Monday, October 3, 2016

Fishheads, fishsticks, and shark's fin soup

It's time for the big reveal of the final borders of the Gwennie Inspired Medallions, and I don't remember ever having more fun with a sewing project.  There was a lot of joy, mixed with intermittent angst, and really, isn't that Life in a Nutshell?
We started with 'baskets', then had 'childhood', then 'log cabins', then 'stars'.
September's theme was 'Something's Fishy', which was an interesting challenge.  My first idea looked better inside my head than it did outside.


I was thinking 'fishbones', but this missed the mark somehow.
Back to the drawing board.
Fishbones led me down the path to fishsticks, though, which carried me on to fishheads.
Fishheads...  hmmm...
(I took a whole bunch of pictures of my fishhead process, but unfortunately they're all on an SD card that is currently sticking out of the front of my computer back home.  Sigh.)
I made huge strips of fishheads, then made them even longer when I tried them up against the sides of the quilt and realized I was seriously underestimating how much length I was going to need.
Then I started sewing them on.
Without measuring anything.
This is so Not My Way.
And when I reached the end of the quilt side,


I chopped off the extra.


They said it would get easier.  They were right, though I did still gasp when I chopped this one.


Then the biggest surprise of all - when I got to the fourth corner, sewing on the fourth border, it came out perfectly with NO trimming necessary.


I was a little afraid I'd slipped into an alternate universe...

When I laid it out to look at it, I discovered that sometimes fishheads just aren't enough.


Luckily, I'd already worried about this and had a Plan B tucked away just in case.

Fishsticks!


I'd already started piecing bunches of rectangles, figuring if I'd use them for the smaller medallion if I didn't like them here.
I like them!
So did the official Resident Quilt Inspector.  (That's Samwise.  He's new to his duties as Resident Quilt Inspector, but I thought he did a fine and conscientious job.)


So, I sewed on yards and yards of fishsticks, until the quilt was too big to lay out anywhere in the house...


We clothespinned it to the curtains and I stood across the room.


There's a bit too much light behind it, and it's still too long to not drape on the carpet.


Here it is with a chair in front of it for reference.


Whew!  That was the larger of my two medallions, and it was a relief to finish it.  And a joy, because I love it to bits.

Speaking of bits, I had some left over.  These needed to go into the second medallion.


At first I was going to just do more fishsticks, because seriously?  That big quilt had taken its toll on me.  But if fishheads aren't enough, then obviously fishsticks aren't either.
So I added some shark's fins.


I'm pretty pleased with how this one turned out, too.


 Though I did have a moment's mad thought of doing this:


which would have meant a bias border all around the edges.  Luckily a trusted friend talked me down off that ledge.
It'll make a lovely binding, I think, so I'll settle for that.  (Though if I find a purple bias stripe print, all bets are off.)

Final stats?  
The large medallion finished at 87x93 - definitely bed sized.  It seemed even bigger when I was hanging it up!
The smaller one finished at 46x53.  I think it needs one more dark border (purple bias stripes!) to really be done, but it's still a good sized lap or baby quilt.
Considering I started this QuiltALong figuring I'd end up with a couple of wall hangings, I'm a little surprised how they grew!  

This QuiltALong has been a blast from beginning to end.  I feel like I learned a lot, especially about just relaxing and letting the stitches fall where they may sometimes.  And it's been a pure pleasure seeing how other quilters tackled their own challenges as we explored these themes together.

Many many thanks to the wonderful women whose brainchild this whole thing was, and a special request -

Can we make this an annual event?  Pretty please?!?



Linking with the Big Reveal.  Come see all the gorgeous quilts!

 




37 comments:

Libby in TN said...

WOW! I'm speechless. Had no idea how big the "large" one was getting. I've enjoyed watching your progress.

Ariane said...

Amazing!!! I love both of your quilts. They are scrapalicious!!!!

Cathy said...

I am in awe. Both of your Medallions are fantastic. This was so much fun. I to hope we can make this a yearly event. Hugs

P.S. I just might use your fish sticks for my traditional medallion.

Danice said...

Both quilts are gorgeous. My, you really did a lot of work. 'Love the "fish sticks" :)

Karen said...

Fish sticks! Now that is an interpretation I would not have thought of. Good ending.

Cynthia Brunz Designs said...

These two quilt tops just make my scrap loving heart flutter! Not just one finish but two! That is quite an accomplishment!

CecileD said...

Oh my....you realized a terrific job with your borders !!
Congratulations !!

Sandi said...

Gayle, your two quilts are wonderful, I also thought I'd end up with wall hangings but much smaller. I love your design process, I sketched out ideas on graph paper and should share them in my post. They sort of kinda worked into the final designs.

I love that bias stripe and agree if nothing less you should do a wide binding with it. Now onto our next tasks of quilting these beauties!

I'll be back to see what happens!

Frog Quilter said...

Both are fabulous!

Cherie in St Louis said...

