Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Storm at Sea

Today I am returning to Memory Lane with a Storm at Sea quilt.  Unfortunately the color looks dull on this page.  It is really quite vibrant even though some of the colors are pastel.  I used Michael Miller's Fairy Frost fabrics for the light colors.

After the Storm

This is a fascinating pattern and has been done numerous times with almost as many variations as quilts.  It is interesting, it is colorful and it has amazing movement, and it all happens with only two blocks and a variation on one of those two blocks as demonstrated below.

These were drawn on Adobe Illustrator with precision in mind.  After I had drawn the basic pieces I set them together in the general design of the common "Storm at Sea" and began to add color.  I actually did only one quarter of it because all four quarters are exactly the same.  It is like working in a coloring book, which I loved doing as a child.

You don't have to, but I paper pieced the blocks because I like the precision I get with this technique, and the pieces are pretty small.  The blocks are only 4" square with the diamond being 2"x4."  Of course, they can be made any comparable size you want.  I have done a miniature with 2" blocks and have seen it done with 8" blocks.  I labeled every column (8 of them) with a letter.  I labeled every row with a number (1-8) and the center row with a capital C.  On each quarter I only needed one of the center row as the other center column (that would be the  "i" column) goes on the adjoining quarter.  A color print of this labeled quarter was pinned to my design wall to keep me on the straight and narrow.

I keep old envelopes in a sewing drawer for organization purposes.  These are just small mailing envelopes and I labeled each one in pencil (so I can erase and use them for the next project):  1a, 1b, 1c…….., 2a, 2b, 2c,…….., etc.  That is a lot of envelopes and each one ended up with four of its labelled block, one for each quarter of the quilt.  A shoebox is nice to keep them all corralled.  Once organized like this I was able to take my box of completed blocks to Quilt Camp and put it all together without having to think very hard.  Even so, when I got home I noticed 4 blocks either in the wrong place or turned 90º or 180º.  Yes, I had to haul out the seam ripper, turn, and restitch.  I think I had to make one block over again from scratch, but considering that I had 288 blocks all together it could have been worse.

Once complete, I added a seaworthy fabric as a frame.  The quilting is an edge-to-edge ocean wave sort of design.  See, I am getting better.  I tried a new pattern for my quilting and got lots of practice doing a simple, curvy design so I could concentrate on moving my quilt around and keeping my stitches even….and I didn't even have to mark the quilting lines after practicing on scraps.

The quilt blocks are not hard, but you just have to be careful putting them together right.  See the many variations of this design on Pinterest.  You can get a free pattern here or you can draw your own as I did.

TIP:  Color or mark your paper foundation to make sure you are putting the right color in the right place.  I print out my foundations with about 40% color opacity so I am sure to grab the right fabric as I am piecing. 

TIP:  Organization is critical for a quilt like this.  If you look closely, blocks with the same basic design often have colors placed differently.

TIP:  Check twice or more before sewing the pieces together.  It is too easy to get one of them turned.

TIP:  Watch your points so you don't clip them off as you sew the seams.   

TIP:  Practice your quilting.  It is the only way to improve.

1 comment:

  1. The Storm at Sea is on my Quilting Bucket List. I want to make one someday. Despite your claims the color is washed out, I still think it is beautiful. It's amazing how different each quilt can look based on color placement. Yours is stunning.