Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sea Dreams Wall Hanging {Modern Mini Quilt Challenge}

It's that time of year once again, and I am so glad that this year I have a mini to enter into the Modern Mini Quilt Challenge at Ellison Lane! The contest runs until June 19th, so be sure to go browse all the entries and enter you own mini.

The rules of the challenge state the the mini quilt must have been finished in the past 6 months, be under 24" square, and have used at least one new-to-you technique, and this mini fits the bill perfectly.  I was really excited when I saw the first post about the challenge because it gave me a chance to do a proper post on this little wall hanging.  I never got good pictures back in February when I finished it, what with the weather and the rush to get it done for the baby shower, so it never got the debut it deserved.

This mini is meant to be a wall hanging; I call it "Sea Dreams". It was a baby shower present for a friend expecting her second son. She decided to keep the ocean nursery theme from her first baby and I couldn't have been happier with that ! (You can see the sea-life mobile I made for her first baby here.)

This whole design started when I fell in love with the Constellations fabrics and started thinking about how to use them in a present for this baby.  I wanted the design to be a little whimsical and appropriate for a baby, but also to be able to grow with him and something his parents would appreciate.  I also wanted to incorporate some real nautical-ness (is that a word?) into it.

Sunset over the Pacific
I LOVE the ocean.  I have stood watch the deck of a sailing ship at night and listened to the lines creak and the gentle slosh of the waves going on for miles and watched the stars turn overhead while the rest of the crew sleeps.  I've never felt as connected as I do at sea, and I wanted this quilt to have a little bit of that flavor to it.

Sunrise, the water is so calm
The flags flying from the boat are maritime signal flags.  Each flag represents a letter of the alphabet, or they can be used alone or in combinations to stand for other words or phrases. I used a few references (one handy translator is here) to make sure I had the letters/flags I wanted.  Reading from top to bottom, the flags spell out the name of the new baby: "C-H-R-I-S".  Each flag finished at just 1" square.  I made them using sort of a mini pillowcase method and then top-stitched around the edge.

The flags are tied with black thread to a line of seine twine, a kind of tarred, synthetic line used on boats. This little piece was one of a few that found their way back from the boats with me in my pockets and in the bottom of my bag.  I tied stopper knots on both ends and tacked it down to the quilt. 

The tiny piecing on the flags was a learning experience for sure and it will be a while before I try to tackle something that small again.

The boat I freehanded onto iron on transfer.  After ironing down the fabric to the background sky and waves I blanket stitched around the edge.

The easy-curves piecing on the waves was, as promised, surprisingly easy!  I pulled out my stack of blue solids and improved my way through the waves, choosing what would come next and where to make the waves crest and dip as I went.  The patterned fabric I used in the waves is called "Supernova" but when I look at it I see the star and moonlight sparkling reflections on the water.

I opted not to quilt the mini beyond stitch-in-the-ditch and a few scattered stars hidden in the star field so as not to overwhelm the design.

I always have at least one kitty helper with pictures
This is my original design
Measures 16"x24" (barely within the size limit, whew!)
Batting is Warm and Natural
 New-to-me techniques were easy curves (for the waves) + 3D pieced elements (the flags)

Thank you to Jennifer for hosting, and thank you to Lea, Chris' mama, for letting me borrow his present back to take pictures of it.  Baby Chris arrived in April and he is the most precious thing :)

Also linking to Finish it Friday.


  1. that's so clever! The flags are brilliant :-)

  2. So beautiful! I love the three dimensional flags. Very nicely done!

  3. Love this - very creative and a lovely gift.

  4. 3D quilts are so much fun. The waves are awesome!

  5. Oh wow! What a beautiful quilt! I love the waves and the flags.

  6. This is so adorable! The tiny flags on the boat and the constellation fabric in the sky were strokes of genius!

  7. What an awesome creative quilt!! Love the constellations. Truly a work of art.

  8. Awww...so sweet of you to make this for your friend:) the flags are my favorite part! Great job!

  9. This is amazing! Like everybody else I love the little flags. You have a lucky friend!

  10. What a wonderful quilt, I love the little flags!

  11. Cute, cute, cute! I have a friend who is thinking about a sailboat quilt and I sent her to the Modern Mini and pointed out your number. I love the way you used every fabric here, and the little flags are just the best thing.

  12. Such a clever quilt and I love the flags! The constellation fabric was perfect for the sky too. Thanks for entering the Modern Mini Challenge!

  13. I just pinned this. I love it. I love the way you did the waves.

  14. Love your fabric choices! And it's a really beautiful wallhanging!

  15. What a lovely gift to receive. I clicked on the link just because I thought it was a cute wall hanging, but I love the extra special details you've included, like the flags coming out from the quilt and that they spell the baby's name, and that the boat picture actually includes a real piece of boat!