Sew Karen-ly Created...

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Friday 4 May 2018

Island Batik May Challenge: Playful Pillows

This month's challenge for Island Batik Ambassadors was a whole bunch of fun: Playful Pillows!
The products featured in this post were given to me by Island Batik.
We were encouraged to "not be afraid to think outside the pillow form - pillows don’t have to be square!" Upon reading this, I knew exactly what I wanted to make! A couple of years ago as a Christmas present joke, I made my eldest son a pillow in the shape of a fish (he plays in a band called "Moon Trout"). At the time, I was stitching samples for an upcoming class I was teaching on curved piecing, so incorporated that technique into the body of the fish. It was a huge hit I decided to make another fish pillow, but this time it would be a rainbow trout. I chose bright colours from my box of Island Batiks: most from the "foundations" and "stashbuilder" bundles, but also a sunny yellow left over from last month's Sun Salutation quilt.

I made two sections of patchwork - one for the front and one for the back - and layered them with scraps of my favourite Hobb's wool batting.
The quilting was done with a variety of weights and colours of Aurifil thread, as well as a holographic thread to add a little iridescence.

Typical for me, I hadn't used a pattern for my original trout, but rather checked some images on Google and just winged it, drawing out a shape on paper. I never thought to save my paper pattern, but fortunately I had quilted an extra body and head piece and located those in a box. (Like a quilter would throw out a piece of fabric?!? :))
 I laid the shape on my patchwork and cut them out.

I really liked this tie-dyed batik, and it picked up all the colours from the body, so I quilted it with "gills" and planned to use it for the head. seemed a little quiet when added to the stripes.
So I quilted a piece of turquoise and liked it much better.  Fins are added from purple, green and orange...
 ...and the tail looked great with a slightly darker shade of turquoise than the head.
Here he is all together, and ready for stuffing with polyester fibrefill.
For my original trout, I used a shiny black button, and luckily had similar buttons on hand, but in a slighter larger size. (See that silver crescent appliqu├ęd on the top face?  That's how you know it's a moon trout :))
I cut out a circle of white felt to add under the button to help make it stand out.  The thread spool was the perfect size!
 The mouth is added with narrow satin stitching, in black.
 Here he is in all his glory:
 Isn't he a handsome fellow?
Nose to tail, he measures about 26" long...which I am led to understand is a pretty good sized catch for a Rainbow Trout (they're normally around 16"). 
 Thank you, Island Batik, for presenting a fun challenge!


  1. I love this!! I love the whimsy and the colour!! You are certainly a good ambassador for this line of fabric!!

  2. Thanks, Cheryl - a fun project for sure :)

  3. Absolutely adorable. I love your trout pillow.

  4. Wow, you need to patent this design. Some years ago Hugh caught an 11 lb rainbow trout, it is mounted on a wooden plaque on our wall,and I measured it at 24 inches. Nowhere near as stunning as yours.

  5. That is certainly a rainbow trout -congratulations on rising to the challenge so well, Karen!

  6. Awesome rainbow trout!

  7. Awesome trout , what a fun idea for those colourful fabrics .

  8. Karen this is great!! You are such a talent and have a wonderful imagination! Can't wait to see what you come up with for the rest of the year!!