Fascinating... Quilt Along




This quilt was originally designed to be an 11 week quilt along. It's a great project for using up fabric scraps. The quilt measures 58 x 82 inches. The design is meant to look chaotic up close and come into focus as you back away.

A little background on the process

Each step has a detailed PDF file with cutting charts and assembly diagrams for you. For those that like to know more about the logic behind the process I'll share a little about how the design came to be.

This really started out as a half baked idea with no real pattern. Almost all the quilts I make have been given away as gifts or donations. This time I wanted to make something fun that my husband would enjoy. Since we like all things sci-fi, I found a great pumpkin carving template of Mr. Spock at pink ray gun. I really wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it though. I was getting tired of applique and needed something different. After several months of pondering I decided to try a scrappy quilt. I wanted the quilt to be very chaotic and scrappy up close but reveal an image as you backed away from it. 

I cropped and scanned the pumpkin carving template image into a cross stitch chart generator to get a grid over it. This step took a few tries to get what I wanted (see photo 3).

Next I began to mark off my block sections. I didn't want the uniformity of visible rows so I pieced large sections and then put the sections together at random spots. So I wouldn't get lost between sewing sessions I colored in the sections that were finished with a high light marker (see photo 4).

The Cutting Math

To keep it simple my scale was 1 inch = 1 square on the grid. I cut each piece 1/2 larger in length and width to allow for the seams (1/4 inch seam on both sides).

For example. I need a piece that is 2 grid squares by 3 grid squares on my chart. So I cut a piece of fabric that is 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches.

And that's how the Fascinating Quilt was born.

Are you ready to make one of your own?

Step 1: Gather Your Fabrics

Let's get started by gathering our fabrics. This quilt is great for using up your scraps. The colors don't matter so much but they have to fall into the category of light or dark. I created two piles of fabrics. One lights and the other darks (see photos 1 & 2).

Since we need the colors to "read" as darks and lights you should take a photo of them in black and white to see how close they looked to each other. In my black and white photo of the light fabrics you can see that the two at the top, the blue on the lower right and the yellow at lower left don't quite "read" the same as the other lights (see photo 3). In the black and white photo of my dark fabrics the black on the right side of the pile really "reads" way too dark (see photo 4). All of these were removed from the piles. 

Step 2: Supplies, Tips and Information

Gather the Supplies

PDF step by step directions for each section
Your light fabrics
Your dark fabrics
1 yard black border fabric
Backing fabric
Cutting mat
Rotary cutter
Grid ruler
1/4 inch presser foot for your machine (optional)
Sewing supplies

Recommended Tools
It is very important that you cut and sew as accurately as possible. Some tools that I highly recommend for this project are a rotary cutter, grid ruler, cutting mat and 1/4 inch foot for your machine.

The second most important tip is about pressing. Press each seam as you go with a dry iron. Press straight up and down. Do not use steam and do not push the iron back and forth. Both of these will distort, stretch and change the shape of your fabric. You have a lot of seams in this quilt and want to keep everything as accurate as possible.

Cutting Information
This quilt is designed to be a scrap buster quilt made with random light and dark fabrics. The cutting charts will only be written as lights and darks not colors. It will be up to you to randomly cut your fabrics into those two categories. 

All measurements will be in inches. Blocks measurements are written in width x length.

All seams are 1/4 inch.

Terms used
Blocks - individual cut squares and rectangles
Unit - several blocks sewn together
Section - several units sewn together

Assembly and Viewing help
This quilt has a random assembly. It is not made with a set block size or in equal rows. Too keep from getting lost I highly recommend that you keep each section labeled. You can use a flannel sheet or piece of batting as a design wall. Pin your sections to it as you make them that way they will always be in the right spot when you start back again.

This design comes into focus as you back away from it. Having a design wall will also help you with viewing the design clearly. Another helpful tip...for some reason viewing the quilt through a camera lens also makes the design easier to see.

Step 3: Step 1

Cut only the fabrics for the step you are sewing. Follow the PDF directions to complete Week 1, Sections 1-5.

