Thursday, 26 May 2016

Small Seahorse- Pattern Release

Some patterns need to be made in all scales to be truly appreciated and my seahorse design is one of them.

When I first sewed a small seahorse, I simply decreased the size of the Treasure of the Sea quilt and sewed.

I loved the block, but if I'm being honest, it's just a bit too complicated. Some of the pieces are ridiculously tiny. They are fiddly to sew and they make the pattern needlessly complicated.

I went back to the drawing board and had a rethink. By critically looking at the construction, I not only got rid of the tiniest pieces, but I was also able to simplify the construction of the block. I sewed up the new version of the pattern and it was much better.

A wee while later, I got to thinking (always a dangerous thing!) The main reason that the 50" seahorse pattern has a fractured background is that it is much easier to sew many smaller pieces than a few extremely large pieces. By giving the block a fractured background, it became significantly easier to piece.

I have noticed that some people find it difficult to choose fabrics for blocks with a fractured background. Balancing the colours and the contrasts can be difficult and the background can end up detracting from the foreground.

With a 14 inch version of the block, where size is no longer relevant, I decided that I needed to create a version of the block with a plain background.

Yet again, I was able to critically look a the block construction and to get rid of the elements that were no longer relevant. It was a fun exercise!

I used oakshott cottons for the seahorse itself and Carolyn Friedlander for the background. I love the way that this block turned out and I love the resulting project even more. I took the block and used it to create a filigree double pouch, (pattern by Sarah Lawson of Sew Sweetness).

I must admit that I took my time to get the patterns into a form that it was suitable to be sent to pattern testers, but I was really blown away by the enthusiastic and quick response from all my testers.

Because there were two different versions of the pattern, I had quite a few different testers and I love the variety of blocks that they produced. It's interesting to see the amount of batik fabric that has been used for these seahorses. I have to say that it works perfectly!

Teresa made a beautiful pink seahorse in a calm aqua sea. (I love that Tula Pink fabric that she used on the tummy isn't it great for this!?) Teresa loved my first more complicated version of the mini seahorse and she added her own detail to the dorsal fin to mimic it.

Lisa also added detail to the dorsal fin. Love her take on the seahorse.

Hayley is a member of a stitch group that I attend and I can't wait to see her block in person. She used Distressed Threads hand dyed fabric and I am told that the background sparkles- so pretty!
Caroline tTold me that she has two children fighting over this seahorse, so she will be sewing another seahorse soon. Didn't she do a great job!
I love how Jan kept the seahorse itself simple and used solid fabric to contrast with the fun background fabric.

Suzanne is another member of the stitch ground that I regularly attend. I am looking forward to seeing her block in person too.

I just love the fabric that Leah chose for seahorse. It works perfectly. I feel as if I can see the sea gently lapping at seaweed.

Respect goes to Amy, who had the patience to carefully fussy cut her mendocino fishes and makes sure that they were all swimming in the right direction. It's such a fun interpretation of the block and I'm pretty sure that it's my 7 year old daughter's favourite!

As you may have noticed, a couple of my testers independently reinserted the detail to the seahorse's dorsal fin and after their feedback, I decided to include a few different tail options in the pattern.

Each version of the pattern comes with a plain dorsal fin, a striped dorsal fin and a finely striped dorsal fin. You can choose which version suits your tastes and your skill set (be warned! The pieces in the finely striped version and pretty tiny!)

I really hope that you enjoy sewing this pattern, there are some pretty detailed areas, but it all pays off in the end when you create a beautiful block.

You cab find the pattern in my Etsy, Payhip and Craftsy Stores.


  1. So many wonderful interpretations of the same pattern, a great pattern Tartankiwi :)

  2. Such a lovely array, I can't even decide which is my favorite. Isn't it sweet how the orange seahorse has tiny seahorses on it? ))

  3. So beautiful! I appreciate all the different options you've provided as well.

  4. Gorgeous blocks!! Great creativity too :-)

  5. I love them. Now if I could just do paper piecing with out pulling my hair out.


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