Sunday, March 20, 2011

Under the Sea

Spring is finally here-- and so is the sun! Yay! So I was able to go outside and take a couple of pictures of my latest finish, Under the Sea.

A few reasons why this quilt was so fun to make:
  • Super quick and easy,

  • Tried out a new applique technique,

  • Super soft minkee on the back, and

  • It is my own design!
My initial inspiration came from a charm pack of MoMo's Odyssea. I wanted to figure out a way to use the charm pack and make baby quilt for my neighbor's new baby (well, new-ish... he's nearly 7 months old now). The initial design came to me pretty quickly, but then the applique concepts had to spend awhile percolating.

Under the Sea, the little crab
I think the main hang-up was that I kept looking to other sources for inspiration, when really, what I needed was to just do my own thing. In the end, I found myself drawing my own little applique sea creatures. Once I managed that, the design just fell into place. I think it turned out pretty cute!

It was fun trying out Natalia's starch method for applique, and I definitely learned a couple of things. One is that I really like this technique-- it makes stitching a breeze, no fusibile products are used, and the resulting applique is truly nice and soft and pliable. The starch also came out just fine after washing, leaving the blocks nice and soft. But it was kind of a pain to quilt through-- I had to use a bigger needle than I wanted because the 70/10 sharp kept skipping stitches. The 80/12 quilting needle worked okay, but the holes it left in the super-stiff starch areas were big enough that I had some bearding from the minkee on the back. After washing, the bearding wasn't evident at all and the holes all shrunk-up, but next time I'll try and rinse some of the starch out before quilting and see how that works.

octopus stitching, close-up
Also, should I use this technique again in the future, I'll definitely make sure to quilt over the applique. After I washed the quilt, there were a couple of spots where the edge of the applique shape frayed a little more than I would have liked (as pointed out in the picture above). Not dangerously so, I don't think, but I would definitely feel better if the shapes had the extra security of some quilting. I've also determined I'm not a huge fan of machine blanket stitch. In addition to just preferring the look of the buttonhole satin stitch, I think that stitch would also make me feel better about the security of the applique.

Under the Sea, the happy little starfish
I was really happy with the results of my quilting plan for this quilt. I love how soft the minkee is, and I like that the back is stabilized without being too heavily stitched. It worked out really well.

Under the Sea, label
And here's the label.

Hopefully, baby Kenji will enjoy his new quilt!

Edited to add:

Under the Sea, back view
Here is the back of the quilt, so you can see the stabilizing stitches. I quilted around the applique shapes and the path.


  1. Oh Robin! That turned out so cute!!

  2. Oh my! It is beautiful. Don't you love sewing your own patterns? Do you think you could show that back and how it looks with the stabilization?

  3. I like it, especially the geometric shape that you have done with the rectangles. Perhaps with the blanket stitch you could experiment with the length and width and you might find a happy compromise between that and satin stitch.

  4. I love it! It came together so well and thanks for the tips about the starch appliques

  5. That design is so wonderful! I love the interlocking squares and your sea creatures are whimsical and have a lot of personality. Your friend is going to just love this!

  6. So cute! I love the sea creatures you drew. That crab is too cute!

  7. Congrats on your own desgin and it is a very cute design indeed. Interesting applique technique too. I went to the blog to read more about it. You might like the way Pat Sloan does her machine applique which I will share a little on my blog in the future when I can get back to the piece from my class.

  8. It turned out great! Congrats on the design!

  9. That is wonderful! I love it.

  10. Such a cute pattern you have created and the backing fabric is fun!

  11. Beautiful! You are so very creative! It will be a very special gift indeed!!

  12. Wow Robin, this is awesome!