Friday, September 12, 2014

I Spy..... A New Quilt!

Robin Atkins, I Spy quilt, front
Six whole days and evenings it took me to make this 50" square quilt... Yikes, I'm soooo slow. My neighbor raised her eyebrows in doubt when I told her how long it took, thinking she probably could have done it in 2 days.

Perfectionism is the square root of the time. Ha! Oh well, at least I'm satisfied with it.

Robin Atkins, I Spy quilt, front, center block
The backstory... This quilt, I Spy a Brown Dog, is for my Goddaughter's two children, primarily for her daughter, who is just a year old now, but also for her son, who is about 5, I think. They live in Copenhagen. The above block (photographed before I sewed the left and bottom borders on it), is at the center of the quilt because the whole family loves dogs. Had I been making it for myself (the child within) the center block would have been birds, flowers, kitties, or bunnies... all of which I adored, and all of which found their way into this quilt.

Robin Atkins, I Spy quilt, front detail
In case you don't know, an "I Spy" quilt allows adults to play a game with children, saying things like "I spy an orange elephant." Then the child finds and points to the orange elephant on the quilt. My Goddaughter's family is multilingual, so it can also be used to teach vocabulary in a second or third language to the kids when they are very young, in a fun way.

Besides selecting all the fabrics and fussy-cutting the blocks, the most difficult part was arranging the finished blocks. No matter what I did, the yellows seemed to be bunched up together.  Finally I took a photo of one of the arrangements, changed the mode to black & white, and printed it.

Robin Atkins, I Spy quilt, possible layout showing values in grey scale
This showed me that I had more lights than I thought, and gave me the idea to put the yellow bordered blocks in the corners and in a left to right diagonal. Once I did that, the rest fell easily into place! Here's the photo again, so you can see what I mean...

Robin Atkins, I Spy quilt, note layout of blocks, particularly yellow

The back also took extra time, because I didn't have any suitable fabric large enough to do the whole back. So, since it had to be pieced anyway, I figured it might as well have another dog block, and a mix of fabrics. Here it is.

Robin Atkins, I Spy quilt, back
I scanned two of the fabric prints to make a dedication label, and printed it on ink-jet-printable fabric. Here it is.

Robin Atkins, I Spy quilt, back, label

The last part was quilting it, something I've got very little experience doing by machine (and way too much experience doing by hand). You can see the quilting pattern, if you click on the picture of the back to enlarge it.

There y'go... kept me out of trouble for 6 whole days! Hope they like it.


  1. Thank you for talking about the process. I am learning so much about quilting recently. The finished quilt is fun and beautiful. It will be a keepsake.

    1. Thanks, Sue! I hope they'll enjoy "playing" with it, and not worry about making it last forever, washing it as needed, using it as a blanket.

  2. Oh my, this is adorable, right down to the dedication label. Will definitely be a family keepsake.
    I'd never heard of an "I Spy" quilt before. Great concept.
    I was thinking of one reason I enjoy your blog... it's like you have "Octopus Creativity". You have core interests, which then reach out in many directions like the tenacles of an octopus. I never know what delightful thing I'll find when I visit... it's fun to be surprised. :-)

    1. Retta, I don't know how you do it, but your comments always, always make me so happy... It's like you see into my heart, and support what you see. Thank you and bless you.

  3. Anonymous3:55 PM

    Cousin Robin, This quilt is awesome and more awesome than awesome. What a beautiful gift filled with such love and care. They will have and use it for so many years to come. I love the design of each square and the colors are just so perfect. If I was doing this it would take me 6 months! Love it. Peggy

    1. I don't think it would take you any longer than it took me, Peggy. Bless you for saying you like the colors.... because the styles of the fabrics are quite varied, I had to try to bring it all together with color. I'm happy you think it works!

  4. Peggy Kemp11:11 AM

    This is so bright and cheerful, Robin. Perfect to keep a child's interest. I can remember many times staring at my quilts as a small kid, looking at all the little worlds within them.

  5. Dear Robin,
    I could hardly wait for the outcome when I first saw the beginnings with your quilt with the main theme (dog). It's beautifully and so perfectly done! The machine quilting is just perfect, I love it! I really like the way you were thinking when making that black&white photo! Well, I like blankets as well.. ;-) Love, Ildiko

  6. Aha, so six days is a long time for making this most beautiful keepsake? Oh. If you had told me it took you six weeks, I would have believed that without thinking. Shows I don't know the first thing about quilting, I am just an admirer. But I do know for sure that this present will be received with the utmost joy, and it will certainly be held dear forever.


Thanks you for joining the discussion on this post today!