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Friday, December 2, 2011

I-Spy Baby Quilt (Tutorial)

This guest post is part of the Welcome Baby Tutorial Series!

Our next guest blogger is Rhonda from Quilter in the Gap.  Not only does Rhonda have a fun blog,
but she's extra brave and puts out a podcast as well!  I wish I had more time to listen, but the episodes I have found time to follow along with are great.  Especially if I can do some sewing or embroidery while I listen.  Just like having a friend in the room.  So, venture over, leave a comment, and listen to her podcast if you have a minute.  It's a great opportunity to get to know a fellow quilter and overall great lady!

These are very exciting times – a new baby (the stunning Norah) brought into a loving home makes me smile. Jennie and her family are so deserving of such a blessing and that baby girl will certainly be loved! I am also excited because this is the first time I have been asked to guest blog – and to do a tutorial….well that is sheer bliss for me.

Let me start with a quick introduction. My name is Rhonda and I blog and podcast at Quilter in The Gap. The main idea behind my podcast is to introduce my readers to everyday bloggers like me and you (and yes my grammar is often this bad). I interview them and then share it with all who care to listen – hopefully generating more readers for those bloggers. I would love for you to listen and maybe even to interview you, the quilting/sewing blogger. So, hop on over (after you take a look at my tutorial) and let me know what you think. You can find all my episodes here.

When I was designing this little I-Spy Quilt I had my new granddaughter in mind. She just turned 9 months old (yesterday) and will soon have a blast finding all the goodies on this quilt. I made it small enough for her drag around with her - once she starts walking. This would make a great gift for a newborn (could be used as a wrap) all the way up to a first birthday present – and maybe beyond.

I Spy....with my little eye....a bumble bee....

Enough rambling….let’s get started. 

Quilt Details & Supplies Needed:

Finished Quilt Size: Approx. 40" x 25"

Yardage Needed:
3/4 yd White Fabric
Various scraps for I-Spy Squares
1 1/4 yd for backing
binding fabric (yardage depends on desired width)

Cutting instructions:
40 – 4 1/2” I-Spy Squares (scraps are great for this project)
67 – 1 1/2" x 4 1/2" sashing strips (white in my case)
28 – 1 1/2" I-Spy Squares (more scraps here)
2 – 1 1/2” x 39 1/2 strips for outside border (white for me) - not pictured
2 – 1 1/2” x 24 1/2 strips for outside border (white for me) - not pictured
30" x 45" backing piece (flannel was my choice) - not pictured
+/- 140” binding (width of your choice) - not pictured

I Spy...with my little eye...Bugs Bunny...

Assembly Instructions:
After all the cutting is done it's time to start the first lay out of your quilt. I simply laid out the top with the sashing and small I-Spy squares so that I could make sure all the colors didn’t seem bunched together. 
I Spy....with my little eye...a pink elephant...

Once I had a pleasing layout, I moved all the pieces to one side of my design wall. Now for you this might be an unnecessary step but for me (the UFO queen) I generally have several projects going at one time and need the design wall for multiple things. Please keep this in mind when you are looking at the various pictures (some may have only one row of blocks - that is because they are stacked)
Sew all the sashing pieces to the right of the large I-Spy squares and then to the left of the small I-Spy squares. Always press toward the I-Spy blocks in this step.
I Spy....with my little eye...a snowman....

Now join all the sashing strips to the bottom of the large I-Spy blocks. Press toward the large I-Spy blocks.
I Spy....with my little eye...a black cat...
Now separate your rows into chunks of blocks. Let me briefly explain why I do this. If you are doing a large quilt you will have long rows to sew together – leaving room for wavy rows. By sewing my blocks together in chunks I can eliminate one more place for error and the potential of seam ripping (something I loathe). Occasionally this will require you to change the way the seams are pressed. Just press as you go, and you will see how they need to rest in order to nest properly.
Sew these blocks into large chunks. 
I Spy...with my little eye...Christmas owls
Combine chunks to make a quilt top. 
I Spy....with my little eye...a rubber duckie...
Add borders. You can either the sides first (as I did) or you can add the top/bottom first. Regardless, add your borders. NOTE: If I am making a large quilt I will sometimes add my borders to my chunks before sewing them all together - yet another place to eliminate the potential for wave. This only works well if it is a busy print border where the seams won't really show...but a tip to keep in your bag of tricks. 
I Spy...with my little eye...plums...
Layer, quilt, and bind your quilt as desired. There are many great tutorials online for layering, quilting, and binding so I didn't think I needed to re-write this portion. I decided to quilt mine on the diagonal - going through each block - I also like the weird "x"s this left in the borders. 
I spy...with my little eye...a spool of thread...
I Spy...with my little eye...a quilt shop...
I spy...with my little eye...a yellow puzzle piece...
You can continue to add blocks and make this quilt as big as you would like. How much fun to sit under a large quilt and play "I-Spy" with your kids or grandkids (btw, grands are much more fun than the first set). A friend of mine suggested saving scraps from various quilts you make and putting them into a quilt like this. She called it a quilt of "fabrics she loves" - what a great idea! I hope I gave you a little inspiration...have a great day!


  1. Great quilt and tutorial Rhonda!

  2. Another project to for my "to-do" list. I'm afraid I'm better at adding to my "to-do" list then to my "got-done" list.
    Thanks for the tutorial.

  3. great tutorial rhonda! i loved your "i spy's" throughout the post.

  4. Wow.. I added sashing to my "Just Wing It" quilt-along quilt but I had no idea how to do it so I just made it up as I went along.. This would have been MUCH easier!


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