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Monday, October 5, 2015

Happy Halloween!

I've finally finished my Halloween project--three table runners for my daughter. This is the third and final one. I think I like this one the best.

Halloween table runner 3


There is no denying, this is for Halloween! I rather like scrappy string quilt blocks. They are so versatile, easy and fun to do, and the results can be stunning.

While this pattern is just fine the way it is, serving the purpose of resembling spider webs, it is also quite dramatic when these blocks are duplicated into an entire quilt.

spider web quilt mock up
For quilt makers, you already are aware of the kind of magic that happens when individual blocks come together to form another shape. But for those who aren't quilters, check out the photo to the right. These same blocks are just copied and pasted into a three-by-three grid to reveal just what happens when the blocks are put together. Note the four-pointed stars that seemingly appear between the spider web blocks. Quilting is just so much fun!

If the orange sashing were removed, the stars would likely be even more apparent. So try to imagine a quilt, using different colored strips on a white background. Or on a colored background with contrasting strips. I may one day decide to make one of these, since I seem to be accumulating leftover pink and purple strips from other projects.

These blocks were constructed using foundation paper piecing. Varying strips of fabric are sewn onto pieces of (foundation) paper, in two different wedge designs. There are four of them for each block. The eight wedges are then sewn together to form the block. The paper is then removed. Because sewing is done on the printed line of the pattern, foundation piecing aids in creating sharp points and well aligned seams. In this 'scrappy' project, the seams were meant to be askew, so that wasn't important.

The only place the points mattered was in the middle where all eight seams came together. That is almost always a problem. On one of these blocks, I sewed the pieces together with the paper still attached. Never having done that before, it was a disaster. The points didn't come close to matching in the center.

So, once I removed all the (foundation) paper backing, which is sometimes more time consuming that crafting the entire block, I took all the seams apart. I had real second thoughts about that because what I was left with was a giant gaping hole in the center. The more I messed with it, the more the fabric began to fray. I was thinking there wouldn't be enough fabric left to make it work. I assumed I'd have to just toss that block and make another one. Much to my surprise though, I was able to sew all the seams together again. The points looked pretty good. I like to call that a quilting success. It doesn't happen often in cases like that, but I was pleased with how it turned out.

This was an easy block to construct. There are a variety of ways to do this, but I used a pattern I found online. There are oodles of them.

I just hope Jenny likes it. Now, off to the post office.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A little better...

I think I fixed it, at least a little.

spider web table runner

While I won't say I'm happy with this, I am at least somewhat appeased with the project I wrote about recently--a Halloween table runner I created--as the second of three I am making for my daughter, Jenny. She is a total Halloween freak and said she wanted something very dark.  The border glows-in-the-dark.

spider web table runner blockI admit this was a difficult task for me. I love quilts, which I feel are beautiful works of art. And, I admit I am a more paisley, daisy, color-loving kind of person. So this was certainly not in my wheel-house. By the way, Jenny does not get her Halloween adoration from me. It is not a holiday I celebrate.

I did the best I could though. I was really unhappy with how it looked initially. I thought the quilting would help, but with black thread, it is practically invisible. Even the washing and drying process failed to reveal the spiderweb design I quilted into the center of the three squares.

So, my solution: I added a little fuzzy white yarn to enhance the web and at the same time, tone down the rows of skulls in the center of the block. They might have been OK if they were all one piece. But pieced skulls just didn't cut it. This project totally did not turn out like I envisioned, but, can't win 'em all, I guess. Thankfully, this is a once per year occurrence. It will soon be Jenny's to do with as she pleases.