Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Olympics!!! (a quilt tutorial)

Hurray, hurray -- the Olympics are here!!  I have a new friend (Jen from Heritage Threads) who just wrote up a blog post -- and it explains EXACTLY how I've always felt about the Olympics! You should totally check it out, it's so stinking cute, and so is her mini Olympic rings quilt!
So, here's the backstory on this quilt: When our girls chose "The Olympics -- Go for the Gold" for our Girls Camp theme, I immediately thought about making a quilt. A quilt with the Olympic rings, and the rest just as GOLD as I could make it! And I decided to make it not just for YW Camp, but so I could use it for the Olympics later this summer, and for the Olympics to come. I really wanted to finish it up in time for Camp, but didn't quite make it in time. But I did have it finished in time for the 2016 Rio Opening Ceremonies!

And I had the foresight to take a BUNCH of pictures along the way -- because I just know I'm not the only one who wants a quilt for the Olympics! Have fun!

  • {92} 5 1/2" squares (I used assorted yellows and golds)
  • {1} 30 1/2" x 40 1/2" background piece
  • assorted scraps for rings and words
  • Heat-n-Bond Lite (I just used scraps)
1. I laid them some plates on my FAVORITE quilt (it's the perfect size), to kind of test out how big the pattern would be, then used those plates to trace a ring.
After I decided to use those bigger plates, I used another plate to make what I think is just about perfect. (I think the little one is 6" and the other is 10".)
2. I traced the rings on freezer paper, which was a FANTASTIC idea. You'll see why later!
3.  I cut out the circle EXACTLY on the outside line, then folded it in half and marked the line formed between the two rings. I repeated, folding again and again, until I had 16 segments. I didn't take a picture, but after I had the 16 segments, I cut out the middle, about 1/4" from the line. Then, I cut along ONE of the lines, to make a little opening so I could layer the rings just like they do in the official Olympics logo.
4. Now for the fun part -- fabric selection! I have 16 different fabrics for each ring, so I trimmed each fabric I was using to about 4" x 5". There was a little waste, but I really loved using that smaller size, rather than trying to figure out how to fit my large sections of fabric to the little freezer paper sections.

5. I used the freezer paper as a paper-piecing template. When I want to be REALLY precise, I really love to paper piece! And for the Olympics, precision seemed like the thing to do. :)
I pressed the first fabric to the freezer paper, adhering the wrong side of the fabric to the freezer paper. Then I lined up a second fabric to one side of the first fabric, making sure there was at least 1/4" for a seam allowance. Then I flipped over the freezer paper and sewed with a shortened stitch length along the line, all the way to the edge of the paper. (And I always did at least two at a time, so I didn't waste much thread.) Then I trimmed the seam, as needed, and pressed the second fabric to the freezer paper.

*One little trick I've learned with paper piecing is to trim the first fabric I'm using to about 1/4" away from the seam I'm about to sew. To do that, I fold the fabric along the line, then trim with fabric scissors. It really helps to line up that second fabric!

6.  After all my rings were pieced, I made five more rings, this time on the back of some Heat-n-Bond Lite and cut away about 1/4" from each edge, plus cut one line through the ring (just like you did with the freezer paper). In retrospect, I wish I had folded under the sides and appliqued the rings onto the quilt, but it was so much easier to do it this way! Plus, I used the raw-edge applique technique for the words, so I thought it would probably match better that way.
*You can use the centers of these pieces for some of the letters, if you choose to do so.

7. Working with one ring at a time, I carefully peeled away the freezer paper from the back of the ring, then adhered the Heat-n-Bond to the BACK of the ring. Then I trimmed on the line, and pulled the backing away from the Heat-n-Bond. (It totally helps to mark at least a couple of the markings on the paper part of the Heat-n-Bond so you can line things up juuust right.)
Here they are, in all their glory -- they look so good!!
8. After that, adhere the rings to the 30 1/2" x 40 1/2" backing fabric, interlocking as shown in the Olympic logo (I just googled it!). Stitch them down, one by one, starting and stopping as needed for the "interlocking" to work.

9. I figured out which fabrics I wanted to use for the words, and laid them out in order. Then I adhered the Heat-n-Bond, cut them out, adhered them, and stitched... and stitched... and stitched... for DAYS. But it was SUCH a quick finish once I was done with that part. :) The rest is super simple!

10. After that, I laid out my squares and stitched it all together! I first put 6 squares together in a column, then attached those to one side of the background piece, then repeated for the other side. Then I made the top (2 rows of 10) and bottom pieces (6 rows of 10), and attached them to the top & bottom of the quilt center.

Then, I sent it off to the quilter, and I am so, SO happy I did! My friend Marion, who blogs at My Quilt Diet, is an AMAZING quilter, and I just love everything she did! (She recently blogged another quilt I made HERE.) So, prepare for a picture overload -- I took these the day I brought the quilt home, which happened to be Friday, August 6th, the day of the Opening Ceremonies!! It wasn't bound yet, but I just couldn't help myself, even with a little storm rolling in -- it was just so pretty!

Please note: I mostly used sunny, bright fabrics to make this a really great "Go for the Gold" quilt, but it also made it feel VERY summer-like, so I backed it mostly in this pretty sun fabric from Vanessa Goertzen (it's my favorite!) -- but the Olympics is during the winter half the time, so I included just a strip of this DARLING snowman fabric from Lori Holt. :) Marion did such a great job making it nice and straight with the front of the quilt!

And... of course there were some outtakes! We had a bit of a wind (there was a small storm that was coming), and my #1 Quilt Holder wasn't too excited to show his face... I have to be pretty quick to get a shot of this handsome boy!

Thank you for sticking with me this far! I sure hope you liked my quilt -- I'm absolutely in love with it -- I love it almost as much as the Olympics!!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks so much Kairle! I just love it!

  2. LOVE this!! You're so clever, and your quilt is just amazing! Thanks for taking the time to share your talent!! :-)

    1. You're so sweet -- thank you so much!

  3. Thanks so much for writing the tutorial. The quilt is beautifully done & I am so impressed with how you so carefully thought it through. This will surely become a family heirloom����

    1. Thanks so much! I just love it! Now, how do I pack it away for two years??


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