Thursday, August 9, 2012

IQSCM Quilt of the Month

The International Quilt Study Center & Museum is based at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Each month the IQSCM emails one featured quilt from their collection.  August 2012 shows the quilt 'Child's Quilt' made in 1958 by Jean Ray Laury.

You can search the online archives or join the email list at

This blog has been very quiet lately.  All the excitement is over at my new blog .  If you are into antique quilts it's worth popping over.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I Spy and Magnifiy

This is an I Spy for the vision challenged - each I Spy is magnified with a magnifier lens.  What an excellent pattern!  You can find the download here.
It comes from the website All People Quilt.  It's a Better Homes and Gardens site, loaded with easy patterns, and lots of freebies.  It looks like an excellent resource if you need an idea in a hurry.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I Spy Puss in the Corner

At the local op shop I bought a pile of old quilting magazines which included Australian Quilters' Companion No. 18 (the one with the Candied Hexagons pattern).  There is also a pattern called 30s Sweet Dreams using a traditional block called Puss in the Corner.  Here's what I did with the pattern:

The pattern uses 3.5 and 1.5 inch pieces.  This is smaller than what I usually save, but I sorted through my 3.5 inch squares and found these framed pieces, seven in all. I discovered I did have a bin of 1.5 inch strips so I cut a pile of bright pieces and sorted them into take away food containers.

I like using these containers.  I don't use the lids, I just stack them inside each other when I'm putting things away.
The magazine pattern makes the quilt in rows rather than blocks and I found that worked very well.

The finished piece is too big for a doll's quilt.  I think I'll add some wide borders and make it cot sized.  If I was using the pattern again  I would make the big squares 5 inches and the strips 2 inches, which would still keep the pattern but would end up a more useful size.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

I Spy Quilt Parade

I found some beaut quilts over at Sew in Peace.  Sandra ran an I Spy swap, and then posted a parade of quilts made from the swapped squares.  These two caught my eye.

The swapped squares were 5 inches.  This quilter wanted a larger square, so added plain sashing
which made the square larger and emphasised the colour.  Quite clever! 
The more I look at this one the better I like it.  The sash colour helps to define the rainbow stripes,
but because it's only on two sides the charm square isn't boxed in.

Instead of sashing the I Spy blocks with plain sashing, here the plain and prints are reversed.  It's effective, isn't it.  There are plenty more quilts on parade in the blog, lots of new ideas to try.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Flowers in a 9 Patch

I'm part way through a new I Spy setting but it's not quite finished.  So I though I would take the chance to share my latest finish.

This is Miss Emma's birthday quilt.  The top is made from two years worth of swap blocks in my group Primary Patchworkers.  The flower blocks were made in 2009.  Each group member supplied a box of fabric which went from member to member once a month.  Each person used the supplied fabrics to make a block in her chosen style.  Mine is the pieced flower bottom left hand corner.
The nine patch blocks were made in the 2011 birthday blocks.  I supplied pink, yellow and white fabric (leftovers from my flowers) and asked members to add some from their own stash to make nine patch blocks.  I actually asked for nine inch block when I needed eight inch ones, so I trimmed them all resulting in a large square surrounded by smaller squares.
I quilted in the ditch along the diagonals and then - drum roll please - I did a free motion outline in each flower block.

The backing fabric is a very pretty pink gingham with white embroidered daises scattered around. 
 Miss Emma likes pink.

I'll finished with a gratuitous picture of a Singer treadle machine, my mother's day present.
I like sewing machines.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Eye Spy Eye Candy

I had a look at a blog last week that had a fat quarter swap.  Any fabric was welcome, except I Spy and novelty prints. How sad!  Here, everything is a Novelty!

I've put up some photos from Flickr.  The linkback to Flickr or a blog comes under each photo.  Enjoy!

P.S. Don't forget the charm square giveaway - 4 days to go!  Take me there!

Nice variety of charm squares in a star shape.

Five inch charms with a double sashing.

Sweet and simple.

A wide variety of traditional blocks made with I Spy fabrics.

Appliqued circles on the sea and sky.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Free Motion Fun

I decided it was time to have a proper go at free motion quilting.  At Christmas I organised a present of quilting designs, gloves and a teflon slider to go on the machine bed.  I chose everything from Leah Day's Day Style Designs website.  You are probably familiar with Leah's blog  The Free Motion Quilting Project.  I really enjoy her posts and she is very generous with her helpful information and patterns.

This is the top I chose to practice on.  It's not too big, and it divides easily into four sections
 so I could try some different quilting patterns.  The squares are the I Spy #18 pack at Two Bits Patches.

First of all I stippled with easy curving 'U' shapes.  I worked from the centre to each side and back again, leaving four quarters to fill in with different patterns.

The first quarter got a squiggly line across the middle, then echo quilting each side.

Next was a squiggly shape followed by echo quilting.

Then, a paisley pivoting design.  This was the best ever, I had so much fun doing it.

Finally, an edge to edge bubble wand.  Hmmm, needs some more practice.

