I work in a local school district, and one student that I worked with a lot graduated this past June. A few of us in the office sew and quilt, so we'd always bring in our completed projects to show each other. The day I brought in my beach blanket she saw it and asked if I would make her a blanket for graduation. She requested a beach theme, but something more tropical.
Fortunately she is patient, and understanding. I wasn't able to get the blanket done on time, but I promised I would have it to her as soon as possible. Since my husband went out of town for Labor Day weekend, I had plenty of time to play in my sewing room. I finished it in a few days. I'm so glad to be able to to give her this blanket in honor of her graduating high school.
I had a pattern in mind when I started this project, but due to the size of the blocks in the beach themed panels I knew I would have to make modifications. In addition, I try to pre-wash my fabrics before starting a project, and I did with these. What I didn't realize at the time, is that washing panels is bad. They come out all skewed. So I had to further modify my plans. Ultimately, I made it up as I went along, keeping the original pattern in mind for inspiration. The finished blocks ended up 13.5" x 13.5". There are nine of them with a border at the top and bottom. Since the blanket would be far too busy with those blocks sewn directly together, I added a 1" border around each block. Finished size of the blanket is approx. 44" x 60".
Some firsts for me:
Using directional fabric (top/bottom border) - seaming them together to make them long enough, and keeping it straight when attaching to the blanket.
Free motion quilting. I just did one line of it to practice, I made a wavy line in the bottom border piece, to mimic water.
The end result is a very fun, colorful, tropical blanket that has everything representing a fun day at the beach. I may want to make one for myself! :)