of 3

In the final installment of making “Crocodylus Smylus” I reflect on getting help and how it feels now that the quilt is done and living a life beyond my studio walls.

“From Insects to Elephants” (and Crocs)

A visit to the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts where “Crocodylus Smylus” had its premier with over 100 other animal quilts by over 50 other artists.

Specimens at the International Quilt Festival

My experience during the four days of the Houston show, where Stevie made thousands of fans. I had fun sharing the show with visitors and talking with students, blog and newsletter followers, and fellow teachers. This post has been updated with descriptions and full-size images of all the “Specimens” quilts.

Reflections on the Houston International Quilt Festival

Five (okay, four and a half) days at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. Five days of meeting and making friends. Five days of showing off “Crocodylus Smylus” and “Kaloli Moondance” and the rest of the “Specimens” collection of quilts. Five days of answering questions about technique and inspiration. Includes a “walk-around” video of the display and answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Stevie.

On the Road: Melbourne, Australia

I have to say it was the first time I’d been introduced to a cheering crowd accompanied by Elton John’s classic anthem “Crocodile Rock.” I guess that’s when I knew that quilters Down Under do it a little differently.

Lights, Camera, Quilt!

I got a small taste of life on set last week when I was invited to tape two segments for Quilting Arts TV, hosted by Susan Brubaker Knapp. Thanks to the crew at KS Productions, Stevie the croc quilt and I were both ready for our closeups.


  • Hi Susan,
    I found every detail about “Stevie” absolutely mesmerizing the first time around and have a much greater appreciation for her after trying my hand at fabric collage in your Asilomar Class (albeit on a much smaller scale). I love your newest video showcasing some of the fabrics you chose to use. She is truly a masterpiece! Thank you for taking the time to tell her story.

  • I hadn’t seen her close enough to notice all the imbedded animae. And, I hadnt considered the background sand/water migration, which now gives more layers of depth to her. Love it. Thanks for all the surprises in this piece of art . LOVE the sequin nod to Marilyn M.! Thank you for the smiles you brought to my early morning email time. I love the thoughtfulness to this project. Makes it all the richer!

  • It is always a rare treat when I have the opportunity to hear the artist go into detail about their creation. It adds a personal dimension that makes their piece truly unique, & makes me see the it in a new way. I must say, my first gaze upon Stevie & Dixie made me literally gasp & purchase your book.

    Thank you for taking the time to give us an in-depth look into Stevie’s make up!

  • Gorgeous! You’re a rock star!

    I’m just wondering how you store a quilt like that and how you pack it to take or ship it to an exhibition.

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