22 October 2012

A Halloween Quilt

As you may recall, I decided a couple of weeks ago to use the spooky batik fabrics I made to make a Halloween quilt.  Well, the top is complete!
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I've already shown it to it's intended recipient, my boyfriend Jon.  As you can see from his smile here, he likes it!
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Halloween is one of Jon's favorite holidays and I'm going to miss the big parties this year because I'll be at Quilt Market.  I figured a quilt was a good way to try to make it up to him.
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Most of the quilt blocks are a stack-and-whack improv variation of a pinwheel.  I like to call them Spooky Triangles.   I started out thinking that I might follow my friend Natalie's tutorial for pinwheel blocks you can find her tutorial here: Wonky Pinwheel Tutorial
Awesome, right?  However, Natalie uses squares of neutral fabrics and adds colors to either side.  This isn't exactly what I wanted to do as I wanted to vary where there was color and where there was neutrals.  Also, I didn't have scraps of fabric, I had yardage, and Natalie's tutorial works best with scraps.

Next, I looked a this page in Denyse Schmidt's new book Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration:

I liked how the values switch places, but I wasn't interest in making a quilt exactly like the one depicted. I decided to find my own way to get a similar effect, which I'm sharing with you today.

Step 1: 
Select two pieces of fabric of different values (one dark, one light). Press your fabric.
howtospook-01


Step 2:
Place the fabrics on top of each other right-sides-up.  Cut both pieces to 9.5" inches square.  
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Step 3: Decide where you'd like your triangle to point.  In this case, I've decided the triangle will point to the lower-right corner, so I'm cutting a triangle off of the upper-left corner (the opposite corner.)  I'm cutting a triangle that is about 3x3x4.  Any size is fine and should vary.
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Step 4: Cut from the opposite corner to one of the points you just made in Step 3.
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Step 5: Now do the other new point made in Step 3 to the same corner.
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Your cut block should look like this.
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Step 6:
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Take the center pieces from each fabric and stitch them to the the small triangle cut in step 3 (of the other fabric) with a 1/4" seam.

Step 7:  Press the seams away from the center.
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Step 8:
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Attach another side to the central triangle. Proceed carefully.  It is easy to get mixed up and attach the triangles the wrong way.  Remember that all the points are in one corner and the big edges are in another.
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You can attach the final side without pressing first.

Step 9:
Press the block so that all seams are away from the central triangle.
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Step 10:  Trim the blocks.
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I trimmed my blocks to 8" square, keeping the sharp point in the block, but cutting off the others.
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Ouila! You now have two blocks!  If you wanted to make a lap-sized quilt, you'll need just 46 more!
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Notice that the city print is still upright in both of these blocks.  I love that!  I can't stand it when fabrics end up on their sides or upside down.  Please note that if you use a one-way print (a print with a "top" and "bottom") you'll need to vary where your triangles point in Step 3 and throughout cutting, because you can't simply rotate the triangles without putting the fabric on its side or upside down.

It helps to use a design wall to keep track of your blocks.  These blocks have been placed to show that they are both in the upper-left of a set of four.
howtospook-14

If you want to make something similar to my Halloween quilt in overall effect, here are a couple of additional notes:  about 1/3rd of the blocks are NOT spooky triangles.  I'm not the biggest fan of block-based quilts--they look too controlled/soulless/tidy for me--I find that messing around puts a little bit of extra life into a quilt.

Here's a picture with lines pointing to most of the non-spooky triangle blocks:
-the green lines point to traingles that are more like mountains than windmill blades.
-the blue points to a pair of block that just have a diagonal stripe
-the pink ones point to other variations
cornpointedout-1

Some variation was also made by beginning step 1 with a piece of patchworked fabric, rather than a whole piece.  This usually happened because I was low on fabric, but I really liked the way it turned out!

Some of the other variation was made by sticking extra bits of color in as below.  This is me just deciding to spice things up by digging through the scrap bin!
corners


And my favorite block was made when I messed up in Step 8 and then, instead of unpicking and resewing, I just kept going and made some weird spikes out of my wrongly done blocks!