Woozers!! Both of your medallions are beautiful and inspiring. I especially like the shark fins!! I've watched with complete envy as all the participants worked on their medallions. I do hope there's another next year because I will clear the decks so I can participate.

Monica said...

They are both gorgeous. I think I am leaning towards the larger one, simply because it is so darn large! It will be stunning quilted and on the bed. Congratulations! You really committed, and it worked out beautifully. :D

Scrap and quilts said...

The quilt hanging in the window just blew me awwaaayyy! Amazing, Gayle, just AMAZING! I love it to pieces too. To think that it all started with a little medallion. Both of your quits are fantastic. Congratulations! You can eat your shark's fin soup with pride. lol. ;^)

amy said...

It is lovely! So colorful! I love it!

Magpie Sue said...

Wow. The little medallion that grew. And didn't it turn out AMAZING!!! You did a great job going liberated (you bold woman you). What a scraptastic effort on both medallions!

Wendy Caton Reed said...

Wow! And, I thought I was doing well to do one and now you have two sensational quilts. I absolutely love your fish heads and fish sticks idea. And then to add fish fins on #2 was pure genius! I just can't get over the creativity I have seen with this project and I wholeheartedly agree that it should be an annual event!

Maree said...

Wow -to have finished two quilts this size in the last month -love them both. Your final borders on the larger one remind me of rows of beach huts which I have seen in photos.

Linda @ kokaquilts said...

Wow two amazing finishes! Both are wonderful and following your progress with these quilts has been inspiring!

Vivian said...

Wow, two very joyful medallions! Who says scraps can't shine! You ladies really had fun with this and I sure hope you do get to do it again, it was fun to watch it all come together!!

Wanderingcatstudio said...

I am in absolute awe! Just amazing!
(and the pic infront of the window makes it look a little like stained glass!)

Kathy S. said...

GORGEOUS! I love all those yummy scraps. Use 'em up. I think one of my favorite parts is the shark fins. Simple, yet it really throws in some fun. I'm a regular follower. I do hope this turns in to an annual event. I'd be in for sure. I can't resist all that fun!

Nancy said...

Gayle, I think you are an over-achiever to make two quilts. (Some of us -- particularly me -- could barely manage one!) Both quilts are too fun. I love how you shared your thought processes for making decisions about this border on quilts. And I'm glad your friend talked you out of the purple that would have created a bias edge. I can't even imagine trying to quilt that and have a remotely flat edge. But I hope you find a printed bias stripe since you like it so much.
--Nancy. (ndmessier @ aol.com, joyforgrace.blogspot.com)

Sally Trude said...

What spectacular quilts. Each row became suspenseful because I couldn't believe that you could top yourself border after border. But you did. And for TWO quilts! Congratulations!

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

It was so fun to see how these two quilts developed! And they are both gorgeous! I love the shot of the big quilt hanging in front of the window. The light coming through gives it that stained glass look!

Mystic Quilter said...

Both of these Medallion quilts are just stunning!! The first one is huge and how you managed to comp;pete two along with all the other projects defies belief! Congratulations on two wonderful quilts Gayle.

Kate said...

Both Medallion quilts turned out beautifully. The large one looks so much like stained class in the picture with the window behind it. Absolutely gorgeous!

SandraC said...

The quilts are beautiful! I really like the fish bones....I guess you would have sewn them to a foundation???

Tammy Hutchinson said...

Both are so fun, especially the smaller one. And love the idea of this being an annual Gwennie inspired Medallion QAL!

MissPat said...

Just visited Lori's blog to see the finales and it's clear that many of the participants struggled with the "liberated" part. That's not to say they are all gorgeous. I think you really mastered the "liberated" thing and I think you had a very fun time doing it. Great finishes.

MissPat said...

And that should be "they aren't all gorgeous". Really need to proof read!

Lori said...

The fish heads and fish sticks worked out wonderfully! Both of your quilts hit the mark! Glad you learned a little freedom and liberation while working on this project.

Martha said...

You are killing me with those fish sticks -- what a great idea!
It is mind-boggling to me that you managed to do two incredible quilts within the deadline, when I was freaking out just making one small quilt. You are amazing!

katyquilts.net said...

I absolutely love both of these! They are amazing! Fish heads, fish sticks, sharks teeth.....brilliant! I agree, this should be an annual thing!

Vic in NH said...

Fabulous quilt tops! Very busy and filled with interest and eye movement, so liberated!

Karen in Breezy Point said...

Wow--I'm so impressed you ended up with a bed quilt! Love the fish sticks idea--both quilts are so fun!

kmkat said...

I love them both to bits, too! They are joyous and riotous and colorful and make me smile.

Cynthia@wabi-sabi-quilts said...

Both quilts are just fabulous! The purple bias binding will be just right. I too would love to do this challenge (or something like it) again!

Cathy said...

Both are stunning and I love how you creatively interpreted each theme. Congrats. It was fun and I also hope there is another challenge next year.