I Spy Quilt

Grandma quilts have love in every stitch. Author Unknown




Just before his third birthday, Robert became enamored of the I Spy books he checked out of the library.  With this in mind, I decided an I Spy quilt would be a great gift for his birthday.


Robert spies his quilt.

Robert spies his quilt.


Robert was so pleased with his I Spy quilt.  After he opened the package, the other children were quite intrigued and began examining the items in each square.  Feeling a little overwhelmed by the festivities and his guests’ enthusiastic manhandling of his special quilt, Robert announced that he was going to take a rest.  And please would Nana come with him.

With one hand he grabbed a corner of the quilt and with the other he took my hand.  We went to his room and snuggled a little while before he was ready to face the bedlam that attends 3 year-old birthday parties.  Ahhh…Nana heaven!

The borders are 4 ½” wide and cut from yellow gingham.  I had planned to make them 5” but then realized that my backing would not be wide enough for the finished top. I had to piece the long border sides and put black rick rack over the join.

In the center of each long side I put the magnifying glass with I SPY text on either side.  On the short sides, I centered the I Spy text and put the magnifying glass on each side.  Knowing that my border would have a ½” seam allowance and the quilt top had just a ¼” , I scooted the embroidery closer to the edge that would be joined to the quilt top, rather than centering it in the 4 ½” width.


quilt back

quilt back


The I SPY text is black ultrasuede appliquéd in place with the open letter alphabet from Brother’s PE-Design software.  I simply embroidered the text over the ultrasuede and then trimmed close to the straight stitch.   I hated having to buy the magnifying glass design but after spending way too much time looking for a free one, I got it at embroidery.com for $6.95.

After doing the embroidery,  a few more short sections of rick rack were added just for interest.  I had rick rack in  both jumbo and medium sizes, but not enough of either to do the entire quilt.   So I mixed and used them indiscriminately. I like a scrappy look so it suited me.

Four 4 ½” blocks were cut for the corners and joined to the borders. Finally, the borders were joined to the quilt top.

For backing I used a cute piece of Michael Miller fabric that was just exactly wide enough at 45”.

This fun project was easier because I was able to buy a package of 200 I Spy charm squares, rotary cut to size.  Several more were added to my stash, as some of the purchased squares were just too feminine for my grandson.

I really did enjoy making this. The smile on Robert’s sweet face was all the reward I needed.

4 responses to “I Spy Quilt

  1. What a great gift idea! I love this and it would be perfect for children of all ages. Great Job Janice!

  2. I’m glad you like the quilt, Lana. Your comment about this being a perfect gift for children of all ages got me thinking. Wouldn’t an I Spy lap robe be great for nursing homes or Alzheimer’s daycare? hmmmmm…And I do have some left over squares. Thanks for the idea! Janice

  3. Are the blocks 4 1/2″ squares?

  4. Jessica, I THINK they were 4″ but I am not sure. The quilt was made 6 years ago so I just don’t recall. I do remember that the four 4 1/2″ cornerstone blocks had to be cut larger than the others so it’s likely that they were 4″. I wish I could be more helpful.

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