One of my personal goals for 2016 was to become a better quilter. I’ve been working hard at my piecing skills as part of the Farmer’s Wife QAL, but I was really looking for challenges – and growth – in other areas besides just piecing. I felt lucky – or rather, might lucky (!), to stumble across the Mighty Lucky Quilting Club! For $5 per month, you receive a lesson on a brand new quilting technique. Perfect.
January’s challenge, presented by Krista Fleckenstein, was sewing with bias tape – something I had never done. It was a great excuse to pick up this adorable bias tape making set (works. so. well.) and WonderTape – another product that was new for me. After reading the directions on the back of the box, it looked simple enough, so I gave it a try…
…and ended in an epic fail. Well, not totally epic as I only burned three of five fingers on my left hand. Turns out leaving the steam setting ON while having your hand millimeters away from the front of the iron is a bad idea. Who would have thought…
After a bit more trial and error – and burn cream – I had some really cute bias tape made. I wanted to try a different pattern other than what was listed on the worksheet, so I sketched out an underwater scene complete with wavy seaweed, a pop of bright orange fish, bubble applique, and some colorful crustaceans on the ocean floor. One bonus is it gave me a chance to practice these techniques, too – including sewing curving fabric for the ocean floor itself.
To create this block, the first step was to make the background; I used a marbled blue fabric for the background, and added some gray specked fabric for the ocean floor as it reminded me of sand. I then created seaweed with various widths of bias tape, using the WonderTape to hold it in place.
The next step was the fish; he was a challenge. The tight bends in the tail, coupled with the fact that I was now sewing on the bias of the base fabric, left me with a wrinkled and jumbled mess. I had to rip the stitches out and redo it; this time, after laying the fish out, I put a piece of stabilizer on the back of the fabric, pinned from the front, and stitched. Voila! Flat as a pancake. Mostly.
Once the fish was in place, I added a few bubbles and yo-yos to serve as crustaceans. I’m really happy with the way it turned out! I’m going to hold onto the block and see what the project for February is, as I’m not sure if I should turn this into a full sampler quilt or just make something really fun with this block like a cool toss pillow.
What quilting challenges – besides sewing with bias tape – are you undertaking this year?
Just for fun…this post links up at these great Catholic and quilting sites!
Anja @ Anja Quilts says
I love your fish! What a great idea. I haven’t started mine yet — don’t know what to do.
Thanks, Anja! I wanted to be more concrete with a design than just abstract lines, and am happy with the result. Looking forward to seeing yours once it’s done.
Great job! Always good to learn something new… both stitching… and keeping your fingers safe! Love your little fish – so cute!
Debra, thank you! My fingers are slowly recovering 🙂
My friends are trying the Mighty lucky quilt along too. Love seeing what everyone is doing.
This looks so fun and I understand your experience making bias tape. I remember my mom teaching me when I was little and I have her old makers somewhere? I should find them and try it myself.
Note: your text for your blog is very hard to read and the test I am using now is so faint I can hardly see what I am writing to you. Just thought you should know.
Hi Kris – definitely give it a try with your mom’s old bias tape makers. I’d love to see how they turn out!
so cute! I recently worked with bias tape for the first time and it IS challenging. Way to go! And thank you for linking up to Building Blocks Tuesday!
Thanks, Jen! It’s a fun challenge, isn’t it?
Carrie Wikander says
Very cute – love the bubbles!
Thanks, Carrie! They added a much-needed bright color to the top.
Oh, the hazards of quilting! I love the fabric you used for the seaweed. Pretty please join my linky party at http://quiltingmod.blogspot.com/2016/02/lessons-learned-linky-2.html and share all you’ve been learning.
Thanks, Afton! Isn’t that seaweed fabric perfect? I had it in my stash FOREVER, and have never used it before. It was just the right one for this project!
It’s very cute. I also haven’t done this challenge yet. It’s making that bias tape that’s slowing me down. Good for you for taking on this challenge.
Lisa, I’ll admit I really struggled with the thin bias tape (1/4″). It was harder than I was expecting to get it to fold evenly.
Leanne Parsons says
This is really cute! It has so much character, and would make an adorable cushion or mini quilt, if you decide not to make a sampler out of your blocks from all the lessons. Thanks for linking to TGIFF!
Hi Leanne, thanks! You’re spot on, too – I think I’m going to make a cushion out of it. I already have two sampler quilts going, and don’t know that I want to have a third one. Thanks for stopping by!
I also signed-up for the Mighty Lucky club and loved learning about bias tape. I love your block – so creative and so fun! Great job!
Izzy, your black and white block looks great!
Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl says
I am visiting from Afton’s Lessons Learned Linky party 🙂 Using a bit of stabilizer to help position the fish (or any tricky bias tape shape) is a great tip!
Thanks, Yvonne – it was completely a trial and error kind of tip 🙂
Denise/DIY Crush says
Oh I love this adorable project! The fish made from bias tape is awesom!! I’d love to invite you to my blog where you can submit your tutorials for a dedicated post! I pin to many pinterest boards and share on social media!