Thursday, October 13, 2016

Halloween Quilt & Eerie Nights Blog Hop

No, you're not lost! 
I'm working out of my comfort zone, 
and trying a more traditional design.

I have to chuckle to myself because I have succumbed to quilter's peer pressure. At last weekend's retreat, I watched as my friends picked up fabric in the stores. Not just what they bought, but what they needed to touch. It was not necessarily what I would have chosen, or in my color palette or style. I normally choose brighter hues, and silky smooth fabrics like Art Gallery and Michael Miller solids are glorious to me. But I saw fingers touching wovens, flannels, and fabric printed to resemble burlap. (Burlap=chills!, and I am allergic to all jute products.) Texture is a big deal for me, and I started wondering if I avoided more traditional fabrics because I associated them with certain textures.

With that in mind, the Eerie Nights Blog Hop start October 20th, and I am one of the last bloggers who will be posting. (What better time to start a project than when the hop is a week away! I am a bit behind.) Halloween is big for a lot of people, but I am past wanting to put tombstones and stuffed monsters in my yard. I want simple, and I also want something that bridges the transition from Halloween to Thanksgiving. Could I design something that would do all these things, and still work on a #BraveQuilter project of sewing out of my comfort zone? I think so.

I started by playing with EQ7. I am not proficient with it, but friends keep telling me to plug away. I pulled up a simple HST block, and started looking through my stash. I had very few traditional looking fabrics, but I did have a small pile of wovens. I bought them thinking I would do a fall project last year, and found out they were hard to work with. I made one block, was very unhappy with it, and put them away.

It bothers me to see plaid used without regard to the design, and is a very flimsy fabric easy to lose its shape. So I fought taking the easy route, pulled my plaid wovens, and designed a project around them. I could work through this as a #BraveQuilter.

My cutting and ironing table is messy. It is big enough that there are usually multiple projects on it, and sometimes I steal fabric from one adding it to the other--like here.

Two basics I own a lot of are RK Quilter's Linen and Moda Grunge. They work with all styles of fabric, and here I paired them with some vintage fabric. 

I will admit I am not a fan of HST's, but mostly because of the time involved. I know there are some excellent methods of creating many in a short time, but I was not sure my fabric choices were right. 

I did my best at pairing up fabrics that really provided some good contrast. There are multiple pale yellows with the dark chocolate for a scrappy look, but only one gold with the barn red Moda Grunge. I added a fairly straight strip of plaid woven by starching the heck out of it, and then a larger modern print. 

Smaller HST are easier than larger for me. I added a piece of painter's tape to my sewing machine stage, lined up the furthest point with a line on my foot, and then just watched that the end point followed the tape across the stage. 

I do not have an acrylic table for my machine, but I know many have similar markings on them. For a cheap cheat, I simply add painter's tape as explained above. Spend a few minutes on testing scraps, then see how fast you can zip through chain stitching your HST pairs. There is no tedious marking of lines with this method, but it is really best for smaller HST. 

An EQ7 basic block print out looks like this. You can add your 
own colors to it, but I chose to just print it as it was.

I wanted you to see that even if the values on your pattern show one thing, you have to consider the overall color scheme of your quilt. The printed pattern shows a dark square within a square in it at the corner. I switched my corner values to be in reverse. Light in dark on the corner, and dark in light on the inside.

I auditioned lots of fabrics, but only a few made the cut.

My design wall is 8' green insulation board from our local home store, and I hot glue cheap batting to it. When I need to audition fabrics, I slap up my whole chunk of fabric, and pin through it. It holds it all.

Now for the center. What to do? What to do?

I solicited advice from friends about the center, and they had lots of good input. I like applique, but I was thinking a pumpkin would be passe. Probably, but what if it was made like no one had ever seen before? I looked at literally hundreds of pumpkin quilts, and went to bed without a good idea. At 2 AM, I was up and on EQ7 again trying to modify a block many of us have already made.

Since I had woken my husband up while getting up myself, I had someone to bounce ideas off of! I liked squat, flat pumpkins, but the X's did not come out symmetrically. And, according to my husband, pumpkins are round. Another family member chimed in that pumpkins are not actually round, and this is 'stylized.' Let us all agree they are pumpkins here, and not the Eye of Sauron as another suggested.

Trying on stems. That one did not make the cut.

Short-haired Minnie needs a furry blanket 
since the temperatures have dropped!

I will be busy finishing off this wall hanging for Eerie Nights Blog Hop, but don't wait for me! There are prizes to be won by visiting the hop every day starting October 20th, and running through the 28th. The button stays in my sidebar, but I'll be posting the hop schedule here, too.

Come on, Doxie girls.
Lets go sew.
P.S. Did any of you notice I snuck some pink into this quilt?

Linking up with~
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Fort Worth Fabric Friday
Off the Wall 
Crazy Mom Quilts
My Quilt Infatuation
France Nadeau
Val's Archives


Kathy E. said...

Minnie looks cozy in her furry blanket...we just had our first frost last night, so I can empathize! I am sooo impressed by your perfect flying geese! Every one is lined up so squarely! Such pretty fall colors and yes, I do spy a bit of pink!

helenjean@midgetgemquilts said...

Love this and glad you didn't take up dave the engineers suggestion of a clown ! Too scary

Angie in SoCal said...

