Thursday, April 9, 2020

Storm at Sea March Challenge for Island Batik

Well, I have a flimsy. Finally! This is also going to be my OMG post. Yes, it is too late for the linky, but no matter, as I am declaring it the big goal for April regardless.
This morning it was literally hanging by a thread, well several, on my design wall. I usually put quilt tops together using the Book it! Method which you can find through that link. It keeps everything wonderfully in order, and order is essential in this complex pattern. Good grief; I did not realize that that is the first tutorial I wrote on this blog! January 6, 2014.
The swirly shot...

Thank you so very much to Island BatikAurifilSchmetz Needles, and AccuQuilt for supplying fabric, thread, needles, and the Storm at Sea Block on Board die which was used in constructing the quilt. The BOB die means with one pass you can cut all the patches for the block.

As you know, this quilt has taken me quite a while to piece. We had size requirements this month, 45" x 60", and it had to use the AccuQuilt Block On Board die we received. It had to "be the primary block used in the project and should be mostly recognizable." I'd originally sketched in EQ8 a 5x5 grid. Then I found out that the block would only finish at 9", so that would be too small, and 5x7 wouldn't look it had to be a 6x7 grid. That meant 42 blocks, and a quilt that would be 54" x 63".

Each block has 28 pieces. So yup, this quilt has 1176 pieces in it. The die saved a ton of time cutting, and for that I am eternally grateful. It does, as I've always said, waste more fabric than had I cut the pieces myself. I had to cut some of them myself due to not enough fabric, so I used die-cut patches as templates.

The overwhelming majority were die cut.

Place fabric.
Place plastic cover on top of fabric (which is on top of the die).
Roll the crank.
Presto! Six layers deep of perfectly cut patches.

And what I also do love, which makes the bit of fabric waste angst disappear, is all the points are cut so it's super-simple to line odd angles up, and nothing to trim off!

Inspector Rufus-approved! Actually, let's be honest; he's got his eye on Bella's two fish toys.

Okay, ready to see the actual quilt?

On the design wall this afternoon, nice and bright sunny day, but the colours, especially the navy and dark purple, don't show up well.

Just before that photo, I was giving it a final press. Stepped away from the pressing end of my table, came back to see this!
Every. Single. Quilt.

So I shooed her off, finished the pressing, and knew that these fabrics need to shine outside to show their true beauty:
All of the fabrics I used, but for the heart, were from the Basics and Blenders lines. We got a half yard of twelve. I used five of them along with white and a delicious neutral called Whip Cream. In my 5" strips packages, I had one pink, and a pinkish-red. The brown you may notice is from Bubbles - Nutmeg that coordinates with the Santa Fe line of 2.5" strips that I also received in the January box.

I originally wanted to put a whale on this quilt, because of the plight of the Right whale here in Canadian waters, but also the plight of whales worldwide. I absolutely loved Dione's Seahorse quilt she did last year, and well, you know how I love layers in quilts.

And then the unthinkable happened:  on Dayna's first day of working from home, March 16, she and Tyler lost their darling dog, Penny.Two grand mal seizures, just tragic, unreal. A sweet, two-year-old dog - how can, why can it have happened? You may remember we looked after her at Christmas while Dayna and Tyler were in Alberta.
She decided she liked to perch, cat-like, on the arm of our loveseat. Good vantage out of the window, and the loveseat is rather tattered, so no worries. Oh those ears!💖

Over the only eight months that they were Penny's parents, we all were privileged to see the inherent goodness in dogs. Particularly in pitbulls, who get so grossly and wrongly maligned and mistreated, yet still just love, and want to be loved by, people. Penny had been a stray on the streets of Detroit, clearly abused, in terrible shape when first picked up. She and Dayna found each other when Penny was out on a neighbourhood walk with her foster mama, their paths literally crossed, and the rest was history. She was just so sweet, just a darling. I still am angry that this happened, not to the blind rage against The Universe as I was during the first week, but still do not understand why. Why period, but why then, when we'd closed the border, so I was unable to be with Dayna, why, when they'd done everything right giving this little girl the best life, why make my own girl so profoundly sad... I know it's the stages of grief, I know them well over the past not quite three years, and I know healing does happen, but I still ask why. I know reading Carry On, Warrior has helped; Glennon Doyle writes of grief and hurt and life not being easy because we wouldn't learn and grow, and we always do find room in our heart to love again, despite feeling nope, ain't gonna happen. Ever.

