Welcome to Quiltmaker’s Bitty Boo staff challenge blog series! The Quilting Company’s Editorial & Design team had fun interpreting Denise Starck’s design for the September/October 2018 issue each in our own way. Click here to read about the Bitty Boo pattern inspiration and how the challenge worked.
The projects in this week’s installment were made with the Too Cute to Spook collection from Blank Quilting .
Eileen Fowler, Associate Editor
I may not be a big fan of Halloween, but I’m a sucker for quilting challenges!
My treats were fabrics from the whimsical Too Cute to Spook collection: lots of pumpkins, some candy corn prints, and gorgeous autumn colors.
To begin my design process, I drafted a few of the blocks in EQ8: a pumpkin and candy corn (to tie-in to the fabrics), a bat, the house, and the star. As I was downloading swatches from Blank’s website, I realized some prints might work best in borders, so I chose a medallion-style layout. The star became the center. From there, I built out borders of bitty blocks and alternated them with the Halloween prints. Solid fabrics gave my eye a place to rest and I used many for the blocks.
The quilt was constructed from the center out; as I made blocks, I would sew them into borders and add them to the quilt. The house blocks looked more like arrows to me. With wonky appliqué patches for windows and doors, the houses looked a little more haunted.
I was sewing along at such a quick clip that I didn’t even notice that rows of my blocks weren’t oriented the same as my design plan. (Fortunately, I actually liked the new arrangement better.) After I carefully fussy cut the outer border from a fun pumpkin print, I discarded that plan in favor of a calmer leaf print border.
I still need to quilt my bitty design—and a few embellishments are in order. I have ‘til Halloween—right?
Vanessa Lyman, Content Director Love of Quilting
I get teased rather a lot around the office for my enthusiasm about cat fabric, cat quilts, and cat quilt blocks. With this Bitty Boo Block challenge, I saw the cat quilt block, and said “You know what? I’m all in. Call me Crazy Cat Lady, because I’m making a patchwork placemat for my cat’s food bowls.”
Miette is a delicate, dainty cat and an absolute slob at the food bowl, so I’d like a placemat I can throw in the wash.
The bright leaves and muted greens of the late October/Halloween season always entrance me, so I wanted something that played with those colors and feeling.
I don’t often work with novelty prints, but I figured Miette would enjoy a few fun prints. When I opened my trick-or-treat bag of mystery fabrics, and saw the fabric from the Too Cute to Spook collection, I squealed. Just a little, but yes, it happened.
The green polka dot fabric was absolutely perfect as a background. Playful but muted, the green made the autumnal solids I used feel rich and cozy. Also, on a practical front, I think it won’t show crumbs and splatters as much.
And the jack-o’-lantern/falling leaf print would be so dang cute in the Sawtooth Star quilt blocks, framed by autumn-leaf solids.
The Cat quilt block—may Miette forgive me—had to be a black Halloween cat. With a little pink nose.
What I like about these Cat quilt blocks is that they are pieced the regular way. Most cat quilt blocks are foundation-pieced, which is fine, but after another intensive paper pieced projects, I was a little tired of sweeping up loose paper bits that I’d ripped from seams. Using the stitch & flip method, these came together quite quickly.
I made 4 Halloween Black Cat quilt blocks, one for each corner of the food bowl placemat.
The Sawtooth Star quilt blocks (also known as Variable Star) were a perfect opportunity to throw in a fun, Halloween-y print from the collection. I fussy cut the fabric, making sure to catch some of the polka dot and plaid leaves as well as a few grinning jack-o’-lanterns.
Using the Fast Flying Geese method from Quiltmaker, I was able to get 4 matching Flying Geese units at a time, which was perfect for the Sawtooth Star quilt blocks, since it ensured I’d have 8 identically colored star points.
I played with the colors, landing on 3 Sawtooth Stars using a rich aubergine, 2 using a pumpkin-y orange, and 3 with autumn-leaf yellow.
Many of my quilt-y colleagues developed gorgeous projects that are more elaborate, but I wanted something small, quick, and practical. And I got it—with all the fun thrown in as a bonus!
These blocks were a real kick to make, and I was able to whip this up in an evening. Because a pet placemat is so small, I can quilt it on my sewing machine, too.
Huh. It seems like a pet placemat is a perfect project to test out color combinations, try out a new block, and practice some machine quilting.
Miette—that dainty, sloppy cat-o’-mine—is going to be getting a lot more placemats in the future…
If you’ve missed any part of the Bitty Boo staff challenge series, click here for part 1 and part 2. And be sure to come back next week for more Bitty Boo Halloween fun featuring a very different fabric collection!