Have you found yourself looking at the calendar asking, “Where did the school year go”? With summer quickly approaching, students are counting down the days until the last school bell of the year, while teachers are reflecting on the leaps & bounds made throughout the year (ok… they may also be thinking about that last bell too!) Need a little help dreaming up a thoughtful end-of-year gift for your child’s teacher? Spoonflower team member Meredith demonstrates how to make a personalized cheater quilt for approximately $50 using student artwork and Spoonflower’s newest feature, Fill-A-Yard™.
Materials & tools
Let’s start first with the list of materials that you will need to finish your quilt. You can collect these materials and get everything ready so you are ready to sew when your fabric arrives.
- Quilt Top: Your Cheater Quilt Fabric (1 yard) ordered from Spoonflower
- Quilt Backing & Binding: 2 yards of coordinating fabric. I ordered a coordinating gradient fabric from Spoonflower for the backing and binding. You could also use 2 yards of a solid color. If you choose another fabric, it needs to be the same width (56 inches) as your quilt top and should be a similar weight.
- Batting: 40 x 60 inches. I like 100% cotton batting for my quilts. My favorite is Warm & Natural by the Warm Company.
- Masking tape
- Large safety pins (you need at least 100)
- Rotary cutter, mat and ruler
- Coordinating sewing thread
- Sharp sewing scissors
- Sewing needle. I recommend a small embroidery needle because they have a large eye which is easy to thread.
- Your sewing machine
- Seam ripper (because you know you will need one)
- Optional. If you want to tie your quilt instead of machine quilting, you will want to get embroidery thread or perle cotton in a coordinating color.
I want to start out by saying right away that there is no “right” way to make a quilt. I am going to give you the steps I used to make this quilt, but there are many different ways to put them together. I used the sewing machine to assemble and do the quilting for my quilt, but you can also hand quilt or tie your quilt. I will talk about those options in the next lesson.
Setting up your machine.
Make sure your sewing machine is in good working order. Take a minute to brush away the dust and lint. It is always a good idea to put in a new sewing machine needle when you start a big project. For this project, you need just a basic needle for mid-weight fabrics.
Choose a thread color and wind a bobbin or two. For my quilt, I chose to use a rainbow variegated thread in the bobbin for everything and I switched colors for the top thread to match the colored block I was quilting.
Make sure you have plenty of space. This will be a somewhat large and unwieldy piece of fabric to be stitching. Make sure you have extra table space to the side and back of your machine so that you can move it around freely.
If your machine has a walking foot, you might consider using it for this project as they are designed to help with thick layers of fabric and will help keep the layers from shifting as you quilt. Here is a post that tells you more about walking feet and how to use them.
Quilt skills and vocabulary.
These are some basic sewing skills and vocabulary to review before you start making your quilt. If you don’t feel confident, practice with some scrap fabric before you dive into your quilt. Potholders make great practice quilt projects!
Straight stitch. Set up your machine to stitch a basic straight stitch. For my machine, I like a stitch length of about 2.5, which is about 10 stitches to the inch. Make a swatch with a couple of scraps of fabric and batting and see if the stitches look the way you want them too.
Pivot. I traced concentric squares around the center, middle row and outside edge of all of the patchwork blocks with quilting. This means I am going to need to pivot at a lot of corners to make those squares. To pivot, slow down as you get right to the end of the quilting line. Stop with the needle in the fabric. Pick up the presser foot, rotate the fabric 90 degrees, and put the presser foot back down to continue stitching.
Backtack. Backtacking means to make 3-4 stitches in reverse at the beginning and end of your stitching line. This reinforces the end of the stitching. We will use this when putting on the quilt binding.
Selvedge. The selvedge edge of the fabric are the finished woven edges that follow the lengthwise grain of the fabric.
Binding. The quilt binding is the narrow strip of fabric around the outside edge of the quilt that you use to finish off the raw edges. For this quilt, I used the extra backing fabric to make the binding as well.
Preparing your fabrics.
As soon as you have your quilt fabrics, take a minute to admire them and then wash, dry and press each fabric. I always pre-wash fabrics because I want to make sure that if they are going to shrink or change in any way that they do it before I sew. For sateen fabric, Spoonflower recommends to machine wash warm or cool on a gentle/delicate setting, using phosphate-free detergent.
