It’s finally fall! Or rather, it has been for a while, but here in North Carolina the temperatures are just now dipping below “Why Does The Air Feel Like Soup” and we are heading into the weeks where it is mild and golden and lovely.
I only have about one thousand quilting WIPs, including some that are overdue by several years, so naturally I decided that I needed a new project – a Halloween quilt. In a tremendous show of self-control, I chose to only make a wall quilt, or mini quilt, so I pulled out all my spookiest fabric and trolled my pins to figure out what the blocks might want to be. I wanted a kind of hard-edged cutesyness, a sort of twee goth, if you’re following me, and I wanted a color palette that was dark, bold, and scrappy with splashes of brights.
I first settled on this adorable traditional patchwork by Amy Smart from Diary of a Quilter. I am a tremendous sucker for a free tutorial. I’d first pinned this charmer in the year of our Lord two thousand and twelve with the wistful comment, “too late for this year… maybe for next!” WELL THE TIME HAS COME, TINY PUMPKIN.
Emboldened, I decided I wanted to make a skull. I fooled around for a bit and discovered the paper pieced creations by Annarocky (hey name twin) of SoCalSewStudio. This block is a “confident beginner” sort of paper piecing, and I was humming right along and managing to squeak out the very last of the green fabric when – at quite literally the very last cut – I chopped off the seam allowance for the left eye. I briefly considered setting fire to the house and leaving to start a new life in Mexico. Instead, I slid in a solid piece to make up for what I’d cut off, and I think the result is rather rakish, like the skull has an incredulous look on its – um – face. I finished the skull with a rainbow border based on a modified courthouse steps block.
I took inspiration for the next block from a pinned image that I finally tracked back to this post by Z Any Mouse from the Quilting Board. Look at all the cute bats! My bats are appliquéd onto a sunset-esque improv pieced background. I was going to embroider tiny vampire fangs onto them but then I got lazy. It’s the bitter truth. But sometimes you have to decide whether you’re going to keep pushing to finish a project, or set it aside for days because you don’t feel like adding a detail that would take five minutes to accomplish.
The final block is loosely inspired by the Wicked Mummy block by Julie of That’s Sew Julie. Julie’s block is adorbs, but a big empty space wouldn’t have balanced out the other blocks in my quilt, and neither would the white color have meshed well with my dark blocks. Instead, I went for a creepiness of my own design, a block that my daughter calls “Night Animals”. (That’s a pretty cool name. Anyone interested in a tutorial / pattern??) The words and the eyes are reverse appliqué.
100% of the fabric came from my stash, including the backing, batting, and binding, which was already cut and folded, left over from another project. It is machine quilted in a spiderweb pattern using Sulky’s shiny rainbow thread. I didn’t intend for it to be a skills showcase, but I am of course exceedingly pleased with myself that each block ended up featuring a different technique.
And doesn’t it look nice and spooky over my fireplace!?
Of all the many crafty things I pursue, quilting is definitely my area of greatest expertise, and I am nearly 100% self-taught. There are a myriad of great free tutorials out there on the internet, so if quilting is something you’ve always wanted to try, go for it!