Beach quilt in the making

Pantone sun  | One English TeacherRemember the Pantone quilt still waiting to be quilted?

My sister said a few weeks before I posted it that she’d never want a quilt because quilts aren’t her thing. But, then I released this one, and she said, “Why couldn’t you make it bigger? I want one for the beach. It looks so modern.” And, so, I embarked on my first custom quilt order.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, my sister and I went out fabric shopping. We started by finding one more solid and one nearly solid to pair with solid background fabric I ordered for her during an online clearance. I now have a crush on Michael Miller’s Painter’s Canvas. My sister got some for her project, and I picked up two yards for my own project (my only fabric purchase of the day).

I was worried that my sister had seen some hotel curtain fabric that she liked and that she had a vision in her mind that we couldn’t achieve. We started pulling fabrics though, and her wheels started to spin. First, she had to decide whether to go towards blue or teal. Then, she had to decide how much green, if any, to bring in. She was starting to pile up fabrics with a geometric vibe to them, and I was getting excited because they were fabrics that I would have picked and loved. Then, we went down an aisle lined with batiks on one side, and it was as if my sister had spotted fabric heaven. She went nuts. We all know the feeling — we find a bolt of fabric and could just stand there and pet it all day and maybe even give it a name. All the geometrics except for one bolt of ridiculously wonderful Mormor fabric that she couldn’t bear to give up went back to the shelves.

Jillian's quilt layoutI’m normally not a fan of batiks, but my sister’s enthusiasm was contagious, and like I said, she does have an eye for color. I’m loving the beach vibe of this quilt. After my mom joined us for the weekend, we threw the background fabric on the floor, and my sister and mom started deciding how to lay out the squares. My only jobs were to cut fabric and to explain how to read a pattern (sort of). They ensuing scenario was hilarious. I explained that I would have to cut the background fabric into over 100 tiny pieces before I could start piecing everything back together. The response I got was, “What. Why can’t you just take your machine and zip over all these pieces? Zip, zip, zip. That seems way easier.” I don’t think they’ll be taking quilting lessons anytime soon…

It felt really weird not to select colors or have any say in the layout. My sister was very specific about how she wanted things done.

Jillian closeup block

A few of the blocks even had directional squares pieces that my sister wants a certain way in the quilt, so I have a series of this type of photo in my camera with a number assigned to the block and a close-up to remember which way to piece the fabric.

Now my sister will most likely be slightly less quick to harass me about my fabric purchases since she knows what it’s like not to be able to put something back on the shelf, and spending the day designing a quilt with two of the women I love best in the world was a nice way to spend the holiday. The quilt is all tucked into numbered folders organized by block, but that’s as far as it got since I have to cut out hundreds of tiny pieces of background fabric…

Linking up at Work in Progress Wednesday since I’ve finally got a project underway!


11 thoughts on “Beach quilt in the making

  1. What a wonderful thing to have your sister be so excited about a quilt to ask you to make her one! Your description of her in the fabric store was so fun. My DDIL did something like that when I took her into look for fabrics. Once she saw all the choices, she realized they wouldn’t work for the quilt she wanted. After that she chose another pattern. I can imagine your Mom’s and sister’s faces when you said you had to cut the background in to 100 pieces! Priceless!

  2. Non-quilters have no idea what we do and how those pretty quilts get that way. Thanks for sharing the experience.

  3. How fantastic to be able to find something that really spoke to your sister. And I snorted tea through my nose when I read the “zip, zip, zip” comment. I kind of like it when someone is really particular about what they want – at least if I can achieve what they request I know they will love it! At the same time it is terrifying and I worry that I will inadvertently do something they really dislike! Good luck getting it all cut up and put back together – it is going to be a beautiful beach blanket!

  4. I loved reading about your experience. It will be a beautiful quilt. It is so nice to know they will love the finished product, even if they don’t understand everything that goes into it.

  5. You are a great sister and I can’t wait for my quilt! (Although you’ve made it clear that I have to wait due to the 100s of little pieces and blah blah blah.) Also: I feel you should have clarified that I will be painting walls in your new house until infinity to thank you…

  6. What a fun experience to get to pick out fabric and work on the quilt design with your sister! I hope my sister comes to me one day and wants to do something similar. 🙂 These colors are perfect for the beach and she’s going to love it!

  7. I love this pattern and color scheme! Looks like it will make a great beach quilt, I’m sure your sister will love it. I’m looking forward to seeing how you finish it–I’ve been wanting to make a beach quilt, but I’m not sure how to finish it, will you use regular batting/backing or do anything special to make it ‘beach ready’?

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