Sailboat Quilt – planning custom quilt design

I’ve managed to scan a few pictures of the sailboat quilt and doodle some design ideas on it.  If you are ever pondering over what design to do this is  a good method.  Simply take a picture of the whole quilt, specific block areas if you want to do some custom work and then print them out in black and white.  You can make more than one copy or just put them into plastic sleeve protectors and use a dry erase (or wet erase) marker on them and doodle away to your hearts content!  It is a good way to get an overall feel for the quilt and what your ideas will look like.  Here’s a picture of the sail boat quilt again,



I spent a couple of days just doodling sea themed pictures.  You don’t have to be an artists – this is simply to get your quilting design ideas down on paper and sort through them.  Unless you are an artist you will still be using templates and rulers and other paraphernalia when it comes time to quilt the quilt.

This is a good first step especially if you are planning on custom quilting.  I went through three or four different layout ideas before zeroing in on my final choice.  Even if you are just doing an all-over e2e it is a great way to get an idea of what it will look like before you put thread to quilt!  Keep in mind that you will still have to audition the design full size as this is in miniature.


Bailey's BoatYard design 1

Bailey's BoatYard design 1






Here’s the first sketch that I did on the whole quilt – this was after I doodled shapes on paper.  A simple water meander around some seaweed on the left, Seahorses on the right, swirls around the boats with what are supposed to be seagulls flying around.  A treasure chest neslted into the rocky sea bottom.

I’m trying stretch my comfort zone which is the reason my side borders don’t match (little miss symmetry here 😉 ) and I need more practice on the longarm making pebbles. While I like the overall look of this I wasn’t happy with the blocks around the sailboats.  Too busy for me and I don’t think one would even see the seagulls amongst the swirls.


Bailey's Boatyard design 2

Bailey's Boatyard design 2

Here’s my second sketch – I like this one better because the centre of the quilt is not so heavy.  A simple seaweed design up the left side and over the top, Seahorses down the right side and bottom still with the treasure chest.  The swirls in the dark patches respresent coiled rope and the background fill around the boats is a simple water meander.  I’m drawn to this more simply because the quilting is not so heavy.  That is another area that I have to work on because I tend to do fairly light quilting and then once I get it off the frame I realize that I could have done more.  This still wasn’t quite right.  I like the ocean theme around the borders but truth is I don’t think we have Seahorses in my particular stretch of the ocean and I want this quilt to represent my little corner of the world – the West Coast of BC – so back to the drawing board.

Bailey's Boatyard design 3

Bailey's Boatyard design 3

I’m going to keep the centre of the quilt with the water meander around the boats and ‘rope coils’ in the dark patches.  Now I’m showing West Coast BC – a seagull perched on a piling, the mountains, settting sun, cedar trees and a rocky shore line.

I think this quilt has good balance (very important to us Libras 🙂 ) and I may change the single cedar tree on the right to a grouping of three to look more like a forest and, yes, so that I’m not so symmetrical!

OK – the next step is for me to sample these ideas onto the quilt top.  I’ll post my progress and how-to’s as I go.


3 thoughts on “Sailboat Quilt – planning custom quilt design

  1. Leslie M. says:

    Hi Shawn, you have done a fabulous job on the quilt and the designs. I do believe I like the third one, can’t wait to see what design you went with. You are so working out of your box.
    You have come a long way girl. I am so proud of you and what you have accomplished since I have met and got to know you. Keep up the good work. Can’t wait to see more quilts.
    x neighbour, and a 4Q

  2. BCQuilter says:


    What a dynamo you are! I’m thinking I should “shadow” you sometime, and see how you come up with the quilting designs, and.. and…

    Trying to figure out what to quilt, is what stymies me!


  3. Kathryn says:

    Wow Shawn… awesome sketches! I know that first sketch was hard for you cause you do not like “busy”. I agree with Leslie on the third one. I really liked the 1st one as well and it was hard to pick a favourite. Are you doing something on the centre of the quilt of the third one? Can’t wait to see the finished product.

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