Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Iberian Lynx - Back from the Brink

 The Island Batik Challenge for October was as follows:

The 2021 Aurifil Color Builders are a capsule of 12 mini-collections dedicated to an incredibly worthy cause that falls in line with Aurifil’s goal to increase sustainability and positive environmental impact — Endangered Species. Each collection contains three large spools of their supple and strong 40wt thread — a warm, a medium, and a dark.

For the October challenge, Aurifil is asking you to create a piece inspired by the endangered animal featured on your assigned Color Builder box. Use each one of the 3 provided colors somewhere in the challenge piece, how the thread is used is up to you!

Iberian Lynx (Picture from Aurifil)

I got Iberian Lynx. This animal is so magnificent and so striking that one thing became immediately clear to me - it was impossible to capture its beauty with thread and fabric. At least not for someone with my skill level. 

Let's take a look at the threads in my Color Builder Set.

Warm, Medium and Dark

According to Wikipedia, the Iberian lynx has a short bright yellowish to tawny colored spotted fur. 
Tawny, according to Wikipedia, is a light brown to brownish-orange color. 

Bright yellow, light brown, and brownish orange!!!  So I gathered all Island Batik fabrics within (and adjacent to) that color range.  

Island Batik Fabrics - Yellow, Orange and Brown

Many of these are from the Autumn Sunset collection, designed by Kathy Engle.  I included some Island Batik Foundations in gold, coffee and rust. Finally, I included some fabrics from an Island Batik Fat Quarter bundle (Island Harvest) I had purchased from Hancock's of Paducah earlier.

Well, this was a start. What next?
I reread the assignment - create a piece inspired by the endangered animal

Inspired could mean using the same colors as Iberian Lynx.  I could be inspired by the paw print of Iberian Lynx. I could be inspired by the rabbit (main diet of the Iberian Lynx). The characteristic ears of the Iberian Lynx with dark tufts can be an inspiration, as the distinctive bearded face, or the short and curving dark tail. This was exhausting.

Paul: Sup babe?
Me: I have to be inspired by the Iberian Lynx to make a project and I am clueless.
Paul: What are other ambassadors doing?
Me: Thread painting, fabric fusing, free motion quilting...I don't know. They are all more experienced and accomplished than I am.
Paul: They are playing to their strengths. 
Me: I guess.
Paul: What is your strength?
Me: Improv Piecing
Paul: Start with that...

I followed Paul's advice and began random improv piecing. 

Begin Improv Piecing 

A silhouette of Iberian Lynx in these colors, made out of the improv pieced slab with a slogan like
"Save Iberian Lynx"  or "Save the Iberian Lynx" would do it. Let's draft/sketch.

Ya Basic!!!

Split Sentence? UGH!!!

Disappointed with my lack of progress, I returned to the computer and started reading about Iberian Lynx, threats to their survival and the efforts to boost their populations. Loss of habitat, decreasing food base, car hits and illegal hunting had brought the Iberian lynx to the brink of extinction with just 94 adults in 2002. But due to the joint conservation efforts of the Spanish national and regional administrations, different NGOs (WWF) and the European Union, the species has recovered from the brink of extinction.

According to the WWF, "In order to be classified as non-endangered, the Iberian lynx population would need to be above at least 3000, including 750 breeding females. This could be achieved by 2040, but much still needed to be done to eradicate threats to the Iberian lynx."

It occurred to me that Iberian Lynx is not just an endangered species. It is also a success story. 
I had to tell that story in my piece...

Oh yes, we are in business...

The framework

I chose to make the Iberian Lynx silhouettes (using a royalty free outline), from almost faded depicting 94 adults in 2002 through strengthening numbers in 2015 and 2021 reflected by the darkening values. Since the challenge continues, I chose to add the fourth silhouette showing projected numbers in 2040.

Improv Piecing

Ears - Skinny and Tricky to secure

The four silhouettes were appliquéd on to the Cream (Island Batik Neutral) background, and secured in place using zigzag stitching with invisible thread.  The year and the population numbers were also similarly appliquéd. 

Strengthening Populations - Adding Statistics

I centered the news headline/slogan making sure that no letters were too close and that the words were spaced evenly. I added a top and bottom border using the leftover improv bits. A nod to my playfulness can be seen in the word "bounces" where I used a few different fabrics - a reason to celebrate.

Almost ready to quilt


I used the light grey (6724) to quilt, dark champagne (6731) for accent, and light champagne (2375) for binding. 

Aurifil Threads - Warm for Quilting, Dark for Accent

Aurifil Thread - Medium for Binding

And here we are!!! I love these warm colors. 

Iberian Lynx returns from the brink of extinction

Source - https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/back-brink-iberian-lynx-population-rises-over-1000-2021-05-28/

Source - https://wwf.panda.org/discover/our_focus/wildlife_practice/profiles/mammals/iberian_lynx/

Source - https://www.birdguides.com/news/iberian-lynx-bounces-back/

Source - https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/back-brink-iberian-lynx-population-rises-over-1000-2021-05-28/


If someone told me 20 years ago that we would achieve such results, I would have thought they were out of their mind,” says Miguel Simón, the recently retired director of the Lynx LIFE program.

