Friday, January 15, 2016

The Woolly Fish Quilt is finished!!

 Woolly Fish, the idea of it, is so crazy.  I used the drawings from my Tropical Fish pattern which I first published in 1990 as a cotton quilt.  I've been focusing on wool since 2007 when I found the felting tool.  I have been tweaking my technique ever since.  Behind each critter is a wool applique on top of a hand dyed wool background.  Then I used the felting tool with three barbed needles, to poke wool hand dyed fibers, covering up the applique so you can't see any of it.  The applique serves as a easy way to copy the shape of a design without tracing.  More and more fish appliques were arranged and poked and then the environment was incorporated into the design...a sea fan, sea weeds,  kelp, sea cucumbers that look like tubes, and corals...

The backgrounds are composed of 10" hand dyed strips, going sideways.  Some were not the right size for the width of the quilt as it was developing, so I added scraps by felting the backgrounds together and embroidering over the joints, or adding more felting representing sea weeds. Nothing was pre-planned.  The quilt had a mind of its own, and it told me what to do next.  Most of the fish have 3-D side fins. They were made by felting directly of the foam block without a background.  Just keep turning the piece of roving over and over while your poke with the felting tool. When it won't pull apart, then you can use scissors to cut it to shape.

I had the good fortune to visit the NE Aquarium just before Thanksgiving.  I took lots of photographs of the vegetation so my quilt would have more visual interest and that gave me more opportunities to embellish.  Here are some of the photos I took:

That cauliflower looking coral could have been done with beads, French knots or ruching the fabric. I didn't use this idea, but I may sometime in the future.

A cute puffer fish.

 Brain coral!

 Lots of textures and colors.

Tubes and flat corals.

A wonderful starfish sucking on the aquarium glass.

Spiral shaped coral.

Not all my blocks which I had photographed in an earlier blog entry, made it into this quilt.  My thinking was that this block's colors didn't work with the other blocks.

Here is what one block looked like then in the last few weeks I've been adding a border, and  embellishing with beads and embroidery.
This block was not working with the colors of the final quilt, but I am working on it to show that the Woolly Fish could work as a smaller wall hanging. I wanted the tubes to stand up and the feather stitching on the tubes made them stay where I wanted them.