One Quilt Three Ways

In 2020, I was given bags of pre-cut squares, and I used some of them to make four I Spy quilt tops. I placed the fabrics in pretty much the same position on all of them, aiming to balance colors and motifs throughout the quilt. But each one has different borders, backing, and edge finish, and I thought it was a good opportunity to try different quilting designs as well.

Three finished I Spy quilts. I have one more top to go.

The backs — peace symbols on the left, my favorite colorful circles in the middle, and a red that I should have washed beforehand on the right.

Since I quilt on a domestic sewing machine, I am always trying to find a stitching pattern that goes quickly, and that makes the finished quilt supple and drapeable.

I completed the first of these quilts in November of 2021. I gave that one the most effort in quilting — first I stitched in the ditch, then I stitched diagonal rows with a variegated 12 weight thread, and then I stitched the ribbon candy pattern in the white sashing areas. The stitch-in-the-ditch and the diagonal stitching involved using a walking foot and pivoting the whole quilt often, which is not my favorite thing.  Overall I didn’t feel the effort resulted in a great effect.

Three stitching styles combined.

The combined-stitched quilt with its backing.

For the next one, I tried a simple large-scale meander.  I had a lot of trouble getting into a rhythm with that pattern.

For the backing, I used a piece of red fabric, and then I did a basic machine-stitched binding in a black print.  I did not wash the red fabric first, and although I used two Color Catchers, you can see that one of the sashing fabrics absorbed some red dye.  Fortunately it absorbed it consistently and not in a splotchy fashion, so it’s not that noticeable.

Basic meander. Or should I say “meh”-ander.

And for the third, I did one large spiral in each large square, and then smaller spirals in the sashing and corner stones. (I got this idea from a consignment store quilt, and it is the most supple of all the quilts I own.)

For that one’s backing, I used a favorite fabric, “Arlee Dotted Disc” from Springs Creative Products Group.  That design is from 2012 but it is still available.  For the edging, I used a strip of that same fabric for a facing, and hand-stitched it to the back.

Spiral stitching. Of the three, I am most comfortable with the motion of stitching this one.

The spiral-stitched one with its backing. I did a facing of the backing fabric and hand-stitched it down.

The meander quilt turned out to be the most supple, but that may also have something to do with the backing fabric; it was the most lightweight of the three.

I would say all of these results are serviceable but not spectacular, but that’s okay.  To me these quilts are about letting the variety of fabrics shine, and I am content to just hold the layers together.  🙂 Of all the quilt steps, I prefer piecing and even binding to quilting.  It was fun to try different methods, and I hope I find my perfect method soon!