Thursday, April 5, 2018

Otter Raft - A Finished Quilt

Four years ago, I made a secret quilt for my husband, the giant Dr. Who churn dash quilt (that blog post includes "8 Steps to Making a Quilt for your Significant Other"). That quilt has been used just about every. single. day., sometimes for hours on end (so at this point that's 1,460+ days). It's been washed many times, and some of the quilting has even come out. It's cozy and truly a staple in our home.

About a year ago, I found out that Mike loves sea otters. LOVES them. How I had not known this fact after being a couple for almost 12 years, I'm not sure, but it was nice to know there are still some surprises left to discover. :)  Ha. So, when I saw Elizabeth Hartman's "Awesome Ocean" pattern and showed Mike, he was SO excited and immediately started begging for another quilt (even though it's labelled a manatee in the pattern). With that level of enthusiasm, I really couldn't say no.

The first pic, while in his natural habitat: "I can't force a smile!" The second pic was a genuine smile, so I whipped out my phone to capture it. :)

If I purchase a pattern, which is pretty rare (since I like creating my own designs), I usually stray away from the original layout. This pattern was no different since the original design contains all the cute sea animals. For my recent collaborative quilt with my niece, we chose just three animals and the coral.

While I'm thrilled with the results of both sea animal quilts, the cutting expectations for them were no joke. Phew. I cut out the pieces for 8 otters and labelled them all with pieces of Post-Its and Wonder Clips, separating each otter in a plastic bag. After that huge effort, I really didn't want to sew them together, so they sat in one of my plastic project bins for a few weeks. Eventually, I got tired of seeing them sit there, so I started chain piecing, and eventually some faces appeared. They are so cute and just a little squinty eyed, since I refused to use pins. :) Honestly, I wouldn't have them any other way.

Once the otters themselves were done (a bit quicker than I expected; I think we had another big snow storm that week), I gave Mike a few options for the layout. He liked the idea of otters swimming in different directions (yay!). I had purposefully created a blue background light to dark (like many of my quilts) to create some interest, so I used that to inform the final layout. And I loved creating the ombre binding (pictured below) to match with the changing quilt background!

Did you know that a group of otters in water is called a "raft?" My wonderful guild friend Linda looked it up at our last sewing day as I was cutting out the approximately 1.5 million pieces to make 8 otters (okay, slight exaggeration). So, a quilt name was born.

I used Aurifil thread 2715 (Robin's Egg), 4140 (Wedgewood), and 2745 (Midnight) to quilt overlapping waves using my walking foot. I usually quilt more densely, but figured I could always add more if necessary. With the Mammoth Flannel backing, the whole quilt washed up beautifully. Mike has commented several times about how warm it is, and it's easy to see why it's the current quilt of choice on the couch for both of us.

Pictured with lots of past projects including my guild's quilt made for me, purple fabric woven pillows from Shannon of the Jersey Shore MQG, my recent paper-pieced pillow, and Bouquet now hanging on the wall. I love a colorful house!

So with that, I created another quilt for my significant other, this time not in secret. Though parts of the process were tedious, these are the best kind of quilts that I make! The reaction is priceless, and I'm sure there will be more. We still have plans to create a Middle-earth map quilt together to hang on the wall, after all...

Linking up to Needle and Thread Thursday, Crazy Mom Quilts, TGIFF.


  1. The otters quilt is so cute. 'Looks like the husband does love it too. And that little quilt above the couch is also adorable.

  2. That looks perfectly cozy and like it is going to be well used, appreciated, and loved. Perfection!!

  3. What a great labour of love and how wonderful to see that it is so appreciated too.
    Thanks for linking up to TGIFF too

  4. How Sweet - and what a great quilt!!!

  5. What a cool quilt!!! And I love the shot of your couch with all the wonderful quilts and pillows. The Middle Earth wall quilt idea!!!!! YES!!! I can't wait 'til that comes into play and you start sharing. It's an epic idea. #nerdlove

  6. What a wonderful discovery about your spouse. And it's great that you were able to make him so happy. Wonderful job and I think the fact that you didn't use pins gives each otter its own personality.


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