Finishing your quilt.
The first step in the quilting process is to trim your fabrics to size.
- Quilt top. Trim away the selvedges and extra unprinted edges. Set this aside.
- Backing. Cut a piece from the 2 yds of backing fabric that is 56” (full width) x 40 inches. We want the backing to be a little larger than the front to start.
- Binding. Fold the remaining piece of backing fabric in half, matching the selvedges. We will cut these pieces doubled, perpendicular to the selvedges. Using the rotary cutter and ruler, cut 4 strips that are each 3 inches wide. Trim away the unprinted edges and selvedges.
The remaining backing fabric you can set aside for another use.
Laying out the quilt layers.
You will need a large table or other flat space to lay out your quilt. I don’t have a table that’s large enough, so I end up using the well-swept hardwood floor in my dining room. Lay the backing fabric face down on the table. Using small strips of masking tape, tape the corners and sides of the backing fabric to the table. Pull it smooth and tight, but don’t pull so hard that you distort the fabric. Taping down the fabric allows you to get all of the layers smooth without adding any wrinkles or puckers underneath where you can’t see it. Add a couple of extra strips of tape to mark where the edges of the printing are on the selvedge edges of your
backing fabric. This will help you line up the top layer.
Place the batting on top of the backing fabric. Starting from the center, smooth the batting all the way to the edges. The batting will want to stick to the backing fabric, so you may have to pick it up and lay it back down if you have large puckers or wrinkles.
Place the quilt top face up on the top. Placing the quilt top takes just a little patience to get it aligned just right. Since your backing fabric is exactly the same printed width as the top, you want to alight carefully so that the top isn’t hanging over into the unprinted area. Use the extra tape marks to help line it up. Again, starting in the center, smooth the fabric all the way to the edges. Be careful not to distort or skew the fabric. Patience will pay off.
Using the safety pins, pin through all of the layers about every 4-6 inches. I put about 9 pins in each patchwork block and then put a pin every 6 inches around, placed about 3 inches in from the outside edge. Use lots of pins. They are going to keep everything from shifting as you quilt it.
Choose your quilting.
It is important to do something to hold all of the layers of the quilt together and that is where quilting or tying comes in. You have 3 options for quilting your quilt: by machine, by hand, or tying.
Machine quilting. I machine quilted my quilt by stitching concentric squares in each patchwork block. I chose a top thread color to match the color of the block and used rainbow variegated thread in the bobbin for everything.
I started quilting with the two blocks in the center and then worked towards the outside. Use a straight stitch and backtack at the start and stop. For each block, I started with the small square in the center and worked to the outside, stitching around each edge of the square and pivoting at each corner.
Some tips for machine quilting.
- Roll up the part of the quilt you are not working on. This rolled edge will give you an easy way to hang on to the quilt and will keep the extra fabric out of the way.
- I use both hands to guide the fabric, holding the quilt rolls on both sides of the needle and pulling it slightly tight from side to side. I think this helps keep it from forming little puckers under the needle.
- Be patient. The layers of fabric will want to shift a bit, especially when you get to the corners where the start and stop of your stitching meets. Stitching slowly and taking time to smooth everything out will help.
Hand quilting. You can choose to hand-stitch your quilting lines. There is a great tutorial here with tips to get you started with hand quilting.
Tying. Tying is probably the quickest way to finish your quilt. Use a long piece of embroidery thread doubled over. From the front side, make a small stitch (1/8 inch) through all of the layers of the quilt, leaving a 2 inch tail. Stitch again very close to your first stitch and pull the thread through again to the front. Trim so you have another 2 inch tail. Tie the two ends together using a square knot. You want to make ties about every 4 inches all over the surface of your quilt.
Baste the outside edge.
When you are done quilting, switch the stitch length on your machine to be slightly longer and stitch through all layers about 1/4 inch from the outside raw edge of your quilt. Trim away the excess batting and backing to match the quilt top. You can remove the safety pins.
Join and press the binding.
Join the binding strips together end to end, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance to make one long strip. Press the seam allowances open. Now fold the binding strip in half, matching the long edges of the binding strip together and press.
Stitch the binding with a mitered corner.