Pin all the sections on your design wall.

Woo Hoo!! You’re finished Week 1.

Step 4: Step 2

Follow the PDF directions to completed Week 2, Sections 1-4.

Sew completed week 2 sections to the top of completed week 1 sections.

Pin to your design wall.

Moving along! You’re finished Week 2.

Step 5: Step 3

Follow the PDF directions to complete Week 3, Sections 1-5.

Sew the completed week 3 section to your design wall between the two sections that are already there.

Whew! It’s starting to look like something now!

Step 6: Step 4

Follow the PDF dirctions complete Week 4, Sections 1-7.

Sew completed week 4 to the top of your existing design wall sections.

I can see him! Can you?

Step 7: Step 5

Week 5 is done in two steps...

Follow the PDF directions to completed Week 5, Sections 1-5.

Sew this row to the top of week 4 on your design wall.

Now complete Week 5, Sections 6-8.

Only pin this to the design wall. It isn’t ready to sew yet.

Whew a tough week is finished!

Step 8: Step 6

Sorry, I don't have an actual photo to share for this step.

Important Note: Sections 5-7 are the eye area. If you use red as your dark fabric color it will photograph as “red eye”.

Follow the PDF directions to completed Week 6, Sections 1-8.

Pin this finished section to the design wall. Do not sew it in place yet.

Moving along nicely!

Step 9: Step 7

Follow the PDF directions to completed Week 7, Sections 1-5.

Important Note: Section 4 is part of the other eye area. If you use red as your dark fabric color it will photograph as “red eye” (see photo 2).

Sew completed Week 7 to the right of already completed Weeks 5-6 that are pinned on the design wall.

Sew this row to the top of the remainder of the design wall.

Looking Fabulous!

Step 10: Step 8

Follow the PDF directions to completed Week 8, Sections 1-5.

Pin this new section to the design wall. Do not sew it on at this time.

Almost there! It’s getting exciting.

Step 11: Step 9

Follow the PDF directions to completed Week 9, Sections 1-4.

Sew Week 9 to the top of Week 8 on the design wall.

Pin Weeks 8 - 9 back on the design wall.

Almost there! Keep up the great job!

Step 12: Step 10

Follow the PDF directions to completed Week 10, Sections 1-8.

Sew Week 10 to the right of already completed Weeks 8-9.

Pin back on the design wall.

Can you believe you are almost finished?

Step 13: Step 11

Follow the PDF directions to completed Week 10, Sections 1-4.

Sew Week 11 to the right of already completed Weeks 8-10 that are pinned to the design wall.

Sew this row to the top of the design wall to complete your quilt.

Cut 4 ½ inch wide strips for the borders out of black. I cut mine on the crosswise so they are approx. 40 inches long. You will need to sew 2 of them together to make long strips.

Sew on the left and right borders. Press and square up the corners.

Sew on the top and bottom borders. Press and square up the corners.

Quilt any way you like.

You’re FINISHED!  Enjoy your quilt!!

I'd love to see your finished quilt. Please stop by and post a photo to the flickr group HERE.

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    16 Discussions


    5 years ago

    That is AWESOME! Can't wait to try it! :D


    6 years ago on Step 13

    This is probably the coolest things ever. Can't wait to get started, thank you for sharing this.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I'm not a star trek fan, but I absolutely LOVE this quilt. I hope you do well in the contest to reward you for all your time, and for sharing. :)

    1 reply
    The Rambler

    7 years ago on Introduction

    You're a nerd.

    And that's awesome! Haha This is super cool.

    "For those that like to know more about the logic behind the process I'll share a little about how the design came to be."

    Is that a Spock pun I see there?

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Quilting truly has the potential for infinite diversity in infinite combinations.
    Your description was very logical; I'm sure he'd approve.

    1 reply

    This is absolutely incredible. There is a guy...can't think of his name just now, but he makes the most amazing portrait and modern quilts. You likely know who he is...Well done and I am totally inspired to do something like this!! Awesome first instructable and can't wait to see what you come up with next.

    1 reply