Deep Dive Mini Quilt
2018 Finished Quilts, Quilts

Deep Dive Mini Quilt

As I mentioned in the December Patreon Mini Mini Quilts post, three of my Patreon’s unlocked rewards in December. The third patron unlocked a mini quilt reward, and when I asked if there were any preferences or things to avoid, the patron responded that they really like my tree of life (the giving tree) mini quilt and my mini mini “ohm” quilt. The only color I needed to avoid was purple. Clearly, the patron likes my whole cloth quilts and tiny quilting detail. After pondering a bit more, I asked if there is a particular element or animal in nature that they are drawn to or feel an affinity for.

I love any sea animals, especially whales and turtles.

Well, as soon as I saw turtle in the reply, I knew I had the perfect inspiration point: the photograph my husband took of a Green Sea Turtle diving that he took in 2011 that hangs over our living room mantle. I sure hope my whole cloth / thread painted version of his photograph does it justice! It’s my pleasure to introduce Deep Dive today.

Deep Dive Mini Quilt side by side with the inspiration photograph, Green Sea Turtle by Michael Fuchs Photography.

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you have likely seen some of the progression I made to create this mini quilt. It was a really fun process that I broke up over a week at the end of December and beginning of January, and I’m going to share the step by step process here with a bit more explanation about how I created the quilt.

I started by selecting the background fabric I would use for the front, back and binding of the quilt. I settled on Kona Nautical because I knew that if I used bright thread colors the thread would glow against the dark fabric and then I could let the fabric be the low light / dark areas of the quilt. Then I used my Clover White Marking Pen that vanishes with heat to outline the shape of the green sea turtle and fill in some of the major details of the turtle. I used up my pen, so I didn’t get all the marking done that I had envisioned, but it was enough to get me started!

I actually have double batting underneath the green sea turtle. I started out with just the fabric for the quilt top and a scrap piece of batting and quilted once around the outer outline of the turtle. Then I carefully trimmed back the batting right to the edge of the sewn line. After that, I basted the quilt sandwich as I would normally with another full piece of batting for the mini quilt.

To fill in the turtle, I started with the darkest green thread color that I planned to use, Aurifil 2870 (Green). (Note: all the thread I used in this mini quilt was 50wt.) I went around the outline of the turtle a total of 3-4 times including my first time which was only for the quilt top and first layer of batting under the turtle. Then I went in and outlined the other major edges of the turtle using 2870 and then I quilted the areas I considered to be the darkest lighted areas of the turtle.

After I was done with 2870, I switched to 2784 (Dark Navy) to fill in the low light detail areas that are in shadow of the turtle, the areas on the lower left. After that, I switched to 2860 (Light Emerald) for the mid tones, and this is when the turtle really came to life, I think! I really loved adding this layer and especially the wrinkly lines around the neck and forward shoulder. The final layer of detail for the turtle was created using 1231 (Spring Green) and was the highlighted areas on the top of the forward flippers and shell.

I had been wondering if using a double layer of batting was really going to be worth it given how densely I knew I would be quilting the turtle, but I really like the small 3D depth the unquilted areas of the turtle create.

The third and final quilting step was to add in the background fill. To set the stage and explain a bit more, here is how my husband describes the scene he photographed:

This is a green sea turtle that I photographed along the south-western coast of Maui.  The turtle was in about 30 feet of water along a rocky outcropping.  It was about to dive to the bottom after taking a quick breath of air.  The water surface was a little rough; all the small air bubbles are from waves braking against the rocks that are just out of sight in the background.

I really love the way the turtle is framed by the air bubbles suspended in the water, so I knew that quilting tiny pebbles to mimic the air bubbles was the way to go. I started with 2024 (White) and quilted about as small as I could go. Note that I did all of this quilting on my domestic Juki TL-2200QVP Mini. I took frequent breaks as the fine detail was time consuming and I split up the white quilting over 2 days. After the 2024, I added subsequent bubble quilting in 5006 (Light Turquoise), 5005 (Bright Turquoise), 1125 (Medium Teal), 2740 (Dark Cobalt), and 2784 (Dark Navy). I was running low on 2784, so it got an assist with 2783 (Medium Delft Blue) in the bobbin.

