Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Working on I-Spies


A couple of months ago, I participated in an I-Spy 4" square swap at Val's Quilting Studio. Each person sent in 20 squares each of 10 different fun novelty fabrics. Val then sorted and combined all the fabrics and sent us back 200 unique squares. So fun! There was also the option of sending in a double batch, which I decided to do. So I got 400 squares in the mail, super double bonus fun!

The problem with 400 (mostly) unique squares is that they are a bit overwhelming. Since the object of an I-Spy quilt is for there to be lots of different things for a toddler to find, the fabrics are busy busy busy. I needed some order in all that chaos!

I knew I wanted to make donation quilts for Wrap A Smile and Quilts Beyond Borders, so the first order of business was to remove some squares that contained subjects we've been asked to avoid. For instance, pigs, Christmas themes, and camouflage patterns aren't great choices in some of the receiving countries. At the same time, I sorted all the squares into color families and into lights and darks within the colors.

I stitched together four patches of two lights and two darks, all the same color. This made 7.5" squares, and I wanted the blocks to finish at 10" so I added 2" raw borders all the way around. The borders are the same color as the novelty squares, and that gave the whole batch some structure. Instead of hundreds of multicolor small squares, I ended up with just over 80 larger blocks, each one very clearly a single color. That's enough for 4 toddler sized quilts, each 40"x50".


Here are the stacks of red, yellow, orange and pink blocks. I tried to make about half the borders dark and half light. That was easy with some colors, like orange, where I had both deep pumpkin orange and light tangerine. For yellow and red, though, I used off white for the light borders. I don't have any pale yellow fabric, and pale red is pink, which ended up being its own color stack.


Here are the blue, green and aqua stacks. They are much larger, especially the blue. I ended up with 21 blue blocks, but only 5 yellow and 4 purple. And there's a stack of black and white blocks, too, with I-spy fabrics that had almost no color in them at all.

My original plan was to make rainbow order quilts, but with such a imbalance of colors that didn't seem like a great idea. Instead, I decided to group analogous colors. I think I'll end up with two bluish-greenish quilts, one yellow/pink/orange, and one with the leftovers mixed with the black and white squares.


And here's the first top pieced together! Even though this is a sort of soft and girly color palette, the I-Spy subjects are a great mix. There are dump trucks, bees, rhinos, fishing lures, strawberries, kitties, and treasure chests, just to name a few! I'm looking forward to piecing up the other three tops soon and then getting them all quilted.


And speaking of kitties, here's Angel on the other project I worked on last week. This is my scrappy Christmas fabric top, pieced up last year. I'm quilting it without batting to a fleece backing. Theoretically, without batting the quilt would be a little lighter and thinner and easier to store. We aren't usually any place very cold in the winter. However, the fleece that I bought online is the thickest stuff I've ever seen! Whoa, Nelly, this is going to be a heavy quilt! Just shoving it around through the Juki has been quite a workout, so I'm setting it aside for a while. 

21 comments:

Cathy said...

Wow, you are prolific! Your first I Spy is cute as can be and I’m sure the others will follow suit. And it looks as though you’ve got a good helper, too.

Kate said...

What a great plan for all those novelty squares. You'll have some bright and fun quilts out of all of those.

Lynn said...

That looks great. Quite an inspiration, might have to check out what pieces I have lurking in my 'children's fabrics' spot.

KaHolly said...

Such an ambitious undertaking and you made it seem so simple. You are remarkable!

Debbie said...

I like your solution to the busy selection. That is often the problem I had when attempting one of these. You made it work so well.

piecefulwendy said...

Great idea for making those novelty quilts! Well, it looks like Angel might enjoy the heavy fleece quilt, no matter what the weather is doing! :-)

Vicki in MN said...

Glad to see you are quilting away! And as per your usual coming up with some great donation quilts that will make some youngsters smile:)

Sandy Panagos said...

With all that figurin' you probably created some new brain cells while you were at it! Sure turned out cute.

Needled Mom said...

That's a great way to control the chaos of so many fabrics. It makes such a nice I Spy.

The Colorful Fabriholic said...

Great plans and progress on your I Spy quilts. I like your choice of warm and cool color palettes. Good luck on your Christmas quilt; you still have plenty of time before Christmas.

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

Your I Spy blocks are really fun! I like the way you organized the squares into 4 patches, and love the red, pink, and yellow combination, too. Great idea for kids' quilts!

Anne / Springleaf Studios said...

I like how you chose to group the colors and then border them with solids. It creates a strong visual cohesiveness that works well. I'm sure they will be well loved and used by the children who receive them.

Preeti said...

400 squares will keep you busy for a little bit. And if this cute beauty is any indication, I do not mind it at all. Love the layout and the sweet colors. Bring on the eye-candy :-)

Sandy Panagos said...

By the way, if you need more I-Spy fabrics, let me know!

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

400 squares! You came up with a brilliant way to organize them. Your first quilt is wonderful. I look forward to more! Hang in there with the fleece quilting.

Sandy Panagos said...

I'm leaving another comment just to see if I'm still showing up as a "no reply" blogger. You sure have been patient with me!

Janice Holton said...

Oh, you are so VERY organized! I love the way you think! Those are going to be some really fun I Spy quilts. Still on my bucket list. I wanted to participate in Val's swap but really need to get some UFO's off of my list first.

Mystic Quilter said...

400 - that's a heck of a lot of squares but I do like how you've used them Louise, the borders around each set of four squares are perfect. Good to see Angel testing out your quilts!

Valerie Reynolds said...

Louise I love your idea of creating the boxed eye spy’s! Right...400....for the swap!!! But it’s fun so come up with different ways to put them together into quilt like you did.

Nicki said...

I bet you are having fun with your I-Spy themed quilts these days. Sounds like you've got lots of squares to choose from to make the perfect quilts. I really like how you framed the four patches as it makes it easier for little developing eyes to pick out the items in the quilt. Those are going to make some youngsters mighty happy & keep them busy finding fun objects.

Sandra Walker said...

I think Angel is quite pleased you've taken a wee break with that thick fleece quilt! I love watching you work, and seeing how you make sense out of the chaos of (gulp) 400 novelty print squares! It's really quite wonderful, and thank you for the zen-like little session you've provided here. Bella has enjoyed her own little Zen session too, watching the mouse, and my fingers, move across the screen! She's perched between my forearms on my Singer 15-91 cabinet where my laptop sits, so she's between my chest and the laptop, purring her heart out!