Salt and Sand Blog Hop – A Whale’s Tale

Welcome to my stop on the Salt and Sand Blog Hop. Before I go much further, I must give a big shout out to Carol, Just Let me Quilt, who comes up with fabulous themes for us to create and blog about. I so appreciate the work she does for these, and it brings you to my blog. A Whale’s Tale is my story of falling in love with the beautiful drawings of a sailor in New England, long ago. I designed and made quilted placemats for you, my gift to you on this hop.

From the ship log,  Indian Chief kept by Thomas R. Bloomfield (1842–1844) — Source

My entry is called “A Whale of A Tale”, in homage to the diary from where the drawing originated. A few months ago, right before the call went out for this blog hop, my friend who blogs at The Wise Welsh Witch pointed me in the direction of Public Domain Review and an Essay on The Art of Whaling by Jessica Boyall. I fell in love with the idea of the captain of a ship writing and drawing in these beautiful journals. I loved the above picture, most of all. The detail on the whales, like stitching and the eyes…so wonderful. So, a seed was planted and a placemat pattern was born!

A side note on copyright: Public domain means that if something (a book, pattern, diary, picture, was published before 1925, it is in the public domain. This diary is from 1842, so it meets that criteria. If you want to learn more about copyright for quilters (or other creative people), follow Just Wanna Quilt, attend a lecture or class given by Elizabeth Townsend Gard or read the book, Just Wanna Create.

One other thought, I am looking at this diary with an eye toward the art and not the historical pieces which I have a little more trouble with. Whaling was a thriving industry, but brutal, and something I find distasteful. So, rather than concentrate on text, I am concentrating on the art. To me, these are whales in love, and now protected off the shores they once were hunted.

Now, picking fabric is always fun. I was able to locate a fabric that had handwriting on it. Not as elaborate, nor in indigo blue, but perfect for this placemat. It is a Moda, Modern BG Paper Silver White, and I was so pleased to find it.

Furthermore, last year, I made this pattern for one of the hops and I had some leftover fabric. Although the little guys are narwals, it still would be perfect. Of course, this little piece from last year is perfect for this hop, but on to the one I created. The good news is that the dining room will look perfect with both of these in the dining room.

I used Electric Quilt 8 and made my patterns. I also used an appliqué paper* that is wash away so I could turn the fabric edges under, as I wanted to try it in this application. For the outline stitch I used a triple stitch, #6, on my Bernina 570, so that I had more of a look like the original photo.

I also used two stitches to make the eyes – eyelet stitches or buttonhole stitches on my 570, #61 and #62. Yup, I am loving that stitch out I did showing all my stitches on the machine.

FREEBIE!!! There is a pattern for you. It includes eye templates, although I did not use them. This is a fairly simple pattern and goes together quickly. Having the edges turned under, removes some of the tedium, but it is your choice. Truly, the binding was the most tedious part. However, using the steam a seam tape to press that binding to the back, eliminates so many problems. In fact, I did not have to go over one seam! I felt the traditional binding was perfect, and would look best with the borders the size they are. You could skip the narrow border and make the outer border wider or do the self facing placemats. So many options, please make it your own.

I quilted the on Tabitha, the HQ Simply Sixteen and altered one of the basic wave patterns in the Prostitcher library. I love doing this and getting the effect I wanted.

I took them out for a little trip around the island. We stopped at Whaleback – rock that looks like a whale’s back from some angles.

It was a perfect day…the ocean and sky were gorgeous shades of blue!

Then, we returned to the dining room where we will live. I can see more of these in my future. I actually thought I might sell them in a craft show this summer, but I am afraid I love them.

I love the backing and can see turning these over, although I rarely do it. But, there may be a deal when the seahorses have to come and play. I am so pleased with this finish, and it was my OMG (One monthly goal) for this month. And, yes, it was a DrEAMi! project as once I got the idea in my head it just wouldn’t move until it was made.

Please, download your copy of the pattern from my store. It helps me keep track of how many are downloaded and what people really like.

Please remember to visit the folks posting below. The hop runs for two more days so plenty of time to see things that catch your fancy, bring you to the beach, where the sound of waves and gulls are plentiful and life feels a little changed.

March 24
Ms P Designs USA
DayBrook Designs
Vroomans Quilts
Kathleen McMusing
Quilt Schmilt
The Darling Dogwood
Daughters of Dorinda
Annie’s Musings
March 25
Stitchin At Home
The Joyful Quilter
Freckled Fox Quiltery
Quilts Fabric and Thread Tales
Words & Stitches
March 26
Just Let Me Quilt
Quilting Gail
Samelia’s Mum
Quilt Fabrication
Little Penguin Quilts
Just Sew Quilter

Coming Up on the Blog:
Mariner’s Compass for SAHRR linkup – 3/29
In the Kitchen – 4/19
International Sisters Quilt Blocks assembled
12″ House Block/s

Linking Up
Stitch, Sew and Show Week 11
One Monthly Goal
DrEAMi #50!
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?
Friday Foto Fun #170
Favorite Finish Monthly Linkup

Disclaimer: *Links with asterisk indicate an affiliate link and as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Your price is not any different, but a small percentage of the sale will go to supporting my blog.


