The first step was to put the squares in an order that I liked. For example, the monarch butterfly was originally where the pine trees are located in the picture below.
The squares are placed in an order that I want them.
Shadow (the cat) is looking on.
However, raising monarch caterpillars and releasing monarch butterflies has been such a big part of homeschooling and what I've done with Sophia and Olivia over the years, that I felt like it needed to be a central square.
Close-up of the final layout of squares.
Once the squares were laid out, I sewed the squares together to create seven strips (or rows) that included five squares each.
Five squares are sewn together width-wise
to form seven rows.
After the rows are sewn together, I ironed the seam on the reverse side of the squares so that they laid flat. Then, I ironed each row of squares. This ensures that they are laying flat when I need to pin two rows together to sew the quilt top.
Once everything was ironed, I began to sew the quilt top together. I started from the bottom of the quilt. I sewed the row with the wild rice to the row with the pine trees. This process was repeated until I reached the top row.
After all the rows were together, I ironed the quilt top so that it would lay flat.
Finished quilt top.
As I look at the finished quilt top, I like the fact that many of the fabric squares reuse fabric. At one time, some of the fabric was part of bed sheets, pillowcases, and clothing. I deliberately did not purchase new fabic. Rather, my goal was to use what was on hand.
Despite the resourcefulness and "make do" spirit of this quilt, my favorite part is the appliqued and embroidered squares. Not only did I learn more about Minnesota's many state symbols, but I was able to challege myself to determine how to best represent each symbol.
For some squares, applique was the best method to create the image (e.g., pine trees, lady's slippers, apple) while embroidery was a more appropriate choice with other images (e.g., carton and glass of milk; walleye; wild rice).
I liked this combination of applique+embroidery and embroidery by itself. Had the entire quilt been done by the latter method alone, I would not have finished the quilt within a month. The embroidery was very time consuming with some squares taking two days and well over 6-8 hours.
The next step is to sew the top, batting, and background together to finish the quilt. I may simply use yarn ties where the squares meet to secure the three layers together.
With the weather getting colder now, having a quilt will be a great way to keep warm...plus a reminder to take time each day to be creative.