Blog Hopping ~ Holy Carp, Its My Turn

Mirror Ball Dot Blog Hop

MBD Challenge leftoversFor each of the past 6 weeks, I’ve been directing you to a different blogger’s website to show you what they’ve done with a small collection of fabrics from Michael Miller Fabrics. I also have been telling you about my friend Mark Hordyzynski who designed the Mirror Ball Dot fabric line for Michael Miller. And this past Wednesday I wrote a blog post about how I know Mark (if you’re curious you can read about our friendship here).

Now it’s my turn to hop and show you what I’ve done! (Note: There’s a lot of pictures here…click on the images if you want to see larger images.)

As part of this challenge, Mark arranged for each of the Mirror Ball Dot (MBD) enthusiasts to receive 4 Fat Quarters of MBD and 3 coordinating colors of Cotton Couture. We got to select which colors we wanted to use. I wasn’t sure what I would do, but I knew I didn’t want to make a quilt.

greenfish2It soon dawned on me, that there has been a project I’ve wanted to do for several years. I wanted to explore making 3-dimensional fish. The dots of the MDB reminded me of fish scales, and so I had my idea and selected “fishy” colors to make fish. (Those of you following my clues the last few weeks…did you figure that out?)

fishheadsI started by finding a scientific drawing of a carp on the web and used it as reference for making my template line drawing. Fish fins are very specific to the species. Placement, size and orientation do matter. (Well…it matters, at least, to an ichthyologist and the other fishes.) My fish may not wind up looking like a carp, but their fins are definitely carp-like. Maybe I should call these guys, pseudo-carp.

fins2After I created my line drawing and transferred it to template plastic, I started creating the fish. During the construction process, I found myself repeating a REALLY BAD songworm in my head.  The song is called “Fish Heads” popular on a 1980’s radio show, Dr. Demento.  (If you dare, look it up on YouTube. Just don’t blame me if this songworm imbeds in your brain too! And remember, I warned you it was REALLY BAD!! I mean REALLY, REALLY BAD! ) Ok, back to business…

fins1My biggest challenge was how to create the fish fins. I eventually decided to trace the fin templates on two layers of fabric and stitch around the drawn line. I then trimmed around each fin, very close to the line (seam allowance) and then turned them right side out. After a good pressing, greenfishI placed them on top of water-soluble stabilizer which was secured in a hoop. This gave me something to hold on to while doing my free-motion embroidery on the tiny fins.

When I was finished with the fin stitching, bluefishI took them to the sink and washed them with water to dissolve the stabilizer. In this fishy business, it was helpful that the cotton thread shrinks, just a little bit, creating a wavy texture on the fins.

Once the fins were made, I added some thread-work to each face and assembled the bodies. Add a little polyester stuffing and there you have it…3-D fishes!

I can see using this fishy technique as a prototype for future 3-D fish projects. I’m thinking quilted fish? Hand-painted fish? Or maybe some flying fish? Ha! I’m ready for the next project. Thank you, Mark!

fishes1Are you inspired to create something with Mirror Ball Dot fabric? If you leave a comment below I will enter you to win one fat quarter of Mirror Ball Dot in your choice of 5 colors, plus a Mirror Ball Dot color card. I’ll announce my winner next Sunday.



  1. Kerry says:

    These are such fun. You could hang them for a carp mobile or a river of sky carp. The fins are fabulous!

  2. Jenny says:

    Please don’t make me a carp mobile! haha! Love the fish! They would be great for little kids. Can’t wait to see what else you do with them? And just how many did you make? lol!

  3. Something fishy this way comes – very wonderful, Nanette! Glad this is the seed of much bigger fish to fry! 😉 We’ll chat more about the fish but just wanted to say kudos for a great project!

  4. Kate says:

    While I think your fish are brilliant, I don’t think that is what I would make. I was thinking of something more mundane, like an evening clutch (like I ever go out in the evening!)

  5. Gloria B says:

    I like those fantasy fish!

    A friend went to a wedding last week and one of the wedding desserts was a stand of 100 cupcakes decorated with a seaside (beach ) theme. The most popular ones were those with a miniture whale on top of the buttercream.
    I think my friend would love a fish like yours……

  6. Sharon F. says:

    I knew something fishy had to be going on since I hadn’t heard from you in a little while. You just keep throwing that artistic bobber out there and look what you reel in. No water is ever too deep or too swift for you. You just dive in, head first, like those guys that fish barehanded for catfish. You just keep swimming ever upstream…….err, ahem, sorry about all the fish metaphors. Sometimes I just get swept away by your talent. Great fabric, great project, and fab fish!! You go girl!

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