whole cloth starfish quilt

i love my inlaws.  they’re great.  and when they decided to build a new beach house up at their spot of land on the puget sound (in the family since the ’60s), i knew i wanted to make a coordinating lap quilt for movie watching and stormy afternoon book reading.  however, my mother-in-law has very definite ideas about her decorating style, so i waited until the house was done and i could see what colors she was using before i secretly started a quilt for her.  the house was finished last month and her palette turned out to be a soothing natural-and-white scheme, so i whipped up this quilt for her birthday.


i had spotted a pottery barn pillow with starfish appliqué on one of their living room chairs, and took my inspiration from that.  the quilt is whole cloth natural linen with white kona starfish appliqués that i hand-drew.  i used basting spray to temporarily hold the starfish in place and stitched around the edge of each through all layers during the quilting process, so you can see them on the back too.  i really like the texture and rough edges – the whole quilt has a kind of rumpled, worn, beachy look.


the back is a bella solid (spring, i think?) that i picked up in the remnant bin at bolt.  my MIL’s favorite color is this shade of green, so i figured it was a safe bet and a nice complement to the natural tones on the front.


i was pretty excited when i had the idea for the quilting design (and thanks to my buddy jessica for helping talk me through it!).  i wanted it to stand out since the quilt itself was pretty simple.  i drew arches starting at each corner, increasing the distance between them at each layer, and letting the lines intersect at various points.  the idea was to mimic ripples in the water when you skip stones, which we often do on the rocky beach.  i started with a dinner plate, then used a ruler to measure out and mark the next layer, making a bunch of dashes at, say, 4″ from the prior arch, then connecting them to create the next arch.  i drew them on with water soluble marker before quilting with my walking foot, starting in the center.

the binding fabric is a perfect little imperfect polka dot from timeless treasures (Geo-C7741) that reminds me of bubbles.  i get scared that i’ll mess up while machine stitching the binding, so i always finish my quilt bindings by hand.  am i weird for really loving that part?



the quilt is 41″ x 47″ finished, but my mother-in-law is only 4’11” so i think it’ll cover her lap just fine.  🙂


it’s pretty cozy, so hopefully i can grab a little time with the quilt when i’m up there, too.  can’t wait to get up to the sound to see it in its intended habitat!


25 thoughts on “whole cloth starfish quilt

  1. sara says:

    what a sweet daughter-in-law! i’m sure it will become the “cozy” blanket at grammie and grandpas “sound” house. perfect for a beach home

  2. Margaret Wiltshire says:

    Great quilt, and no you are not werid (or perhaps we are both werid) for enjoying hand stitching the binding, I love that bit to, perhaps it is the adrenilin of a nearly finished project. The one quilt I did machine down the binding just felt so rushed and like I had cheated.

    • kristin says:

      yes! it’s hard to be so close to done and know there are a few hours of work still to go, but the finish is so nice and the stitching is really meditative. i’m with you. 🙂

  3. Lucinda says:

    What a beautiful quilt! I love the way you can see all the colors together in the last photo. I can’t imagine your mother-in-law NOT loving it with such a beautiful palette! And oh – to have a place on Puget Sound at which to enjoy it! What a gift!

  4. bold goods says:

    This is really great. I’m working on a custom quilt for a friend and I think I will use your starfish technique! Thank you so much for sharing!

  5. anna says:

    wow wow wow! I love everything about it. and your design process for all aspects is just perfect. love! (and secretly wishing I had a beach house)

  6. girllikethesea says:

    omg, I love this! I so miss the Oregon coast and this totally reminds me of it. I love the choice of linen, and the shade of green is gorgeous. The binding fabric is perfect too. The quilt brings me back to when I would help my mom clean vacation rentals in the Neskowin area…there were some really pretty houses that were decorated in this style and I always loved visiting them.

  7. peanutandpistachio says:

    I’m new here and just wanted to say, you sew, I crochet, you want to crochet, I want to sew…there’s a connection just in that isn’t there? 😉
    Also, my oldest turns 4 in May and my youngest just had her bday this month.
    Errrr, March, not April.
    It’s almost APRIL!!!
    When did that happen?

    Also, I love the quilt. I have quilt envy. Seriously.

  8. peanutandpistachio says:

    I’m new here and just wanted to say…you sew, I crochet, you want to crochet, I want to sew…there’s some sort of kismet, connection, bosom friend thing going on, right?
    Also, my eldest turns 4 in May, too, and my youngest turned 1 this month.
    This month being March, not April.
    Holy wow, it’s almost APRIL!!
    When did that happen?

    The quilt is lovely. Seriously, I have quilt envy.

  9. I'm Feelin' Crafty says:

    I love this! I was going to make a single sheet quilt for our beach house, but just didn’t get to it during our last trip. But after seeing this, I want to add a little more than just the sheets. Love the starfish!

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