Friday, July 1, 2022

Tsunami (A Giant "Storm at Sea")

Today, Jenny Doan and her daughter, Natalie are sharing a video tutorial to make a scrappy version of the Tsunami Quilt over at Missouri Star Quilt Company.  Have a look! Tsunami Tutorial

Oh, my goodness, they created a template!!  How fun is that?!?  Get your pattern and template HERE.
Tsunami (A Giant "Storm at Sea") Lap Quilt  
Printed Pattern and Template available at Missouri Star Quilt Company  
Digital Pattern is available at Quiltscapes  

Oh how I love this quilt design!  It's a supersized "Storm at Sea" quilt, a traditional quilt design.  Once when giving a trunk show, someone asked why the quilt looked like it was moving!  It's the play of the different angles along with the shades and tones of the fabric that move your eyes around the quilt, create an undulating effect, like waves on the ocean!  The best part?  It doesn't take long to make this quilt!

~ Tsunami Quilt Stories ~

Several years ago, when my sister wanted to make a quilt for her son, she called me for ideas.  She wanted to use her son's old denim jeans for a "free" quilt.  

There were a couple of things to consider.  First, a rag quilt or plain old squares just wouldn't do.  I wanted to try a classic quilt design. Second, considering the thickness of denim, if the blocks were enlarged, we wouldn't have to make as many.  Basically, I guess I'm a lazy quilter, and bigger blocks meant fewer seams to create a whole quilt!  

I put together the instructions and called it a Tsunami.  My Sis made it queen-sized and her son loves his quilt!  

Queen-size Denim Tsunami, 80" x 104"

I wanted to make a Tsunami for my son too, and realizing just how heavy the queen-sized quilt was, I opted for a large throw instead.  For this one, I used old black denim jeans, with corduroys and khaki pants for the lighter shades.  Sometimes, the inside of the jeans worked better to get the right shading.  It's all about contrast!

Denim Tsunami, Picnic-size Throw, 80" x 80"

I placed the lightest tones for the stars in the center, giving a kind of glow to the "eye of the storm".  These large blocks also create good spaces for embellishments, fabric photos for a memory quilt, or maybe, in the case of my son, a place to sew on some of his army patches.  See more of that story, along with other Storm at Sea designs in this POST.

When I made this smaller version, it served a dual purpose.

Tsunami Throw, 56" x 56"

I used a fun Minky print for the backing, and it became one of a collection of baby quilts.  If you make them, they will come, right?  It's a great throw for over the couch, but also is a good kid-sized quilt.

This Tsunami was made with Water Mark fabric, by Tammie Green for Riley Blake Designs.  I took it with me to Hawaii to visit my daughter's family.  Such a fun photoshoot at Kane'ohe Bay!  

There are virtually endless ways to lay out a Storm at Sea quilt, and this is just one simple design!  

And here's my latest version, reversing all of the lights and darks!

Join me for a class at Garden of Quilts next September in Lehi, Utah, and we can make one together!  See class details HERE.

Now here are a couple of samples of quilts made by some of my students.  I love how different the quilt looks using different color and print combos!

Michele's Queen Tsunami

Karen's fun Throw - this one looks like a big flower! 
If you allow your eyes to focus on the dark diamonds, can you see two interlocking hearts?

Becky's Picnic Quilt with Border @bobbininquilts

Valarie's Denim/Bandana Picnic Quilt

Andrea's Picnic Quilt with Chenille accents

The pattern now includes a chart to make everything from the Lap Quilt 56" x 56" to a King-size Quilt, 104" x 104", along with a bonus chart that tells how many 10-inch precut squares to use if you want to go scrappy like Jenny in her video.  Here are the links again:

Digital Pattern: Quiltscapes
Printed Pattern and Template: 
Missouri Star Quilt Company

Hope you'll enjoy quilting up a storm!


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  1. Love this design in large scale, Deonn! I have a Storm at Sea on my bed that my Mom made in the days of scissors and cardboard templates. I have always been drawn to the design, and it is exciting to think I can make a quicker version with big blocks. I just ordered your pattern as a download.

    1. Thanks for your purchase, Janet! Be sure to send a picture when you make your quilt!

  2. I love your storm at sea quilt! I love how you found the star in it and made it shine! Hugs, H

    1. Thanks, Helen! I love how the stars glow in the "eye of the storm".

  3. I love this. The color variations are tremendous too. I think I need to make one.

    1. Mary, yes, there are endless ways to make this quilt! I think you should make one too!

  4. It looks amazing in all the colors and sizes! I can't wait to get sewing on mine.

    1. Carol, I can't wait to see your version - this is a fun, versatile design.

  5. I was at Missouri star quilt website and they referenced in the video your side I am amazed at the color options and the effects and changes .
    This is absolutely beautiful keep up the good work . Yvonne E.

    1. Hi, Yvonne, isn't that fun to see all the variations? And that was just a few from one class!

  6. What sizes are included in the pattern? Please reply via email: thank you

    1. The Lap Quilt Throw is the smallest size-56" x 56", then it goes up from there: Picnic-80" x 80", Twin-64 x 88", Queen-80" x 104" & King- 104" x 104".

  7. The cut list states that for a King you can use 80 of a 10” square for A.
    I am not seeing how the Giant Tsunami template fits on there. In the MSQ video they are used a strip of fabric…what am I needing to do to make the 10” squares work?

    1. Yes, they used yardage for the diamonds in the video. The cut list also indicates that you may use two10-inch squares of the same print for each diamond. Stitch each pair together, then press the seam open. Center the template over the seam to cut out each diamond.


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