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  • Irina

A new quilt - Colors of the sea

As you have noticed the sea theme has been in my work quite a lot this year.

When I got the strips of beautiful batiks and teal colored fabrics from my dear IG friends Bre @btaylorquilt and Jean @ jkonopaczv, whose work I admire, it was clear that I would like to make a quilt. I simply love the sea and anything sea-related even if I grew up in a big city and saw a sea first time when I was 18.

I also found in my stash some blue and purple hand dyed fabric I bought few years ago. It was a perfect match to the batiks.

The next question was What pattern to choose? The book Modern Quilt Magic by Victoria Findlay Wolfe @ victoriafindlaywolfe is full of ideas and tips how to do tricky piecing.

I originally bought Curve braid strip ruler and wanted to make the Cascade quilt from the book. But based on the size of the strips I decided on Herringbone pattern.


When I first posted the layout on IG I got few comments on how I was going to piece that?

Actually this is not that difficult and the book perfectly explains how to do that - you piece the rows with partial seams first and then join them together. It just takes time. And from my experience, the most time consuming part was the to arrange the strips to get the color gradations right. For this particular pattern the design wall would be a great help. Unfortunately, I had to take mine off since our cat loved jumping on it. So I had the design floor...

Once I decided on the layout of colored strips, I could see that I didn´t have enough fabric for the size I wanted. The next question was the color of the borders. Since it was a truly scrappy quilt I didn´t want to buy fabric and auditioned what I had in my stash. The options were - teal, purple, white or greenish fabric .

I settled on the white and greenish as they reminded me of white caps on the waves and made colors in the center of the quilt pop.

When all the pieces were sewn together, I really liked the colors - just like in the Southern seas, rich in color and with variety of shades, but it felt something was missing... You can easily guess what, fish! From the leftover pieces of batiks I simply draw and cut the fish.

I wanted them to be puffy (like in trapunto), so I added a layer of Hobbs batting underneath the fish shape before appliqueing (cut it 1/4 inch smaller than the fish shape). It was not that easy to applique but totally worth it as the fish it quite puffy to touch and definitely stands out even more after quilting. I was considering adding some embroidery details to the fish but didn´t want the quilt to be too busy, so I just added some French knots for the eyes of the fish.

For the backing I used only my stash fabric - purple, blue, teal and greenish. To blend them together I pieced some leftover strips from front in the rows and cut free form curves to make the backing resemble the waves. To be honest, when I pieced the back together I didn´t like it. But I learnt not to judge it until it finished. It grew on me and now I think all those colored waves fit perfectly in the theme.

In all my quilts there is always lots of negative space as quilting is my favorite stage of quilt making. And I am so partial to pebbles! So the decision for quilting came rather easy - outline the fish, then quilt pebbles and some sea grass. Sea grass almost blended into the background, so hand quilting with Perle cotton came to the rescue and added nice texture and definition.

The borders remind me of the waves, so it seemed logical to use swirls for the border design. And I use every opportunity to practice ruler work.

I must admit these simple parallel lines are the most challenging I have ever quilted. Just a tip - when you quilt that type of lines, make sure you are trying to align them perpendicular to the edge rather than parallel (if there are small deviations from being parallel, they won´t be too noticeable once the quilt is washed).

The quilt (finished size 58,5 x 58,5 inches, 148 x 148 cm) was quilted on my domestic Pfaff Quilt expression 720 with dynamic spring foot 6D and ruler foot, Glide thread, top stitch needle 90/14, 2 layers of batting - Cotton dream batting request loft and Kathadin Light quilt batting.

Here it is in all its glory in autumn sunshine!

I really enjoyed making this quilt and l hope you like the result!

Happy Quilting!

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