Thank you, Paul!!!

The piece finished at 25" by 36". I did not capture the majestic beauty but I believe I captured the indomitable spirit of the Iberian Lynx. 

I encourage you to read this article (https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/how-iberian-lynx-bounced-back-brink-extinction-180973269/) which quotes the program directors expressing their pleasant surprise at the remarkable success of the captive breeding initiatives, especially at the survival and adaptability of the captive bred cubs in the wild. 

This is a lengthy description of my process. But projects don't happen magically.  Even when inspiration strikes, it is a long journey to make meaningful progress. In the end it is about persistence. My persistence with the project, the persistence of the continuing conservation efforts, and the surprising persistence of the Iberian Lynx. 

Here are my sources for the exact numbers for each of the years
2002 - 94 https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/back-brink-iberian-lynx-population-rises-over-1000-2021-05-28/
2015 - 404 https://wwf.panda.org/discover/our_focus/wildlife_practice/profiles/mammals/iberian_lynx/
2021 - 1000 https://www.birdguides.com/news/iberian-lynx-bounces-back/
2040 - 3000 (projected) https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/back-brink-iberian-lynx-population-rises-over-1000-2021-05-28/

The products featured in this post were given to me by Island Batik, Aurifil, Schmetz, and Hobbs

Do check out what other Island Batik Ambassadors are making by visiting their links below:

Megan Best ~ Best Quilter
Pamela Boatright ~ PamelaQuilts
Elizabeth DeCroos ~ Epida Studio
Jennifer Eubank ~ Archipelago Quilting
Jennifer Fulton ~ The Inquiring Quilter
Preeti Harris ~ Sew Preeti Quilts -
you are here!!!
Joanne Hart ~ Unicorn Harts
Mania Hatziioannidi ~ Mania For Quilts
Jane Hauprich ~ Stitch By Stitch Custom Quilting
Connie Kauffman ~ Kauffman Designs
Emily Leachman ~ The Darling Dogwood 
Denise Looney ~ For The Love Of Geese
Leah Malasky ~ Quilted Delights
Sally Manke ~ Sally Manke, Fiber Artist
Maryellen McAuliffe ~ Mary Mack Made Mine
Claudia Porter ~  Create with Claudia
Gail Renna ~ Quilt Haven Threads
Brianna Roberts ~ Sew Cute and Quirky
Michelle Roberts ~ Creative Blonde
Gail Sheppard ~ Quilting Gail
Andi Stanfield ~ True Blue Quilts

But wait, there is more. The leftover butter, honey, melon, orange, caramel, coffee and chocolate scraps were too yummy to discard. They were dutifully fashioned into zippered pouches. 

A coordinated set!!!

No surprise there :-)
I will be sharing with all my favorite linky parties. As usual, I am anxious to hear your thoughts.


  1. I always love reading how you reason through your quilt decisions, and this was no different. What a lovely idea, and even more lovely result!

  2. How clever! How big did your piece turn out to be?

  3. Thank you for sharing your process once again. I really enjoy and appreciate it. Play to your strength is much better than apologizing for our weakness.

  4. Oh my gosh, Preeti !! What you did is amazing. I love, LOVE the idea that the endangered Lynx has nearly disappeared in the first frame, but re-emerging as your eye moves through the progress of the preservation effort into a future where their existence is solid and secure. Reminds me of the family photo in Micheal J. Fox’s character’s wallet in the movie “Back to the Future,” when he had messed up the timeline of his parents’ meeting and falling in love and his sister started disappearing from the photo, but as he set everything right again in his family sister, the image was restored. (Your quilt reminds me of this because I am Of A Certain Age and because I am a Sentimental Cheeze Puff)…. LOVE how you captured the distinctive ear tufts, by the way. Bravo!

  5. this is great! I would have been totally puzzled as to what to make for this - great imagination!!

  6. This is fabulous, Pretti!! I love all the symbolism you used, and the colors are just beautiful. Plus bonus pouches!!!! Amazing, as always!

  7. I love reading about your process in creating this (and every) quilt! You found a creative way to share important information in fabric form, and it's beautiful, too. I agree with Paul - play to your strengths!

  8. You met your challenge perfectly. Thanks for sharing the process; this is so encouraging!

  9. Wow Preeti, I love it! What a great cause and what a GREAT quilt! I love yours!!!

  10. Your quilt is beautiful! The lynx is a beautiful animal, it's so nice to hear a success story. Happy stitching!

  11. Awesome! It looks like it should be in the directors office:)

  12. Wonderful! I like the way you showed the Lynxes from light to dark to indicate them bouncing back. Have a great day!

  13. I just love your process, creativity and skill. Love, love this end resulting quilt. The lynx cause is lucky to have you as their advocate.

  14. Ever the thoughtful quiltmaker, Preeti. Thanks for sharing your process and for digging deep to find the inspiration for this quilt! I'm curious. Where will the quilt live, now that you've made it?

  15. Thank you for sharing your process - good on Paul for starting you off. The quilt is beautiful and so meaningful. Nicely done. The "excess" pouches are cute.