Set the quilt on a table face up. Starting in the middle of one side, match the raw edge of the binding strip to the raw edge of the quilt. The folded edge will be towards the center. Pin the strip in place until you are 1/2 inch from the corner. Place a pin at 1/2 in from the corner to mark where you should stop stitching. Starting about 1/2 inch from the end of the strip, stitch 1/2 inch from the raw edge until you reach your stop mark. Don’t forget to backtack at the beginning and end.
To make the mitered corner, fold the unsewn tail of quilt binding straight up, so that its raw edge is parallel with the next side of the quilt we are going to stitch. Right at the corner where you stopped sewing, there will now be a 45 degree fold. Fold the binding down, so the next fold matches the edge of the quilt top behind it and its raw edge is aligned with the next side of the quilt. Pin the corner folds and edge of the quilt and then stitch this new side, stopping again 1/2 inch from the corner. Repeat for all sides of the quilt. When you reach the beginning of the binding, overlap the ends, trim away the extra binding fabric and join the lines of stitching.
To finish the binding, fold it over and turn it towards the back of the quilt. Use a needle and thread with small slip stitches to secure the folded edge of the binding to the back of the quilt, covering the raw edge and the line of stitching. If you don’t know how to do a slip stitch, there is a nice tutorial here.
When you get to the corners, the miters should just fold into place in the front and you just need to make a little tuck to make a matching miter on the back and stitch it down as you go.
Please show us your finished quilts by sharing a photo using hashtag#SpoonChallenge on your favorite social media outlet! We would love to see them.
The next step is to place the patchwork blocks into your design. Open the file you worked on last week where you have prepared with the background and border.
Illustrator: Choose File -> Place. Choose one of the patchwork blocks saved on your hard drive and click Place.
Photoshop: Choose File -> Place Embedded. Choose one of the patchwork blocks saved on your hard drive and click Place.
This is the step where the rulers and grid will be very helpful. I centered the patchwork blocks in the design and left 2 inch borders between them. Click and drag the first patchwork block so that the top left corner of the block is at 8 inches (right) and 5 inches (down) from the corner of the design.
Continue placing the additional blocks in the same way, aligning them carefully with the grid markings. You should leave 2 inches between each of the blocks, both side to side and top to bottom.
Illustrator: You can click and move the blocks anytime using the Select Tool (black arrow).
Photoshop: If you need to go back and adjust the spacing on a block you have already placed, Photoshop will have put each one in its own Layer. To move those blocks, you will need to select Layer in the Layers Palette and then use the Move Tool (multi arrow).
Adjust the balance and order of the design.
I placed my blocks in “rainbow order”, starting with the purple block and continuing clockwise with each color, but I tried several variations before I liked how it all looked together. Here are some variations to think about:
- Rearrange your patchwork blocks and audition different arrangements. You might have some that are darker or lighter than the others. Just like we did when adjusting the small collages, you want to look for balance in your design.
- Add more or less negative space. Negative space is the open space around your patchwork blocks. Maybe you would like only 1 inch between your blocks. Or you might want more space between the blocks from side to side to make the outside borders even.
Save your design. Save it as the native format (.ai or .psd). This way you always have a copy you can go back to edit later. Next we will export it at the exact size we need to upload for printing.
Export for printing.
Illustrator: Choose Export. A window will pop up and you should choose a name for your file. I called mine Final. Then choose .jpg from the Format options at the bottom. Click export and one more window will pop up with JPEG options. The important one to adjust in this window is resolution, which should be set to Medium (150 ppi).
Photoshop: Choose File -> Save As… A window will pop up and you should choose a name for your file. I called mine Final. Then choose .jpg from the Format options at the bottom. Then click Save.
Optional coordinating print.
You are ready to upload and order your fabric at this point, but I want to take minute to talk about the backing and binding for your finished quilt. You can choose to use just a solid color for both the backing and binding and we will talk about how to choose that in the next lesson.
Instead of a solid, I wanted a really simple colorful print to coordinate with my quilt top, so I made a really simple gradient in the same rainbow colors.
Create a new file that is 9×9 inches (1350×1350 pixels). Choose the Gradient Fill tool. The tool often has a default setting that is a rainbow, or you can choose your own colors to match your quilt design. Click and drag to fill the canvas with the gradient. I chose to have mine fill diagonally from corner to corner. Save this as a .jpg and we will come back to it when we are uploading.
