Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Pier #1: A Finished Quilt

I made three especially meaningful quilts this summer. Since they were meant for certain people and purposes, I could only reveal small bits and pieces of the actual process - or else the surprise would be ruined. So, just for the record, they did not just get finished super quickly! They were done in small spurts of time over a period of weeks or months. I'm really passionate about sharing about the process, but for these, I just couldn't reveal much. Fortunately, the payoff of surprise was worth it. :)

The first of three quilts that I got to gift was in planning mode since January. As I've mentioned before, my parents recently moved from our home state of NJ to South Carolina and bought a brand new house down there. I was fortunate to be able to visit them for a week at the end of June, right after school let out. It was the perfect time to get this quilt finished and gift it to them - a long, summery, beachy wall-hanging meant for their new living room.

My mom is a big fan of handmade and owns many of my pillows and quilts (remember this quilt story from November?). I mean, who better to give quilts to than your mom, right? She also LOVES taking pictures of the SC scenery. In their first months, Mom sent me many (many) pictures of this beautiful pier on Pawleys Island.

I was immediately inspired by the way the wood intersects and changes (perfect for some slice-and-insert, no?) - and couldn't wait to take more pictures of my own from a variety of angles. Pawleys Island, which is just minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the touristy Myrtle Beach area, truly feels like the end of the world. I could have stayed there all day (though, that wind was something).

Peekaboo. It was very windy. I accidentally got this video of my mom, and I kind of love it.

I set out to capture the particular way the pier, from this angle, progresses from just a few intersecting beams to many. This quilt is Pier #1 because I hope to make a few more inspired by the pier. I took a LOT of pictures, which would mean an even longer blog post, so for now, I'm going to save them for the next quilt!

Mom wanted blues and purples for her living room, so I used several shades of ColorWorks Premium Solids (plus white and gray neutrals). Northcott Fabrics had just sent me a variety solids to play with, and I had just enough (and the right colors somehow!) to create a long wall-hanging; it seemed meant to be. I always love the bold colors and silky feel Northcott offers. Thank you, Northcott!

The piecing required lots of slicing and piecing of neutrals, and I tried not to be too exact about it - more fun that way. :) The background is made up of lots of colors to mirror an ever-changing sky and ocean.

I quilted with a variety of techniques using both Aurifil on my machine and perle cotton by hand. In order to enhance the design of the quilt, I quilted long, extending lines alongside and in between the diagonal wood, all the way into the "sky" and "ocean " (the latter was pieced with improvised curves). Then, just because I love hand quilting now, too, I added in several lines. This detail really made the quilt for me, and it was a perfect, portable project to finish up as I traveled from NJ to Myrtle Beach. Yay, texture.

 I realized after quilting that I had basted the back upside down - whoops. That's okay, though. I used an extra block from the front (it was going to be way too big) and pieced large scraps around it. Then, I sewed on the label and hanging sleeve. Mom promises she's going to hang it up soon, and I'll certainly share a picture on Instagram when she does. 

A happy mom. So I'm happy, too. I hope to keep on making meaningful quilts for a long time.

Full disclosure: Northcott Fabrics sent me ColorWorks Premium Solids to sew with, which are used on the front of this project. All opinions are honest and my own.


  1. I love the variation in the blocks and background, but I especially love how happy your mom looks to be the recipient of this gift. The hand quilting adds a perfect finishing detail.

  2. This is really lovely Jessica! I love the inspiration piece, how you interpreted the design, the palette, etc. Lovely!

  3. BEAUTIFUL -- the quilt, the smiles, the purpose and intent. Meaningful quilts are THE BEST!

  4. I grew up spending so much time on a pier on the West Coast--shout out to Huntington Beach--and I L-O-V-E this quilt!

  5. I loved this when I saw it on Instagram and I love hearing about the process of making it, too. It's wonderful to see your mom's excitement as she holds up the quilt!

  6. Thank you for sharing such a personal story. Beautiful quilt photographed with it's inspiration and it's recipient. A very happy read :-)

  7. Thanks so much for sharing your inspiration and process in making this gorgeous quilt. Truly, Quilts = Love!

  8. Making for Mom is the best! She looks very happy with her new quilt, which is beautifully done (as always!) :)


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