Deep Dive Mini Quilt

Deep Dive Mini Quilt

As I mentioned earlier, I bound the mini quilt in the same fabric as the front and back, Kona Nautical. The mini quilt finishes at 19-inches wide by 17-inches tall.

Deep Dive Mini Quilt Back

Deep Dive Mini Quilt Back

And because it is a whole cloth mini quilt, the back is just a mirror image of the front!

It was an absolute joy to translate one of my favorite photographs by Michael Fuchs (my husband) into a mini quilt. I definitely have plans to do more whole cloth quilting in the near future, too.

Linking up with TGIFF and Finish it Friday.

70 thoughts on “Deep Dive Mini Quilt

  1. Jill Spencer says:

    This mini quilt is amazing. Your husband’s photo is beautiful. You are both very talented. I envy the lucky person who is receiving this mini quilt. What a treasure.

  2. Kaja says:

    Oh my goodness, Yvonne, this is just plain fantastic! I have been thinking a lot the last few months about whole quilt work and this is completely inspirational.

  3. Ruthruth says:

    Brilliant – great interpretation of the photo and your patrons likes. A big hit I am sure!

  4. shoshana says:

    wow, no words, i justlove it!!!!!

  5. waouh! I love your mini!! Great job with the quilting!! C’est poétique! Very inspiring!! you can submit it for a quilt show!

  6. What an amazing quilt and stunning interpretation of your husband’s photo. I bet giving it away is going to be tough but lucky recipient!

  7. vivian383 says:

    This is so beautiful! The photograph is lovely and your art quilt study of it is inspirational! Your client is very lucky to receive such a piece of artwork. You should be so proud! Bravo!

  8. spierssusan says:

    I have been watching you build your Sea turtle – Deep Dive is amazing! Thank you for sharing this most interesting journey, Susan

  9. All those teeny tiny bubbles! My shoulders ache just looking at them…LOL This is a fabulous piece Yvonne, and so creative! As soon as I saw it I asked myself ‘how did she do that?’ Thank you for sharing your process. It was fun to see how your quilt came to life.

  10. Laura says:

    This is so flippin’ fabulous!!! You nailed it!! What an amazing gift/reward. So so so good!

  11. Kitty Wilkin says:

    Oh my word, Yvonne!! This is amazingly gorgeous!! I love it so! Those tiny bubbles are insane (in an admiration-filled way) and your sketch is impeccable. It’s a work of art!!

  12. Laura Links says:

    Oh my, Yvonne, you just keep getting better and better! This mini quilt is so incredibly AMAZING. Though, truly, I don’t think I actually have the words to describe how incredible I find it. And I LOVE how the back is a mirror image. All I can say is WOW WOW WOW (and on and on) … Thank you so much for sharing.

  13. OMG this is gorgeous!! All those tiny bubbles, amazing!

  14. Cheryl says:

    This is simply amazing! From the design to the quilting it is fabulous!

  15. Alison says:

    What an awesome project translating your husband’s photograph into a quilt! I think the double batting gives just enough “oomph” to the turtle without it looking unnatural. Congrats to the very lucky recipient!

  16. Inspiring work! The turtle is perfect and those bubbles are amazing!

  17. Jennie Cruzan says:

    Thank you for sharing. You did a beautiful job.

  18. Miriam says:

    This is amazing! Your recipient is going to totally fall in love with it. I think each one of your quilts is an artistic experience in color, composition and quilting, but this one is over the top, jaw-dropping wow!

  19. Steph Crabtree says:

    This is just incredible! You translated the photograph to thread and fabric so beautifully! What a piece of armory! Congratulations and thank you for sharing your technique.

  20. Steph Crabtree says:

    That should say art, not armory!

  21. Jen Strauser says:

    Wow, Yvonne. This piece is amazing.

  22. Sharon says:

    What a beautiful quilt! You did an awesome job on the quilting!

