Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ladies of the Sea

(c)2007 Susan H. Garman
The newest block-of-the-month that I created is called "Ladies of the Sea." It celebrates some of the greatest ships that have sailed the oceans of the world. There are 16 blocks with ships appliqued on them - and each ship is surrounded by a wreath of vines, branches, or flowers from the ship's native land. The four borders incorporate all of the flowers and leaves that are in the wreaths -- and each corner of the quilt has a mariner's compass on it. This was a wonderful quilt for me to research -- the patterns each contain the history of the ship and describe the flowers, as well as an "icon" that connects the two halves of the wreaths. The icons again reflect something about the ship or the native land of the ship - for example, The Hannah is one of the ship blocks; it was the first ship in George Washington's navy. Washington chartered the schooner to raid the British ships in order to obtain food and supplies for his struggling army of men. The Hannah is surrounded by cherry branches, representing the famed story of Washington's claim that he never told a lie when his father asked him if he had chopped down a cherry tree. The icon joining the two cherry branches is a circle with a green pine tree on it. The pine tree was on the Hannah's flag, along with the words, "An Appeal to Heaven," a phrase taken a famous address to the British that closed with the words, "Appealing to heaven for the justice of our cause."

I'm particularly pleased with this block-of-the-month -- partly because we haven't seen many new Baltimore album style quilt patterns in a while, but also because I spent a considerable amount of time writing and illustrating the instructions so that even a less experienced quilter could make this quilt. Each month's pattern includes a section called "Smooth Sailing" that provides options for simplifying the pattern. I want quilters to believe that every quilt is "do-able" even if they don't yet have a wealth of experience under their belts.

Check your local quilt shop if you are interested in doing this new block-of-the-month, or you can always get it from Quakertown Quilts ( if you want to order it from the shop that manages the distribution of my patterns.

Happy sailing!


  1. I am SO excited about starting this quilt. It is the most beautiful pattern I ever saw. I'll start the BOM in April.

  2. I will be making this quilt as a gift for my coworker and biking buddy who was one of the first women to graduate from King's Point Merchant Marine Academy.
    What an amazing pattern!! Thank you.

  3. Sue,
    I just picked up the first couple of patterns and my fabrics from my quiltshop in OKC yesterday and I am so excited! It is the most beautiful and interesting pattern in quite sometime! Thank you for sharing your wonderful talent with us!
    Carol Haynes
    Norman, Ok.

  4. Thank you Sue! You have inspired me to try my first BOM. My husband and I are sailors of a Viking 28 on Lake Ontario. My father and grandfather were sailors in Halifax N.S so the Bluenose is near and dear to me. The date you have chosen for this block is odd because the Bluenose was launched on March 26, 1921. Any particular reason for choosing 1929? I enjoy fabric painting so I will be painting the backgrounds of my blocks before adding the appliques and I will be using my Janome embroidery machine to put in the names of the Ladies and the dates.
    Best wishes from Canada,

  5. Just received my first four blocks and boy am I wowed. This will be my project to celebrate my 70th birthday next August.

    I teach on occasion at the Quilt Patch in Littlestown, PA and Im sure they will want to do this beautiful quilt BUT MINE COMES FIRST.


    Tom the quilter

  6. Can you tell us the names of the ships on each of the blocks? I have looked all over and can't find them.


    1. If you go to my website you can see the individual patterns with their names -- but you'll have to make some guesses as to which name goes with which ship. In many cases, you can guess because the wreath around the ship represents the country of the ship - as well as the icon joining the two halves o the wreath around the ship. So, for example, the Dutch Hooker ship has a wreath of tulips joined by a paint can because of all the painters (Rembrandt, etc.) from Holland. I hope that h elps!