You have likely seen some of Elizabeth Hartman’s adorable animal quilt patterns. They stand out as just amazing pieces of art and to boot, they are criminally adorable! It is hard to believe that anything could be so cute.
I finally got to make my first quilt of hers and I want to give you a few tips or tricks and an overall review of the pattern itself. Here we go with a review of the Social Sharks quilt pattern!
First I just have to say that I really love the look of these sharks. I bought the Kitchen Window Wovens fabric collection that is pictured on the cover of the pattern because I absolutely loved the plaid sharks. I would have never thought to make sharks plaid and it’s just genius.
If you decide to go with the Kitchen Window Wovens, designed by Elizabeth Hartman for Robert Kaufman Fabrics, here is something to know. This fabric is not your typical quilting cotton. A pro of this fabric is it is completely reversible. I could not detect a right or wrong side which came in a handy a time or two when piecing. A con to this fabric is that it is not tightly woven so it loses a lot of strings as you are working with it. It will make a mess and be quite a bit more stringy and messy as you go through the piecing process. Overall I would work with it again and it was not a deal breaker by any means – just different.
One thing I would do differently next time is choose a slightly darker background fabric than what I choose. I really didn’t want to buy anymore fabric but instead use from my ever growing stash. I only had a medium grey and it could have been another 1 or two shades darker at least. This just makes the sharks pop more. I’m not unhappy with my results, but it might be something to think about for your own choices.
If you take a close look at my shark above, there are a lot of pieces. More than I thought. And honestly I was pretty intimidated when I opened the pattern and saw all the pieces I needed to cut. But do not be intimidated! The instructions for cutting were superb in this area and made it really easy. I did find that I could save some fabric by cutting some background pieces out of left overs from previous cuts. Just pay attention and you might be able to as well.
You will need to label. Label everything well! The Kitchen Window Wovens were easy to cut and I was able to cut 6 layers at a time with ease using my 60mm rotary blade. So this made really quick work of the plaid pieces. I was actually shocked cutting didn’t take me much longer. So don’t let it scare you.
Don’t cut out the border pieces until you get to that point in your quilt top. This recommendation isn’t specific to this pattern only but all patterns. It’s just best to wait so you get really accurate measurements for your quilts borders.
TIP: I have a pretty big tip for you here. Before cutting I would take a look at the pattern and decide which shark body colors you want your left and right facing sharks to be. As you are cutting, separate your plaids into left and right piles. This would have been such a HUGE help to me later on. When I started putting together the right and left facing sharks I didn’t know that I should have thought this through ahead of time. It isn’t pointed out in the pattern, which I feel is a miss on their part honestly.
Alphabitties were a lifesaver for this quilt! I also used the expansion pack. Click on either of the pictures below to grab you some from Amazon!
Now it is time for it to all come together! The pattern has the shark broken down into smaller blocks/rows to make up each shark. I highly recommend that you make one complete shark in left and right before you create all the blocks to make up the shark. This will ensure you have a shark to look at right there at your sewing machine to reenforce you are sewing it correctly. Once you are complete with the left facing sharks, move to the right ones. Keeping them separate and labeled is critical.
TIP: When I laid out my pieces I made piles of left and right. I had those stacked next to each other in that manner. Left to Right. We naturally read left to right. The pattern always starts with instructions for the right side first. So I personally wanted to always start with the pile of pieces on the left first. This is such a small thing, but was also kind of huge for me. It threw me off again and again and caused me and Jack to have many dates. It might be best if you completely remove the side you are not working on from your area. That is what I would likely do the next time.
Let’s talk about those teeth! Again – don’t be intimidated. The way she has designed the teeth is amazing. You work with larger pieces and cut it down to get those pearly whites. Don’t look at the picture and let the teeth turn you away because you think you are working with pieces that are too small and too difficult. I promise they are not that bad!
Tip: Accurate 1/4″ does go a long way when working with smaller piecing.
Finishing the Quilt Blocks
This part went easy peasy. The blocks all went together smoothly and TA DA! Sharks are born! Lay out your colors and snap a picture. A picture seems to bring out any colors that shouldn’t be next to each other easier than looking at it on your design wall. I’m not exactly sure why, but a picture always tells me the truth!
I was lucky that I had some down time and I finished this quilt in about a weeks time. As much trouble as I had with choosing lefts when I needed rights, I was still surprised that it went as quickly as it did. I will be looking forward to making another of her animal quilts in the future. If you make one be sure and show it off!
Mine isn’t quilted just yet and you can bet I will be showing it off as soon as my daughter Quincy gets quilted! Did you know she offers long arm services? Just ship it to her and she can handle your quilting! Check her out at www.thecontemporaryquilter.com.
Overall I give the Social Sharks an 8 out of 10 and a difficulty rating of Intermediate/Advanced.
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