Under the Sea

Finally finished with this one. It started out as a figment of my imagination, and I ran with it. I made this for my toddler grandson, so it’s a little too “involved” for that age, but I ran with it anyway.

When my daughter was pregnant, she had talked about making an ocean life quilt for her baby-to-be, but you know how pregnancy sucks up your life; that’s exactly what happened. I was already well into another quilt for the baby, so there was no way I could also whip one of these up, too. Time has passed and the ideas never left my head. The problem is how to make a sea life quilt for a toddler that does not look like it should belong to someone older. Well, I put smiles on the creatures faces… ALL of them.

I started out by trying to use up a bunch of charm squares I’d gotten in a fabric exchange (of charm squares) and then randomly placing them with darker colors towards the bottom and lighter closer to the top. That would be my background. The picture above doesn’t do the coloring justice. Now, how to fill it up? Initially I had too many fronds of seaweed. I was randomly making different appliques, trying to fill the scenery. You can always take some away, but I didn’t want to have to make more later. So, I took some of the seaweed away, and I wish I had taken more.

I always learn something with each quilt I make. With this one, I wish I had made it a little more square. I was trying to place all those creatures at the bottom of the sea where they “belonged” and ran out of room. That is the reason for the random starfish elsewhere. I also wish I had made the fish different sizes. The clown fish really are too big, but they are colorful, and I needed that. I don’t know what possessed me to make all the fish around the same size. Lesson learned… thank goodness it’s for a toddler.

In placing the applique pieces, there were things I didn’t really have room for, or had forgotten to include, or didn’t know how to incorporate it into an applique onto a toddler’s quilt. I was going to put a sea anemone on there, using yarn pieces to float upwards. But, he could pull that off the quilt. Besides, the clown fish were already too big for what I was imagining. So, I added those items in with the quilting. In my haste, I also did not have enough fish swimming in between the fronds of seaweed. So, I added that touch here in the quilting. The trick is to NOT add too much quilting to this. I want it to be soft; the more thread I add the stiffer it will be.

One of my quandaries was how to applique the clown fish. There are orange bodies with black and white pieces. The black would look a little weird if I appliqued it, because I wanted it to look vein-y to show the texture of the fins. I ended up using a fabric marker and drawing the black on.

I wanted the turtles to have shells, but couldn’t find fabric that would work. So, I ended up using a muddy batik and drawing the shell on that. Quilting adds the dimension to it.

Closer view of the top half of the quilt…

Closer view of the bottom half of the quilt…

One of the hazards of quilting is all those loose, runaway threads. When you think you’ve got them all off your quilt, just take a picture, and you will find more! Did you find any?