Monday, February 8, 2021

Varadero Vibe - Project Quilting 12.3

As per usual, I had a few ideas for the challenge. Also as per usual, I couldn't decide which one to follow. And finally, as per usual, I chased a squirrel (made another pixellated 9-patch block) while the backburner of my brain flipped and flopped from one idea to the other.  Procrastination at its finest. Finally I went for the harder of the two ideas (often the way I roll), took a course, and made a sea glass quilt, though I prefer to think of it as beach glass.

The prompt for PQ 12.3 at Persimon Dreams was to make a vacation-themed quilt. I've had the pleasure of having had some pretty amazing vacations in my lifetime. In February in Canada, I don't think you'd find a person that wouldn't prefer to be outside of Canada and on a warm beach somewhere. Not quite two years ago, we were, and the beach was Varadero.

That is not photo-shopped or filtered, and was taken with an iPhone 7, no fancy camera or settings. If it is this stunning in that photo, you can imagine how surreal and stunning it was in person.

It was our first trip to Cuba and we fell head over heels in love with the country, the weather, the people, the culture (ah, Havana!). I get why Hemingway loved it here.

Those of you who have followed my blog for any length of time know that I live on the north shore of Lake Erie, that I collect beach glass, and that I have made many small bowls and dishes from the many many pieces I've found along the shore. So, it is no surprise that when I first came across Allie of Exhausted Octopus sea glass quilts I was captivated and wanted to make one. When she came out with a class last September, I bought it.

It's a great class and I highly recommend taking it. You can find the link on her bio on her Instagram account. I started watching the class on Friday. No pressure.

Saturday there ensued a lot of cutting and Heat 'n Bonding, some Steam-a-Seaming and leftover Craft Appliquéing and cutting and more cutting. Along with a dent in my poor thumb from the scissors, I even managed to put a small dent in my blues and greens 2.5" squares.
I needed something to put the cut shapes of my 'glass' into, and what better container than an actual bowl made OF beach glass I found?! Blues in one, greens in another, neutrals in two: a wee one and a pottery dish I got in Scotland.

Final layout, ready for ironing.
Everything got pressed down, threads chosen, photo taken (see it on Instagram), and I went to bed, hoping to get it quilted and faced by 1 pm the next day. No pressure.

12:58 Sunday
Frantic stitching of the facing, run outside onto the as-yet-unshovelled deck in my slippers, throw the quilt down, snap the photo, upload with hashtag and tag Kim and Trish, copy the link, load it onto the linky which miraculously was still open though my phone said 1:01.
I like what Vasudha said about it being so appropriate to have "a beach glass quilt on a blanket of snow"

Scrolled down after hitting 'Done' and see...
'Party closes in one hour.'


Then I realized the deadline was 1 pm Kim's time, CST, which is 2 pm EST! Oof! So I went back into Instagram and wrote a few words about the piece, and said I'd be back with more photos in a bit.

Here they are. The sun cooperated so nicely.

Some fun things to spot in this closeup!
I knew when I made a beach glass quilt that I'd quilt in a starfish and/or some shell designs. The starfish i stitched is inspired by fabric I bought called Tidal Lace a few years ago, with which I made pillowcases, (post is here) quilting a starfish on the band. I love doing free-motion embroidery, drawing with my beloved Bernina. I think the starfish is waving one arm...

The back.
I actually remembered my satin label!! The backing fabric is from another quilt I made in Florida, Pocketful of Sunshine. I like the way Allie faces her quilts, with a nifty pocket for a piece of dowel to fit into. I just need to get a dowel this size now!

This photo shows you my bowls again holding real glass as well as fabric glass pieces. I pulled a few actual beach glass pieces out of the dish so you can see their sugary surface from being sandblasted for years in the lake, and their soft colours. I had lots of inspiration for shapes!

Here are all the threads I ended up using. Some are mine and some are from my years as an Island Batik ambassador. I'm so glad I went with the variegated thread for the starfish. It gives him extra dimension and interest. I FMQ-ed some of the glass with it too. Those Schmetz Super Non-Stick needles are the best for FMQ-ing through adhesive pieces. I used Aurifil 2600 in the bobbin for the entire piece, not worrying about matching the bobbin to the top threads. I cannot say enough about my love and appreciation for my Bernina. She's a 180 Artista from 2003 and her tension is impeccable. No affiliation with any of these companies, just love.

The later afternoon sunshine was great for one last ooh! quilty texture photo. Hobbs Thermore which I purchased at Connecting Threads (affiliate link, and it's on sale) is just fantastic for small quilted projects. You wouldn't think it would give that great of definition because it is very thin, but wow, does it ever deliver. I love the stuff.

As you may have noticed from my rather plentiful beach glass bowls of fabric glass, I have lots cut, as well as a bag of uncut but prepped pieces, so you betcha there will be more of these quilts in my future. I have several ideas percolating. It's also one of my USOs (UnStarted Objects) on my PHD (Projects Half Done) list, so it feels good to have one checked off for February with another UFO moved to the flimsy stage and about to get quilted!

