Thursday, June 28, 2012

Storm-at-Sea Quilts, free block diagrams and patterns

Storm at Sea is a pattern that uses small changes in straight angles to create an optical illusion of rounded shapes.  Here are some gorgeous quilts which are all based on different shadings of storm-at-sea blocks.  We drew up some blocks so we could analyze the design; you can download them for free, along with several free patterns, at the links provided below.   (This post was updated on January 9, 2018). Scroll down the page until you see the quilt you like, then click on the colored letters of the link to the pattern.

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Eye of the Storm, Heart of the Storm, Summerfest Garden, Oceana, Delft Storm, and Albers at Sea

Row 1:  Eye of the Storm by Peggy Martin, at Peggy Martin Quilts; Heart of the Storm by John Flynn, at Flynn QuiltRow 2: Summerfest Garden by Joen Wolfrom; Oceana by Linda Jean Peterson at Cape Cod Art Studio. Row 3:  Delft Storm, by Ionne McCauley at Ionne Quilts; Albers at Sea by Debra Levin at the Empire Quilters Guild.

About the storm-at-sea block:  The storm-at-sea block is based on a 3x3 grid.  This works out well for a 12" block, or any other size that is divisible by three.

Here is the traditional block, below, which has an elongated diamond (shown as two isosceles triangles) on the left hand side and the top :

Here is what the quilt would look like if 20 blocks were placed in a 4x5 grid (below). Note that an additional vertical row of diamonds is placed along the right side of the quilt to finish it off.  

These diagrams are fun to color, and are great for teaching kids about quilting (and geometry).  See if they can find different shapes within the grid, such as flowers, hearts, ribbons, and waves.  You can even find *stars* within the single-sashing version:

In a second variation, the diamond "sashing" is placed on all four sides of the center square, as shown below:

When this "double sashing" block is replicated, it creates a double set of waves in the design, as shown below :

You can download the block diagrams here.

For more inspiration, here are some free storm-at-sea quilt patterns!

Making Waves quilt, 90 x 90", free paper piecing pattern by Wendy Sheppard for Hoffman Fabrics

Toes in the Water quilt, 66 x 66", free pattern by McKenna Ryan for Robert Kaufman Fabrics

Storm at Sea quilt,~58 x 58", designed by Karen Selken for AccuQuilt, made by Kay Gentry, free pattern at American Quilters' Society

Deep Sea Delight quilt, free pattern by Heidi Pridemore for P&B Textiles (PDF download)

Smooth Sailing quilt, free pattern by Anjeanette Klinder for Pellon Projects

Island Breeze quilt, free pattern by Blank Quilting

Storm at Sea quilt, free pattern by Janice Ryan at Better Off Thread for Robert Kaufman Fabrics

Stormy Seas, 46 x 46", free pattern by Yolanda Fundora at Urban Amish

Lost in the Storm quilt, 60 x 60", cathedral window storm-at-sea, free pattern by Shelley Swanland for Robert Kaufman Fabrics

Wild Style Storm at Sea quilt, free pattern by Teri Lucas for Marcus Fabrics

Gemstone quilt, free pattern by Heidi Pridemore for Henry Glass Fabrics (monkey wrench with storm at sea sashing)

Storm at Sea block, free pattern by Eleanor Burns at Quilt in a Day

Shine Bright play mat quilt, ~32 x 32", free pattern by Stacey Yacula for Quilting Treasures (PDF download)

Image credits and links: Block diagrams are by Quilt Inspiration. For the original posts, see Storm at Sea Quilts; Straight piecing patterns that appear curved; Can you believe it's a storm-at-seaDelft Storm; and Albers at Sea.


  1. I enjoyed this post so much - these are beautiful quilts and now I see the blocks within the whole - thank you!

  2. Thanks so much for this. I have been wanting to do Storm at sea in EPP, and now I have some great ideas.

  3. Great post! I love the double sashing idea!

  4. What beautiful quilts! The illusion of curves is beautiful and makes me want to leap into my sewing room.

  5. Storm at Sea has had a number one spot on my quilting bucket list for years! Time to get 'er done. Thank you for posting the photos and the links to patterns.


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