Spring Quilt Market 2013: Clothworks – Penguin and Fish

Jon and Alyssa Thomas of Penguin and Fish in booth

Alyssa Thomas of Penguin and Fish has been one of my favorites since I met her at her first Quilt Market, three years ago. She was one of the very first to show modern embroidery patterns at Market and her whimsically wonderful, frequently oversized designs of critters quickly caught on—they’re simple enough for new embroiderers, but so charming that they’ve captured the interest of knowledgeable stitchers, too. She’s since jumped from being a newbie to designing organic fabrics for Clothworks, to signing copies of her new book Sew and Stitch Embroidery.


Sew and Stitch Embroidery book

Penguin and Fish booth and project samples

“We’ve made embroidery the star of the sewing projects,” says Alyssa of the designs that incorporate embroidery floss and yarn and the sweet critters she’s known for. Her favorite project is a quilt featuring a human-sized octopus. “When you pull it up to your chin, it looks like your head is on top of the octopus’s body,” says Alyssa. Alyssa and her husband Jon were a cheerful presence in their Market booth. Look for Sew and Stitch Embroidery (published by F&W Media) later this month.

Alyssa Thomas of Penguin and Fish

Super-sized skunk and Critter Patch quilt

Penguin and Fish tote from new book


Alyssa Thomas’s third and newest organic fabric line for Clothworks is Critter Patch. The fabric imagery retains the hand-drawn feel of Alyssa’s embroidery images, and the focus fabric is a veritable peaceable kingdom of friendly foxes, squirrels, owls and hedgehogs. So sweet!

Clothworks Critter Patch Penguin and Fish

Critter Patch Clothworks cover quilt

{ Cotton Garden quilt pattern by The Pattern Basket - download the project sheet to use the pattern with Critter Patch here. }


Critter Patch Clothworks green

Critter Patch Clothworks on paper

Critter Patch foxes Clothworks

Linzee Kull McCray is a writer and editor with a focus on textiles and crafts. She’s a regular contributor to Etsy’s blog and to Moda’s Cutting Table blog, a contributing editor at Stitch, a columnist for Quilt Country, and her work appears in American Patchwork and Quilting, UPPERCASE, Quilt Sampler, and other publications. When she’s not writing, sewing, or knitting, you can find her rowing on the Iowa River. Visit her blog Pearl the Squirrel.

One Comment

  1. Lisa Daly says:

    The pattern pictured, Cotton Garden, is available through http://www.thepatternbasket.com. To make it up in Penguin & Fish fabrics as shown, buy the pattern and download the project sheet from the Clothworks website. The project sheet is free and has all the required Critter Patch yardage listed plus a picture you can use to guide the block placement. Happy quilting!