Fishy Quilt Block Exchange

I’ve just finished participating in Mary Lou Weidman’s Hootchy Fish swap. All 36 participants used the same background fabric, shooting for bright Kool-aid colors in a 14” wide block. One of the style suggestions I liked was to use a strata technique – strips of various fabrics sewn together to create a new fabric.

Each person could design their fish or fishes to be any height. Each of 12 blocks could be the same or different. I started with graph paper, a sketch and a plan to make all of the fish the same way in order to optimize time. I used a variety of markers to colorize my sketch and that’s when my plan changed direction.

With limited time for swaps and projects in general, I love to use projects like this to take off in a direction that is new to me. So why not paint my own fabric instead of sewing the strata? And wouldn’t that be faster anyway?

I’m a firm believer in making samples when dealing with colors and techniques – which covers just about everything. I knew that straight paint would be thick and I wasn’t sure I had enough paint to cover the yardage I estimated. I wanted to thin it but not have it bleed and run all over so I mixed it with Pro-Thick SH. I sampled my colors and paint style ona fabric swatch. Perfect!

I started by flicking a mix of Pro-Thick SH with Setacolor paints – once with a water blue color and once with a cool magenta color – on prepared for dyeing (PFD) cotton fabric. Next I painted slim wavy thick and thin areas.

The following pictures show the progression as I painted the waves of each color.

After completing the painting, I heat set it with an iron, washed it, and decided it wasn’t bright enough. By now I had less paint and realized that my sample methods should have included testing and recording the ratio of Pro-Thick SH to paint. So… I sampled that.

I painted the same fabric again using a ratio of 1 part paint to 2.5 parts Pro-Thick SH mix. I also heat set it again and rewashed. Here you can see the difference between round 1 and round 2.

I also used 3 orange/reds to paint the lips/beaks fabric.

I am pretty happy with the fabric and my fish. I think even stronger color might match the commercial fabrics in the awesome fish blocks I received. And no, it wasn’t faster than sewing strata but it was very fun to experiment and construct the fish! The button eyes can be sewn on in the location of choice and the design of the block allows for them to face either direction.

From Fish to Quilt and Glass

Graduation was fun with a houseful of family and beautiful weather. The fish were a big hit, especially with the moms at the senior party! Some have migrated to my office and to other cubbies in the building!

Now I need to get my son’s graduation gift quilt finished for the Clearwater Quilters biannual quilt show next weekend. I also need to get my postcards finished up to participate in the ISGB (International Society of Glassbeadmakers) postcard project. I worked on the torch for a couple of hours today testing some new glass – until the oxygen tank ran out.
It’s fun to move from one project to the next with no downtime – really it is, I think.
Check out the final fish pictures below. I saved all the pieces – I have a plan to recycle them into ATC cards – later after the postcard and quilt!

Five fish close up.

Treasure chest at the bottom of the fish tank!

The whole “tank” – rocks, anenomes, seaweed, treasure and fish!

The 69 Fish Project

I survived and thrived at the Art Under the Elms and have been getting ready for our youngest’s graduation this weekend. I always offer to help with my senior’s party decorations. The party planners had an idea related to fish and I said I would make them. So here’s how they started.

I like to use paper grocery sacks as my paper base and I have a random assortment of house paint to work with…

Next step was to cut out my fish pattern leaving a hinge on the top fin. It’s really 72 fish but hey…

Time for the eyes and body art…

Next step was to feed the fish. The Party planners needed numbers on the fish for the random drawing of prizes. I could have made these one-sided critters and put the number on the back, but why go simple when you can make it fun. So we (as in my mom) attached the numbered tag to a plastic frog or centipede or who knows what, and stuffed each fish.

In this last picture, the stuffed fish are awaiting final closure.

Next step – create habitat. Stay Tuned…