Did anyone else make a Halloween quilt this year?  I'm surprised that I made a holiday quilt and that I might make another one to celebrate the coming of Winter.


Anyone is free to use this tutorial to construct a quilt; I just ask that they credit me, Rossie, with the design or inspiration.  If you use the tutorial and feel so moved, please throw a buck or two in my tip jar (no obligation).   Rest assured, the money goes into my business account and I will pay taxes on it through the business.


(a) I often feel that quilt patterns are over-priced, especially if I can tell just by looking at something how it was made.  I am almost never willing to pay $8 for a PDF quilt pattern.  However, I would be willing to give someone a dollar or two for using the idea they brought to my attention, I think you might be like me.

(b) I'm a copy-leftist. As such, I don't think it is possible or moral to claim ownership over most ideas or to try to control an idea.   I'm interested in people's willingness to volunteer payment for inspiration.

(c) I have bills to pay.  When this goes reasonably well, I can post more quilts on my blog, rather than keeping them secret while waiting for them to show up in magazines.


13 comments:

  1. I really like what you've made here. I'm going to keep it for future reference. When I do tackle it I'll make sure to tip the jar. ;)

    I share your philosophy on quilt patterns and the moral ethics of trying to sell them. After so many years now I feel over saturated by the same patterns just in different fabrics.

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  2. Great tutorial!

    I love the quilt, too, mostly because it's Halloween-ish without being Halloween-y. You know what I mean? :-)

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    1. I do know what you mean. Not too gimmiky...just on the one ghost print and otherwise nothing to literal. :-)

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  3. Thank you for the inspiration, and I have donated because of it. I am not sure where or when I will use the inspiration but who knows.

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  4. Oh the colours, no seriously...THE COLOURS are amazing! Wow, the pic in front of the barn is just fantastic. Well sone, totally makes up for being away at quilt market!

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    1. Halloween colors are the best! Orange and purple and green, oh my!

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  5. I love the quilt, the use of your batik fabric is awesome. I'm not usually drawn to batiks, but I love what you've done with them!
    I'm glad the relationship is going well-- it's a big step to make a quilt for someone!
    Thanks for linking up to my tutorial, I love how versatile the pinwheel/kite shape is! Have fun at quilt market, I'm sure it will be simultaneously crazy and awesome as usual :)

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    1. Thanks Natalie! Yeah, batiks are usually done is super-saturated jewel-toned dyes, I'm not sure why more people don't make diverse ones!
      I make almost all of my quilts "for" someone, it really helps clarify what it should look like and how to use it.
      Talk soon! -R

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  6. What a stunning quilt. Well done and I'd love to share it with my quilting buddies. I've forwarded your blog to our group.

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  7. Your ending quilt is phenomenal, and I always love seeing where inspiration comes from.

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  8. WOW, Rossi - this looks so amazing. You've made the tutorial look like it's easy and doable for a quilting novice - that I am. I'm actually just NOW making my 1st quilt. I've been thinking about making a quilt with "t-shirt memories". I've collected 2 dozen t-shirts from my niece and am presently sewing the "frame" strip of fabric on one side of the t-shirt squares. I'm very basic, making a "beginner" quilt easy enough that I won't burn out and say "forget it" or never attempt another quilt. I saw tutorials on YouTube for quilt-making the "easy" way. Long Strips of varying widths (good for "recycling" scraps) were sewn to the backing fabric & batting layer in one straight line along the width of quilt... then pressed and another strip of varied pattern fabric is added & pinned and then sewn. Each "stripe" is added until the very end/length of quilt. ... The rough edges are trimmed and then a "framing"/edging fabric is sewn all along/all around the quilt. Then the "fancy" stitching to quilt is done last. Voila!! ... It may not be a traditional made quilt, but it definitely helps me to start and maybe one day, be a talented & inspring quilter, such as you! Thank you for showing your beautiful quilts. I feel so lucky to have found your blog today!!! ;-)

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