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Based on Sea Glass Quilt in the CourseCraft class by Allie McCathren
Size: 12.5" x 21.5"
Fabric: scraps and stash; Island Batik white is the background and facing
Backing: scrap of Robert Kaufmann 'Pimatex Basics'
Batting: Hobbs Thermore 
Quilted: on my Bernina
Threads: Aurifil 50 wt various colours


  1. Oh my goodness, this is so pretty and so utterly you! I'm so glad you went with this idea. It's such a great representation of that amazing view while you soaked in the Cuban sun and of your pretty sea glass! Great finish, Sandra!

  2. This technique is very tempting. Not sure if I have enough tightly woven batiks but I will set any aside. An admission! I am one person who does not prefer to be at a beach someplace warm. The heat does not agree with me and I sunburn through clothing even with sunscreen, so its good I live where I do. I would love to see those tropical beaches though as they seem to look quite different to those that I see here on the west coast.

  3. I love this!!! That sure is a lot of cutting and pressing though. And the starfish is a lovely addition. I can relate to the brain flipping and flopping, I also did a facing on my project. But no dowel sleeve..hmm need to check that out.

  4. This piece is stunning, Sandra, and fits perfectly in with things you love and trips I know you have taken. And whew - that moment of finding you have more time felt huge even when I was reading your blog post. Beautifully done, and I'm excited to see what else this leads to.

  5. Beautiful. But I must resist trying to make one just now - I seem to have lots on my plate. I'm really enjoying the Project Quilting which I only found out about last year through your blog :-)

  6. So perfect and colorful, Sandra! It definitely looks like beach glass in the sand with warm toes just out of sight. I've loved these quilt pieces since I first saw them and now want to make one too! Love your sweet starfish and all the pretty FMQing thrown in to make this detailed and special. Great work, as always!

  7. How thoroughly appropriate for you. It does bring memories of white sand beaches and warm tropical waters. I know you are missing your annual winter trip south as much as we are, especially since it got down to zero here last night. And it's probably a good thing your timing was off or you would have been tinkering more and pushing up against the actual deadline.

  8. That is a wow & the effort you've put into it amazing. I'm useless with FMQ, but I do love my Bernina which is somewhat older than yours & the best machine I've ever had. We don't seem to see much seaglass when we walk along beaches here, though maybe further north we might. Love the seaglass bowls & wondering how you made them. Take care, stay safe & hugs from down under.

  9. Love this one! The colors... the shapes... the story...

  10. Hi Sandra! This just perfectly represents beach glass. Exactly. I knew immediately what this was . . . the fabrics are perfecto. The only thing better who to actually BE in Cuba sharing a photo from there. Ahh, imagine sitting in one of those low chairs with your feet in the water and sand. Yes, a perfect representation of vacation-wannabe. {{Hugs}} ~smile~ Roseanne

  11. This is a totally awesome quilt. I'm impressed with how fast you created this. Your mind must have been working overtime in the night. Congratulations on a beautiful finish (and for not realizing you had an hour more to go.

  12. Such a gorgeous quilt. I think I need to make a table runner like this for my kitchen. I love it all but that starfish is so perfect.

  13. Sooo pretty! I love this in so many ways! The colors are luscious, the design is beautiful, and how neat to have beach glass pieces of fabric in an actual beach glass dish!

  14. Sandra this is beautiful and a real work of art. I love sea glass and Cuba so can understand why these combined in a PQ Challenge. I have a piece of sea glass from Cuba in my jewelry box. Those hours wandering the beach paid off! Sand carvings to see and one piece of polished glass.

  15. So gorgeous--and no darn seam matchings (having just come off my log cabin lunacy match-a-thon!! ). Your color choices are so perfect for beach glass...I have a huge collection from the days when my Mom and I would go beach walking and glass collecting...lovely work on this hugs, Julierose

  16. Sandra, your quilt is beautiful. I love it!

  17. I have seen these quilts on Instagram and have put this on my to be made list. Yours is beautiful! I love your fabric colors. Great finish!

  18. That is such a wonderful idea, Sandra, and turned out so beautifully! I love sea glass, too, and am missing walking on favorite beaches these days. Your quilt represents that view perfectly - especially your favorite beach in Cuba. Great finish!

  19. Oh my, I get all the vacation feels from this quilt. What a perfect interpretation of your hobby and one of your favorite spots. The starfish detail! I like how my eyes move back and forth between that and the glass shapes. And I swooned when I got to the photo of the quilt with your very own beach glass creations. I can just imagine you racing to finish and then finding that you were an hour off. I'm glad you weren't late to the party!

  20. Oh, it really looks like vacations! Lovely quilt, soft and peaceful.

  21. Wow wow wow!!! I just the the story of how this quilt came to be!!! And it really truly does remind me of beach vacations and ... well truthfully - now I want to go to a beach!!! I love that the idea came and how you just went with it - and it is perfect!!!!

  22. Hi Sandra, what a gorgeous quilt. I just remembered that I have the course also. I had better have a look! I've never seen sea glass or beach glass probably since I've never spent a lot of time by the sea, ocean or large enough lake. It looks beautiful. Take care.

  23. Beautiful! What a fabulous idea and finish. I love the photos of the piece in the snow and also the starfish you added.

  24. This quilt is gorgeous! What a great idea. I’m a bit tired of patterns and thinking of branching out into improv type quilts. This one certainly inspired me. Thanks for posting.

  25. The perfect visage for our snow capped houses today. Chicago could use a little of the Varadero sunshine! The quilt is amazing! Thank you for sharing.