Upload your final design(s).
First upload your quilt top design to the Spoonflower website. Go to Create -> custom fabric. Find your Final.jpg design on your hard drive and upload it.
Choose 1 yard of the Organic Cotton Sateen and a centered repeat. Your design should fit exactly on one yard. Add this to your cart. If you have a gradient design to coordinate, upload that next. For this design, I chose a mirrored repeat to make the diamond shapes, but you can use any repeat you like. I am going to make the backing and binding with this print, so I will need 2 yards. Add this to your cart as well.
One last bonus to think about. Make a quilt label to personalize your quilt. Spoonflower has a great little tutorial on the website.
It will take just a week or two to get your fabric printed and shipped to you. So, in the next lesson we will talk about tools and materials you need to finish the quilt and give you a quick sewing lesson.
When your fabric arrives, we'd love to see it! Share your printed fabric using the#SpoonChallenge hashtag on your favorite social media platform!
Now that you have created your six patchwork blocks, it is time to put together the whole quilt design. You can do this using Photoshop or Illustrator (or even another graphics program you are familiar with) by following the same basic steps. Each program handles things a little differently, but you can accomplish the design with either. I prefer Illustrator for this kind of layout, but I will help you with notes for both. (Note, my screenshots and instructions are for the most current versions of Photoshop and Illustrator. If you have an older version, the same tools will be there, they just might be located in a slightly different place.)
Create your canvas.
I am going to first make a blank canvas that is exactly the size of the top of the quilt. For this design I chose one yard of sateen fabric, which is 56 x 36 inches, so I chose File -> New and set it to 56 x 36 inches at 150 dpi or 8400 x 5400 pixels.
Add the background color.
Choose a color for the background of your design. I picked a cool grey (#A09F9E) because I felt it made my rainbow blocks really pop. I like to use the Spoonflower Color Map to pick a color because I will know exactly what it looks like when it’s printed. I keep my color map folded up in the drawer of my computer desk.
Some ideas for choosing a color:
Coordinating. Think about the colors in your design and pick something that relates, like a darker or lighter shade of one of the colors in your theme. If you have all blues and greens in your design, icy blue, navy or deep green might make a great background.
Contrast. Try pairing a neutral with brights. I chose grey to make my bright rainbow patches really pop. If you have neutral colored photos (like black and whites) then you might pick a vibrant background color.
Illustrator: Draw a rectangle that fills the entire canvas and set the fill color to the color you have chosen.
Photoshop: Make a new layer and choose Edit -> Select All. Then choose your color and Edit -> Fill.
Turn on grids and rulers.
I like to turn on a couple of tools to help with layout. If you don’t already have them active, you can turn on rulers which will add measurements all along the sides of your canvas. Additionally, you can turn on grid view which will lay a grid of evenly spaced lines (like graph paper) over your image. These won’t print out or show on your final saved document, but they will help you line everything up as you are working.
Illustrator: Go to View -> Rulers -> Show Rulers. Then go to View -> Show Grid. You can adjust the spacing on the grid under Illustrator -> Preferences. I like to have lines every 1 inch.
Photoshop: Go to View -> Rulers to turn on the rulers. Go to View -> Show -> Grid to turn on the grid. You can adjust the spacing on the grid under Photoshop -> Preferences. I like to have lines every 1 inch.
Add a border.
For my design, I added a white border of small squares. This is the only step where it will matter a bit if you are using Photoshop or Illustrator; the design will be slightly different.
Illustrator: I am going to create a really simple custom brush to make the border squares design. Anywhere on the canvas, draw a small square (1.5 x 1.5 inches) using the square tool. Fill it with the same grey as your background and outline it in white. Select the square and drag it onto the brushes palette. A “New Brush” window will pop up. Choose “Pattern Brush” from the options.
“Pattern Brush Options” will then pop up where you can adjust many settings for your brush. I set the spacing to 50% and chose “Add space to fit” under the Fit section. I left everything else as the default. (If you are interested in learning more about making custom brushes, look here for a great tutorial.)
To add this border to the design, draw a new rectangle that is 51 x 31 inches and center it in the canvas. With this new rectangle selected, click on your new custom brush from the Brushes palette. It should outline the new large rectangle with a chain of squares.
