Fabric scraps that turn into ‘I Spy’ quilts

Once you’ve made one quilt you start to accumulate scraps – fabric scraps, some large, some teensy but all with gorgeous patterns and colours and you think ‘I’ll just keep this piece, it may come in handy for some applique…’

Over time the fabric scraps grow and you find that many of the fabric scraps have sections of flowers, birds, animals or ‘things’ on them and you realise that you could make a quilt with all these numerous fabrics and then a little one – your child, grandchild or lucky recipient – could spend happy hours hunting through your patchwork piecing discovering the animals, the birds, the flowers and all the other ‘conversation’ prints you have incorporated into the quilt.

I spy quilt made from different sizes of squares

I spy quilt made from different sizes of squares

Quite unconsciously you have now created an “I Spy” quilt.  You’ve tried to make a dent in your fabric scraps and ended up producing a unique quilt that will be loved forever.  So what kind of patchwork piecing is suitable for an “I Spy” quilt?  Some quilters happily turn all their scraps into 2”, 3”or 4” squares and then sew the squares together, sometimes randomly and sometimes making a colour wash of the squares.

Hexagon I spy quilt

Hexagon I spy quilt

You could transform your scraps into hexagons using the English paper piecing method, centring or ‘fussy cutting’ your scraps so that the main image appears in the middle of each hexagon.  Then your next decision is how to lay out the hexagons – whether to make them into traditional Grandmother flower garden patterns, or groupings of like colours or random placing.  Other quilt ideas are to use a fairly simple pieced block and each section of the block is cut from a different fabric.  The almost overwhelming choice of colours and patterns can make for a stunning quilt and as promised your ‘little one’ will marvel at the sheer number of pictures you have cleverly incorporated into their quilt.



Mary has sewn and fabric collected all her life and feels that to combine both in quilting is a real joy. She has been quilting, teaching, pattern writing and selling fabric for the past thirty years and can’t think of a more wonderful and fulfilling creative outlet.

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