Journal Quilt May – A feast full of fish

As promised, here is a fishy tale ready for the end of the merry month of May.  As the first of my Journal Quilt pieces I thought I’d start off quite basic, and try to combine a few techniques I’ve used before with one or two I hadn’t.

I started off by thinking in design terms of what I was trying to do.  I had only just written a father’s day card (a whole month early) and so was thinking of my dad.  Those who know him, will know he is a fisherman.  Not your blow-the-wind-southerly-fishing-for-a-living type of man, but an avid angler who never seems as happy as when the rod’s in his hand.

So fish then.  A good theme. I did a little sketch of the sea floor with some seaweed and a few fish swimming by – it was very Finding Nemo.  It was also very bad (and I’m not showing you!). So I created a new sketch, trying to turn my somewhat naive seafloor into something more abstract. This is what I came up with.

Well it’s a starting point! From paper to fabric then!  I started by splitting the design into 4 segments, creating the background of each segment then embellishing individually before appliqueing all together.

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1. Sun-dappled water

I made this by doing some simple square patchwork using hand-dyed fabric, so it looked sort of watery.  I mixed up the colours to give the impression of sun shining through the water (aaah). White bubbles were then added using the most wonderful Bondaweb – which fuses the fabric onto the top layer.  These were satin stiched around the edges to make them look more bubbly.

2. Fish

These were actually really easy – as they are essentially flying geese (or should I say flying fish) made by using applique triangles bonded onto the background.

3. Deep water

This was a good excuse to practice some more free motion quilting in new designs, by leaving the background plain and then quilting the waves ontop. I had thought to add seweed but decided it looked a bit naff.

4. The bottom.

Ok, so I really cheated here and just used patterned rock fabric.  Well wouldn’t you if you had some perfect sea-floor rock fabric just lying around?

Each of these segments were sewn together using a blind-hem stitch of my machine.  Never actually used that setting before and am rather impressed I have to say.  Think it’s normally used for trouser hems (though I best not tell my HB that, or he’ll expect me to fix his). Once it was all one piece, I added backing and wadding and quilted it all together.  I got a bit over-excited when doing my waves, and thought to try out another new technique: stitched writing – that incredibly fun, even if I need a bit more practice!  The geordies in the audience might recognise the lyrics…

The finished piece:

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I’ll keep this for when the boat comes in 🙂

Happy stitching!

Angelique

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