  1. March 24, 2021 / 1:27 AM

    Your placemats are fabulous. I did love to read about your inspiration behind your whale project. Thank you for sharing with us and for showing us your beautiful area.

  2. Cindy Pieters
    March 24, 2021 / 7:11 AM

    I love your placemats! The photo shoot on the rock was perfect!

  3. March 24, 2021 / 7:41 AM

    Wonderful placemats and the inspirational story behind your design. They will bring the great ocean feel into your home. A picnic on the beach is perfect with them too.

  4. Julia Schweri
    March 24, 2021 / 7:52 AM

    Your placemats are wonderful and your story behind them makes them all the more special. Thank you for sharing.

  5. lynn bourgeois
    March 24, 2021 / 8:04 AM

    These are perfect Kathleen! I love them and I thank you for your pattern. I believe that these will grace my cottage table soon

  6. Nancy Bekedam
    March 24, 2021 / 8:10 AM

    So many great things going on here, Kathleen! Love those illustrations by a long ago captain. The writing fabric you came up with it perfect! The eyes are so good, the quilting, the photo shoot–all of it! ❤️

  7. Carol Kussart
    March 24, 2021 / 8:12 AM

    Wonderful placemats! There is something about whales that is very appealing, and your use of an old journal entry makes this project even more appealing. Thanks for sharing your post and your pattern!

  8. March 24, 2021 / 8:21 AM

    I enjoyed the story about the fisherman’s journal. The original drawing was fun to see. Your placemats are fantastic!

  9. March 24, 2021 / 8:29 AM

    Your placemats are wonderful, and a fitting tribute to the mighty whale! I loved reading about your inspiration as well.

  10. March 24, 2021 / 8:51 AM

    The placemats are masterpieces! Love the color, the pattern, the stitching. Nice job!

  11. March 24, 2021 / 9:17 AM

    Hi Kathleen! What a lovely post. Gosh, I can see how this journal entry caught your eye and made you think. Hmm. I love everything about this. The fabric choices are spot on, and I love seeing that you can quilt all four placemats at once. Very cool! Thank you also for the pattern. I’m a romantic at heart so I can imagine these two love-struck whales swimming off together, forever happy. ~smile~ Roseanne

  12. March 24, 2021 / 9:24 AM

    Oh, you definitely need to keep these! They are so fun, and the design is so cool with its history. Nice photo shoot, too! I could see making a table runner with the whales on each end. Great finish, Kathleen!

  13. Connie Wolfe
    March 24, 2021 / 10:30 AM

    Great idea for the hop and execution of the idea! These placemats are both useful and decorative. Thanks for sharing.

  14. March 24, 2021 / 11:15 AM

    Love your placemats!!!
    And thank you for the info (links) about copywrite!
    Happy Quilting! 🙂

  15. March 24, 2021 / 11:48 AM

    Your placemats are wonderful. Thank you for the pattern.

  16. March 24, 2021 / 12:06 PM

    What a beatiful backdrop for your photo shoot! The place mats are wonderful Thanks for sharing.

  17. Karrin Hurd
    March 24, 2021 / 12:17 PM

    Gorgeous placemats! I love whales, though not the whaling industry. I have some scrimshaw (fake, not the real kind) of whales, and a scrimshaw necklace of a whale. Thank you so much for the pattern! You always seem to know my loves to a T!

  18. March 24, 2021 / 12:36 PM

    Love the Whales, I’ve always wanted to see a while, maybe
    some day. Have a great day!

  19. Sherry Bobak
    March 24, 2021 / 1:05 PM

    Your placemats are so cute! I love all things beachy. Thanks for the pattern.

  20. March 24, 2021 / 2:02 PM

    Your placemats are just great! I enjoyed reading about your inspiration for the design, and also seeing the spot you used for your photo shoot. What a beautiful view!

  21. Lj Meyers
    March 24, 2021 / 2:44 PM

    Great placemats. Your art is wonderful and your stitching perfect.

  22. sewswift
    March 24, 2021 / 5:44 PM

    Your placemats are so beautiful, as are the settings you photographed them in. I learned a bit, too, from your post. Thank you for hopping with us and sharing those amazing whales!

