Sunday, July 17, 2016

Third Denim Octopus, Ready for Her Closeup

I'm obsessed with octo-quilts, inspired by my summer reading, The Soul of an Octopus, a Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness. I've shown two so far, a wallhanging and a quilted vase/aquarium, made from upcycled denim jeans. Here's the third:
Here's how it looked pre-fringe. I'm not sure which way I like it better, thoughts welcomed! 
My octopus' aquatic friends (and potential lunchmeats) surround her. 

Below, that's a hammerhead shark, alongside a sea star. While researching this quilt, I learned that sea stars' "eyes" are at the ends of their legs.
The eyes of the smaller creatures are glass beads. For our heroine, it took a lot of testing to come up with the perfect eyes. First I tried vintage red buttons: 
Meh. Then round glass eyes: 

Double meh. Next, I unintentionally sewed these glass beads down with the left eye at a slight angle,  which made her look worried:

I wanted tranquility, so I removed them and rearranged the angle. Here's what I wound up with.

An intense, deeply knowing stare. 
The top row of pearl buttons is stitched on with quilting thread: 
The bottom fringe is made from shell necklaces, glass beads, mother-of-pearl buttons, faux pearl beads, and polished shell pieces. 
And what exactly are those polka dots? 
I am so glad you asked! Those are button blanks, dug up many years ago by a friend from the vicinity of an abandoned button factory in New England. 

If you don't happen to have an abandoned button factory nearby, any buttons will do. I used permanent glue (Crafter's Pick: The Ultimate) to attach them. A layer of tulle on top of everything, and cross-stitching with white crochet thread in-between holds them in place. 

For free step-by-step directions for a tulle-covered wallhanging (or vase), see my my last two blog posts (1, 2). Draw your own sea creatures and start cutting! Or get a head start with my 12-page booklet with 35+ ocean creature drawings (details on my pattern page and new Etsy shop.) 

However you make it, have fun with octopuses! Send pictures!


  1. I just finished Soul of an Octopus last night, great recommendation. And hubby Frank has put his SciFi novel down to read it, he couldn't resist my chuckling through the whole thing!

    1. My work here on earth is done! I'm thrilled to spread the word about such a great book! Thanks for writing, QS!!