Photoshop: Unfortunately, Photoshop works with custom brushes differently and it is harder to make a border like we did in Illustrator. Instead we will draw just a simple frame. Use the rectangle tool to make a rectangle that is 51 x 31 inches, centered in the canvas. Then go to Window -> Properties to adjust the fill and outline color of this shape and the thickness of the outline.
Save your file. Use the “native” file type for the program you are using. For Illustrator that is .ai and for Photoshop .psd. Usually it will default to this type. This format will save all of the layers, grids and allow us to continue to adjust the file in the next lesson. You will need a .jpg before you print the design, but you don’t want to save it that way at this step. We will add the patchwork blocks in the next lesson and get it ready to print.
- Set up your file.
- Choose a background color.
- Add the border.
Show us a screenshot. How did you choose your background color? What kind of border did you design?
It is time to put together the patchwork squares! We are going to use the collage tool at PicMonkey to create our patchwork blocks.
Go to www.picmonkey.com and click on the Collage button that’s at the top right. As soon as you click it will take you to your hard drive to find the photos you want to include in your collage. I selected everything in my “Green” folder and clicked Open.
Set up the template.
The first thing you want to do is set up the template for your patchwork block. On the far left hand side there are several tools. Choose the one that looks like stacked squares called “Layout”. When you switch to the Layout tool, you can choose from many many templates for your collage. For this design we want “Square Deal” and the grid option on the far right side, which is 5×5 squares.
The template layout defaults to having a little bit of space between each of the photos in the grid. We want the photos to touch, so to eliminate that space, switch to the Layout Tool (the icon looks like a paint palette) and move the slider at Spacing to be 0.
Now it’s time for the fun part – adding the photos! I actually like to start by letting PicMonkey randomly drop them into the template for me. At the top center of the window you will see a button that says AutoFill. Click and it will randomly fill the collage with the photos you already uploaded.
Adjust individual photos.
In the collage, if you hover over an individual photo with your mouse you will see three things pop up.
- Compass/Multi arrow. If you click and drag when you see the multi arrow, you can move the photo around inside the square frame. This lets you center the image or push something outside of edges of the square.
- If you want to zoom in and have something more prominent, click the photo you want to work with and click the Edit button. A tool window will pop up and you can use the Size slider to adjust the zoom.
- The “x” lets you remove this photo from the collage. Here’s one example. For this photo of my sister, I centered her in the frame and then zoomed in so more of her green bag and t-shirt were filling the photo
Add the photos.
Balance your collage.
The next step is to look at your collage as a whole. Some of your photos will be darker and some will be lighter. Things like strong horizontal lines or circles always jump out to me. Your goal is to spread those things evenly across the block. Balance the darks and lights. Move similar shapes or textures away from each other. You might even need to swap out photos entirely because they are not playing well with the others.
- To move a photo, click on any photo and drag it all the way to a new square in the template. That will swap the positions of those two photos (the one you are dragging and the one at that location.)
- To delete a photo, click the X.
- To add a different photo, switch to the Images tool (left side, looks like a mountain) and you can drag anything from the photo list to the collage. The checkmark means it’s a photo you’ve already used.
- To add a new photo, click the Open Photos button and find it on your hard drive. Here is my green collage when I finished balancing and adjusting everything.
Make a design choice: directional or not-directional?
The last design choice is whether you want your quilt to have a directional print or a nondirectional print. Directional means that all of your photos will face upright when you are looking at the collage. This is great for quilts that will hang on the wall because you will lay out everything so it’s right-side-up. Non-directional means you want your photos to face all different directions so no matter which way you look at it, there are prints that are going each way. This is great for quilts you use and cuddle with because they don’t have a right way up. If you want a directional print, you are done with your collage right now. If you want a nondirectional print, you need to do some rotating. About half of my photos don’t really have a direction and I can ignore those.
For the rest of the photos, the ones that definitely have a right and wrong side up, think of your grid like a sudoku puzzle. In every row and every column of your grid, you should have only 1 photo that goes each direction (right-side up, up-side down, facing right and left). To rotate an image, click to select it and then click the Edit button. Click the circular arrows to rotate. To filter or not to filter? I didn’t add any effect filters to my rainbow patches, but the variations that I showed you in the last lesson each had a different filter applied. You can add a filter to each photo, but I think it makes it more cohesive to add a filter to the entire finished collage at this step. To add a filter, click the Edit button at the top of the window. You won’t be able to move or resize anything in your collage after this, so make sure you are happy with it. Then click Open in Editor.
