Thursday, September 9, 2021

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

In July it seemed that I would finally be able to travel across the border to see my family in Canada and my good friend (and cousin) welcomed her first grandbaby to the family! Well, that made me think a quilt was in order. But could I get it done on time?

It seemed to me the quickest way to get a quilt done was to finish one that was already started. Remember all these fishies?
I saw the Shoal Sewalong on Instagram and had to join in. I made a bunch of blocks and then put them away. I had my doubts because these fish blocks didn't exactly scream "baby quilt" but decided to go with it.
All along I had hoped to do a sort of colour shift or ombre arrangement in the background. I didn't have the variety of blocks I would have liked, but I worked with what I had. I stitched fish together with spacer pieces; stitched rows to rows; and added some spacer rows when the angle of the fish from one corner didn't match the angle from the opposite corner. Everything was joined with improv curves.
When it became apparent that the center portion was not going to be big enough, I looked around for a border fabric and found this perfect blue/green. It's a good sort of "sea" colour and I thought it softened up all the greys and bright colours of the fish. It was already in long strips because it was trimmings from the back of another quilt. (And I had a piece of the coordinating fabric from the back of the same quilt that was exactly big enough to be the back of this quilt. Love it when it works out.)

I didn't get the fish all lined up properly to be able to cut straight lines around the center section, so I did improv curves to add the borders as well. You can see how that led to a friendly quilt--that is, wavy borders. I was going to just "quilt it out" and live with what I got, but I decided to sew small tucks (or really narrow darts) to take out some of the extra. I think I did two on the sides and one on the top. It didn't take much, but it worked pretty well.

I started to think maybe I could get this done!

I got the quilt layers basted together and then it was time for quilting. I pulled out every blue and grey I thought might work.
I ended up picking one for the top and a slightly different blue for the bobbin that matched the backing fabric. I tried to do some lines in a metallic blue for some extra shimmer, but the thread would not cooperate and I gave up on that pretty quickly.

I first did some anchor quilting by free motion stitching around each fish.
Then I marked some waves with my hera marker, put on my walking foot and stitched across the quilt.
I spaced the lines fairly wide apart across the whole quilt and then kept adding more in between until I felt like there was enough.
Then I had the tricky business of trying to trim it square with no straight lines to go off of! But I got it done.
And all that was left was a label and the binding.
I had a sweet blue check that matched the border and backing fabrices.
I stitched it on by machine. Not something I do often, but I talked myself into it because even though I don't enjoy it as much, it is faster. (And some would say more durable for a quilt that is likely to get washed more often.) And I am getting better at it. My efforts on early quilts were not pretty but I'm learning.
So it was done on time! My only remaining worry was that it still wasn't a design that screamed "baby quilt" and it certainly wasn't what a lot of people would pick for their little girl. I hoped they would like it. My fears were put to rest when, before even looking at it, my friend said that the parents hadn't gone for anything overly "gendered". Phew!

I was lucky to get these pictures after they received the quilt.
I think she likes it. :)

May I suggest?

I Say! or at least I did once...