18 quilt blocks that are inspired by the sea
Janet Clare tell us why she themed her new Block of the Month series of quilt blocks on ocean scenes and shades. Her designs are being featured each month in Today's Quilter magazine. Read on to see her designs so far and find out everything you need to know to sew along.
Could this be the most soothing quilt to sew ever? Janet Clare's new Spoondrift series was launched in Autumn 2019 in issue 55 of Today's Quilter. We're sharing her beautiful, seashore-inspired quilt blocks in this gallery post, and you can also find all the fabric requirements and issues you need to collect to make this project.
“I grew up on the coast, not far from the white cliffs of Dover, and I’m very familiar with ‘spoondrift’," explains Janet, "although I didn’t know there was an actual name for it until very recently. I have always loved being by the sea; not on hot, busy days, but on the blustery, windswept and bracing ones when we have the place to ourselves and come home feeling exhilarated with rosy cheeks and cold toes."
More quilts to explore...
- 6 of the best Baltimore Album quilts
- Explore our collection of free quilt patterns
- Appliqué flowers Block of the month
The blocks in this gallery below are all designed by Janet Clare and made by Pippa Cockhead.
Every few seasons, I design a fabric collection full of boats, whales and gulls in my favourite indigo, blue and cream colour palette, and so here is ‘Ebb and Flow’, all ready to be made into ‘Spoondrift’, a quilt inspired by our cherished, carefree days by the sea
Want to make Janet's Spoondrift quilt?
Spoondrift is made with a variety of techniques, including hand and machine piecing, fusible appliqué and embroidery. Some blocks will be easy and some not so much! The designs for these quilt blocks are featured across several issues of Today's Quilter magazine. We've included links to buy the issues for your favourite blocks, or to complete your set, below. You can also get the issues digitally for your phone, tablet or computer.
How many blocks will there be?
There will be two blocks a month for twelve months, with the setting shown in month thirteen. One setting for the finished quilt will be approximately 65” x 72”. Janet’s quilt features indigo, blue, grey, cream and sand coloured fabrics from her collection Ebb and Flow for Moda, but you can easily choose your own using the colour swatches below.
About the finished quilt
- Block size: 12” square
- Finished quilt size: approximately 65” x 72”
You will need
The fabric requirements that follow are for the main quilt setting. Be as thrifty as possible when cutting your fabrics and keep all your scraps, as they may well be useful in later blocks!
Ebb and Flow fabric from Moda is available to buy in Janet’s Etsy shop.
To piece the blocks
- ¼ yard Woven Texture – Dark Ocean (1357-11)
- ¼ yard Cowes – Dark Ocean (1480-20)
- ½ yard Cowes – Ocean (1480-21)
- 3⁄8 yard Cowes – Sky (1480-23)
- ¼ yard Cowes – Sand (1480-24)
- 2⁄3 yard Seabirds– Pearl (1481-19)
- ¼ yard Seabirds – Sky (1481-23)
- ¼ yard Seabirds – Sand (1481-24)
- 3⁄8 yard Seaweed – Pearl (1483-19)
- 3⁄8 yard Seaweed – Ocean (1483-21)
- ¼ yard Seaweed – Sand (1483-24)
- 2⁄3 yard Starfish – Pearl (1484-19)
- 1⁄3 yard Starfish – Dark Ocean (1484-20)
- 1⁄3 yard Starfish – Ocean (1484-22)
- 1 yard Stripe – Pearl (1485-21)
- 1⁄3 yard Stripe – Dark Ocean (1485-23)
- ¼ yard Stripe – Sand (1485-25)
- 1 yard Ships – Pearl (1486-11)
- ½ yard Ships – Dark Ocean (1486-12)
To piece sashing and bind
- 1½ yards Woven Texture – Dark Ocean (1357-11)
- 1⁄3 yard Woven Texture – Pearl (1357-17)
Backing and wadding
- 43⁄8 yards backing fabric (one horizontal seam)
- 73in x 80in wadding
Spoondrift Quilt Block library
1. Sailing Boat
Find this design in issue 55 of Today's Quilter.