  23. Sally Price says:

    Wow, simply amazing and wonderful. What a beautiful way to start my day! You are so talented and such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing this.

  24. Vera Negligent says:

    Oh wow! Amazing job! Well done!

  25. smassena2014 says:

    That’s a beautiful translation from photograph to quilt.

  26. Liz says:

    Your mini quilt is gorgeous, so is the original picture! When I saw you working on this on IG, that was my daughter I tagged. She loves turtles as you could probably tell by her IG name!

  27. I’ve been watching your progress and wondering how you were going to make this work. It is fabulous! I learn so much from you as you work on projects. I can’t imagine quilting all those little bubbles, but the effect is so cool! How neat that you could use your husband’s photo for inspiration!

  28. Rita Long says:

    This is absolutely gorgeous.

  29. smilesfromkate says:

    Oh Yvonne, it turned out so beautiful, wonderful quilting. One of your best works in my opinion.

  30. Jayne says:

    I. Am. Speechless. Yvonne…this is gorgeous. Mic drop!

  31. Wow, so beautiful; amazing work!!

  32. These are stunning, Yvonne! And truly inspiring. And those words don’t do them justice! I have a whole quilt cloth on my wish list to make and this is giving me all the quilty feels and encouragement 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

  33. SusanBK says:

    Beautiful, Yvonne! Just right!

  34. Julie J Vogel says:


  35. Lea says:

    Wow Yvonne!! What a gorgeous quilt on so many levels. This is a work of art. You did an amazing job. So what else is new. 🙂

    I love sea turtles too (all of nature). A few months back I watched a documentary about the sea turtle’s journey. It is an astoundingly, long, slow and dangerous journey.


    This makes my head spin! To draw it is one thing, but to stitch it out in detail like this is just…WOW! Beautiful!!

  37. Nouli says:

    You are a very talented artist!!!

  38. Rochelle Summers says:

    I am in awe of your accomplishment. This is gorgeous and your patron will be delighted to receive and display this work of art. You and your husband are both very talented.

  39. Absolutely gorgeous. Total #CreativeGoodness. Thank you for sharing and inspiring. Your husband is also an amazing photographer. What a great team you make.

  40. sue7oaks says:

    My goodness this is just stunning! Someone is a very lucky recipient of this fantastic piece. You’ve done an absolutely amazing job. I think the bubbles set it off so well. Congrats on executing this idea so well!

  41. ioleenkimmel says:

    Amazing!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

  42. rachelstevens50 says:

    This is absolutely beautiful!! You have captured the photo in an amazing way. Thank you for sharing it & both of your talents.

  43. This is just such a stunning quilt. What a work of art. You did such an amazing job capturing the feel of the photo, and though I can’t imagine trying to do a similar project anytime soon I really appreciate your description of how you did the quilting as well.

  44. Patty says:

    This is absolutely amazing!

  45. Brenda Ackerman says:

    Hello Yvonne; I must tell you how often I was holding my breath while reading and looking at these two spectacular pieces of art! Michael, your photograph is spellbinding. I love the way both of you caught the details of the sea and the pure life of the turtle. I hope you are understanding what I am trying to say, Yvonne. With my brain injury, it is so hard for me to get out with words what I am truly trying to say! Yvonne, you have done such a perfect thread painting it brought tears to my eyes. Once again, Thank You so much for sharing with us these special pieces of your life. I hope that you continue to share these throughout the year!

  46. Kathy h says:

    Just gorgeous, and all those bubbles. You did an amazing job.

  47. lauralynne says:

    This quilt is just brilliant! I really enjoyed seeing the process emerge on Instagram and I appreciate you taking the time to describe all that you did. Your Patreon supporter is incredibly lucky.

  48. Lorna Jones says:

    There are just not enough superlative words to describe how much I LOVE this!!!

  49. quiltingmod says:

    Must-not-give-this-away! You are certainly an art quilter as well as a modern quilter.

I really appreciate the time and thought you take to comment, and I look forward to conversing with you. :)