Bright prints, batiks, and stripes shape each "catch of the day" with no two alike; staked buttons provide fun, google-eyed expressions. 

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Designer: Mary Lou Weidman

Materials

• 1 yard total assorted blue prints (blocks, inner border, binding)

• 1⁄4 yard bright green print (middle border)

• 1⁄2 yard blue-and-green batik (outer border)

• Scraps of assorted green, purple, orange, and yellow prints (blocks)

• Scraps of four purple-and-orange prints (blocks)

• Scraps of two multicolor stripes (blocks)

• Scraps of two pink plaids (blocks)

• Scrap of yellow-and-orange batik (blocks)

• Scrap each of yellow-and-orange and purple polka dot (blocks)

• Scrap of bright floral (blocks)

• 1-1⁄4 yards backing fabric

• 42" square batting

• 29-3⁄8"-diameter assorted white buttons (bubbles)

• 15-3⁄8"- to 7⁄8"-diameter assorted buttons (eyes)

Finished quilt: 36" square

Quantities are for44/45"-wide, 100% cotton fabrics. Measurements include 1⁄4" seam allowances. Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.

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Cut Fabrics

Cut pieces in the following order.

From assorted blue prints, cut:

• 4-2-1⁄2 ×42" binding strips

• 2-2-1⁄4 ×28" inner border strips

• 2-2-1⁄4 ×24-1⁄2" inner border strips

From bright green print, cut:

• 2-1-1⁄2 ×30" middle border strips

• 2-1-1⁄2 ×28" middle border strips

From blue-and-green batik, cut:

• 2-3-1⁄2 ×36" outer border strips

• 2-3-1⁄2 ×30" outer border strips

The Piecing Method

Designer Mary Lou Weidman used a freestyle piecing technique she calls "Hoochy Mama" piecing to construct each fish block. For this method, Mary Lou begins with a rectangle or square as the base fabric. She makes "hoochy" corners by replacing the original fabric with a piece cut from a 4"-wide fabric strip. The result is a whimsical, free-form creation.

The following instructions are for this technique. Wherever instructions say to add a hoochy corner, complete the following steps.

1. Lay a base fabric square or rectangle right side up on work surface.

2. Place a background fabric strip right side down on base fabric piece so one corner of base fabric extends beyond right-hand edge of strip; sew 1⁄4" from right-hand edge of strip (Diagram 1). (In this project, the background fabric is a blue print.)

3. Press fabric strip open, pressing seam toward strip (Diagram 2).

4. Working with fabric strip wrong side up, trim fabric strip even with edges of base fabric piece (Diagram 3).

5. If necessary to reduce bulk, trim seam allowance of base piece to 1⁄4" (Diagram 4). Repeat steps 1 through 4 to make a hoochy corner on left-hand edge of strip.

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Plan the Quilt

The quilt center is divided into seven fish blocks (Quilt Assembly Diagram). On each block diagram, we give you the measurements of the sections making up each block.

Mary Lou began each fish Block A–G, with a rectangle or several pieced rectangles to make a fish body. Then she constructed mouth, tail, and fins in sections, adding them to the body. Each block is completed by adding assorted blue print strips of various widths and lengths, then trimming to size specified in Quilt Assembly Diagram.

To help you get started, we give you the measurements on block diagrams A­–G of some fabric pieces to start with to make a section. Because of the different shapes that will result from this piecing method, we do not give specific cutting instructions for each fabric piece; we recommend you use scraps of fabric large enough to give you ample room to create your own design.

Assemble Block A

1. Referring to Quilt Assembly Diagram, lay out assorted purple prints, green print, yellow-and-orange batik, and blue prints.

2. Referring to The Piecing Method and Block A Diagram, sew together pieces in sections, creating hoochy corners as needed. Join sections in rows to make fish unit; press seams in one direction. (Note: You may feel as if you are "winging it" when you try this technique. Be patient; it may take some practice to get the angles and shapes you desire.)

3. Referring to Quilt Assembly Diagram, add blue print strips to fish unit; press seams toward blue prints. Trim to complete Block A. Block A should be 12-1⁄4 ×8-1⁄4" including seam allowances.

Assemble Block B

1. Referring to Quilt Assembly Diagram, lay out green, purple, and orange prints; purple-and-orange print; two different multicolor stripes; and blue prints.

2. Referring to Assemble Block A, steps 2 and 3, and Block B Diagram, use prints and stripes to complete Block B. Block B should be 12-3⁄4 ×8-1⁄4" including seam allowances.

Assemble Block C

1. Referring to Quilt Assembly Diagram, lay out purple-and-orange print, pink plaid, bright floral, orange print, purple polka dot, and blue prints.

2. Referring to Assemble Block A, steps 2 and 3, and Block C Diagram, use print, plaid, floral, and polka dot pieces to complete Block C. Block C should be 13-3⁄4 ×8-1⁄4" including seam allowances.

Assemble Block D

1. Referring to Quilt Assembly Diagram, lay out purple and yellow prints, pink plaid, two purple-and-orange prints, and blue prints.

2. Referring to Assemble Block A, steps 2 and 3, and Block D Diagram, use print and plaid pieces to complete Block D. Block D should be 11-1⁄4 ×8-1⁄4" including seam allowances

Assemble Block E

1. Referring to Quilt Assembly Diagram, lay out green and orange prints, yellow-and-orange batik, and blue prints.

2. Referring to Assemble Block A, steps 2 and 3, and Block E Diagram, use print and batik pieces to complete Block E. Block E should be 4-1⁄4 ×6" including seam allowances.

Assemble Block F

1. Referring to Quilt Assembly Diagram, lay out orange, green, purple, and blue prints.

2. Referring to Assemble Block A, steps 2 and 3, and Block F Diagram, use prints to complete Block F. Block F should be 4-1⁄2×6-1⁄2" including seam allowances.

Assemble Block E/F

Referring to Quilt Assembly Diagram, sew together blocks E and F and blue print strips to complete Block E/F. Press all seams toward blue prints; trim. Block E/F should be 12×9" including seam allowances.

Assemble Block G

1. Referring to Quilt Assembly Diagram, lay out purple, orange, and green prints; yellow-and-orange polka dot; and blue prints.

2. Referring to Assemble Block A, steps 2 and 3, and Block G Diagram, use polka dot and prints to complete Block G. Block G should be 13×9" including seam allowances.

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Assemble Quilt Center

Referring to Quilt Assembly Diagram, lay out fish blocks in three rows. Join blocks in each row. Join rows to make quilt center. Press all seams in one direction. The quilt center should be 24-1⁄2" square including seam allowances.

Add Borders

1. Sew blue print 2-1⁄4 ×24-1⁄2" inner border strips to opposite edges of quilt center. Add blue print 2-1⁄4 ×28" inner border strips to remaining edges. Press all seams toward inner border.

2. Join bright green print 1-1⁄2 ×28" middle border strips to opposite edges of quilt center. Add bright green print 1-1⁄2 ×30" middle border strips to remaining edges. Press all seams toward inner border.

3. Sew blue-and-green batik 3-1⁄2 ×30" outer border strips to opposite edges of quilt center. Add blue-and-green batik 3-1⁄2 ×36" outer border strips to remaining edges to complete quilt top. Press all seams toward middle border.

Finish Quilt

1. Layer quilt top, batting, and backing; baste.

2. Quilt as desired. Designer Mary Lou Weidman machine-quilted meandering loops across the quilt, giving the blue print the appearance of moving water.

3. Bind with blue print binding strips.

4. Add 3⁄8"-diameter assorted white buttons for air bubbles; stack remaining buttons as desired and add eyes to each fish.

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