Halloween QAL · Quilts

Halloween 1904 Quilt-A-Long

Halloween Quilt 1904

(Picture borrowed from the amazing Thelma of Cupcakes and Daisies here)

So now that the Spelling Bee is underway for the year, as well as some other quilt-a-longs I’m involved in (Oh Christmas Tree) I thought I’d get going on the Hallowe’en 1904 quilt.  The pattern was found for me by Leslie, a fabulous reader, and I’ve already roped in one friend to do this with me.  The quilt was designed by Barb Adams of Blackbird Designs.  If you want to follow along, I’ve figured out how we’re going to get done by August, leaving you plenty of time to get it quilted and bound by October.  My friend is doing it with me, so you may see some of her work here as well as  mine.

1halloweenQAL logo

So here is how I’ve envisioned dividing up the quilt into steps (yes, that’s me up there, conjuring up more time at the sewing machine):

Step 1 halloweenQAL

Step 1: February 2016–buy all the fabrics and find the pattern.  Mine was purchased from Common Threads in Waxahachie, TX (www.commonthreadsquilting.com).  The quilt measures 90 by 90, which is too large for me, so I’m only doing nine blocks.  Each block is 20″ square, and with the outer borders, that should come to roughly  65″ square.  I may change my mind, but this looks good from here.

Step 2: March 2016–Cut out the quilt: the tan backgrounds of the squares, the border triangles, the smaller half-square triangles, and the piano key border

Step 3: April 2016–Assemble three blocks and add pumpkin appliques, using the pumpkin appliqué pattern.  We’ll be adding the HST borders in July, so don’t worry about that now. Because I am not a big believer in re-inventing the wheel, we’ll use Thelma’s method (of Cupcakes and Daisies) for adding the curlicue stem. (NOTE: I’m making a smaller quilt, so will only be doing 2 pumpkins.)

Step 4: May 2016–Assemble two blocks and appliqué one cat, and one owl (refer to Thelma’s quilt).

Step 5: June 2016–Assemble the rest of the blocks.  For me that is five blocks of stars.  We’ll be using Thelma’s method.

Step 6: July 2016–It’s half-square triangle month–HSTs until you can’t see straight, and then you’ll sew them onto your blocks..  There are 24 HST for each block.  In the pattern, and in the photo above from Thelma, they are mixed up and varied, but also harmonized (some have a mix of orange and black, some have just black, some have just orange.)  Make your own rules and go with it.

Step 7: August 2016–Cut piano key borders and the four pinwheels in each corner.  Sew them together and attach them to the quilt.

Ta-done!  My job as a quilt-a-long crazy person is to lay out the steps and to get you (and me) to the end.  From here you’ll do the quilting and the binding.

Hope you decide to join us, and finally have that Halloween quilt you’ve always wanted on October 1st. . . instead of the usual 31st.  To keep in the spirit of things, the Hallowe’en Quilt QAL will post on the 13th of every month. . . whenever that is.

Halloween Greetings


Update on Oh Christmas Tree QAL:  I’ve updated Step: Prepare to include a couple more places to buy high quality wool felt.  In addition, I’ve been working ahead on the circles, and have a few tips on how to construct them (from Wendy in New Zealand), so you may want to hold off on cutting the circles all out of felt, until you read the next post on March 2nd.  Lastly, today I saw the Simply Moderne magazine at my local JoAnn’s store, if you are still looking for it.

Something to Think About

Quilty Procrastination

I feel the crisp air now of California, now that it’s finally mid-November (apparently the effect of climate change) and coming soon is Turkey Day.  (For a turkey prep that will change your life, see *here.*  We did it last year and I’ll never do anything else now.)  And then, you know, The Big One, and I’m not referring to earthquakes in California.  Yes. . . Christmas.  My friend has already sewn multiples of her gift for family and friends, and I’m just now kind of thinking about it.  I am already behind.


