Please note: these kits are now out of stock.
Please consider other products from the Hummingbird Highway, like the AfterFLOCK.
Earlier this year, the Hawaii Quilt Cruise finally happened. On board the ship, a seven-part mystery quilt named Sea Lilies was revealed, step-by-step to forty or so lucky quilter/explorers. Who knows how I managed to keep the quilt project a secret for so long (over two years!)? But I did!
Originally, I planned a 'few' extra kits. Originally, I planned to make more, once the cruise was over. Plans changed - several times.
For a variety of reasons, this project will not be released as a paper pattern and won't be re-cut as a kit. That means the last few kits that remain are rather unique!
Let me show you a closer look at Sea Lilies.. .
The quilt design started with odd shapes - shapes that would not be easily rotary cut.
That means cutting from templates! . . . Bleh!
Who wants to go on vacation on a ship and start out cutting hundreds of fabric pieces from templates!?
Not me! I don't mind cutting, but if I were making a quilt on a cruise, I much prefer to get down to sewing as soon as possible.
The shapes were drawn out (a bit of math was involved!), then laser cut on sheets of fabric (shown above).
For the Sea Lilies kits, multiple shapes are cut and ready to sew with the exception of a few snips to separate each unit from the 'mother' fabric.
As you can see, below, the shapes and corners are 'engineered' to fit perfectly without any 'rabbit ears,' avoiding bulky seams.
The same precision cutting continues as pieces are added to the block.
An accurate scant 1/4" seam allowance (maybe a teeny-tiny bit more scant than usual) is essential to stay on track with the piecing.
The kits include templates so you can check progress as you sew the main blocks.
A full-color pattern with detailed instructions accompanies each step.
For the design, it's important to make sure that the three blues and two greens create a 'swish' effect within the main 6" (finished size) block.
Here's the view from the back of the block (below). You can see how nicely the seams come together at the points.
And the scant seam allowance is ju-u-u-u-st right to make sure the blocks measure up as they should.
I think the pre-cut pieces also help to keep the points crisp.
The entire quilt center - the blocks, the corner stones, and the sashing strips are all pieced in a similar manner with similar pre-cut precision.
The pattern is based on Storm-At-Sea, which is already a fairly complex traditional quilt pattern. Add the wonky element with wacky-angled seams, and you see how much the laser-cut pieces are the secret sauce of success.
You know, it's not too early to start thinking about holiday gift-giving. This brightly-colored lap-sized quilt would make a perfect throw for a family member or friend, a cheerful addition to a college dorm room, or an indulgence for that cozy corner chair reserved for morning coffee and a good book. Plus, it's fun to watch the pattern emerge from the pre-cut pieces.
I know that I wouldn't have tackled this project - especially for a cruise, where the goal is to create a relaxing vacation-style sewing project - without my experience creating the bird blocks kits for The FLOCK, and now, The AfterFLOCK.
The same concept is in play between Sea Lilies and all the blocks in The AfterFLOCK. Each bird block is pieced, with only detailed bits like eyes, beaks, and feet reserved for machine applique. The weird angles and the open-the-package-and-sew concept is manifested through all 64 of the bird-themed blocks in the series.
Below, you can see some of the sample blocks, constructed from all kinds of weird shapes. On the right, the Purple Finch kit is like a much smaller version of the Sea Lilies quilt kit - with all the shapes laser cut, labeled and ready to snip and sew into a unique project.