My friend Renske invited Mouse and I to come out to her farm to sew for a day. She had been given a stash of novelty prints, and had the idea of hosting a small quilting bee, to make I-Spy quilts for charity.
If you don’t know what an I-Spy quilt is, quite simply it’s a quilt made with many different squares of fabric depicting animals, toys, foods, vehicles, etc., which can be used to play “I-Spy” with a young child. You can say “I spy something orange!” or “I spy a fish!” and the child has to find the fabric containing the goldfish, for example. They are fun and cheerful quilts to make.
Mouse, as you can see by her big smile, was quite happy to miss a day of school to go quilting. She did pretty well for her age, getting three rows pieced and sewn together over the course of the day.
She might have done more, but she was distracted by Renske’s cute grandchildren — baby Evelyn (Mouse is cuddling her in this picture) and baby Jonas. Being the youngest in our family, Mouse hasn’t had much opportunity to play with babies, and she was quite enthralled with Evelyn in particular, who was old enough to interact with her.
For me, Renske had set up an interesting quilt. She had all the novelty square cut already, and laid out on a design board. I was to cut long vertical sashing strips, then working in columns, sew the squares of each column down the length of the first strip, about an eighth of an inch apart. For the next column, sew each square on the opposite side of the strip, lining up each square with the one already sewn. Then sewing a second sashing strip to the opposite side of the second column of squares, then attach the next column of squares to the opposite side of the second sashing strip.
Maybe that sounds confusing. I was certainly confused when Renske first tried to explain it to me. So I just plunged in and started sewing, trusting it would all make sense as I worked — and it did. Here I am holding up my work for the day: all vertical sashing strips sewed to all the blocks.
I took the quilt home at the end of the day to work on the next step — separating the rows by cutting the vertical strips between the squares. I will then offset the alternate rows, and attach them with horizontal sashing strips.
The last photo shows all the quilts that came out of that sewing day — me with my quilt at left, then Renske’s daughter Jeanette, Mouse with her partially pieced top, and Renske’s daughter-in-law, Emily.
It was a lot of fun! But next time I will have to remember to get up and stretch more often — my shoulders were pretty tired afterward from so many hours at my machine!