So I’m skipping all that, and going right to the New Year and its projects.   Because it’s never too late to focus on something in the future, where I’m going to live, than to spend time moaning over the fact that I have nothing sewn for Christmas, which will soon be in the past.  All this is because I seem to be an expert at procrastinating.  According to Timothy Pychyl, interviewed on *this site,* I have demonstrated several of the key unproductive responses to a dreaded task (from *his book*)[my comments are in brackets]:

  1. Distracting yourself, and thinking about other things
  2. Forgetting what you have to do, either actively or passively (usually for unimportant tasks)
  3. Downplaying the importance of what you have to do
  4. Giving yourself affirmations, focusing on other your values and qualities that will solidify your sense of self [even though you aren’t getting your work done!]
  5. Denying responsibility in order to distance yourself from what you have to do
  6. Seeking out new information that supports your procrastination (e.g. when you tell yourself you need to have more information before you get started on something)[a classic grad school trick]

So, in order to model for you number 1, 3, and 5 nearly all of them, I hereby give you:

2016 Projects

Projects for the New Year (or earlier, if I want):

  • Unpin Shine: The Circles Quilt after I spend close to 3 hours pinning it, take it apart and layer on another layer of wool batting, and then re-pin it in order to quilt it, or merely obsesses about quilting it, as the case may be.
  • Start the Spelling Bee.  I’m still trying to think of a theme or a pithy phrase to have my beemates make for me.
  • Continuing Chuck Nohara block creation.  There is no date by which these have to be finished, so it’s pure sewing enjoyment.
  • I’m the Queen Bee for Mid-Century Modern Bee in January and I already have my idea (I’m not telling).  We’ve had some changes, and have 2 openings for quilters who have their own blog –or– a body of work on Instagram/Flickr.  You also have to be over 50 (the Mid-Century thing), be vetted by our committee, have a modern tilt to your sewing, are a capable sewist, and love to be on time with your bee projects.  Leave a comment if you are interested.
  • Four-in-Art has a new yearly theme (Color) and Simone has announced our first quarterly challenge: Microscopic.  I’m totally jazzed.  We also have a couple of openings, and the same criteria apply — except for the age thing.  We’d also like if you would be willing to be creative and try new approaches to quilting. We make our quilts and post them on our blogs/Flickr accounts (we do not send them anywhere, so perfect for international participation).  Up to this point, they’ve all been in the 12″ square format, but we are now leaving the size open to the artist.  Leave a comment if you are interested. The guidelines we came up with are:

1. Members should have a desire to expand their creativity.
2. Have a body of work on line that members can review via blog, Flickr or Instagram.
3. Make a year commitment to the group, and do their best to make deadlines- unless some crazy life occurrence happens.
4. Be willing to review other Four-in-Art work and leave a comment within the first week of publishing.

  • Write my pattern for Spectrum, a mini quilt, and get that up on Craftsy/PayHip.
  • My time with the Traveling Threads Bee is almost finished.  Just waiting on one more package from the quilter ahead of me, and then I’ve completed all the blocks for my beemates.  My blocks have also been returned to me (all the Alison Glass fabrics in the corner up there) and I’d like to dive into that.
  • Plan out the Halloween Quilt my friend Leisa and I are doing:

HalloweeenQuilt 1008dollars

Apparently all my readers are more clever than I (but I knew that already) and have located the pattern for me.  Thanks very much to Leslie in Rome, and everyone else.  You are the best!

It’s called “Hallowe’en 1904,” and is from Blackbird Designs.  Common Threads in Wisconsin seems to have it back in stock, which is great news!

See how easy that was?  And how I didn’t think about Getting Ready for Christmas once?

But according to Pychyl, one of biggest recommendations to avoid procrastination is simply to get started. “Once we start a task, it is rarely as bad as we think. . . .When you find yourself thinking things like ‘I’ll feel more like doing this tomorrow,’ ‘I work better under pressure,’ ‘There’s lots of time left,’ I can do this in a few hours tonight’, let that be a flag or signal or stimulus to indicate that you are about to needlessly delay the task, and let it also be the stimulus to just get started.”

Happy mid-November, y’all.  Let’s get started.