  23. March 24, 2021 / 6:20 PM

    What lovely placemats. I love hearing about where people get inspiration from, and this was a very unique one :). You had some great fabrics choices that were perfect for this project. And a great place to photograph them.

  24. March 24, 2021 / 6:35 PM

    Beautiful placemats! My vote says you need to keep them. They look perfectly lovely on your dining room table

  25. March 24, 2021 / 7:07 PM

    I so enjoyed your story of how you came up with the idea for the placemats. I also love historical journals and everything that goes with them. Those loving whales are adorable. I find it so cool how you quilted them as one piece and then cut them up. Since I don’t have a long arm, I wouldn’t even have thought of that way to do the quilting. It just makes me all the more hopeful to one day get a long arm. The fun I could have!! thank you for sharing your lovely projects.

  26. March 24, 2021 / 11:45 PM

    Perfect placemats for your home near the rocky shore. Thanks for sharing the pattern with us, Kathleen!

  27. March 25, 2021 / 3:26 AM

    Really cute placemats. Your photo shoot location is a beautiful place. Thank you for the pattern, too.

  28. Joan
    March 25, 2021 / 8:59 AM

    I love whales…not that I get to see that many being landlocked like I am, but the first thing I do when I hit a coast is go whale watching. Your placemats are beautiful and makes me want to head to the coast today! Thanks for the tip on the stitch to make eyes. I’m just getting to know my new Bernie and that is a tip I will be hanging onto.

  29. March 25, 2021 / 9:10 AM

    So precious Kathleen.

  30. Susan Nixon
    March 25, 2021 / 2:09 PM

    Thank you for the pattern, Kathleen. It is wonderful artwork, and you have transformed it into a beautiful pattern.

    Have you ever been to Mystic Seaport, CT? It’s a small village of museums that gives a lot of information about whaling. It was brutal, both for the animals and the men who earned a living that way, but for the years it flourished, it provided much that was needed. I wouldn’t have wanted to be involved, but I do understand why people were, and I believe nothing was wasted, at least.

    Many a sailor lost his live hunting and killing the whales, and many a whale, too. Had it been for sport, like the buffalo killed only for sport or maybe their hides, I would feel worse about it. From my comfortable modern world, I try not to judge, but I did find Mystic Seaport to be an eye-opening experience.

  31. Carla
    March 25, 2021 / 2:32 PM

    Kathleen, I enjoyed your story and the art as much as your adorable placemats. Love the pictures!!!

  32. SandyMay
    March 27, 2021 / 7:52 PM

    Just wanted to thank you for sharing your pattern; my great grandson will love getting his own placemat. Enjoyed reading the story that led to the project. I would never have thought to do something like that.

  33. March 28, 2021 / 4:04 AM

    You can be at the beach at every mealtime. Pretty and practical.

  34. Pat
    March 28, 2021 / 8:48 AM

    Beautiful placemats. I really enjoyed the story of your inspiration and seeing how you designed and sewed. The details are wonderful. Lovely photos. Thanks for sharing in the hop and linking up … 🙂 Pat

  35. Selina
    March 28, 2021 / 8:05 PM

    The whales are wonderful. Great mini history lesson too. Thanks also for the download of the pattern. I just got my 570 on Thursday. Lovin it already.

  36. thedarlingdogwood
    March 28, 2021 / 10:17 PM

    Love, love, love these! What a great design, and I love seeing where your inspiration comes from. And seahorses on the back are just the icing on the cake!

  37. March 28, 2021 / 10:40 PM

    Such a fun idea for placemats, and double sided too!

  38. March 29, 2021 / 5:57 AM

    Great placemats and so pretty from both sides.

  39. March 29, 2021 / 11:07 AM

    Thank you for sharing your pattern and the creative process behind your whale placemats. Our home on the end of Eastern Long Island was whaling territory. Many of the families in our town (not us formerly city folks) can trace their origins back to the early whalers. The idea of whales in love makes me smile.

  40. March 29, 2021 / 5:46 PM

    Your placemats are beautiful, both sides 😉 Very cute whales.

  41. March 29, 2021 / 9:17 PM

    Kathleen, these are WONDERFUL! I love the whole story as to how they came about, and the photos of how you made them. Whales tear at my heartstrings because most of them are endangered. I will add this to my Kathleen McMusing file of patterns. 🙂 I think these would sell well. Oh, how did you use EQ8 to make the whales? Inquiring minds…

  42. patty
    March 31, 2021 / 11:09 AM

    How fun! Thanks for linking up with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal and congrats on your finish.

  43. Karen
    April 3, 2021 / 8:25 PM

    You did a fantastic job turning art into something for your tabletop to be enjoyed daily. Well done!

  44. June 18, 2021 / 3:12 AM

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful article. I really liked your way of presenting the article.

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