Click the Filters tool on the left that looks like a magic wand. This will show you all of the available filters. For the variations I showed you back in the last lesson I used the Gritty, Warhol and Focal B&W filters to get those three effects.
The last step is to save your collage. The save button is at the top left.
Give your collage a name. I called mine GreenCollage.jpg. Then go just below where it says Dimensions and click Change. You are going to set the size of this patchwork block right now while you are saving it, so it will be just the size you need when you assemble the whole cheater quilt design. This will make it really easy to do the layout. You want each 5×5 photo block to be 12 inches square when it is printed. 12 inches x 150 pixels/dots per inch (the resolution for Spoonflower’s printers) equals 1800 pixels. So you need to change the dimensions to 1800 x 1800 pixels, by typing this in the boxes. Now when it is printed, it will be exactly 12 x 12 inches. Don’t forget to click the Save to my Computer button.
Make and save 6 photo patchwork collages.
Pick your favorite collage and share it with us! Be sure to tag it #SpoonChallenge on your social media platform of choice so everyone can see it.
Choose a colorway or theme.
Your first design choice is to pick a colorway for your quilt. I chose a rainbow with one patchwork square in red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet.
If you aren’t into rainbows, there are lots of other color options. You could pick earth tones or team colors or the colors to coordinate with a room in your house. Here are some other variations that might get you thinking.
Instead of choosing a color theme for the first group, I decided to pick all photos of circles (coffee cups, gears, apples, balls of yarn.) Then later, I added a filter to help these have a coordinating color theme. The middle block is the same collection of photos as the previous example, but with a different colored filter.
The last sample is all photos of winter activities (I live in Minnesota after all!) in black and white with another filter emphasizing a few pops of color.
I will talk about filters more in a later lesson; the important part here is to choose a theme: “rainbow” or “circles” or “winter” or your own theme.
Collect photos that match your theme.
There are lots of places that I have photos stashed: on my computer, on my phone, in Instagram, on Facebook. You will need 25 photos for each patchwork block that match your theme. So for me that means 25 photos that are red, 25 that are orange and so on. I made folders for each color on my hard drive and started looking through all of my collections of photos. Anytime I found a photo, I dragged a copy of it to the corresponding folder. I thought it was a lot of fun to look at my photos in a very different way. You will be surprised at what colors you find in your photos when you start to look at them closely.
Keep in mind, these photos don’t need to be masterpieces. At the end, each one is going to print out about 2 inches square and they will look very different when they are a small part of the bigger color collection. Some of my favorite photos in the collages are really random stuff, like the blue dog food dish or my “I Voted” sticker. I wouldn’t print those out and hang them on my wall, but I love them because the colors are vibrant, they work well with the other photos and they really are snapshots of my everyday life.
Some tips for choosing photos by color:
- Look at the background color as well as the subject of the photo. This is a picture of a many colored paper crane, but the background is green, so I can include it in the green collage. Sometimes stepping back and looking at the photo from a distance can help you decide what the prominent color really is.
- Focus on the color in the photo and don’t worry about the extra stuff in the background. That’s where careful cropping is going to make the difference – a photo of a group of people can suddenly work in the yellow collage if you crop to show just the guy in the yellow shirt. We are going to talk about how to crop and make the colors pop in the next lesson.
- Contrast is your friend. A photo that has a nice variety of dark, medium and light areas is going to print best. Photos that are uniformly dark (people at night) or light (sunny beach) aren’t going to look as crisp.
Collect a few extras. As you assemble your block, you might have a few photos that just don’t work for one reason or another. Give yourself the option to swap things out. Also near-miss colors sometimes work just fine. Something that looks really turquoise by itself might blend in with blue or green when you get them all together as a group.
Purple was my hardest color collection to put together. I asked for help and got my mom and sister to email me me a few more purple and orange photos to finish up my collections.
- Choose a theme.
- Collect 25 photos for each of your 6 patchwork blocks (150 total).