Here's the final result.  It does look like a practice piece rather than a finished work.  I had been avoiding free motion quilting because everyone said it was so difficult to do.  But I was pleasantly surprised with the result and I wished there was more space to fill. 

 The back of the quilt is a panel that I scored somewhere.

So, how do you quilt your I Spy quilts?  Do you use free motion quilting?  Will I be brave enough to try it out on a special quilt for a granddaughter?  (Yes, I was!)

Don't forget the blog give away for free I Spy charms.  You have until the 20th May to add your comment to the blog.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Celebrating a Six Months Blog with a Give Away

I Spy with my little eye a blog that has been going for six months. So, let's party!  I'm giving away a set of I Spy charms from my Two Bits Patches online store.  The winner can chose any one of the 6.5 inch charm packs.  There are fourteen different sets to choose from including mixed I Spy charms, cats, butterflies, Australiana, and boys or girls. 

I Spy #20 Sugar and Spice

The giveaway is open to blog followers.  If you're not already a follower, that's easy, just click your Follow This Blog button.  To enter leave a comment about which I Spy pack you'd like to win.  You can browse all the available sets here.  If you post a link on your own blog to here you get a second entry.  I will post to anywhere in the universe, so make sure I can access your snail mail if you are the lucky winner.  The competition will run until the 20th of May.

The quilt pictured was my Queensland Flood Relief auction quilt.  The appeal raised over $99,000 for flood relief in 2011.  My quilt raised $50, it was great to be a part of the solution.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Baby I Spy with Setting Squares

I came across this tutorial for an I Spy baby quilt just the other day.

The instructions are clear, fabric quanities included, and there are lots of photos for each step of the quilt.   I only have one fabric in my stash that is the same as one of the charms pictured.  There must be a lot of different fabrics in the world....

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Stars and Square in a Square

Each year my real time patchwork group makes a monthly block challenge, which we keep for ourselves or make for each other.  This year we given a monthly set of instructions for two 12 inch blocks which we construct from our own stashes.  At the next meeting all 48 blocks are collected and sorted into two quilts' worth.  At our Christmas breakup we will each receive a package with 24 quilts blocks to make into a quilt (or perhaps a UFO).
Last month's pattern was for a star block and a square in a square.  We were given the feature fabric and a guideline for colours.  Here are my two blocks:

I thought, 6.5 inch square of feature fabric? Another I Spy idea!  I made two more blocks for myself.

I decided to use some animal prints.  The little fish on the left have ocean corners, and the koalas on the right have wattle flower corners. 

The two different blocks make a great secondary pattern.  I better make some more.....

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Too Early To Spy

I found this quilt pattern on eBay.  Nice retro pattern, don't you think? Actually, the lovely 1930s feedsack prints on the front were brand new when the pattern was printed, not replicas.  This McCall pattern is dated 1937 and it was surprisingly easy to confirm the date.

The date stamp inside the pattern flap is Oct 1937, and the cardboard template is made from a calender dated 1937.  How easy was that - not much detective work needed!  One transfer has been cut from the sheet, all the rest are intact.  Someone spent her 25 cents on the pattern but then was too busy to make a start - does that sound familiar?

If I ever decide to make this quilt I will have to brush up on my embroidery skills.  Fortunately I have a section on embroidering transfers in my "Needlework and Crafts: Every Woman's Book on the Arts of Plain Sewing, Embroidery, Dressmaking, and Home Crafts".  Unfortunately the News Chronicle publishers neglected to put a publishing date in the book.  Detective work needed here.

If you like looking at old patterns here's a great blog -  Lots of old pattern and fashion plates with an amusing commentary.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

An Australian I Spy Quilt Pattern

I purchased this pattern not so long ago from Rosemount The Patchwork Shop in Canberra, ACT.  The pattern is simpled titled, "I Spy Quilt" and is a design by Dianne Neumann and Tracey Scougall.  The Australian pattern is copyright 1998.
I think this must be one of the earliest uses of the term "I Spy" for a child's quilt. I often wonder who was the first person to call a quilt an I Spy (or Eye Spy), and if he or she realised that it would became a much loved genre of patchworkers.
Anyway, back to the pattern.  It's quite easy to make as long as you have a large supply of fabrics.  There are three different size pieces - 6.5 inch square, 3.5 inch square and 3.2 by 2 inch rectangle.  I decided to make a rainbow coloured quilt instead of the pictured colourwash.  There are 24 blocks in total, so I thought I would make each block in one colour (until I got bored and moved onto something else...)

I decided to start with orange.  I went through my orange scraps and cut them into one of the three sizes.  I never worry about cutting too many, the spares go into my Scrap User's boxes.  The block was very easy to piece.

I found another quilter who is keen on this pattern.  Have a look at Helen Gammon's list of quilts here, she's listed 73 quilts she's made and at least 26 are "I Spy Quilt"!  Wow, very impressive!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Another Over and Under ... Wait, there's More!

