Did you know today is National Shark Awareness Day? I didn’t but now that I do, I’ve been investigating the origins of this off-beat holiday. Naturally, the more I’ve been learning about this national day, the more I felt the urge to curate a few quilt patterns to make in honor of our finned friends.
Let’s start with a quick stroll through my personal shark history (which like most people is basically nonexistent) before I show you the quilt patterns I’ve chosen along with a few fun shark facts.
“Don’t Put Your Feet in the Water”
I’ve seen the movie Jaws more times than I can count. As one of my mom’s favorite movies, it was standard viewing for my brother and me during the summer vacations of my childhood. We’d pull the cushions off of the couch and scatter them on the carpet to create islands in the “water” of our living room. We’d be extra diligent to keep our feet out of that “water” so we wouldn’t get attacked by sharks that could be lurking in the pile as we watched the story unfold.
Living in a land-locked state hasn’t given me a whole lot of interaction with sharks. Movies and the annual viewing of Shark Week always left me with the impression that shark attacks were one of the riskiest aspects of going into the ocean. In reality, the odds of getting attacked by a shark are 1 in 11.5 million!
Swimming with the Fishes (and Sharks)
I’m a worrier by nature, therefore, I’m not one to go crazy in the outdoor adventuring department. While on vacation in Belize several years ago, I (gasp) swam with sharks and stingrays. I wasn’t warned about this part of the snorkel outing before leaving the dock which, in all honesty, is probably a good thing.
After the first of two snorkel sessions, our guide got us back onto the boat and drove us to our next location. When the words “shark ray alley” sprang from his lips I started to feel more than the seasick queasiness I’d been feeling. Seeing the boatmen dump chum into the water to attract more sharks didn’t help my feelings of unease. I’m proud to say, I overcame my fear of sharks and not only got into the water but got close(ish) to them!
What’s the Deal with National Shark Awareness Day?
Right about now you may be asking yourself why we need a shark awareness day. I’m glad you asked! Many people are like me and didn’t realize sharks aren’t as dangerous as we presume. Although the shark species is over 450 million years old (that predates the dinosaurs!) there is a decline in their population which is detrimental to the ecosystems in our oceans. Many sharks are killed each year for shark fin soup, teeth, liver oil, and sport fishing.
In honor of these misunderstood ocean dwellers, here are three quilt patterns I’m considering making to celebrate Shark Awareness Day:
Although this is more traditional than most quilts I gravitate towards, I love movement within the design of the Water’s Edge Quilt. Brenda Plaster creates layers of pattern by showcasing a quilt block called World’s Fair Puzzle in this twin-sized quilt pattern. Not only does the pattern speak to the ripples and waves of ocean tides, but it reminds me that there’s no need to stay ashore next time I go to the beach.
Shark Fact: Less than 5% of the shark population, which consists of more than 400 species, is seen by humans.
This playful quilt designed by Jen Daly is such a fun way to showcase wildlife within the water. I also like it because it reminds me of the classic Disney song which highlights the wonder and diversity on the ocean floor. Though Jen’s quilt features a gorgeous kaleidoscope of colors, I think this would be a great pattern for auditioning a new color palette or even for using up some of that scrap fabric stash.
Shark Fact: Though they sit at the top of the food chain, sharks are instrumental to maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Since many types of shark are attracted to injured fish, this allows them to help stop the spread of disease among that particular fish species.
I adore the negative space that surrounds the Flying Geese blocks in the School of Fish quilt by Elaine Theriault. The bright orange geese are arranged to look like schools of fish swimming through the ocean waves. There is so much to love about this quilt! Though it could easily be adapted to suit personal color preferences (or fish preferences for that matter), I quite like the orange against the undulating waves of blue.
Shark Fact: Sharks also regulate the population of marine critters so one species doesn’t become too dominant and disrupt the balance within the marine ecosystem.
There are so many ocean and sea-inspired quilts, it was difficult for me to choose just three. For more information on National Shark Awareness Day, I’d recommend this informative article from Mystic Aquarium. And don’t forget to explore more quilt patterns of all varieties in our shop. Whether you’re inspired by National Days like me, a special event, or anything else, you’re sure to find something you can’t wait to make.