Moira de Carvalho
Moira de Carvalho is a relative newcomer to quiltmaking, having not grown up around patchwork and quilting. She is making up for lost time, though, and in a few short years she has designed quite a number of quilts and had them published and displayed both locally and internationally.
Born and raised in South Africa, Moira studied dressmaking and design upon completing school. “After I completed my dressmaking course, I went into the family business, which was printing. There I did desktop publishing and all the processes involved in pre-press. I actually never did any dressmaking other than for myself,” Moira reflects.
Moira and her husband moved to Australia in 1992 with their teenage son and daughter. Many of her hours away from work are now spent making quilts. “I made my first quilt when my second granddaughter was born four years ago,” Moira explains. “I made a few other items for her and my daughter encouraged me to do more. I then fell in love with modern fabrics and realised that with my graphic design background and all the beautiful fabrics I could design quilts myself. So, I have never actually made a quilt from a pattern.”
Moira enjoys being able to complete a quilt entirely herself. “I like to quilt my own quilts, but I have not yet had the time to learn free-motion quilting, so I just straight stitch. If the quilt needs free-motion quilting, I send it away for professional quilting, but perhaps one day I’ll do it myself,” she muses.
Making items for Quilt Market and also for publication in magazines means that Moira doesn’t get the opportunity to share what she is working on with others online, which is a very popular way for quilters to interact and get feedback and advice on their work these days. She calls this her ‘secret sewing’. “Doing a lot of ‘secret sewing’ means I really only get to share and talk quilting with [my husband], and he is very supportive. He even loves going to quilt shows about as much as I do,” Moira smiles.
With her graphic-design skills, Moira designs her quilts on the computer first before applying fabric to them. And what is the source of inspiration for her quilt designs? “For me it is the fabric,” Moira explains. “I let the fabrics dictate the design of the quilt. Sometimes I might design something, then the fabrics don’t work, so I wait until I find the right fabric match to a design.”
Moira’s fabrics of choice are the abundance of fresh modern prints now on the market. “I love to create traditional-feel quilts using modern fresh fabrics,” Moira explains. “Dark colours and lots of big florals are not my thing. I like to mix smaller scale florals with geometric and tone-on-tone prints. Art Gallery fabrics are among my most favourite to work with. I particularly love fabric designed by Lotta Jansdotter, Brigitte Heitland of Zen Chi, Katarina Roccella and April Rhodes.”