I just got back from a weeklong beach vacation in North Carolina’s Outer Banks and I am tanned, rested and ready! Well, “tanned” may not be entirely accurate; “sunburnt in some spots, more freckled in others” is more like it.
But I am definitely in a summer vacation state of mind and I want to extend it to all areas of my life, especially since the hottest days of the season are still to come, which is when my quilting mojo usually takes a vacation of its own.
If you’re like me and your quilting slows down as the weather heats up, here are some beach-inspired projects and tutorials that will let you have some summer fun at your sewing machine while still letting you have plenty of time to get out and enjoy the sun.
Speaking of the Outer Banks, enjoy life’s simple pleasures with the laid-back Pamlico Sound table runner. Simple strip-piecing techniques are all you need to add add a relaxing and tranquil piece of decor to your home.
The Pamlico Sound kit includes the pattern as well as blue and green Artisan Spirit Dreamscapes prints by Ira Kennedy for Northcott for the top, binding and backing for the table runner shown, also available from quiltandsewshop.com.
I have never been lucky enough to find actual sea glass on a beach, but I just might make the easy Sea Glass throw quilt to make up for the real thing. Soft pastels against crisp, bright white mimic the look of sea glass against the pale sand. You can find the pattern for download at quiltandsewshop.com.
To watch a Sea Glass quilt video tutorial, visit QNNtv.com and register for the free video series “My First Quilt” with Sara Gallegos; here’s a quick preview of the full tutorial:
Beach Glass is a soothing, cottage-chic throw quilt by Joyce Robinson that features a novel technique for even faster sewing: the free-motion machine quilting serves double duty as machine applique to stitch the raw-edged batik patches in place. The pattern is available as a digital download from quiltandsewshop.com. (The pattern also includes some of Joyce’s tips on working with and handling white fabric so it will stay white, which isn’t always easy.)
Beach Ball Bounce is a fun, easy throw quilt pattern that was included in Fons & Porter’s Quilting Quickly Summer ’14 issue. The pattern is also available as a digital download from shopfonsandporter.com.
Be sure to check out the video tutorial below for a great demonstration of curved piecing—it’s not scary, I promise!
Beach Balls, designed by Kelly Eisinger, is a modern take on a classic hexagon quilt. Once you make the template-pieced hexie blocks, all you need to do is piece the background with a variety of pastel or neutral textures.
For yet another approach to making quilted beach balls, check out the whimsical Just Beachy placemats and matching mini mat by Patrick Lose. The full pattern is available as a digital download from shopfonsandporter.com.
Patrick showed Marianne Fons his raw-edge applique techniques for making this project on an episode of “Love of Quilting,” which is included in the DVD set for the 2700 series of the show, available from shopfonsandporter.com; watch the short preview below.
Patrick designed a similar project as the July entry in his Blocks for All Seasons kits. In addition to the appliqued beach ball, this mini quilt features a pair of appliqued sunglasses and a wavy border. This kit is currently on sale from quiltandsewshop.com for $14.99, $10 off the original price, making it a great little project for fast summer sewing.
I really could have used a good beach tote on our recent trip, particularly on the day when my daughters, sister-in-law and I got caught in a sudden downpour on our way back to the rental house and all of a sudden my daughters were rendered incapable of carrying anything at all. I will not make that mistake in the future! Next time I will come prepared with a tote large enough for water bottles, my phone, sunblock and a towel or two.
Not only does the Beach Tote by Debra Finan measure 14″ wide x 14-1/2″ high x 8-1/2″ deep, but the pattern is precut-friendly, which would allow me to put summery 5″ squares and 2-1/2″ strips to great use. The pattern is available as a digital download from shopfonsandporter.com. Learn even more about the Beach Tote bag by watching the video tutorial below.
I like working seasonally—I find it hard to want to sew Halloween projects before the 4th of July, for example—but that means my seasonal projects have to go together quickly so I can get them done before the next season arrives. I hope these easy projects and techniques will let you beat the heat and enjoy cool ocean breezes, no matter where your summer vacation or staycation plans may take you!