Monday, November 2, 2015

Project Update: The Halloween Quilt(s) - Part 1

In my "Get It Done Report" for October, I had planned to start work on my Halloween Quilt Project.  As had been discussed in this post when I first embarked on the idea, this is actually two quilts that I hoped to sandwich back to back.  The plan was to make Blackbird Designs "Hallowe'en 1904" and "Midnight Silhouette". 

To my mind, these were both fairly simple projects and with a pretty large stash of fabric for them already on hand, I had no doubts that I could get them done within a month. 

I'd say the first road block to that was something I thought was an advantage:  my "Confetti Scrap quilt project:

I had a deadline to finish that quilt by mid October in order to enter it into a scrap quilt challenge.  I decided to start cutting out the triangles for the Hallowe'en 1904 block centers (large) and HSTs (small) and sew them up, leader-ender style, as I sewed the parts for the scrap quilt. 

That actually went fine -- I got a lot of triangles cut out and a lot of HSTs sewn up. 

Since I also needed some of the same orange fabrics for the Midnight Silhouette quilt I even started cutting squares that I would eventually use to make the centers and flying geese star points for the Sawtooth star blocks in that quilt.  I make flying geese using Eleanor Burns' "Triangle Pieced Rectangle" method so need only two squares, a smaller one for the "geese" and a larger one for the "sky" to make four FG units at a time.  You can see that method demo'd here using the new ruler they have for doing these although the older rulers (like the one in the picture) or even just a regular acrylic ruler can also be used to make the final cuts.

Squares for the Sky, Geese and Star Centers

I had also joined a guild (for the first time) in September and their October fabric swap themes were "Halloween" and "Orange" fabrics.  It was perfect timing because I was also able to cut squares for both themes from this stash.  I had to give six sets (and keep one for myself) and in the pictures below you see how many sets I got back in exchange.

Orange Swap

Halloween Swap

(I admit, I'm not peeking into what I received until I'm ready to use them!)

At that point however, the train started to go off the rails!  I got stalled on the scrap quilt's layout and because it had a deadline, I needed to focus on that.  In the end, I couldn't come to a decision on how I wanted to finish it and as the clock ticked down to the submission deadline, I let both projects sit.  Eventually I had to throw in the towel on entering the challenge and finishing the scrap quilt for now.    

So I thought that meant I could now go full speed ahead on these two.  I laid out the large triangles for the Hallowe'en 1904 blocks on the design wall to decide how to distribute them.  I had actually cut one more orange set than was used in the pattern but decided to use it anyway.  Then I needed three more black sets than I had chosen fabric for.  I was able to get one set by using the same fabric purchased for the background of the Midnight Silhouette quilt.  I had purchased way more than the pattern called for because I knew I might be playing around with enlarging it so had plenty to spare.  I then had to go shopping for some more choices when there was nothing useful in my general stash.  I found exactly what I was looking for and thought that now I was home free.

However, you know how patterns will often instruct you to "read the complete pattern before you start your project"?  Well, despite the fact that I've had these patterns for a couple of years and knew the pumpkins on it are appliqued, for some reason I thought the stars were pieced. Nope!  They are also supposed to be appliqued and suddenly I realized that I was faced with having to applique 52 five point star blocks!  Then the questions:  hand or machine applique?  Starch the edges to prepare them for invisible MA or fuse them??  If fused, do I want to do blanket stitch or satin stitch???  In truth, I really wasn't feeling doing any applique at all (well except for the three pumpkins) and thought if it was at all possible to piece the blocks it would go faster, particularly if I could do that along with some more HST leader/ender-ing.  However to do that meant finding a pattern for one. 

For the rest of the story continue on to the next post......

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