Aye Aye Captain!

Aye Aye Captain Quilt

One of the fun things about living with a 3 or 4 year old is their always-going imagination. My son has been in a pirate phase for months. He walks around with a cup on his foot (his peg leg), his finger curled like a hook and he’s even given himself a couple pirate names. Depending on the day, you can call him either Captain Willypanels or Captain Root Beard. That’s why when I saw Sarah Jane Studios fabric line Out to Sea, I knew it would make a perfect quilt for him.

Aye Aye Captain Quilt

This quilt was really easy to make. I combined several of the Out to Sea prints with other coordinating fabrics from my stash. These include some of Moda’s Mono Pez, Lizzy House’s Pearl Bracelets, Sarah Jane’s Children at Play, and Aneela Hoey’s Little Apples. I think one of the keys to making a quilt that really pops is using different shades of each color. As you can see, there are several obviously different shades of blue. But also, the yellows and reds are different. The prints with the white background give your eye a place to rest.

Aye Aye Captain Quilt

I cut each rectangle 3″ x 10″ and the quilt has 6 columns and 24 rows, for a total of 144 rectangles. The finished size is 57″ x 60″.

Aye Aye Captain Quilt

I had a definite picture in my head when I started this quilt, and that vision included rounded corners. I found a circular picture frame in my house that was just the right size, and used that as a template to cut the corners. It’s such a nice detail that softens the look of all those rectangles. Just don’t forget to use bias binding when you make something with round edges, or your finished product won’t lay flat.

Aye Aye Captain Quilt

I also knew I wanted to quilt with wavy lines. It gives a nice texture and reminds me of the ocean which is perfect for this quilt. I’ve mentioned this technique before, but as a refresher, I use the Running Stitch on my machine (Bernina stitch #4) and max out the width and set the length to 4.0. I use my walking foot while quilting.

Aye Aye Captain Quilt

The backing is a dark navy minky, which made for messy quilting! I had to really work the carpet in my sewing room with the vacuum after I was done basting. The binding is a dot from Sarah Jane Studios Children at Play line.

Aye Aye Captain Quilt

My son loves the quilt. While I was working on it, he told me he wasn’t going to use it. I called his bluff though, and luckily I was right! It’s quite a nice feeling to know he’s spending time now cuddling under something I’ve made.


  1. 1

    Faye says

    This quilt looks great! I have a question that may seem really elemental, but I look at you quilt and just want to know what your tricks are for getting *all* of your seems to match up so perfectly. I mean, is it really just precision in cutting and sewing your seams, or are there other tricks that help in getting everything to line up? I feel like if I attempted a quilt like this one, each column would end up slightly “off” as compared to the other columns. I appreciate any tips you have!

    • 2


      Precision cutting and accurate scant 1/4″ seams are really important for getting corners to line up, but I also find that pressing seams in opposite directions helps to keep everything locked together when it comes time to sew rows or blocks together. I also find that sewing “compound blocks” from my quilt blocks rather than sewing rows really works better for me. Trying to line up a million seams along a long stretch of quilt blocks is not easy, but you can mitigate that by sewing the “compound blocks”. (I’m not sure this made any sense at all. 🙂 )

    • 3


      Hi Faye! I think it’s a combination of a few things. Yes, it’s important to cut everything the same size (I mean, a millimeter isn’t going to cause you headaches…), sewing everything with a consistent seam allowance, and then pressing your columns in opposite directions. For example, press all your seams for column 1 down. Then all your seams for column 2 up. Down, up, down, up. Then when you sew your columns together, the fabric will “lock” at the seams and give you those perfect matches.

  2. 5


    My son is 27 and was and is a total pirate nut. His girlfriend could not believe how excited he was to visit the “Goonies” house in Oregon last year! so funny! I love the pirate names your son has chosen. Great quilt!

  3. 7


    That is so cute. Thanks for the tip on how to quilt it. I have a new Bernina and hadn’t thought of using other stitches to quilt.

  4. 8

    Shawn says

    Love the name Captain Root Beard. Kids have the best imaginations.
    Very cute quilt. Love the rounded corners.

  5. 13


    Captain Root Beard. Hehe. I love that. This quilt is a perfect pirate quilt, I’m glad he loves it.

    My daughter has had pet dragons for almost a year and a half. She talks about them all the time, very much like your little guy.

  6. 18


    Captain Root Beard? How awesome is that! Love it! This quilt is adorable; I love the subtlety of the small-scale pirate fabric and the mix of colors and prints. The rounded corners is a nice touch, too. I love Minky backing for little ones’ quilts! Do you use batting when you quilt with Minky, and if so, which kind?

