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.

Spoondrift Block of the Month

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…

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
Janet Clare

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.

Ebb and Flow Fabric Swatches
Spoondrift fabric swatches: 1. Cowes Pearl 2. Cowes Dark Ocean 3. Cowes Ocean 4. Cowes Sky 5. Ships Sand 6. Woven Texture Ocean 7. Seabirds Pearl 8. Seabirds Sky 9. Seabirds Sand 10. Seaweed Pearl 11. Seaweed Ocean 12. Woven Texture Pearl 13. Seaweed Sky 14. Seaweed Sand 15. Starfish Pearl 16. Starfish Dark Ocean 17. Starfish Ocean 18. Woven Texture Sand 19. Stripe Pearl 20. Stripe Dark Pearl 21. Stripe Dark Ocean 22. Stripe Sand 23. Ships Pearl 24. Woven Texture Sky 25. Ships Dark Ocean 26. Ships Sand 27. Whales Pearl 28. Whales Ocean 29. Whales Sky 30. Woven Texture Dark Ocean

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)
  • 3yard Cowes – Sky (1480-23)
  • ¼ yard Cowes – Sand (1480-24)
  • 2yard Seabirds– Pearl (1481-19)
  • ¼ yard Seabirds – Sky (1481-23)
  • ¼ yard Seabirds – Sand (1481-24)
  • 3yard Seaweed – Pearl (1483-19)
  • 3yard Seaweed – Ocean (1483-21)
  • ¼ yard Seaweed – Sand (1483-24)
  • 2yard Starfish – Pearl (1484-19)
  • 1yard Starfish – Dark Ocean (1484-20)
  • 1yard Starfish – Ocean (1484-22)
  • 1 yard Stripe – Pearl (1485-21)
  • 1yard 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)
  • 1yard Woven Texture – Pearl (1357-17)

Backing and wadding

  • 43yards backing fabric (one horizontal seam)
  • 73in x 80in wadding

Spoondrift Quilt Block library

Sailing Boat quilt block
Sailing Boat quilt block, issue 55

Sailing Boat

Find this design in issue 55 of Today’s Quilter.

Anyone for fussy-cut ships? Us please! Issue 55

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.

Seagulls quilt block
Seagulls, issue 56

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!
Star Quilt Block Spoondrift BOM
Block 4: Scrappy Star Quilt Block, issue 56

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.

Hope Anchors the Soul Quilt Block
Hope Anchors the Soul, issue 57

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. 

Chequerboard quilt block
Square Knot, issue 57

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.

Beach huts quilt block
Piece a row of patchwork beach huts, issue 58

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.

Diamond seashore quilt block
Time and Tide Quilt Block, issue 58

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.

Block of the month seaweed applique
Seaweed quilt block, issue 59

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.

morse code spoondrift blocks
Morse Code Block, issue 59

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 spoondrift block

British Isles, issue 60


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.

compass spoondrift bloc
Compass Block, issue 60

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.

whales spoondrift block
Whales Block, issue 61

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. 

portholes spoondrift block
Portholes Block, issue 61

Portholes Block

Use the quick and easy ‘stitch and flip’ method to create this unique block from issue 61 of Today’s Quilter.

lighthouse spoondrift block
Lighthouse Block, issue 62

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.

Young Man’s Fancy Block, issue 62
Young Man’s Fancy Block, issue 62

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.


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.

Todays Quilter Boats quilt block pattern
Fishing boats, issue 65

Last quilt block

The blocks in our final instalment are inspired by nautical alphabet flags.

Spoon drift coastal quilt block pattern
Signature Block, issue 66

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: janet@janetclare.co.uk  and see more of her work at www.janetclare.co.uk  or in instagram @Janeteclare 

Janet Clare - Headshot