Sunday, December 8, 2019

Fishy Tails: Island Batik 3D Challenge

Our December Island Batik Challenge is 3D.  Our instructions include options for optical illusions or added texture. Since I'm not a big fan of optical illusions, I opted for surface texture.  We are also given some links for inspiration.  December is the first time I've needed to jump-start my ideas.  One link was to this compilation of 41 fabric manipulation techniques.  When I saw #7, Cathedral Windows, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

You may be thinking, "how did she get from Cathedral Windows to fish?!?"  Well, I had made a few fish from this Missouri Star Quilt Co Tutorial for the epic Octopus's Garden quilt and I was dying to make a bigger version of the fish.  The tutorial uses 5" charm squares and I wanted to try out making my fish twice as big.  The method to make the fish tail is essentially a partial Cathedral Window.  Eureka!

You can see the 3D effect in the tail.
I loved the Black Pearl collection so much that I wasn't done working with it.  After confirming my large fish would work, I decided on a 4 x 4 layout.  I picked out 16 of the 20 prints from Black Pearl for my fish and used a 2-yard cut of Cherrios in Waterfall from the Sunny Side up collection. I absolutely love purples with blues so I was excited to see Black Pearl paired with a blue background.

a row of fishy tails
The fish block doubled quite well.  I did straight doubling of the measurements of each cut piece for the block.  I really like the bigger blocks.

Once I had all the fish made, I felt like they really needed eyes.  I pulled out my Accuquilt and used the small circle on the train die that is meant to be smoke--it's a great size for eyes and is a perfect circle.  I couldn't cut a perfect circle freehand if my life depended on it!  I think I've used that train die more for animal eyes than for trains!

I used Auriful 50 weight thread in color 4140; it blended perfectly with the Waterfall background.  I chose to do organic wavy lines to mimic water.  I didn't want to sew down the 3D curve in the fishes' tails, so I did the lines in kind of bursts, avoiding sections with fish tail.  I'm happy with this effect.

The materials used in this quilt were provided to me by Island Batik. I love that I have now made two ocean-themed quilts with the same fabric collection and they look completely different!  It's amazing what a different background fabric will do!

This marks my final project for my year as an Island Batik Ambassador.  It has been an absolutely amazing experience and the program has pushed me creatively so much.  I have enjoyed the challenges, the creativity, the community, and of course the beautiful fabrics!  We've been told that the 2020 Ambassadors will be announced this month.

This was #6 on my Q4 list of goals for the Finish Along.


  1. This is lovely, your fish are perfect for the challenge!

  2. There's just something fun about fish in quilts, and I love your 3D tails! Great idea, Emily!

  3. This is such an adorable quilt Emily. I love that link to the fabric manipulations because one of my five or so ideas (ha) was to make a fiddle quilt using some of these for an Alzheimer patient.

  4. I have a quilt where I have over 300 flying geese that I am using the cathedral window on. Thank goodness for Ricky Tims' method of making flying geese!! Your quilt is fabulous!!!

  5. Your fish quilt is amazing, way to go!

  6. I love this! You did such a great job with this fun quilt...sorry it is your last with Island Batik (as is mine this month). You will be missed! I will keep following and look forward to your posts and what you have up your quilt sleeve for the coming year.

  7. Sew cool! I love how you made the tails 3-D! And love the classic blue background!

  8. Super cute, I love the 3D tails!

  9. This is just fabulous! Love the fish tails and your choice of quilting.