Thursday, September 29, 2016

From the Tennessee River to the Pacific Ocean

Ocean Portal is finished. This was my first curved piecing, a simple drunkard's path block set into dark and light circles. It sewed together quickly, since the blocks are quite large.

The big chunks of fabric make a nice way to showcase these super fun fish fabrics. Almost all of the fishes came from the batch of fabrics that Sue sent me; thanks again, Sue! I added several more that had either wavy lines or polka dots to look like ripply water and bubbles.

I love all the happy, smiling fishes in these fabrics. I like to think they will keep a kid busy and entertained. But my favorite is Mildy Anxious Octopus. Who among us adults hasn't felt like this little yellow guy?

I chose the circle layout for the blocks to look like big bubbles. It also reminded me of looking through the glass of an aquarium and led to the "portal" part of the name. By the way, the aquarium here in Chattanooga is very, very good. That's their super fast whizzy river gorge tour boat in the background. The aquarium is in two large, modern buildings. One houses salt water species and includes a penguin exhibit. The other contains the best display of fresh water fish I've ever seen. I've owned fresh water home aquariums for over 30 years, and it was so fun to see all the species from my tanks in the large, clean, beautiful displays in Chattanooga. Oh, and they have a river otter tank that is So. Much. Fun. Squirmy, wriggly, constantly in motion otters!

On the back of Ocean Portal, I used several left over blocks and the last bits of the fabric my friend Stephanie used for our "boat warming" gift quilt. You can see the quilting pattern pretty clearly in this photo. This is the "water and ice" motif from Lori Kennedy's blog. I really like the texture it gives. This was a good choice for quilting with my bad shoulder, too. The motif is long diagonal lines, which made it easy to stitch a single line across the quilt, then take a break. There's no need to keep track of where you're going and no way to end up with odd unquilted segments like sometimes happens with a stipple. Just start the next line a bit to one side of the last one and stitch across again.  Simple and meditative.

The binding is a swirly blue print that I attached completely by machine. That's my preferred method with Project Linus quilts. It's fast and durable. The binding is sewn onto the back first, so it ends up being the narrow finished side. 

The front is then edge stitched down. It needs to be a bit wider so that final row of stitching doesn't hit the binding on the back. I know not everyone loves this look, but the speed and simplicity of it work for me. And the new-to-me Juki rocks for binding work!

Project Linus provides these nice labels for us to use. They are heat sealed on the edges so they won't fray. 

Now to explain the "Pacific Ocean" part of the title of this post. Ocean Portal is going to be displayed in an art showcase in California! It's my first show and I'm very excited and honored to have been invited. Our financial investment company, Retirement Capital Strategies (RCS) is putting on a show of works by their clients in mid-October. They asked me to submit two pieces.  RCS donates to a number of local charities and they asked specifically for a Project Linus quilt to highlight the mission of this national organization with local chapters.

The other quilt I'm submitting for the show is this silk piece I finished back in April. It's the most "arty" quilt I've ever made, but I never gave it a name. It reminds me of exotic spices, so I'm going to call it "Berbere." Berbere is a spice mix used in many Ethiopian dishes. Sean and I first tasted Ethiopian food not far from the RCS office. 

In order to lay as flat as possible in the show display, I haven't washed Ocean Portal. (Berbere is a wall quilt and probably won't ever be machine washed.) I'll ask my friend Donna, who takes my quilt to the Project Linus chapter meetings, if she'll wash and dry it in her machines so it will be clean and soft for the child who needs it. I'll miss seeing and touching it in that post-dryer crinkly state.

While I don't consider myself an artist at all, more of a craftsperson with panache, I'm truly honored to participate in this event! 


  1. Your drunkards path quilt is sooo cool! Love all the sea fabrics and the great quilting choice!

  2. What a brilliant name for your quilt! It most definitely will make some little one very happy indeed.

  3. Congrats on your first show! I love that quilt and glad to see all of the fishes I sent to you going to such a great cause! I love the fishbowl look to the quilt. Your silk quilt is lovely also. Will there be prizes awarded?

  4. Be still my beating heart! I just love, love, love this quilt! What fun to have not one, but two works of art in the show! Congratulations!

  5. I like the idea of larger circles. I've been working on a drunkard's path for a while and it's taking me for ever cuz the circles are small, and I"m not really enjoying the process. My next one will be larger! What ruler did you use? How fun to live on a boat.

  6. Lovely! The quilting looks just right for peering into the ocean. Congrats on your first show!

  7. Both of these quilts are awesome. Love the colors in "Berbere". Congrats on your first show. That's such an honor.

  8. Congratulations on your first show, and what a wonderful gift for a child in need! The silk one is gorgeous, too.

  9. Great name for your quilt. Love the design with the fish fabrics. I haven't tackled curves yet, but this is an idea when I'm ready to do so. What a nice quilt for a young child.

  10. Hello Louise,

    Your baby quilt is such fun - I love the way you have combined fishy fabric with a wave pattern in the quilting, and all made on a boat!

    Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks - your quilt is this week's featured project!

    Love, Muv

  11. what a lovely quilt. love that you live on a boat.

  12. WOW! I love this use of the d. pattern. I agree the big circles mimic bubbles!!! Oh what fun!


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