Trout of Montana Trailhead Country

This is the most unique quilt I have had the pleasure of working on. It was made by Tese Shekitka to benefit the Montana Trailhead Country chapter of Casting for Recovery. The quilt is currently being auctioned here. The auction will be open until 10:00 pm Eastern time tomorrow (12/11/2016).

Tese is an artist with exquisite attention to detail. She thought through every element of this quilt, and even modified the pattern to make it more true to life. The blue behind the fish goes from light to dark to look like sunlight is filtering through the water of a river. The border fabric is reminiscent of a woven basket that one might use when fishing. Tese hunted long and hard for the perfect fabrics to make each fish look like the real thing.

The five trout in this quilt are all found in the greater Yellowstone River area. From top to bottom, they are: Golden, Yellowstone Cutthroat, Brown, Brook, and Rainbow. 

The brook trout is a prime example of Tese going the extra mile for this quilt. The pattern doesn't include the stripes on the fins, but all brookies have them. Tese pieced three different fabrics and figured out where to cut them to make the fins look realistic.

Another fantastic detail is the belly. While most of the fabrics used to portray the trout are batiks, the belly of each one is Fairy Frost. Tese chose this to give the quit the beautiful shimmer that you see on fish in the river.

One of my favorite parts of this quilt is the rainbow trout. I really like the embroidery along the pink center stripe. I also appreciate the shine that Tese added to each trout's eye with a bit of white thread.

Tese spent a ton of time on the 28 flies that surround this quilt. They are all true-to-form for flies that are often used when fishing.  First up, the Royal Wulff:

Grizzly King:

Bead-Head Prince Nymph

Adams fly:

Last, but most certainly not least, is the hot pink Woolly Bugger. Tese made the Woolly Buggers pink as a tribute to the breast cancer survivors Casting for Recovery serves.

I was the lucky lady that got to quilt this masterpiece. It's quite possibly the most fun I have had on a quilt.

Naturally, the blue behind the fish is the water of the rivers they swim in. Since the water goes from light to dark as you move down the quilt, we chose a different shade of blue thread for each section. I quilted it with a horizontal stipple to look like water.

Tese's vision for the black background was to have loosely packed river rocks. I quilted loops of varying sizes and shapes to mimic the organic feel of a riverbed. I love the choice of a variegated thread here.

One of the goals for this quilt was to have each of the fish puff out. In order to do this, we used a double layer of batting, and I stitched in the ditch around each fish. There is no quilting inside the fish, but the areas surrounding them are quilted densely. This gives the fish a rounded, lifelike appearance. The double batting also has the benefit of providing increased texture to the dense quilting.

We continued the watery theme with the quilting in the borders.  The green spacer blocks are full of bubbles.  The outer border has a watery fern.  Since the inner border was too narrow for another fern, we decided on a ribbon that matches the feel of the outside.

Have I mentioned how much I enjoyed working on this? I am so grateful to Tese for partnering with me to quilt her work of art.

If you or anyone you know may be interested in bidding on this quilt, the online auction can be found here. Please share the link! All proceeds go to benefit our local chapter of Casting for Recovery. Remember, the auction is only open until 10:00 pm EST 12/11/2016.

Posted on December 10, 2016 and filed under Longarm Quilting.