Quilt: sea creatures

This is a commission.  I began by cutting a lot of squares, of course.  And then there was the matter of assembling the backing, because it’s wider than the typical 45″ of a quilting-cotton bolt.  Then I needed to cut the batting to size.  Finally, I could get to work on the quilt top, by sewing together squares first in rows and then in columns.

It’s amazing to me that just because I cut my squares to exactly 5 1/2″, doesn’t mean that the final quilt will wind up being measurable in about units of 5″ (losing a 1/4″ on each side — top and bottom, and left and right — for a half-inch overall in each direction).  By some crazy mathematics and by the surface tension of the fabric as you pin and shape each piece to the next in its row and column, somehow the lines just don’t match up. And a few squares get in there, too, which wind up being 5 1/4″ square instead of 5 1/2″… or they’re a 1/4″ short in one direction. A host of things go wrong, in any case, and the quilt is mostly-square when you’re done, but not quite.

It’s still lovely.

My next step was to add borders.  They don’t show in these pictures, but you can see that I went from randomizing the white and blue whale fabric to making a border out of that stuff… and then I tacked on an additional border of flannel fabric with the shapes of ships and anchors and waves on it.

The Octopodes rule, of course.  I don’t exactly welcome our cephalopodic overlords, but I understand that they’re all over the oceans these days.  It’s really their home in more ways than one. And so they’re the ‘gray background’ middle part of the quilt, occupying the murkier sections in between the warmer and lighter teals and deep blues of the shallower and sunnier parts of the deeps represented here.

Finding all the fabric has proved a challenge.  There are lots of prints of fresh-water fish, and lots of prints of salt water fish… and a lot of those fabrics just don’t match across the lot of them.  Having decided on teals and blues and grays as I went fabric-shopping, I was stuck with those choices early on… and now I’m working on fulfilling these needs pretty particularly.

But I think that the eventual owner will be quite pleased.  At this point, the borders are assembled, and the front and the back have been pinned together through the batting. All that remains is the quilting and the edge binding. I think I’ll be done in time for a Christmas unwrapping…

I think.

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