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.