Friday, April 10, 2015

Just Keep Swimming

April 10th and I woke up this morning to another half inch of ice on my car.  Now normally this would really set me off, especially on the heels of the three inches of snow that we got the day before.  I mean really, April 10th?!

But not today.  Today I'm flying high and even the prospect of spending 20 minutes scraping off my windshield can't diminish my good mood.  32°, whatever.  Freezing rain, bring it on.  I just don't care because as of today I'm officially a Moda Bake Shop Chef!!

My first recipe, Just Keep Swimming, is featured today at the Moda Bake Shop.  After our annual trip to Maine last summer (remember summer??) I was inspired to try my hand at incorporating fish into my quilt designs.  This happy little project is one of the results.

Twelve tropical fish swim around colorful patchwork on this fun 16" x 16" little quilt.  Just Keep Swimming is a fast and easy project that basically requires only one mini charm pack and 2/3 yard of a background fabric.  I chose to make this version with a "Paradiso" mini charm pack by Kate Spain for Moda.  I love her bright colors and bold patterns and I think they look great against the Bella Solid Royal Blue -- perfect for summer.

Here's a slightly quieter version of Just Keep Swimming, also made with Kate Spain fabric -- "Horizons" this time -- clearly I love Kate Spain's fabric.

Not sure if you noticed, but the fish are swimming in opposite directions in the two quilts.  Just a little construction issue that I hammered out for my tutorial -- never fear!

Just Keep Swimming is definitely doable in a weekend.  And if you'd like to turn it into a pillow, I give suggestions about how to do so in my Moda Bake Shop recipe.

The only problem I had making Just Keep Swimming was trying to find some sand for my cover shot!  New Hampshire has been inundated with snow this winter and it's hard to even find exposed ground, much less sand.  But last week I visited a nearby lake and after trudging 200 yards along a beach through knee deep snow, I managed to find a 2 foot strip of sand.  I then proceeded to make a sand castle while wearing boots and a ski coat.  Which was surreal in and of itself, but to top it off, the sand was water-logged and heavy and the wind blowing down the lake was arctic and by the time I finished, I could barely see through the tears in my eyes and the mascara running down my face -- hence the less than desirable sand castle.  I'm sure I looked like a fool making a sand castle while bundled up for winter and sporting raccoon eyes, but I got my cover shot.  And hey, it almost looks like summer, right?

Have fun making your own little quilt!  And if the weather is getting you down, just keep swimming...


  1. Really cute...looking through my stash for fabric to make one!

  2. Love these! You're soooo smart and hats off for building a sandcastle in April - that's dedication!!!


  3. Love this! Horizons and Paradiso are two of my favorite lines! I saw over at Moda Bake Shop that you gave some dimensions for making this with a regular charm pack. If you have a spare minute, could you tell me the background cuts for this quilt using a layer cake? I have a couple of layer cakes that I would like to use up and this would be perfect! Thanks! :)

  4. Hi Laurel - Thanks for your comment. If you used a layer cake for this quilt, the patchwork center would end up measuring 38" x 38" and the fish blocks would measure 9 1/2" x 18" -- pretty big fish! The finished quilt would end up well over 5' x 5'. I think your best bet might be to cut 5" squares out of the layer cakes and use the measurements that I gave at Moda Bake Shop for making the quilt with charm packs. Good luck! Jen

  5. Hi Jen,
    I have admired this quilt forrrreeeeever!! I finally made it for my little 4 year old boy for his room!
    See here:
    thank you so uch for this lovely design!

    Love, Frances Newcombe

  6. Hi Frances - I just checked out your quilt and it's beautiful! I love the fabric that you chose -- perfect colors for tropical fish. Thank you so much for sharing the link to your blog! Take care, Jen


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