Thursday, September 15, 2016

There's Something Fishy Going On...

No, it's just an old Building Block Series, Out & About from Pine Needle Designs by McKenna RyanI'll have to admit though; with my Ottlite providing plenty of light on a dark, rainy day earlier this year, it does look like an interrogation was conducted or watched through a key hole.  I assure you, no fish were hurt in the writing of this post and no secrets of the oceanic deep were revealed!

Anyone who has worked on a Pine Needle design knows it requires attention to detail and patience in the raw-edge appliqué process. I've chosen 'fishy' batiks from my stash, traced the designs, fused my fabrics, cut the appliqué pieces out, and am arranging them here using an appliqué pressing sheet on top of a placement guide for each block. Once arranged, the pieces will be semi-fused into place, then transferred to my background fabric and permanently fused. After that, I'll freestyle quilt the three separate blocks, loaded all together onto my leaders at the same time. Fast-forwarding to completion, the next picture shows how I mounted each block onto canvas to be displayed as wall art.

The first block, called Heads or Tales?, is my favorite because I think the colors are most accurate. To me, it seems my fish evolve in weird color combinations as they swim! Even the rocks are psychedelic. Thanks to Prince, there's Purple Rain. But purple rocks? Well, anyone who's snorkeled knows light dances in the water, making everything look 'otherworld'. So, it works!

Rock Bottom is the second block in the series with lots of color going on. Who's afraid of color?! Not me by now.

The fish get a good dose of realism if you'll look 'into their eyes'. I bought some sticky eyes off the internet and affixed them onto each fish after I put the blocks onto canvas. 

The last block is called Bali Dancing. Years ago when this series first came out, McKenna Ryan had these patterns packaged as kits with her special lines of fishy fabric. The background was a solid piece but had many hues. But not for my project. I used my own batiks on hand, and then had to purchase three shades of blue to translate depth; a light one at the surface, a medium tone for halfway down, and a deep blue at the river bottom for an illusion of depth.  
All the quilting was hand-guided, from the curls in the water to the appliqué stitching around each piece.

What a joy this was to construct and quilt this spring and summer! I gifted it to my husband who is a catch-and-release fly fisherman. While I don't think he'll catch fish quite this color, I know just looking at the likeness of fish makes him itch to get out on the river. Nothing fishy about that!