So I had thought I'd be making another Grace quilt, another one with a broken heart edge as opposed to just the half heart that I'd hoped, and still hope to make one day. Interestingly, Dayna was in Alberta giving her friend the Grace quilt at Christmas. That friend who lost her baby has been a tremendous help and comfort to Dayna in her loss. Prior to this tragedy, I had done a Google image search of Storm at Sea quilts for inspiration for the whale idea, and came across the heart ones, some with two hearts, some with one in the centre. It was then I just knew this would be the quilt for Dayna and Tyler; I liked the ribbon effect created by colouring diagonal rows in this way, making the alternating diagonal rows in a softer two colours. Unlike the other quilts I saw, I placed the heart on my quilt in the lower corner.

So this is a comfort quilt for Dayna and Tyler. The brown diamond at the bottom of the heart and the two 'ears' above it, for sweet Penny. 😢 That came about in a serendipitous way: I only had a 5" strip of pink, so even with carefully rotary cutting the patches, I did not have enough to make the heart. Do you get a heart squeeze when a creative idea comes to you? Well I certainly do, and I certainly did when I thought, 'I can see a dog's head at the bottom of the heart!' Dug through brown, another colour not in abundance in my Island Batik stash. I tried two different ones, and, after three versions--less brown, more brown, what about this pinkish-red to go with the pink, lighter brown, darker brown--and with the thumbs-up approval of Laura my BC friend on Instagram, it was settled.

Next is the quilting! I already have some ideas, but as you know, the quilt will talk to me, I know it. Here it is under our Magnolia tree, whose buds are beginning to unfurl! I have to have patience however, I've learned; Spring, like Fall, is so very slow and gentle here compared to up in Alberta! It'll be another two to three weeks before they open.
Do you see butterflies from this angle?!

Linking up


  1. I am so, so sorry to hear about Penny. I am going to think about how much love and joy Penny had in her life for those 8 months, though. I can definitely see the butterflies in the quilt top, and perhaps that's what Penny was so enjoying looking at out your window. x

  2. Oh my I didn't think it was possible but I do believe you have outdone yourself! I love the layout of the heart in the corner and the undulating waves of colour!

  3. So sorry for your loss. Penny had such a cute face and yes, those ears! It’s hard to lose a pet especially at such a young age. Penny lived her best life with your daughter.

  4. What a beautiful quilt. I love the heart, in memory. Sweet.

  5. It's beautiful Sandra, and what a lovely tribute to a special family member. Not that I would ever compare the loss of a dog to a child at any age. But they do get under your skin and even though you know it will happen, it is never easy . . . and so young.
    They say that dogs cross that rainbow bridge to heaven, and the quilt also fits perfectly with that thought. And we can just see a bit of Penny looking down and watching over her family, another guardian angel for Dayna and family. Love and hugs to all.
    Take care, be safe, and stay healthy.

  6. I was in love with your Storm at Sea before I even read your inspiration for it. I'm so sorry to hear about Penny, especially as she was so young. The heart in the corner and the brown patches for the puppy are so lovely, Sandra!

  7. This quilt is so lovely and even more so with the dedication to Penny. I also like to think that Penny lived her best life ever with Dayna and Tyler and to remember that dogs are like little buddas; they live in the moment. So, for Penny, life was bliss.

  8. Such a beautiful quilt, with so much care sewn into it. The little brown pup in the bottom corner will stay with Dayna, and remind her of their love, even after the heartbreak heals. Take care, all of you.

  9. You always put so much thought into your quilts. This is beautiful and the colors show so much better in the outdoor shot. Prayers of comfort going to your family.

