“I Spy” Quilt Activity, Two!

Recently, our church quilting group completed an “I Spy” quilt for one of our beloved families who had just adopted their second daughter.  Playing with so many fun and quirky prints inspired me to start another one for my nephew and his wife, who are expecting their first in April of this year.  When I learned of my sister-in-law’s plan to combine a baby shower with our early January Christmas get-together, I had little time to spare.

Who can resist this charming gentlefrog and his violin?

I have been collecting these fun novelty prints for over twenty years.  I probably have enough fabric to make 100 or more of these quilts, and I’ve even thought of putting together some kits for sale.  (If you’d be interested in something like that, would you please let me know in the comments?)

Don’t you just love this cheeky, mustached lobster?

It’s been years since I’ve made an “I Spy” quilt, (and have now made two in as many months), but I can see that I’ll be making more of these in the near future.  I have a lot of blocks already cut and organized, and constructing the top goes fairly quickly using the chain-piecing method.


My nephew and his wife are using lavender in their nursery, so I thought I’d use that color as the corner triangles.  One of the great things about this quilt is that you can pretty much use any color you desire.  Over the years, I’ve used red, yellow, orange, royal blue, fuchsia, and a few others I can’t remember right now.  This is the first time I’ve used a more pastel background color, and I really like the way it makes the novelty blocks “pop!”

Aren’t they the cutest?  We know they’re going to be GREAT parents!

To finish this quilt top, I added a skinny border of a white-on-white floral print, and a wider border of a deeper periwinkle blue with tiny dots that shimmer in the light.  I forgot to photograph the back, but I found a cotton paisley print at Jo-Ann Fabrics that was a mixture of lavender, periwinkle, seafoam green, purple, pink, and chartreuse.  Perfect!

Here is the completed top before the borders were added.  Which block is your favorite?

I used basting spray (my new favorite product!) to temporarily bond my three layers together, then machine-quilted on both sides of all the diagonal seams, extending the quilting to the outer edges of the borders.  I used the same lavender that I used for the triangles as the binding.  To bind straight-edged quilts, I cut 2 1/2″ strips on the straight grain, then fold in half and press.  Stitch to the front with 1/4″ seam, then turn the folded edge to the back and hand sew.  Always, ALWAYS, hand-sew.  You’ll get a neater finish this way.

I would say this is a good intermediate or advanced beginner project.  It does take some time to mark and cut out the hexagons, but if you take the time to prep multiples at the same time, making your second or third “I Spy” quilt will be much faster!  And you probably will want to keep making them…they are addicting!

Do you think you might try this?  Let me know in the comments…

Thanks for stopping by the Hollow!

Kristine Zerby


“I Spy” Quilt Activity

Our church has a small group of women who meet once a month to work on various quilting projects.  When we are blessed to welcome a new baby into our church family, a baby quilt becomes the project-at-hand.

For our most recent arrival, I suggested we make an “I Spy” quilt.


About twenty years ago, I came across the quilting book, “P.S. I Love You, Two!” , that contained the pattern that began the popular and recognizable “I Spy” quilt trend.  The authors’ idea was to create a quilt that was not only functional, but FUN, as well, so that children could use the quilt for the game of “I Spy.”

I began collecting novelty fabrics as soon as I found this pattern.  It wasn’t long until I had a sampling of everything that was available at my local fabric store…and sadly, we didn’t have any other quilt stores locally.  Happily, it was the early days of the internet, and I was pleasantly surprised to find many fabric stores online, (even though it was painfully slow to load the fabric-swatch pages with our dial-up service.)  Over the next few years, as my budget allowed, I built up a very nice stash of novelty fabrics, most of which are no longer available.

Thankfully, new novelty prints are continually being produced, so I should always have fresh designs to add to my ever-changing stash.



The original quilt called for 200 hexagons, “fussy-cut” from various novelty fabrics.

“Fussy-cutting” means that a plastic template is placed on the fabric, with the desired image centered within the shape; the template is traced around, then cut out.

It is a time-consuming process, but the results are so-o-o worth the effort…

Our church quilt group recently created this colorful “I Spy” for a lovely couple who just adopted their second daughter.  We hope that it will be a fun activity for the girls to spend time doing together.  It was gifted in November, 2016.


For a time, I was disciplined about marking, cutting out, and organizing my hexagons as I purchased fabric.  Eventually I got behind.  So, now I have a large bin filled with “possibilities,” as I like to think of it.  It will wait for me, and as long as friends and family members continue having babies, I’ll continue making these fun and functional fabric hugs.

Do you have a favorite sewn baby gift that you always give?  Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by the Hollow!

Kristine Zerby