Duet #2
Printable version

  • Copyright 1997  Caryl Bryer Fallert
  • Size:  90" high x 72" wide
  • Materials: 100% cotton fabric
    80% cotton/ 20% polyester batting
  • Techniques: Hand dyed, hand painted, machine pieced, appliqued, and quilted
  • Private Collection: (Virginia 2000) (2016 Illinois)

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Design Concept

In September of 1995, my husband Bob was driving home on the Illinois Tollway, when a blood vessel ruptured in his brain. He lost consciousness and crashed into a toll booth. I found Bob in the hospital completely paralyzed on one side, and unable to complete a sentence. The doctor's prognosis was as dismal as it could possibly be. We were given no reason to hope that Bob would ever be able to walk or speak again. We learned later that the doctor did not expect him to live through the night. "Miracles do happen" he said, "But the odds are longer than shorter."

I felt as frightened and alone as I have ever felt in my life.

Five days later, Bob walked out of the hospital without a cane.  Someone has to get the miracles, and apparently this time it was our turn.  Almost losing my life partner caused me to focus attention on the things I valued most in our relationship.

Birds of all kinds have been my personal symbols for the many events and relationships in my life. This is one of several quilts about birds that mate for life. (Scroll down for process details)

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duet2quiltingdtl.jpg (9850 bytes)
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Design Concept & Process
Where to see this quilt

Process and technical details:

To create the design for Duet #2, I found a small picture of two eagles with silhouettes that expressed the idea in my mind. I drew outlines of the birds on paper, and scanned them into my computer.
eagledrawing1.gif (3717 bytes)eagledrawing2.gif (2540 bytes)

eaglefootstudies.gif (2611 bytes)By using a book on bird anatomy, I was able to fill in details of feather patterns, heads, eyes, and feet.

eagleheadpicture.jpg (1687 bytes)eagleheadstudy1.gif (1991 bytes)eagleheadstudy2.gif (1275 bytes)eagleheadstudy3.gif (1256 bytes)



The positions of the birds were rearranged until the shape between their heads formed the shape of a heart. The curved line composition surrounding the eagles was drawn directly in the computer, using bezier curves.  Surrounding the two eagles are a series of sweeping curves. At the top, these curves intersect to form an abstract heart.

eagledesign1.gif (8213 bytes) eagledesign2.gif (10143 bytes)

eagledesigncolor.jpg (13508 bytes)After I had a satisfactory line drawing, I scanned the whole line drawing on a flat bed scanner. The black and white bitmap of the drawing was converted to a vector drawing using a program called "Streamline"  This produced a series of closed shapes (which could be filled with color and pattern) surrounded by bezier curves (lines that could be bent, shaped, and manipulated)

I tried a number of different arrangements of color, and finally printed out the color study I liked the best.

Once I was satisfied with the composition, it was printed onto clear acetate, and projected onto a 72" x 90" piece of paper to make a full size drawing. The drawing was then cut apart, and the pieces of the drawing were used as templates for cutting the hand dyed and painted fabrics in the quilt.

The picture was then pieced back together like a giant puzzle.eaglepiecing1.jpg (5930 bytes)

I began by piecing and appliquéing the large eagles.  Here they are lying on top of the remainder of the full size drawing.

Once the eagles were complete, I began auditioning various pieces of my hand painted fabric for the sky between the wings.

eaglepiecing2.jpg (8110 bytes)

eaglepiecing3.jpg (10156 bytes)

duet2heartshape.jpg (10010 bytes)One template at a time, the fabrics were chosen, the templates were cut, and the background for the eagles was pieced together

Here is the abstract heart shape that forms where the lines emerging from the tops of the wings intersect. duet2heartquilting.jpg (9921 bytes)In one curving shape that sweeps across the quilt in front of and between the eagles are a series of quilted hearts in graduated sizes, stitched with rainbow varigated top stitching thread. The eagles are quilted with black, white, and grey top stitching thread. The entire quilt was quilted with freemotion machine quilting (i.e. the quilt was guided under the needle manually with the feed dogs lowered.)  With the exception of the hearts, all the quilting was done freehand, without any marking of the quilt top.

