October 28, 2011

I Spy Quilt!!

Yes, you read that right, this post is about the I Spy Quilt - wahoo!

I signed up for a couple of swaps.  I probably wouldn't have done anything with the squares - you know, waited a few years while they sat starring at me, but when Kimbo sent the squares back she sent a letter saying everyone could showcase their quilts by Nov 1st.  The nerve of her, expecting me to actually follow through to the end with a craft project.....

But look - I actually finished it!  I thought it would be perfect for taking to all those outdoor things - mainly, my son's flag football games, so the other kids could have a place to sit and be entertained all at once.  We're well into the season, so I almost didn't make it, but I can still tote it along to the final 2 games.

So a quick rundown - - if you are a real quilter, you might want to avert your eyes......

First off, I participated in 2 different swaps.  I cut a bunch of the same fabric into squares, then mailed them off and the swap host puts everyones fabric into a big pile then divys it out, so I got back a bunch of different fabric squares.  Perfect - except for that the 2 swaps I signed up for were different sized squares - whoops.

So what I did was laid out the squares into larger square pods.  Each larger square had 2 big squares and 6 small squares inside of it.  I sewed those 8 squares together into their pod.  Some I Spy quilts have plain fabric between each square, but I liked the look of them all touching, jumbled together (make it tougher on those kiddos!) I placed everything out, but of course lost track while I was moving piles from one place to another, so the quilt looks nothing like this pre-layout:

Since I wanted an outdoor blanket, I knew I was backing it with denium.  For durability, and because I have a huge pile of discarded overalls from my uncle (he knew I couldn't say no to trash clothing).  Since I wanted to back it with denium, I didn't think I could quilt it very well - sounded too thick to swirl around, etc.  So I just took my pod things, put a piece of batting under them, and quilted them individually.  There's a name for this type of quilting, without the back on - I don't know what it is.
My pile of progress:
Then I took those quilted squares (well, they're kind of rectangle-ish) and sewed them together - - see the back, you can tell what I'm talking about:
Then I sewed a bunch of jeans together haphazardly for the back.  To hold the front to the back, I sewed down a few rows, just straight.  Here's sewing the rows:
Did you notice that I tacked up Kimbo's letter right by my sewing machine - it's been there a couple of months - it's like she's heckling  me every time I sew something other than my I Spy quilt :)

A view of the wonky back - I just claim that "wonky" was the look I was going for:

The original plan was to embroider a whole list of all the things to find on the quilt - sounded very long and involved and I just wasn't looking forward to it.  Then Kim said she was going to make cards for hers - I thought that was genius and quickly stole the idea.  I cut off the front pocket from the overalls and just zig zagged it right on the back of the quilt - it has snaps and everything, so it's perfect to hold the cards in.
I borrowed  a laminator from a friend to make the cards durable - and it was awesome.  I think I need that machine!

A view of most of the front (quilts are so hard to take pictures of!):

In this picture you can see I sewed in a couple of ties when I put the binding on:

That way when I'm traipsing onto the football field with 3 kids in tow and dragging various chairs, jackets, etc, it'll be easily transportable - I can hand it to a kid to carry and if they drop it, it won't come unfolded or anything.  All tied up:

And of course, the fun of playing with it - - it's been a huge hit so far.  The younger kids can point out things and name what they see, etc.  The older kids can read the cards and hunt around.

I love my I Spy Quilt - - you should make one!  Underneath it all, it's just sewing straight lines - you can do it!

Along those lines, I have extra squares  I'll sell for $20, including shipping, if anyone wants them - just email me, mandybeez at gmail.  They are the ones I didn't use because they weren't my taste, they were duplicates (whether exactly or in theme, like there were several owl fabrics), or I just ran out of room - I didn't want a huge quilt.
My quilt: 40 large squares (6 inches) and 120 small squares (4 inches)
The leftovers for sale: 59 large squares and 82 small squares (if I counted right!)