  16. Thoroughly enjoyed this post, and seeing your creative process. Gorgeous project!!

  17. What a great tale you tell...of the Iberian Lynx coming back from extinction. The process is always interesting to me. I love what you came up with and the extra little pouches are adorable, and so smart to do right at the end - those scraps get tamed.

  18. I am always amazed at how these open-ended challenges evolve into such wonderful art. No quilt can just go together without research and thought and yours are always a lesson to me. Can't rush the creativity. Thank you for sharing this endeavor.

  19. Fantastic! Everyone else has already expressed my thoughts...you rocked this challenge! :)

  20. What an inspiring post on so many levels. I love your piece and its backstory! Also, your use of color is the perfect allegory to the increasing lynx population. Brilliant! And what a beautiful creature the lynx is. You did her proud!

  21. Fantastic job meeting that challenge - this is a wonderful piece! The value changes are brilliant - well done!

  22. What a wonderful result, Preeti. You design came out beautifully and gives us all a goal for 2040. So clever to shade your lynx from light to dark. The ear tufts came out well. I noticed how you outlined the light yellow letters with dark thread. They show up much better this way. Congratulations.

  23. I sincerely love how much thought and heart you put into these things, Preeti. You make an excellent ambassador, for threads and lynxes!

  24. I love reading the stories of your inspiration and the creative process for your quilts, and this one is no exception. The way you shaded the lynx outlines from lighter to darker was genius!

  25. Love how you turned the challenge into an "infographic quilt". And it looks awesome! Nowing how you struggeled with this task, I am really happy to see this great outcome. You are very persistent and creative. xo

  26. Love how your inspiration was the positive comeback story. Your art is as optimistic as it is creative! ~Diana K.

  27. You are inspirational Preeti, your quilt is stunning, love how you worked out how to meet the challenge.

  28. This is just phenomenal. I loved reading about your process; I was just following along with each step, not scrolling ahead to see your final project -- and when I got to the picture where you showed the four silhouettes set against the backing, tears came to my eyes. Your quilt is a beautiful and effective message!

  29. Fantastic quilt, fantastic story, fantastic message. Thank you

  30. I love how the lynx graduated from fading away to fully present, like the Cheshire Cat from Alice In Wonderland!

  31. What a work of art and inspiration. All the information about the breed bouncing back on a quilt. Great work.

  32. Hi you, wow, what an achievement both for that beautiful animal and for you working away in your studio. This is such a beautiful finish and I so enjoyed reading your progress. Thanks for sharing it all with us.

  33. What a magnificent success story, and I don't think it will take another 20 years to get to 3000! I love the way your husband helped point you down the road. My husband did that for me, and I miss his input every day. You made good choices and I love what you did.

  34. Fabulous as always! Thanks for sharing your processes! Your perseverance shows! Wonderful use of color, and execution!

  35. Thanks for sharing your design and thought process - that is really cool to me to see how a quilt comes together! and it is awesome!

  36. Truly amazing. You gave so much information about them in such a beautiful way. You did more than HOPE for recovery, you made a positive statement and GAVE hope for their future. Lovely. Thanks you.

  37. What a fabulous job you've done for the Lynx. I especially like reading about your process, your tries that aren't just right and the final product that you should be so proud of. Great Job.

  38. great use of color and the thread! thanks for sharing your process!

  39. Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!
    Thank you for sharing your journey and the information on the Iberian Lynx.

  40. This is just amazing, Preeti. Nicely done!

  41. Just delightful. I love your colors, your presentation and the amazing information you included in your quilt!

  42. I love love love how the threads became an idea, then a quilt! I love the nice contrast and your lovely colors. And of courses, the little pouches are cute ;))
    Thank you for sharing your work in progress, and linking up with Patchwork & Quilts!

  43. Awesome quilt! It says so much. Very well done. Bravo! ;^)

  44. Wow! The threads the idea and the quilt. . .AMAZING!! Those little pouches are cute too! Thanks for sharing your process.

  45. Impressive! Both the efforts and success of increasing the Lynx's population--and your inspiration and execution of your quilt. Love it!

  46. Lovely quilt! Really tells the story. Thanks for sharing on Wednesday Wait Loss.

  47. Fantastic. Love hearing about your design process; it doesn't just happen and it evolves. The resulting quilt is glorious and gets a feel-good message across. Thank you.

  48. You did a wonderful job with this challenge and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your process. Thanks for sharing!!

  49. I love this! You did a fantastic job and I loved reading the details of you inspirational process.

  50. Congratulations! Bravo! Excellent! Fantastic! Wow! Amazing! Beautiful! Gorgeous! Magnificent! Spectacular! And lastly, Engaging!!! I really am impressed by your astounding narrative and capturing the spirit! Sometimes the simple is what we need to convey the beautiful message that needs to be sent. You did that and more. Cats are a very big part of my family's life. We rescue domestic cats, as most people like dogs more and don't treat cats with the respect and love that they deserve. When it's a species that is endangered whether it's the Iberian lynx, Siberian tiger, snow leopard or... etc... you did justice to highlight what is a beautiful animal, whose plight needs to be defined and highlighted. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!