Sunday, May 6, 2018

How to Talk to a Baby Quilt

The prospect of conversing with an infant can be intimidating to first-time parents. When I was a pregnant, young mother of only 37 - psychologically too immature to raise babies, but my fertility alarm clock was wailing - I worried about a million things, including: What would I discuss with the tot?

Over the years, we've figured out things to talk about (he's now in grad school and calls every week), but it would have gone even better I'd made him one of these conversation quilts. I call it an "Everything in the World Baby Quilt," but quilts like this are usually called "I Spy". This latest one was made for a good friend's daughter who is expecting a little boy later this month.
There are 108 4" squares, organized into 9-patches, separated by solid-color sashings, and black-and-white polka dot cornerstones (babies are said to enjoy black-and-white contrast). Just for fun, down the left side, instead of solid colors, I used tape-measure fabric.
If you look at 'I Spy' quilts online, you'll see that the individual squares are usually distributed randomly, but I often feel compelled to organize them into themes that may engage very young persons.  Conversation topic 1, block 1, upper left: Fliers.
Next to it, more sky things:
And the third block on top is astronomical, too.
In the second row, we start with dogs....
...Move to music - this particular baby is being born into a family of gifted musicians and will probably be given the world's smallest violin immediately after birth....

The last block is cats.
The third row starts with people and pseudo-people:
Then swimmers...
...followed by animals of the imagination....
The fourth row begins with inanimate objects...
Goes to sports...
And finally, transportation, with a subway map of New York in the center (this family hails from and/or studied music in New York City)
The back has larger amounts of fun fabrics.

Including SpongeBob, elephants, zebras, more dogs and cats, and turtles
 Plus, along the top, outer space, a night view of Los Angeles, and a yellow submarine
Making a quilt like this quilt is pure fun, unless you have to buy yardage and cut all 108 squares rapidly, with a pregnant person's due date looming unsafely over your rotary cutter. 

So I prepare ahead of time. Between projects, I cut some of my novelty fabrics into 4" squares. I usually fussy cut a couple of squares from the same fabric. Then, when friends and/or family gets pregnant, I locate the stack, pull out one square from each print, and start organizing 9-patches. I like to make the sashing from solid colors, to give the parents yet another discussion topic. 

You don't even have to buy and store a massive hoard of novelty fabrics for a lifetime, like me. Simply go to and type in "Novelty fabric quilt squares," or "I Spy quilt squares." You'll find adorable assortments, in many sizes and quantities, precut to save you work, money, storage space and sanity!

More 9-patch based conversational baby quilts can be found here


  1. I love the organization of this! I've made several I Spy quilts but never like this. A friend's son is expecting in the fall - I have time to create something as clever as you!

  2. Shellie, thank you, I hope you will borrow, fold, mangle, or mutilate this idea for your own ends! Let me know if you need some squares...

  3. Lovely quilt! It's so colorful and inviting for kids. I'm sure it was a blast to make!


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