behind the scenes:
Big Island Sky quilt

Dream big! Big Island Sky is the perfect gift to make for a baby, child, or nature lover. This quilt pattern is a bright, modern twist on the traditional Drunkard’s Path block. Big Island Sunset is a fully tested pattern that contains detailed instructions and diagrams, making it a breeze to piece.

Now more than ever while we’re experiencing a pandemic and stay-at-home orders, I’m missing the beautiful water, beaches, sunsets, and sky of Hawaii. If you’re new here, let me let you in on a not-so-secret, secret. I’m obsessed with Hawaii. You can read about it here.

A couple of years ago, I introduced my Big Island Sunset quilt pattern. Inspiration for this quilt came from one of my most favorite places in the world—the Big Island of Hawaii. This modern interpretation of the spectacular sunsets on the west coast of Hawaii is entirely pieced from two blocks—a traditional Drunkard’s Path and an elongated Drunkard’s Path.

Relax and enjoy the sunset… Big Island Sunset is the perfect gift for the beach lover or yogi in your life. Make it as a reminder of vacations or trips to the beach. This pattern is a bright, modern twist on the traditional Drunkard’s Path block. Big Island Sunset is a fully tested pattern that contains detailed instructions and diagrams, making it a breeze to piece. Pattern by Whole Circle Studio

One of my favorite techniques to teach is piecing curves. Curves are magical—they look complicated to do, but they’re really not. So many quilters are intimidated by curves but if you can sew a ¼” seam you can sew beautiful curves. Seriously. All you need are some tips, a bit of patience and practice…. more on this later.

My curve patterns come with everything you need to make this quilt, including paper templates. For years I made all of my curve quilts (including the Big Island Sunset shown above) with paper templates. Later I discovered the beauty of acrylic templates! Instead of printing, cutting, and tracing your own templates, acrylic templates allow you to skip right to the cutting. Some acrylic template sets (including ones I produce) also has indicators for the half-way and quarter-way marks along the curved edges, saving you the time of having to fold and mark your fabric if you use pins before sewing. After experiencing and understanding how easy it is to cut and match curve fabric pieces with templates, I decided to produce acrylic template sets for Big Island Sunset and offer them to others.
Makes cutting curves for your Drunkards Path quilt a breeze! Instead of printing, cutting and tracing your own templates use the Big Island Sunset Acrylic Templates and skip right to the cutting. Acrylic templates will save you time and increase accuracy.

But what else can I make with these acrylics?

That’s the question I asked myself last summer. While on vacation at the beach (New Jersey shore, not Hawaii) last summer, I started thinking about what other beach-inspired quilts I could make with the same shape. I looked up and started to sketch clouds that I saw in the sky. 

Big Island Sky sketch by Whole Circle Studio

Introducing Big Island Sky!

Dream big! Big Island Sky is the perfect gift to make for a baby, child, or nature lover. This quilt pattern is a bright, modern twist on the traditional Drunkard’s Path block. Big Island Sunset is a fully tested pattern that contains detailed instructions and diagrams, making it a breeze to piece.

Quilters can make Big Island Sky using the paper templates included in the pattern or the Big Island Acrylic Template Set, sold separately (formerly Big Island Sunset Acrylic Template Set). Instructions for four sizes (Baby, Throw, Twin, and Queen) are included in the pattern. I made two versions in the Throw size.
Make cutting curves for your Drunkards Path quilt a breeze! Instead of printing, cutting and tracing your own templates use the Big Island Sunset Acrylic Templates and skip right to the cutting. Acrylic templates will save you time and increase accuracy.
For the “Day” version, I used Speckled by Rashida Coleman-Hale for Ruby Star Society:
Clouds (Frost, Bright Blue, Turquoise, and Teal)
Sun (Sunshine)
Sky/Background (White Gold)

Speckled by Ruby Star Society. Color palette used for Big Island Sky quilt pattern.
For the “Sunset” version, I used Speckled by Rashida Coleman-Hale for Ruby Star Society:
Clouds (Daisy, Witchy, Berry, Purple Velvet, Peony, Strawberry, Warm Red, Wine Time, Candy Pink, Peach, Festive, and Cayenne)
Sun (Natural)
Sky/Background (Teal)

Speckled Kits for both the “Day” and “Sunset” versions are available through Cotton Candy Fabrics (Connecticut) and Sewing Arts Center (California). Both quilt shops ship! Email or call either shop for details. 