  7. 24

    Maeve says

    I cannot resist telling you that I laughed when I read your son’s pirate names, particularly “Captain Root Beard”. Adorable! I’m a grandmother so these things really give me joy . . . love those fresh, innocent (sometimes mischievous) minds. The quilt is gorgeous, so bright and colorful! Love your blog!

  8. 27

    Danneel Mitchell says

    LOL!!!! I can not get passed the cup on the foot! That is so funny! I just love innocent imagination!. I do not feel sorry for you, I envy you! Just try and avoid walking the plank!!! 🙂 The quilt is absolutely wonderful. Your quilts keep me inspired and…broke!!! Love the blog!

  9. 28

    Adele says

    AARGH! to Captain Root Beard! Love the quilt. This would make a great, quick charity quilt. Thanks for sharing

  10. 29

    Vicki Lou says

    Thank you for that lovely story about the adorable quilt and your creative son! I enjoyed it immensely.

  11. 30


    Oh it’s adorable! The wavy quilting lines are so perfect for it. I know what you mean about the kiddos and their non stop imagination…. my youngest daughter has been “Felice the dog”, on and off for about 3 months now. Maybe it’s a four year old thing! So cute!

  12. 33


    This is such an adorable quilt and I have a grandson who would love it — looks somewhat easy to make — thanks for sharing !}

  13. 34

    Gayle says

    My son is 22 and he is still a pirate. He wore a bandanna around his wrist and a pirate costume vest almost daily after we read Treasure Island when he was four. He was mortified with Disney’s version because it didn’t follow the book. Then I found the Charlton Heston mini series on VCR and he wore it ragged. Christian Bale plays Jim Hawkins. We still recite lines from that movie. It is the only VCR tape we still own beside home movies. We also have a huge collection of fisher price pirates. His pirate collection ranks up there with his bikes and his guitars/banjo/mandolin/amps/recording collections.

  14. 35

    Dianne Shepherd says

    What a gorgeous quilt for your little boy! I can see this in other prints as well and love the effect that using a repeated basic shape has created.

  15. 36

    Liz says

    I really enjoy and am inspired by your blog since I discovered you a year ago and should have told you sooner. Your son’s quilt is terrific and he’ll have a great time making up stories for some of the “picture fabric”….set off my a really inventive mix of fabric. Thanks for such content rich posts and well designed quilts!

  16. 37


    I just finished a nautical quilt as well and did a similar quilting style. You need to let him play with the dough hook from your stand mixer (assuming you have one).

  17. 38

    Chelsea says

    Adorable quilt! My son would really love it too. I really appreciate the tip about fabric colors. I find myself concentrating too hard on perfectly matching colors. The end product can look really flat. This reminds me that having fabrics that are NOT “matchy” actually work better in quilts. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  18. 39


    REALLY REALLY LOVE IT! I am going to check my Bernina and see if I can do that stitch. Thanks for all the tips on how you did it. Janita

  19. 41

    Liz says

    I love every aspect of this quilt, and the story. I’ve been looking for inspiration for my nearly four year old son and this is completely delightful. Appreciate peoples advice about keeping the lines straight too. I’m pretty new to this game but it is very addictive! How do people not spend every cent on fabric?!

  20. 42

    Debbie Watton says

    I love this quilt, sometimes the simplest arrangements are the most pleasing to the eye. Great mix of fabrics.

  21. 43


    big smile over here. 🙂 It always warms my heart when my daughter uses something I made for her or when she asks if I sew for her when I’m sewing (often I sew late in the evening so that’s really rare). A strip quilt is on my list, too.

  22. 44

    Sarah says

    I love it! Everything about it, the design, the colours, the story. My last name, Rothe, is of German descent and my husband tells me it comes from the word rotte, German for red, and their is links in their history to the pirate Red Beard. Your sons pirate name Captain Root Beard reminded me of this! His imaginative pirate names just crack me up! I love the minds of little kids.

  23. 48

    aquiltersmission says

    OMG!! It is cute beyond words. Love the wavey quilting. Rounding off the corners makes it even cozier. Minky? Of course he’s cuddling under his new quilt, who wouldn’t?

  24. 51

    Suzanne says

    This is a great quilt! I love the colors and fabrics you chose. Love the wavy quilting and rounded corners.

  25. 52

    Kara says

    I love the quilt and love the story of Kyler having a peg leg and pirate names. So cute! I’m glad he loves the quilt. As it’s getting warmer I have mixed feelings about how much Hayden loves his quilt and owl blanket. He gets buried deep underneath them, and when I check on him before I go to bed he is always sweating, bless him.

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