2. Diamonds Block
Sail away and follow Janet’s fabric choices or pave your own palette with a mix match of fabrics from the collection. Find this Diamonds block in issue 55 of Today's Quilter.
3. Three Gulls
Appliqué a trio of seagulls with the third block in Janet's Spoondrift series. Find the instructions for how to make it in issue 56 of Today's Quilter magazine.
I do have a soft spot for gulls, even though they can be irritating when you’re sitting on the beach trying to eat your fish and chips in peace!
4. Star Quilt Block
Use up the rest of those leftover scraps for some halfsquare triangles to create this simple yet stellar star block. Find out how to piece it in issue 56 of Today's Quilter.
5. Hope Anchors the Soul
“I’m fond of the quote ‘Hope anchors the soul’ as it reminds me to focus on the positives; hope holds us steady and keeps us feeling settled, which is just what we need.” You can find the pattern in issue 57 of Today's Quilter.
6. Square Knot chequerboard quilt block
If you're using directional prints for this block, featured in issue 57 of Today's Quilter, refer to the image to determine whether to cut rectangles horizontally or vertically.
7. Beach huts quilt block
“Ah, beach huts… somewhere to eat cake with a lovely cup of tea and an uninterrupted view of the sea. Long summer days at the seaside are even more splendid!” Find the instructions for how to make this quilt block in issue 58 of Today's Quilter magazine.
8. Time and Tide
This block sings in Ebb and Flow fabric and captures the feeling of swelling and receding tides. Find out how to make it in issue 58 of Today's Quilter.
9. Appliqué Seaweed
Sew this whimsical quilt block that evokes memories of beach-combing and rock-pooling. Find the instructions for how to sew this soothing seaweed quilt block in issue 59 of Today's Quilter.
10. Morse Code Block
Leave a message for someone special and embroider your own secret message in morse code with issue 59's quilt block.
British Isles, issue 60
11. British Isles Block
Just two prints are needed for this applique map of the British Isles. Why not make it a treasure map with a touch of embroidery – X marks the spot! Issue 60 of Today's Quilter features this block.
12. Compass Block
Every sailor needs a compass, and every quilter needs to make a Mariner’s Compass block. Use foundation piecing to create those sharp points. Issue 60 of Today's Quilter features this block.
13. Whales Block
I’ve never actually seen a whale in real life but they fascinate me and seeing one would be a dream come true. Maybe one day? However, we do have a nice family tradition of visiting the whale in the Natural History museum every single time we are there. Block in issue 61 of Today's Quilter.
14. Portholes Block
Use the quick and easy ‘stitch and flip’ method to create this unique block from issue 61 of Today's Quilter.
15. Lighthouse Block
I can only imagine the reassurance a lighthouse gives to those at sea. Use fusible applique to stitch your own lighthouse. Featured in issue 62 of Today's Quilter.
16. Young Man’s Fancy Block
Combine four-patches, half-square triangle and rectangles for this interesting block. Featured in issue 62 of Today's Quilter.
17. Fishing boats
Land ahoy! Combine appliqué shapes with nautical fabrics to piece this fishing boats quilt bloc, featured in issue 65 of Today's Quilter.
18. Last quilt block
The blocks in our final instalment are inspired by nautical alphabet flags.
Meet the designer
After completing a degree in fashion and textiles, Janet worked as a freelance designer for many years. Janet also creates lively designs for quilts and stitcheries that combine her unique joint appliqué templates and free-motion drawing technique. As an experienced speaker and teacher, Janet regularly host talks and workshops focusing on the design process and creative techniques. She’s also written five books, including Freya and Fred, Hearty Good Wishes, A Field Guide, Home Quilt Home and The Wordsmith. You can get in touch with Janet by emailing her at: email@example.com and see more of her work atwww.janetclare.co.uk or on instagram @Janeteclare
Having worked in the publishing industry for almost 20 years, Fiona has worked in most positions, from sub editor working up to becoming editor of Today’s Quilter. Working with experts like Lin Clements and Laura Pritchard plus incredibly talented designers on Today’s Quilter magazine, Fiona has learnt everything she know about the wonderful world of quilting. Every day she picks up new skills and can’t wait to see what else she’ll learn and what projects she’ll make in the future.