Polar Peekaboo Tips and Tricks

Polar Peekaboo Quilt 

LOVE a quilt with lots of piecing.  Lots and lots of intricate half square triangles, corner squares, flying geese, the works. 

Safari Life Quilt Pattern by Stacy Iest Hsu for Mods Fabrics – LOTS of Piecing!

I also LOVE a quilt that has animals on it. Which is weird because in real life I am not an animal person. Well, I am not a household animal person.  But totally bring on the buffalos, giraffes and elephants!  Pieced animals are just so dang cute and fun to create! 

Penguin Parade by Elizabeth Hartman

When these LOVES are combined it is almost a guarantee it will be made, go on quilting bucket list, and be eyed with envy. 

That is exactly what happened for this adorable new pattern Polar Peekaboo Quilt from Kelly Fannin Designs! And combined with the new Nice Ice Baby fabric from Deena Rutter for Riley Blake Designs this quilt is a no brainer!

Polar Peekaboo patterns arrived, Nice Ice Baby fabric arrived, my brain calculated yardage, kits were cut and now its time to make this fantastic beast! 

Want to make it with me?! Good!  Let’s go!

Step 1: Gather Materials 

Step 2: Cutting the Fabric

The start of step two can be overwhelming.  Where do you start when there are so many fabrics and pieces? Which fabrics are which? OMG how do I organize all my pieces?!

In general, and for the Polar Peekaboo quilt, I start by cutting the smallest pieces of fabric; for the Polar Peekaboo Quilt that would be the pink, orange and black.  Knocking out three fabrics in short amount of time felt great! 

Next, I continued to cut based on the size of the fabric – smallest to largest fabric.  I have found this method to be the least overwhelming and it feels good to finish cutting a print and moving on to the next!  

Warning – Look Out for Directional Prints –  Does it matter to you if your prints are going in the correct direction???  

For me, at this point in my quilting career, YES!   If direction matters, you may need to do some pre-cutting thinking of looking at the pattern piece placement before cutting.

Not going to lie, I had to recut a few pieces when it came time to constructing the blocks.  Thankfully there is PLENTY of fabric in the kit to do so!

To organize the pieces, I stack like fabric pieces from largest on the bottom to smallest on top. Simple and easy!  The pieces in this pattern are not labeled A-Z or 1 -10, so I found this to be the easiest way to keep everything together.

Step 3: Piece, Piece and Piece some more!

Here is how I can sew a block with lots of pieces so quickly.  Are you ready for it?

Okay, here goes. I lay out THE ENTIRE BLOCK on my makeshift design board aka a 12” square rotating mat or on the cutting mat next to my machine. Actually, these blocks were WAY too big so straight on the mat they went!

I clear everything off the table and lay out all the base pieces. Next, I add the corners for snowball pieces where they need to go, making sure to check for directional prints.

I then chain piece the first round of snowballs, half square triangles, etc., trim the seams to quarter inch, press any pieces that need to pressed, and lay the piece back on my board where it belongs. 

I continue to piece the block by adding additional snowballs or sewing pieces together as they belong.  I am essentially completing multiple steps of construction at the same time to save time and reduce trips to the iron (Have you tried an Oliso Iron yet? The new Pro is just fabulous)! 

The Narwhal block was completed first – it had the least amount of piecing and all three Narwhals were exactly the same! Easy peasy piecing and oh so cute!

Next I did the Polar Bears – first completing the two that were facing the same direction and then the single polar bear that got flipped

For the penguins, each penguin was completed individually as all three were facing different directions.  It was very important that I had all directional fabrics going in the same direction, so piecing each penguin individually was key!

The directions do say piece each penguin the same and then turn for placement in the quilt, but I wasn’t have that with the directional prints!

Step 4: Finishing the Front!

Once the nine Polar Peekaboo blocks are complete and trimmed, yes I sure do trim my blocks, it is time to add the sashing. 

Start with your vertical sashing in between each block.  The blocks for this quilt are rather large (16.5 inches) so it was easiest to sew each row individually rather than chain piece the entire quilt front. Sashing strip, block, sashing strip, block, etc.   

Once all three rows were complete, the horizontal sashing was added. I made sure to match my vertical sashing strips with pins so all the pieces would be lined up nice and straight. Hopefully!

And just like that you have a finished quilt top! 

Lessons Learned – Hey, I am a teacher!  There is a lesson to be learned in every project!

The biggest take away from making this quilt top would definitely be how quickly a block can come together if you do multiple steps at the same time! Obviously, this took a little forethought, but even going slow and steady in my sewing I was able to complete the blocks in half the time than when I was doing each step individually just 6 months ago!

That is all for now! Thanks for joining our adventure!


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