What’s your theme? Show us a photo or two that inspired your color theme and tell us about it using the hashtag #SpoonChallenge on your social media platform of choice. Bonus points if it is something off the wall (like purple bubble wrap)!
Join us for a three week series with Becka Rahn, co-author of The Spoonflower Handbook, on learning how to transform your favorite photos into the perfect memory quilt. Each week, starting Tuesday, November 17th, we will share a lesson or two on the blog with instructions on how to execute a bite-size piece of the project. We used Instagram photos and a polychrome theme, but you can use any special photos and color palette. Share your progress using hashtag #SpoonChallenge along the way using the social media platform of your choice!
When I look at my Instagram feed with its grid of squares, I can’t help but think of a patchwork quilt, and that was the inspiration for this project! We are going to design a photo “cheater quilt”, which means instead of piecing together all of the different fabrics, we will print the patchwork style design on a yard of fabric and use the whole cloth for the quilt. The finished quilt will be 56×36 inches; a nice kids- or lap-quilt size or great for hanging on the wall as an art quilt.
This quilt design is made up of 6 photo patchwork squares – one in each color of the rainbow – on a neutral colored background. Instead of choosing random photos for each patch, I curated my collection of photos and grouped them by color. The subjects of the photos really are random (from rubber balls to dragonflies to bubble wrap), making the quilt almost like an “eye spy” game.
For the uninitiated, we should probably begin by explaining that a cheater quilt is a piece of fabric designed to look like patchwork or applique that allows a quilter to avoid piecework and concentrate on quilting. The challenge to designers this week was to create a robot-themed cheater quilt design that fits onto a single yard of our fabulous Kona cotton. Have fun voting!
The participants this week are:
1. I, Robot by forest&sea
2. Inside the robot by mariao
3. "BOT-imore" Album Cheater Quilt by floathandmade
4. "Robots for Girls" by bulldogsandbabies
5. 'Howdee Yul' quilt by amel24
6. 18th century karakuri tea serving doll by chameleonfire
7. A Robot in Love Cheater Quilt by cynthiafrenette
8. All my circuits by tscho
9. AllGearedUp by beckydolley
10. Attic Window Robot Cheater Quilt by joofalltrades
This week's contest is for cheater quilts that mimic the traditional style of Hawaiian quilts, which generally consist of a design in a single color appliqued on top of a background with some sort of border. For examples, of course, you can always check Google images. I had never heard of Hawaiian quilts until Spoonflower team member Holiday stopped by my desk a few weeks ago to show me a little book she'd been reading called "Hawaiian Quilting Made Easy." It really seemed like a perfect fit for a cheater quilt contest. A "cheater quilt," as you probably know, is one in which the design is printed onto the fabric rather than pieced. The entries this week look amazing. I can't wait to see some of the contest fabrics from this week quilted and finished. Please, please, please post photos in the Flickr group!
The participants this week are:
1. Seaweeds and hibiscus flowers cheater quilt by mariao
2. 3 by keskha
3. 8 Bit Crab – Hawaiian Style Cheater Quilt by jesseesuem
4. A Flowery Sugar Skull by my_zoetrope
5. A hawaiian queen's quilt by paragon_studios_one
6. a Hawaiian Quilt by shiny
7. AAaaaaaloha Cheater Quilt by leeleeandthebee
8. After the Rain by kayajoy
9. Akahai Quilt by jennartdesigns
10. Aloha Quilt by resdesigns
Congratulations to Melanie Sullivan (Texas Freckles), whose lovely patchwork of original designs won the most votes in our cheater quilt competition. What a lovely bunch of designs! I hope lots of you make quilts from them.
Final Fabric Of the Week voting totals were:
1. 927 votes for Cheater
Friday by melaniesullivan
2. 812 votes for Rainbow Cheater Quilt
and Twirly Skirt by sew-me-a-garden
3. 750 votes for a lovely russians dolls
4. 616 votes for Garden Play Quilt by
5. 556 votes for Genus by royalforest
6. 531 votes for 30_s_Inspired_Double_Wedding_Ring_Quilt
7. 530 votes for Lil_Houses_Cheater_Quilt
8. 478 votes for Like a Quilt by
9. 471 votes for Untitled-1 by emiliamota
10. 425 votes for Bloom Cheater Quilt by