In the center of the quilt, the stitching echoes the patterns of the dyes as they flow together in the painted fabric, suggesting wind and clouds in the sky. In the lower part of the quilt, the quilting patterns are more organic, suggesting vegetation of various kinds.

I call this kind of quilting "drawing with thread." The patterns created are as unique to each quilter as their handwriting or their signature. The back of the quilt is made from a multi-colored painted fabric suggesting sky.

Design Concept & Process
Where to see this quilt
duet2award.jpg (6587 bytes)
Duet #2 Wins
Pfaff Master Award
for Machine Artistry
International Quilt
Association Show,
Houston, Texas, 1997
  • MID-ATLANTIC QUILT FESTIVAL, 1997, (juried) Williamsburg, VA honorable mention
  • QUILTS FROM THE HEART—QUILTS OF EMOTION, My Old Kentucky Home, 1997 Festival of Quilts, (juried) Bardstown, KY
  • 10th QUILTERS HERITAGE CELEBRATION, 1997, (juried) Lancaster, PA second place & juror's choice
  • AMERICAN QUILTERS SOCIETY SHOW, 1997, (juried) Paducah, KY
  • QUILTING BY THE LAKE SYMPOSIUM, Faculty Invitational Exhibition, Morrisville, NY 1997
  • INTERNATIONAL QUILT ASSOCIATION SHOW, 1997, (juried) Houston, Texas Pfaff Master Award for Machine Artistry
  • Stars Along the Mississippi, Quilts Inc, (invitational) St. Louis, MO April 17-19, 1998
  • Quilts a World of Beauty Award Winners, IQA,  (invitational) Innsbruck, Austria, May 25-29, 1998
  • Quilts=Art=Quilts, SMArt Center, Auburn, NY   Best of Show & First Place
  • QUILTS BY THE MASTERS,  Durham Western Heritage Museum, Omaha, NE  May15-July 18 1998
  • QUILTMAKERS SHOWCASE, Special Inviatational Exhibit,  1999, Silver Dollar City, Branson, MO
  • The Good Earth, Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm. 1000 Aullwood Rd., Dayton, OH 45414  April 22-May 30, 2000 Viewers Choice


  • AURORA BEACON NEWS: Aurora, Illinois, Monday, Jan. 6, 1997 (process) Front page
  • THE STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER, Springfield, Illinois, Sunday, Jan. 5, 1997 (process) page 4
  • QUILTS FROM THE HEART-QUILTS OF EMOTION, Show Catalog, COVER, & page 1 , Festival of Quilts, Bardstown, KY 1997
  • KENTUCKY STANDARD, (newspaper) Thurs. May 17, 1997, page A1
  • HOUSTON CRONICLE, Wednesday, October 22, 1997, p. D-1
  • QUILTS: A World of Beauty, Journal of the International Quilt Association, Winter 1998, FRONT INSIDE COVER
  • THE EVANSVILLE COURIER, Tempo, B1,Thursday, Feb. 5, 1998
  • QUILT MANIA: Le Magazine du Patchwork, Mar/Apr. 1998 FEATURE p12 (France)
  • DOWN UNDER QUILTS, 1998, December, pp. 8
  • Dayton Daily News, April 20 , 2000 P. c-1
  • Englewood Independent, Wed. May 3, 2000
  • One Quilt One Moment, Quilts that Change Lives, 2000: Primedia, pp.68-69
  • Focus on Features, C&T Pub. Charlotte Warr Andersen, 2000, p. 61
  • American Quilter, Spring 2001, p. 24
Web Site Design by Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry © 1997-2022 All Rights Reserved
Bryerpatch Studio • 10 Baycliff Place • Port Townsend, WA • 98368 • USA
360-385-2568 • caryl@bryerpatch.com

Updated 8/28/18