Sandy's done it again.  Not one, but two finished I Spy quilts for lucky great-nephews.  Check them both out on her blog here.  One has blue sashing and the other quilt has green; the two different colours create two quite different looking quilts. There's lots of close-up photos too. I love them!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Let's Play I Spy

This new quilt is on show at Riel's blog The Q and the U.  For someone who's only been quilting for two years her quilts are very impressive.  The I Spy charms are 4 inch squares and sashing is 2.5 inches. The sashing in this top is quite clever.  Why?  You'll have to visit Riel's blog here to find out!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spinning Stars are Topped

A few weeks ago I shared some Spinning Star blocks.  When I had enough for a small quilt I spread them out to do some star gazing.
I really, really liked this layout but I saw two potential problems. Firstly, the thought of matching all those seams seemed like too much trouble.  Secondly, I only had 15 blocks and I wanted a bigger quilt top without making anymore.

One quilt I finished last year was made from orphan blocks with Friendship stars in the sashing.  All the fabric came from my stash; it was a challenge to find another print when the previous one ran out.  I liked the end result, this quilt lives with my daughter-in-law.*

So, I found some red fabric in the stash that was nice but had been around for too long.  I still had enough blue from the star blocks so I decided to make a red sashing with blue Friendship stars at each intersection.

Part way through the assembling process I realised that the friendship stars and the spinning stars look exactly the same - just put together differently.  I added an additional row to finish the blue stars.  I've chosen the fabric for the backing and I have the batting on hand, so there's another free quilt made from the stash.

*I have just discovered that I didn't take a photo of this one before I gave it away - panic!  I will have to photograph it in it's new home next time I visit.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Twisted Happy Blocks Quilt

When it come to writing instructions, I'm not your man.  Or woman.  I would much rather put up a photo and say, here it is, figure it out.
Fortunately, Mary Johnson of is one of those generous folk who not only make a terrific quilt, but then also take the time to write a comprehensive, full colour set of instructions and put it up on the internet free!
Follow this link to download the instructions for Twisted Happy Blocks.  By the way, it's not the only quilt that Mary has on her website, there are dozens are patterns for scrappy quilts.  Well worth a visit.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I Spy a Rainbow Quilt

Let me share with you another great blog and a striking I Spy quilt.  Hilary lives over at Quilary- Take a Peek Over the Fence.  Hilary likes rainbows and it shows in this quilt she made for her daughter.  I love the range and placement of the charms.  I reckon I'm a fan of rainbows too.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Colourwash I Spy

I found this gorgeous I Spy quilt while cruising though cyberspace the other day.  It's a raffle quilt for the 2012 Quilt Show of the Victoria's Quilters' Guild.  The quilt show is in May, and I thought, seeing as I live in Victoria, I should find out where it is and have a look.
The show is at the Pearkes Recreation Centre in Tillicum Rd., Victoria.  That is Victoria, BC.  British Columbia.  In Canada.  On the other side of the world from Victoria, Australia.
Nevermind.  It's still a lovely quilt.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I Spy Halloween Over and Under

This magical quilt is Sandy's work; her blog is Sew...This is My Blog.  The quilt here is all Halloween fabrics and the pattern is called Over and Under.  The prints are 4.5 x 6.5 inches and the 1.5 inch black sashing makes 6.5 inch blocks.  It's another very simple pattern that creates a good looking quilt.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Some Spinning Stars

I received some new storage shelving for Christmas ( I'm a lucky girl), but I have to remove the old wardrobe to fit the new cabinets in.  To reach the old wardrobe I have to tidy up - which is fine- but it's a bit of a process.  I've found all sorts of UFOs and I'm sorting and throwing out.

I found a bag with some half finished I Spy blocks.  I think I started this top when I was looking for a pattern to use some strips leftover from cutting squares.  The inspiration was from Bonnie Hunter's "Star Gazing" in her book Scraps & Shirttails.  Spinning Stars is an easy peasy block and only needs 2.5 inch strips.

Using 2.5 inch strips at least 19 inches long, join an I Spy strip lengthwise with a complimentary print.  Crosscut into four 4.5 inch blocks.
Add a light 2.5 inch square to the I Spy print and add a dark square to the opposite corner.  Stitch and flip - sew along the diagonal of the square, trim the excess fabric, and press into the corner. 
Join the four blocks into a star shape. 

Here's a finished Spinning Star with 2.5 inch sashing.  Doesn't it look great?  And it's such an easy block.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chicken I Spy

I wasn't sure what I was going to post this week.  I've shown you some quilts from other bloggers so it was time for one of my own quilts.  I went for a search in my picture folders and came across this one labeled Chicken I Spy.  The date on the photo is 2007, and I'm afraid I have to say that I don't know where this quilt ended up.

From memory the pieces are 6.5 by 3.5 inches.  Rectangles are nice to use - not as many matching corners as squares, and a simple pattern looks good. 

It's quite nice looking at these prints from five years ago, and remember where they came from and what other projects they ended up in.  I wonder what I can find for next week?