About Author:

Mandy is a craft blogger who loves to blog and enjoys all things crafty, sewing, and DIY - she feels that if she can do something, you can too, and provides tutorials to help you along the way. She loves being a mom to 4 awesome kiddos and blogs from the Kansas City Area. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter or Google +

33 Fabulous Comments:

I love it! I've been thinking of making my first quilt...but have been a little scared. I may try this one since you explained it so well! :)

Hey, Just steal-- err "borrow" your mom's laminator... she has one...

Love your quilt Mandy, it's fabulous!!! :) Doing an exchange for the fabric squares is such a smart idea! Makes me want to do one... Anyone else???

If you're interested email me at mommydiaries at hotmail dot com.

Looks great! I especially like your idea to back it in denim & use the ties. I still need to work on my i spy project.

That is absolutely perfect! I love the pocket with the tags also. Where did you find those swaps? I've been wanting to do that ever since I saw one of these last year. What fun for the kids. This is a family heirloom for sure!

Very cute! May make one for a now-toddler who didn't receive a baby gift from me. (oops) Since she can't read yet, I may put pictures AND words on the cards before I laminate. Thanks for sharing!

Wow, that turned out so well! I love all the different fabrics you used. The ability to roll it up is such a great feature too. Great job!

it's fan freakin tastic! and holy. a ton of work. i was totally just going to print up whole list....not individual words. you always have to one up me! lol. love the jeans..wonky back especially! and the pocket! sorry to make you have a time limit..i totally even forgot what it was! lol. i'm about a month and half overdue on mine.

oh...and if you any one wants to get in on an ispy swap i always have a waiting list for the next one!


What a fabulous and practical quilt! well done, looks great! x

I love the pocket with the cards... oh and the ties... actually, I guess I just love the whole thing! haha. Thanks for sharing, Mandy!

This looks awesome! I love the look of the big and little squares. The pocket and ties is pretty genius too! All your quilts have inspired me to make a quilt. Maybe I'll try out an I-spy one. I think I'm capable of sewing straight lines....

I made one too, well okay I cut the squares and a friend made it! But I love yours much better! Maybe I should make another one... :)

That is so neat! I keep saying I want to do one, but haven't gotten around to it yet...

Fantastic! I haven't done anything with mine yet, but you've given me some great ideas! I love seeing the fabrics I swapped in your quilt!

will you email me if you still have the extra squares? sssowers@hotmaill.com

I love it! I was part of that swap and I can see some of the squares I sent!! That's so cool. =)

I love the idea of putting a pocket on the back. I may have to use that! I haven't finished mine yet. Good job getting it on time!


This is great, kinda like Where's Waldo but better because you made it, and it's a quilt! I'm going to start saving my scraps to do this someday, or maybe I'll try to track down a swap... Anyway, thanks for this idea!

I LOVE quilts and I can honestly say that I will be doing this for my son.

I am loving the different size squares!

What a great quilt! I love your upcycled denim bag and especially those clever ties!

Sooo cute....I would LOVE for you to please share this awesome post at my 6Wicked Days of Halloween party today pweeease... http://theartsygirlconnection.blogspot.com/2011/10/flash-back-halloween-6-wicked-days-of.html ..wishing u a spootacular day :))

This is so great! I love love love it!

Priscila @ jensennp.blogspot.com


I'd love for you to come link this up at my Tuesday Time Out Party!



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Love this quilt Mandy...so fun for the kids!

I am in love with this idea. I can barely sew, but this is worth it!

oohhh!! i just love this!!!

i'm not very good at sewing but will have to give this a try one day

natasha xx


I love the overall pocket on the back with the tags inside. How fun!

This is the greatest idea and turned out so cute! I don't sew but I'm still pinning this one on pinterest!

Wow! I love the ties to wrap it up for traveling. I feel inspired :) Glad to find you on the tt&j linky party!

Wow! I love the ties to wrap it up for traveling. I feel inspired :) Glad to find you on the tt&j linky party!

I just LOVE this!!! ... the colours, the tie, the denim, the pocket, the I Spy.... BRILLIANT!!! Hope you don't mind, but I'm pinning this. It won't happen any time soon, but I'm going to make one. Thanks for sharing.

What is the finished size of your quilt?

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