After writing, editing, and sending the pattern to my technical editor to review, it was time to piece the quilt tops.
Writing and editing the Big Island Sky quilt pattern.

I quilted both Big Island Sky throw quilts with an Even Feed foot on my Janome 6700p and used Warm and White / Warm and Natural batting by The Warm Company.
In the “Day” version, I quilted straight horizontal lines to accentuate the long curves. I used Aurifil Cotton 40wt in these colors:
• 4140 (Wedgewood)
• 2135 (Yellow)
• 2309 (Silver White)
Quilting with the EvenFeed foot on a Janome 6700p on my Big Island Sky throw quilt.

In the “Sunset” version, I quilted gentle curves that follow the seams of the quilt top. I used Aurifil Cotton 40wt in these colors:
• 1126 (Blue Grey)
• 2135 (Yellow)
• 2423 (Baby Pink)
• 2520 (Violet)
• 4020 (Fuchsia)
• 2460 (Dark Carmine Red)
• 2277 (Light Red Orange)
•2314 (Beige)
• 2240 (Rusty Orange)
Quilting with the EvenFeed foot on a Janome 6700p on my Big Island Sky throw quilt.

Dream big! Big Island Sky is the perfect gift to make for a baby, child, or nature lover. This quilt pattern is a bright, modern twist on the traditional Drunkard’s Path block. Big Island Sunset is a fully tested pattern that contains detailed instructions and diagrams, making it a breeze to piece.
Dream big! Big Island Sky is the perfect gift to make for a baby, child, or nature lover. This quilt pattern is a bright, modern twist on the traditional Drunkard’s Path block. Big Island Sunset is a fully tested pattern that contains detailed instructions and diagrams, making it a breeze to piece.

What do you think about these color palettes?

Here are some other color palettes for Big Island Sky that I’ve been playing around with. What do you think? Please leave a comment.
Dream big! Big Island Sky is the perfect gift to make for a baby, child, or nature lover. This quilt pattern is a bright, modern twist on the traditional Drunkard’s Path block. Big Island Sunset is a fully tested pattern that contains detailed instructions and diagrams, making it a breeze to piece.
Big Island Sky shown in Sky by Jennifer Sampou for Robert Kaufman Fabrics

Dream big! Big Island Sky is the perfect gift to make for a baby, child, or nature lover. This quilt pattern is a bright, modern twist on the traditional Drunkard’s Path block. Big Island Sunset is a fully tested pattern that contains detailed instructions and diagrams, making it a breeze to piece.
Big Island Sky shown in Serenity Fusion by Art Gallery Fabrics

Dream big! Big Island Sky is the perfect gift to make for a baby, child, or nature lover. This quilt pattern is a bright, modern twist on the traditional Drunkard’s Path block. Big Island Sunset is a fully tested pattern that contains detailed instructions and diagrams, making it a breeze to piece.
Big Island Sky shown in Raise the Volume and Decostitch Elements by Art Gallery Fabrics

Get Comfortable Piecing Curves! A live online workshop by Whole Circle Studio.

Does the thought of sewing curves give you anxiety? Don’t fear the curve!
Join me for a 4 week LIVE online workshop/sew-along. I’ll walk you through all of my tips and tricks for piecing curves on your machine and you’ll get a beautiful quilt top DONE!  We’ll also review how to get precise alignments between blocks and quilting tips. Make a Big Island Sky, Big Island Sunset, or other Drunkard’s Path quilt of your choice.
sign me up

Make a Big Island Sky quilt!
Dream big! Big Island Sky is the perfect gift to make for a baby, child, or nature lover. This quilt pattern is a bright, modern twist on the traditional Drunkard’s Path block. Big Island Sunset is a fully tested pattern that contains detailed instructions and diagrams, making it a breeze to piece.
Make cutting curves for your Drunkards Path quilt a breeze! Instead of printing, cutting and tracing your own templates use the Big Island Sunset Acrylic Templates and skip right to the cutting. Acrylic templates will save you time and increase accuracy.

I can’t wait to see what you make!

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3 Comments

  1. I wanted to look into the prices of the quilt kits, but I can’t find them on the two quilt shop links you provided. Maybe they aren’t ready yet?

    1. Hi Kathleen, Thanks for your comment! Because there are different sizes/options for the quilts, both shops cut the kits custom to quilters needs. Please give them an email or a call and they can assist you! Many thanks again, Sheri

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