Latest Show Quilt: Swim Toward the Light


This quilt uses all four colors of the “Gone Fishing” fabric designed by Brandon Mably. I was immediately intrigued by this colorful fabric where some fish were more than 12″ in length. Somewhere along the line I decided it would be cool to use all four colors, and make it look like the fish were swimming from darkness into the light.

The body of the quilt contains only three seams. The trick was to line the seams up exactly so that the fish transitioned seamlessly between colors.

Once the quilt top was completed, I added a layer of wool batting. The plan was to use trapunto to show off each fish. I used Superior Thread’s Vanish-Extra water-soluable thread to outline each fish. (This thread dissolved when I wet the quilt to block it.) Then I carefully cut away the parts of the wool batting that were not inside a fish. I used a second layer of polyester batting in the quilt sandwich.

As I started quilting, I realized that my quilting was dense enough that the trapunto was not showing. That’s when I decided to leave a few fish with little quilting, so it would be evident that I did trapunto. (Non-quilters look at this quilt and say, “Wow! It’s 3D!”

My next step was to extend the fish into the border, making them like ghost fish. I also free-handed some fish at the top of the quilt. I used a pantograph for the bottom design, and free-handed a meandering wave pattern for the middle part of the borders. So far all was going well.

The fish on the top of the quilt were not visible, so I decided to paint them. It was hard to find a paint to show on the dark orange fabric. Inks and Fabrico pens did not work. I was finally able to get some real color using Setacolor paints and acrylic paints. I did a test piece and it looked decent. Unfortunately, once I got the fish on the top of the quilt painted, I hated it. I tried several methods to remove the paint — but it was too late. Oops!

I delivered the quilt yesterday. I love everything except the painted fish. Live and learn.

This fabric is available from Hancocks of Peducah.–search-fish–srcin-1

Vanish Water-soluable thread is available from Superior Threads:

(If you can’t see these photos, please visit my blog at A big thank you to my daughter Angela for taking these photos!

“Swimming Into the Light” using Brandon Mably fabrics. I love the quilt, except for the painted fish on the top border.

Close-up. I painted the tops of the star-fish and kelp, so that it would show against the blue background.

A view of the trapunto

My daughter photo-shopped out the painted fish on the top of the quilt. I like it so much better. I wish we could have figured out a way to remove the paint!



7 responses »

  1. Absolutely love the fish quilt and have also enjoyed reading many of your other posts. Just checked my allergy ingredients to make sure they are not the same as Zyrtec!

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