Baby, baby, baby! Sudoku Quilt TUTORIAL

One of my all-time favorite ways to create a baby quilt is to use a sudoku puzzle answer key. I have described my technique before, but as so many new followers have signed up, I will explain again. This tutorial will explain how to make a baby quilt, finished size 36 x 36 inches.  I believe this size creates a quilt handy for taking with you in a car or using in the baby carriage.

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I find one of these answer keys to a sudoku puzzle in the newspaper or online. The picture above is not the one exact one I used for my quilts, but you get the idea right?

Select 9 different fabrics. Cut 9x  4,5 inch squares of each fabric.

When I have a fabric piece on the Width of Fabric (WOF), I cut one strip 4,5 inch. From that strip I cut the 9x 4,5 inch squares.

When I don’t have a piece of WOF but a fabulous Fat Quarter (FQ) I want to use, I have the option to just cut the 9 squares required or adjust the plan.

Adjustment: instead of using the full sudoku answer key ( 9 x 9 squares), you could also create a quilt from 9 x 8 squares. This way you can cut two 4,5 inch strips from your gorgeous FQ to subcut into the 4,5 inch squares. You will need 8 squares from each of the 9 fabrics.

For my quilt, I have used some FQ’s and scraps but I stuck to the 9 x 9 lay out. I didn’t have enough of the argyle fabric in the picture below (right bottom corner). I cut 4 squares of the 9 that I need from the argyle scrap. I added a different fabric, but from the same line and it has little leaves on it in the same colors. So I used the argyle and leaves fabric alternately as the number 9 fabric.

I applied the same trick to the white pile (fabric number 1). I use 2 different kind for that pile, stacked alternately.

So I actually used 11 fabric for this quilt instead of 9!

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There is another trick I used… See row number 1 in the next picture?

The eight square should have been the fabric with the blue “eye” pattern… but I didn’t have enough of that either. I used an extra square of the leaves fabric to fill that spot.

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The sudoku puzzle helped me create a random lay out without the headache of actually creating a balanced quilt.

There are some things to watch out for!

TIP 1.

Select fabrics that have some variety in pattern and color. If you select fabrics that are too similar, the “random” lay out will not look as good. Sometimes the color seems to “bunch up” in a certain area. Three of more colors work better than just 2. See how the beiges/cremes and mint seem to cluster in this next example? If you really want to stick to a limited color palette, make sure you have variety in pattern and variety in tone! Get some lights and darks in there!

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For a baby girl I pulled this pile of fabric, and I selected 9 fabrics from the pile.

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The white/cremes, the beige, the yellow/mustard and the pink created enough variation in color and pattern. See?

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There are tiny patterns (i.e. small dots) and some medium patterns (i.e. clouds) The pink fabric with the partially visible white “doily” pattern is the biggest pattern.

Compare the more limited color palettes with a more diverse selection of fabrics.

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TIP 2.

Check your sudoku puzzle. There are repeats in the numbers that lay next to each other.  Can you spot how the numbers 2 and 3 are next to each other 4 of the 9 blocks of this puzzle? Make sure that your fabrics that represent 2 and 3 work well together and are not too similar!!!

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Have a look at the picture underneath. At the top of this picture you can see the bunching up of two too similar fabrics. There are two sets of pinks touching. When checking your numbers in the puzzles, make sure you don’t put too similar numbers on those numbers that are frequently positioned next to each other.

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TIP 3.

When you are using directional fabric, try turning the fabric for each row. This way there will be no “up” or “down” to the quilt.

And you need to know that … these quilts are addictive to create! Once you know how to make one, you will be cranking them out!!! 🙂

For the basting, I normally use one safety pin in each square. That is plenty!

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I have tried different quilting styles on these sudoku quilts. Quite frankly, anything works!!!

I have created horizontal bands…

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… a quick meander…

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.. and I have tried a grid based pattern.

I quilted my latest baby quilt with the TWIST quilting pattern.

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Here is what it would look like on a solid fabric.

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and on my baby quilt…

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If the fabrics are really busy, I like to select a more calm binding fabric.

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I found the perfect binding fabric for this quilt. It has similar colors and the pattern of the little birds matched the theme of the other fabrics too.

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After finishing a quilt for a baby, I always throw it in the wash before gifting. I want it really for use!

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Sometimes you will have scraps from the strips of WOF or leftover bits from your Fat Quarters. You can use them for a patchwork baby bib like I have here.

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I gifted the quilt and bibs last week and they were happily received!

I hope to be able to cuddle the baby soon.

Hugs

Esther

p.s. I have linked up with Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication, Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I get a Whoop Whoop!

 

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18 thoughts on “Baby, baby, baby! Sudoku Quilt TUTORIAL

  1. Thank you!!! I have bookmarked this post (I get your posts by email and am LOVING the FMQ series, thank you for that too). I feel a squirrel project has hit me a good one, and after 2 months with no squirrels, I may be chasing this one! Lovely fabric choices and tips..Did I say thank you? 🙂

    • Oh Sandra,

      Thank you for your kind words! I love quilting and I love teaching…. it is a great combination. When I first started quilting in 2011, I found many inspiration blogs and I so wanted to participate and share my ideas! Your comment lets me realize that has actually come true. I have to say THANK YOU to you!

      If you need more information on the Sudoku quilt , please let me know, okay?!

      Bye bye,
      Esther

  2. I love the idea, but I know that my need to tweak would make a nonsense of the layout. I simply cannot let things go if my eye is not happy… But if you need to make a quilt quickly, this has got to be the best idea for arranging all the pieces without over-thinking the issue, and your tips for colour and pattern selection are really useful, thank you!

  3. I made one of these with my sons about ten years ago, with cat fabric – first and last quilt they ever made! The Suduko idea certainly does make a great quilt – thank you for sharing the idea on Midweek Makers!

    • Hello Susan,
      A sudoku cat quilt… that must have been one cute quilt! I would love to engange my young nephews in sewing with me. I will have to try it out this summer!
      Have a lovely day.
      Esther

  4. I have enjoyed your blog postings. This idea is a great way to make a random quilt without all the hassle of always trying to get the pieces in just the right place. Thanks for the idea.

    • You are very welcome. I love the no-hassle-approach to baby quilts. They get used, washed, dragged around and so much more… the colors and patterns in the fabric are more important than detailed piecing.
      bye bye
      Esther

    • Hello Claudia!
      I am having lots of fun with the FMQ-blogposts. I never thought I would be able to reach over 50 different samples, but so far so good!
      Have a great week!
      Esther

  5. I love this idea so I might make a small quilt using this method and try quilting it using the twist pattern as it looks ‘doable’ – or at least you have made it look as if it is. Just need to finish one or two other projects first 😉

  6. Great idea! I love the bibs with the extra fabric, too. PS: I also always wash a quilt before gifting because I also make quilts for people to USE!

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