Making a beach art quilt

As the fall arrives and summer winds down, I find myself thinking about images that relax me.  I just finished this art quilt in early September.  It transports me back to quiet afternoons at Long Beach Island in NJ with my family or visits to the Outer Banks in NC.  Beaches are universal.  

After creating art quilts for many years, I have collected more fabric than I ever thought possible.  I have several bins of just these colors for beach quilts!  Big bins!!  The colors of water and sky explore many different blues.  The colors of the sky do the same.  It is so much fun to experiment with different combinations and different perspectives.

This year I have made quite a few very large quilts, the size you need over a fireplace or Queen/King bed.  With this quilt I went with a more normal wall art size of 24″H x 25.5″W.  My design and piecing is all curved piecing (see previous blog posts for how to do curved piecing).  The layering of color and design of the different fabrics gives depth and texture to these otherwise two dimensional art quilts.

As you can tell from the number on this quilt, this is my 20th ocean/dunes quilt.  Usually I quilt this design with a lazy free motion wavy line over most if not all of the quilt.  This time I decided to use different free motion designs in the foreground beach/sand part of the quilt.  I also used a different free motion design for the sky.  You can see these different stitches in the second photo in this blog post.

14 Responses

  1. Hi Sharon
    I really love the quilt above and would like to try making a similar one myself. I’m quite new to quilting so I’m not really sure how to start. Do you start with a piece of fabric and put pieces on the top? Do you cut curved pieces of fabric & stitch them together before placing, or do you use the over stitching to hold them in place?
    I don’t have lots of fabric so am planning to buy some, but I wondered if I could paint some cotton fabric to get a variety of tones of blue/ sand colours.
    I’d be very grateful for any advice.
    Kind regards, Louise.

    1. I make my quilts by sewing curved strips together using a wallpaper cut technique. Google on line for sewing curved piecing. For beach quilts I usually piece the water, the sky, and the beach separately and then join them. Often I lay out the different fabrics in the order I want to use them though I often amend my plan as I go. I work with wider strips, usually 2-3 inches. I do one wallpaper cut between two fabrics, sew together, press, then cut the curved edge of the second piece and lay it on top of the next piece and do the wallpaper cut, sew, press and repeat.

      Try a few pieces to get the feel for curved piecing.

  2. Hi Sharon
    Thank you so much for your speedy response. I’ll try what you recommend.

  3. Hi Sharon
    I am new to this technique and I have no idea what a wallpaper cut is! I did some landscape wall quilts in the early 80s but it was applique in layers and the pieces ended up crazy stiff. Your work is beautiful and inspiring

    1. I just did a blog on curved piecing using the wallpaper cut technique this fall so check back in the blog postings. I agree that the fusing material can make everything very stiff and much harder to quilt nicely. Let me know if you can’t find it. It should be very recent.

  4. This quilt is so beautiful and I am inspired to try one. I’ve read through most of your blog posts and will search curved piecing and wallpaper cut technique as I have never tried this before.
    What is the largest size you have been able to create as a landscape quilt?
    To do a large wall hanging do you piece the strips together, or go with the width of the fabric?
    Your work is beautiful!

    1. Thank you for your comment. I once made a very wide landscape quilt, which was composed of three pieces, called a Triptyk. I believe it was over 80” in width. The design flowed from one piece to the next. It was a landscape with mountains in the background, trees in the foreground and center of the quilt. There was a stream in it. When it comes to the question of the size of the strips that I use, mostly I make do with whatever size I have but definitely I do not have a piece that goes across the whole three quilts in a landscape design. Usually the longest piece of fabric is probably 30 to 35 inches but most are smaller in length.

      smaller in length.

      1. I just checked the pictures that are in the custom quilt gallery where you should look on this website. You can see a couple different triptyks of landscapes. Some of the larger ones were 48” wide and over 50” wide.

    1. I am taking very few custom orders and have some busy months coming up. But I do not have a beach quilt in my shop at this time and had already prioritized it as the next quilt. I will create a beach quilt like the one you like and give you first chance for the purchase once it is done but I can’t give you a good sense of when it will be done. My guess is by the end of June.

      When I make custom quilts using a previous quilt as a guide, I try to find similar colors but that isn’t always possible. Finding the exact fabrics is definitely not possible. It will be similar in design and color.

      Let me know if this will work for you. The size will be similar at 24″ x 24″ which will cost about $340. Thank you for your request.

  5. I’m new at this although I made a quilt about ten years ago for my MN granddaughter.
    Subsequently I challenged myself to make a stars and galaxy quilt for my 14 year old grandson’s birthday.
    Now my 16 yr old grandson wants a quilt with deep sea waves and ocean life primarily in greens and blues. HELP!
    I need help to find where I can purchase tutorials on how to cut curved ocean waves, sew and sea life.

    My sewing machine is on its last leg,

    1. You can check in my blog here for tips on sewing curves. You will need a reliable sewing machine and a walking foot to do this type of sewing. There are many videos on line about piecing curves too.

Leave a Reply