Duncans I Spy Quilt, Part 1

Over the weekend I finished up a quilt for my grandson Duncan. He’ll turn three just after Christmas, so I will take the quilt with me when I visit for the holidays.

I made a quilt for my grandson, who is a bit of a character.

I tried some new methods on this quilt and I learned some things, too. I used Bonnie Hunter’s free quilt pattern to make an I Spy quilt.

duncansquilt1 Duncans I Spy Quilt, Part 1

Duncan’s I Spy quilt from a Bonnie Hunter pattern

It’s a great quilt design because the patches are just the right size for “spying” and it goes together quickly once you’ve cut all the novelty patches.

It’s not the most beautiful quilt I’ve ever made, but it has the most love. If you have grandchildren, you know what I mean.

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Some of my intersections were less than perfect.

I started the quilt while on retreat with friends in October. There was much talking, laughter and general hullaballoo-ing, so it’s no wonder that all my intersections were not perfect. I decided not to worry about it because I knew Duncan wouldn’t care.

duncansquilt8 Duncans I Spy Quilt, Part 1

The pieced quilt backing for Duncan’s quilt is funky and whimsical.

I pieced a back out of great boy fabrics of which I had only small amounts. It’s funky (and partly sideways) but I think it matches the mood of the quilt. And again, I thought the three-year-old would approve.

I basted the quilt on the floor using safety pins. I must have stuck myself mightily in the process because I managed to bleed on the quilt in a couple of places. They’re very small spots but I had to laugh—now he gets not only a quilt, but some of my DNA, too.

duncansquilt9 Duncans I Spy Quilt, Part 1

Yellow zigzags in one direction, purple in the other.

When it was time to quilt, I was a little under the gun because time had slipped away from me. I needed fast and easy but I wanted it to be adequately quilted because I think it will be washed aplenty.

I decided to try a zigzag with my walking foot. I quilted the vertical seams with purple thread and the horizontal seams with yellow. The zigzag helped to hide my wonky intersections. I used a stitch length of 2.3 and a width of 3.7.

duncansquilt11 Duncans I Spy Quilt, Part 1

I kept the seam in the middle of my walking foot so the zigzag stitches would be centered.

You can see here that I kept the seam centered within the presser foot as I zigzagged, so it was pretty easy to stay on track.

I didn’t think the zigzags made for quite enough quilting so I sewed diagonally across all of the patches. I switched to invisible thread for the I Spy patches so it wouldn’t detract from the images.

duncansquilt12 Duncans I Spy Quilt, Part 1I used bright turquoise thread in the bobbin and I love the way the back of the quilt looks because of it. It’s happy.

I wanted to do something special for the label. I had an adorable Christmas scene with a little boy and a train, so I incorporated that. I downloaded a free font and thought a lot about how to word the label. I settled on something simple. It says “This ‘I Spy’ quilt was made for my precious grandson Duncan Harris Wood as a gift for his third birthday (date) by Diane Patrice Volk Harris, Bladen, Nebraska USA.”

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This is the label I made for Duncan’s quilt.

Because I’m an editor, I should have noticed that capital A at the beginning of the fourth line. I didn’t see it until the label was sewn to the quilt and I did not want to redo it, so I’m going with the theory that my grandson won’t love the quilt any less because of it.

Unless they’re for publication, I wash my quilts when they are finished. I like the way they crinkle up and feel time-worn and loved.

duncansquilt15 Duncans I Spy Quilt, Part 1

I made a list of the I Spy items on the quilt. We can use it to get our I Spy game going!

The very last step was to make a list of all the “I Spy” things on the quilt, so that when Duncan and I are together, we can look for all of them.

I can’t think of a better way to spend a December evening.

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Feeling inspired to label your next quilt? I love EQ Printables printer-ready fabric for inkjet printers.

QMEQS Duncans I Spy Quilt, Part 1

I use EQ Printables for my quilt labels.


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