I see it! Great quilt, Julie. Is this pattern going into your shop? Thanks for sharing.

Lena Pugacheva said...

It's turning out beautifully! and yes, I thought I was in somebody else's blog for a moment))) I love how the vintage floral print works with the geometric design, and all these deep yellows and oranges are the colors I like all year round. I've one point to make, hopefully you don't take it as criticism, maybe it's just my personal perception or photo rendering, but in the first photo the pumpkin center sectors read as something like carrots, because they contrast a lot with the next piece, and that next piece almost blends with the outer piece. It probably doesn't look like that in real life.

Julie said...

Lena, I do appreciate your words, and I do not take it as criticism. How others perceive our work is often helpful not only in the piece we are working on, but how we then plan others.

I would say that lighting in the studio becomes more difficult to manage as it gets dark, and that may add to the problem, but it's more or less similar to the picture. The other was my commitment to only using fabric I had on hand. These aren't my typical colors, and I didn't want to buy more. The transition in colors is not smooth, but there are not that many oranges in Grunge, and none in the rest of my stash that are in the same range. I visualized a print there in the beginning, but that was a dead end too, and I wound up with Grunge. The outer band is a reddish coral, the middle an orange, and the center gold. Looking at photographs of actual pumpkins shot with frontal lighting, there is a similar gradation.

Another concern is adding the quilting lines that divide the pumpkin sections later on. Most of the time they would appear darker, and if there was a very subtle change it might not appear as one at all. Going lighter means I could add more quilting to tone it down, or go back in with some fabric paint to add shading. I've done an overall stencil with one color paint before, and that may be what this needs.

It's interesting to do things that are brand new. Working the kinks out adds another tool to our tool box, and that's always a good thing, I think. I'll wait to the very end to form my opinion, and hope you do, too! We shall keep our fingers crossed for a good outcome, Lena!

Thanks for your take,

Sandra Walker said...

Eye of Sauron! I bet I know who said that! Seeing your cutting/pressing table gives me a lump in my throat...I used it! Just mere days ago...sniff. Aw Minnie!! Rocco feels your dropping temperature, but sadly he will NOT have a blanket on him. Looking forward to seeing what you do in that centre...MacGyver gets the up at 2 am...I, on the other hand, do NOT.

Kate said...

I like how you married your goal with what you had on hand. It's going to be very festive.

Beth said...

Looking good! How brave of you to go the trad route. Or was it the spooky route, given the Halloween theme?

Julie said...

Thank you, Beth. I think when we try something we're not comfortable with we come up with interesting results, at least to ourselves. I've never been a fan of HST because they're a pain, but I've been seeing some really neat older designs using them. The jagged sawtooth edge always reminds me of fall--saws, tractor mowers, etc., and I knew I wanted to use them here. I was surprised how powerful they were when there was a high contrast in the fabrics. I think it all plays off itself when we allow it to develop during the process, and we start to get a feeling where we want it to go.

I've been thinking about your spooky comment. I love spooky things, but not scary. Scary is when you come to the design corner you've painted yourself into, and can't make a decision of what to do to get out. Bravery is when you make a decision to try something even if it might not be the perfect answer. Face it. There are always tons of options. Spooky is when you like how it works despite the imperfections. Following the convoluted logic, this is a spooky quilt!

Julie said...

Thanks, Kate. Isn't it always so tempting to think another fabric is going to fix our work? A good quilt store is about an hour away for me. I'm trying to work around the perfectionism of that line of thought, and use my stash. There is nothing so inspiring as looking at old quilts where 6 points of an 8 point star are like fabrics, and the last ones are just similar. The resourcefulness of early quilters was exemplary. I'm trying to be happier with 'looks good' vs. 'looks perfect'.

Tish Stemple said...

It always amazes me when you start from the outside and work your way in on a project. It's just something I've never tried to do. I think all these fabrics do a great job of depicting fall and the warmth and coziness that I associate with it. And I'm with Helen, thank you for not listening to my husband :) I like your pumpkins better.

Danice G said...

Beautiful pattern and quilt. 'Love those pumpkins. Yes, I actually did notice the pink that you sneaked in, lol. It blends quite well too.

Anja @ Anja Quilts said...

I like how the HSTs become two-tone flying geese. Very nice.

France Nadeau ❅ inspiration imagination creation said...

I love how contrasting your fabrics are. Very effective and so similar to the contrasting colors of fall. So, I think you achieved your goal. Your pumpkins are lovely... even more so with the stitches you've added to them after publishing this post. :-)
Thank you for participating to my Fabric, Thread and Yarn link party. Have a good day!

mumbird3 said...

I really like your pumpkin! What stem did you use? :)

Julie said...

I formed it out of woven plaid, crinkled, and hand stitched it on. It was the first of its kind I'd made, and am rather taken with it myself. A friend asked if I'd be making the stems 3D, and from that came the idea.

Nancy said...

This quilt has a Gwen Marston liberated medallion feel to me. And I think your colors are gorgeous -- very fallish. Wish I were so brave with color! It's a beautiful quilt, Julie.

Val's Quilting Studio said...

I too love your use of florals in contrast to the other fabrics. (Sometimes it's good to get out of our comfort zones.)