  10. I was loving on this quilt and then sucked in a breath when I read about Penny. Grief on top of grief. This quilt with the brown puppy in the heart is just the best blanket of love. Hugs

  11. Hi Sandra! Aww, what a sweet post and quilt for all to remember sweet Penny. I know that Dayna and Tyler (and you) are still hurting from the why and loss of Penny. But I think she left a big paw print on the hearts that she touched, and a lesson for all of us. While she came from a tough upbringing she still held out hope and looked for love and knew that she had found it that fateful day when their paths crossed. Your quilt is beautiful, Sandra. The heart just makes the whole SAS pattern all the more special with those tiny little ears. {{Hugs}} Happy Easter to you and your family. Stay safe and take care. ~smile~ Roseanne

  12. Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about sweet Penny. How incredibly sad. Glad you had the die cutter for all those pieces. I have a Storm at Sea in process, so manually cutting the pieces. It's waiting in the wings for now. Maybe the quilting will have some paw prints. What a lovely quilt, Sandra and a bittersweet story to go with it.

  13. So sad about Penny, I'm sure the quilt will be a wonderful comfort. And I love that you did a heart on your quilt, too! Hugs!

  14. This is so pretty! Love how you put the quilt together. This quilt is on my list to make. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Beautiful and harmonious quilt. Sorry for your loss... I am curious about the wale though...

  16. Sandra, it's a beautiful quilt. So sorry about Penny. I love the waves and heart and the symbolism in your design.

  17. This is just beautiful and as usual for you, filled with meaning and thought. The heart with the bit of brown is touching. Love it Sandra and I know Dana will as well.

  18. So so sorry for Dayna - to loose such a young dog is so sad. What a gorgeous quilt...with your special touchs...heart, dog/ears! Just wonderful. The quilting will bring to life, as you always do.

  19. This is another beautiful quilt filled with love, sadness and wonder. Penny sounds like the best little dog and that photo of her is precious. The heart at the bottom of the quilt is beautiful and the butterflies are wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing Penny's story. Dana is a special person to have found and taken care of Penny, even for such a short time.

  20. It's awesome. I want to make a storm at sea quilt...someday. Sorry to hear about Penny.

  21. I am so sorry for your family's loss. It's true, pets are a member of our families, both the immediate and the extended family. Coming from a fostering background that includes children and dogs, I thank you and your family for the love you gave Penny. Your quilt is awesome and is a great memory of her.

  22. So sorry to hear about Penny. What a lovely tribute and comfort quilt! I love the heart and the dog's ears at the bottom! Your Storm at Sea layout is awesome, I love the rippling waters going across the quilt.

  23. That's a traumatic way to see a beloved pet die. So sorry they had to go through that, now in this upsetting time we're all experiencing. Your quilt is perfect and will be cherished. Sending HUGS for you.

  24. A beautiful design with a beautiful message of comfort and memory. I'm so sorry to hear about Penny; the loss of a pet is incredibly hard. May she rest in Pibble Peace.

  25. Oh, Sandra! I am so sorry about Penny. Such a sad thing for Dayna and Tyler—and for you, too. And you can’t even be together to comfort each other. I know that this quilt will be a wonderful hug for them. I love everything about it, but oh, that heart with the doggy face! Such a sweet remembrance.

  26. Oh no Sandra, such a painful loss. We lost Tammi our beagle a few years ago with Grand Mal seizures at 2.5 years old...broke my heart. Said we were never getting another dog as the pain hurts so much but we did..and Murphy our now 10 years old Labrador is the love of all our lives... Thinking of you all,especially at this terrible time when you can't be with each other...xx

  27. Oh Sandra, so sorry too hear about beautiful Penny. We lost Tammi, our gorgeous beagle, a few years ago now, to grand I am seizures at 2.5 years old..broke my heart and said we would never have another dog. But we did, and Murphy our now 10 year old Labrador is the love of our lives. Thinking of you all especially at this strange time where you can't physically be with each other...xx


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