Turtle – Quilt Creations Festival of Quilts 2016

In 2015 I decided for the first time to enter Festival Of quilts. The Quilt creations class was very inspiring and I decided to make another quilted animal of my own design since I had just finished the Big Hippo.
I actually can’t tell you how or why I ended up on turtle. The shell even looks like a quilt though and the shape was simple enough for me to bodge a pattern.
First step was to create the quilted shell. The pieces are raw edge appliqué, secured with bondaweb. The wadding is a foam, used for stabilising handbags. There’s also a calico backing to each piece that no one has ever seen.
It’s a bit of an art thing but the animals are in shadow due to all of them or their habitats being endangered out in the wild. Each panel is hand quilted. A bit of a feat considering that there are up to 6 layers including the foam. The foam does give it the “shell” effect I was after. There’s also beads, hand embroidery, silk ribbons and some metallic embroidery threads that were horrific to use and kept snapping.
Once the shell was complete I assembled the head and limbs and base shell. Some might be shouting green not cream but the real life Green turtle, Cammy, is very much cream not green. Aquariums are awesome places by the way and they are an amazing source of inspiration.
The body, limbs and head are all made from fleece. I love fleece and won’t let you mock it. The eyes were stolen out the head of a beanie baby, the only place I could get the right colour and size. Also destroying the toy was sort of fun. I needle sculpted, sort of, the head and limbs. The huge doll needles let me pull stitches to create different shapes in the limbs. Quilting thread seems to be strong enough to put up with that.
img_1328The bottom shell is machine quilted through fleece, cotton wadding and calico. First round created an all over shell effect, then it’s quilted over again with wavy lines….. Before I got very bored I free motion machine embroidered little fish. I love the base of the turtle even if no one saw that either.
Attaching the top shell to the body was a bit of a challenge. I decided to add a frill around the edge. Never one for making it simple the frill was paper pieced by hand from as many of the cottons that make up the main shell. Then a single piece of ribbon (6 meters in all!) was sewn on naming all the 7 main breeds of turtle – Green, Flatback, Loggerhead, Leatherback, Hawksbill and Ridley (Kemp’s and Ridley). I ran out of space for both Ridleys, although I could have actually included both and made the space. The frill turned out to be a little short and the effect would have been better is it was a little longer but it is what it is.
Finally everything was assembled mostly with hand sewing. The final step was to turn the cream to green on the top. 3 sizes of green fleece hexagons cover the top surfaces of the head, limbs and tail.
Possibly the world’s ugliest fabric made an appearance as the back of the frill. Last minute I decided to add a ribbon along the join between the upper shell and frill. Not to hide a dodgy seam or anything but it gave a much better definition. I was still sewing the ribbon on the night before we set off to drive down to the NEC for drop off day.
I went all arty for the submission details. Never though I had that in me. I got some lovely comments but no prizes this time.