This quilt was made in response to a quilters challenge I received at the Valley of The Sun Retreat in Feb of 2018.
I will go over how this was created but first a few close ups.
I had lots of fun designing and creating this quilt and am very pleased with the way it all finally came together. So lets go back to the challenge...
Yep this is my piece of the challenge fabric. It is a fat quarter (18 x20) piece of the most hideous 70's fabric I have ever laid my eyes on. My friend Misha found serious yardage of this when three of us were organizing her sewing space. The moment this was pulled out I gasped and suggested firmly that it be tossed into the dumpster ASAP as it was not something that anyone would want to use for anything. Nope I was promptly over ruled by Misha and Mishi. They had other plans. They decided it would be fun to bring to the retreat and make this a challenge. Ok..............I was given the challenge and decided I would rise to the occasion and figure out what to do with it, but I was not happy.
Here is a very similar quilt. I made this for a guild challenge some years back. the challenge fabric was the plaid fabric in the fish. I did a ton of research on rainbow trout and had a bit of shiny fabrics in my stash from crazy quilting so I made this quilt and it won first place in the challenge. I decided to use this design for this new challenge as well. I traced the fish design off the above quilt and auditioned fabrics for some time before I came up with the right combination for the new challenge fabric.
You can see the drawing of the fish in the top of this photo. There are lots of registration lines which will help me place the pieces back just right after the pattern is cut apart. Trying to find thee right fabrics was quite the challenge as this fabric was much more muted than my original challenge fabric but I finally found the perfect fabric for the top of the fish bodies and then pulled the other fabrics to go with that.
The next step was making and cutting the templates of the design and cutting out the fabrics. I used freezer paper and pressed it to the fabrics, marked a sewing line on all of them and cut it all out at a 1/4 inch seam allowance. There were lots of registration marks on the freezer paper to help with the placement of the parts when sewing back together.
I actually sewed the fish together using the sewing machine. The finished fish were then needle turn appliqued to the background by hand.
Now to figure out a background. I auditioned quite a few fabrics like the ones above which I decided was too dark and the fish did not stand out well enough. I was trying to do something other and making lots of little diamonds in satin type fabrics as they fray easily, are slippery and a pain to sew. In the end I went to the fabric store and got the shiny fabrics in lots of greens, blues and some dark greys to look like rocks at the bottom of the stream. The people at the fabric store gave me some odd looks when I asked for just 1/8 yard of each fabric. I told them I was making an art quilt and then they were fascinated.
Here are all the shiny fabric laid out in the final color placement ready to sew together.
Here is the partially pieced background (it is just sewn into rows) with the fish laid out on tome to preview how it was gonna look. The only thing left here was to do the final assembly of the rows, add eyes to the fish, applique the fish and figure out a binding. I opted for a solid blue Kona cotton in a blue. The quilt won a couple of ribbons in the challenge and everyone seemed to really like it.