Sunday, July 1, 2012

Olympics - Inspired Mini Quilt and Tutorial

I have always LOVED the Olympics!  As a girl, I took several years of gymnastics classes, and even was on a team for a short time.  I also participated in club sports' gymnastics in college.  I've been lucky enough to (very briefly) meet Nadia Comaneci (even had her autograph at one time), and Tim Dagget.  Every 4 years when the Olympics roll around, you can find me glued to the TV!  In fact, my husband and I were lucky enough to take a trip to Utah during the 1998 Winter Olympics, and since Utah was preparing to host the 2002 Winter Olympics, it was such a blast to see beautiful parks such as Moab, Bryce and Zion during the day, and watch the local Utah coverage at night in our hotel rooms!  That was also "before kids", and was our last "solo" vacation!

I wanted to do an Olympics-inspired quilt, and after looking through my pictures from our local Pendleton Quilt Show, and seeing this picture, I knew right away how to do it!  It's basically a quilt made with "bright hopes" and "snowball" alternating quilt blocks.  Pretty neat!  The nice thing about the "ring" quilt is that it has no partial seams!  The hardest part is getting the color placement right.

I took pictures of the quilt as I made it, and wrote down everything, so I could share it with you!

The quilt is 42.5 inches by 24.5 inches.  I made 6 inch by 6 inch quilt blocks. You easily could double the block size (12 inches square) and add a border to make it bed-sized.  Maybe I'll do this for the winter Olympics ;-).  

You need:
1 yard of white fabric
5 fat quarters or 1/4 yard of the 5 different colors.  In reality, I was able to cut it all out of 1, 2 inch strip of fabric cut the whole length (42 inches).  So you could use jelly roll strips or even an eight of a yard of fabric of each color, or even scraps you have on hand.

Cut 2 inch strips times width of fabric from each of the 5 colors.  If you're using fat quarters, cut 2, 2 inch by 22 inch strips.
From these, cut out:
3, 6.5 inch by 2 inch strips of each color
1, 5 inch by 2 inch strip from each color.

From the remaining strip of fabric, cut:
7, 2 by 2 inch squares from the blue and yellow
6, 2 by 2 inch squares from the other colors (red, blue, and black).

From the white fabric, cut:
16, 6.5 by 6.5 inch squares
7, 6.5 by 5 inch rectagles
3, 5 by 3.5 inch rectagles
2, 5 by 5 inch squares
(the 5 by 6.5 inch color strips are not pictured here... sorry)

Now the sewing begins!  First sew on the 6.5 by 2 inch strips onto the 6.5 by 5 inch white rectangles.  You'll need 2 each of the red and blue ones, and 1 each of the green, yellow and black, like so:
Next, combine the 5 inch strips and 6.5 inch strips with the small 5 by 3.5 rectangles and 5 by 5 inch squares to make these blocks:  They can be sewn on like you would a log cabin block, starting with the center white piece, then the short strip(s), then the long strip.

You should now only have small 2 by 2 inch color squares and 6.5 by 6.5 white squares left.  These small squares get sew onto corners of the white squares, sewing from diagonal tip to tip, like so:
Trim the corners off and press open.  You'll need  6 big white squares with only one "colored corner" as below:
2 red
2 blue
1 yellow
1 green
3 of the bigger white squares get 2 colored corners as so:

Use the remaining small colored squares to stitch up the 5 squares below.  I found that pinning them all in place prior to sewing helped a lot!
You should have 2 left over 6.5 by 6.5 inch white squares and your table should look like this:
Now all you do is to arrange them into the ring pattern, and then sew the "rows and columns" together.

I decided to take the quilt top down to a local park.  With the help of my son, I took this.  I think so many Olympic dreams start on playgrounds like these!  They're so important for our kids!!
I hope these instructions are clear.  If you have any questions, please give me a holler! Enjoy the games, I know I will!


  1. I distinctly recall watching Nadia Comaneci and her perfect 10s in 1976. So awesome.

    Love this quilt!

  2. Has anyone ever told you- you are AWESOME!! This is so fun!!! I love the Olympics. Gymnastics, bobsledding, ski jumping, diving and ice skating are my favorites.
    I was extremely jealous that most of my family was so close to the Utah games. But they also had to live with traffic and construction. So... :)

  3. Television here is not the same as US.... not sure how much we will get to see of Olympics... but then again ... they will probably be on in the middle of the night, I like watching the inside of my eyelids then. 2 great quilts in the last few days!

  4. Oh wow, that looks terrific! I gotta say, that first picture threw me for a loop LOL I was like.. I see the feet, where's the rest?! lolol Really nice work on the mini-quilt! :)

  5. LOL, that first photo had me giggling too! We just moved to Japan and are Olympic-enthusiasts too and it seems from what other people are saying that that the free-to-air channels don't show much coverage?! :( And we're not gettng Pay TV just to watch the Olympics (and it's too soon anyway). Oh well, I hope we at least get the opening and closing ceremonies!!

  6. I also love the Olympics! Your rings are great!

  7. This is SO COOL - thanks for sharing the step by step. It's great to see the Olympic spirit in quilting.

  8. LOVE THIS! I'm a total Olympics fan, too, so this is great. Thanks for the sweet Tutorial, too.

    Elizabeth E.

  9. Wonderful! This is very cute and clever. We've just linked to your tutorial from our sidebar.