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. If you want to read about the Bitty Boo pattern inspiration and how the challenge worked, check out our previous blog post.
The projects in this week’s installment were made with the Happy Halloween collection from Patrick Lose Fabrics.
Mary Kate Karr-Petras, Features Editor
I’m a fan of elegant, Victorian-inspired Halloween decor, so when I pulled fabric from Patrick Lose’s Happy Halloween collection out of my grab bag, I was excited (despite how I may look in the photo of me in the introduction for this series). Patrick’s designs of vintage Halloween motifs complemented by damask, lace, and harlequin-diamond prints in a limited palette of pumpkin orange, black, and white were exactly the type of fabrics I wanted to work with.
Over the past few years I’ve made a series of 16-inch pillow shams that I can change out seasonally, and at this point, I’m pretty well covered for different holidays and times of the year. What I didn’t have yet was a specific Halloween pillow sham, so I knew this challenge would offer me the chance to rectify that.
I let my daughters help me pick which blocks I’d make, and the candy corn was their clear favorite. I decided to make a Nine-Patch block with 4 candy corn blocks, 4 alternate patches and a pumpkin block for the center.
One of the fabrics I got in my grab bag is a print with a variety of border stripes in different widths. Since I didn’t want to use a bright yellow solid in my block—it just seemed like it would be too distracting—I found a border stripe that fit the bottom third of the candy corn perfectly. Fussy cutting patches for foundation piecing is not my forte, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make the most elegant candy corns I’ve ever seen, and it was worth the extra effort.
I used a different border stripe for mitered borders, and I love the refined touch they add to design.
How to quilt it, though? I was stumped for a while and couldn’t decide on what motifs to quilt in what areas, so it just sat for a good long time.
It wasn’t until I started looking for ideas online that I got inspired. I started by browsing “elegant Halloween” posts on Pinterest and Instagram just to get a feel for how other people were approaching it. Ooh, Edgar Allan Poe–should I do something inspired by “The Raven?” No, that’s not really going to work… focus on what you like about this look and what’s already in the fabric you used, like lace. Hmmm, lace… antique, slightly shabby elegance… old, abandoned mansions… spiderwebs! That’s it!
I decided to quilt just one spiderweb overlaying the entire Nine-Patch layout rather than quilting individual spiderwebs in each 4-inch block. I considered machine quilting it with a very fine white or monofilament thread, but then remembered I have glow-in-the-dark embroidery floss. Bingo! I mean, c’mon—glow-in-the-dark thread on a Halloween project is a no-brainer.
I enjoy big stitch quilting by hand, and small projects like this one are fantastic for getting to try out a new motif. I’ll be finished with this project very soon, and it will definitely be ready to go when it’s time to decorate the house for Halloween!
Genevieve Stafford Hook, Senior Graphic Designer
We work on our projects many months in advance here at The Quilting Company in order to have them on the newsstand at the right time. So it was with Halloween in mind that I worked on this project back in April and May. My friend Lauren’s favorite holiday is Halloween, and her birthday is in April, and so at the same time I was busy planning a Halloween-themed surprise party!
I sewed nine of the witch’s hat blocks together with 1-inch sashing into a mini quilt for her as a gift. I used it as an opportunity to practice my foundation paper-piecing skills. If you look really really closely, you can see where I had to add in extra pieces to cover up holes! The Patrick Lose fabric I had grabbed was so fun to work with and I look forward to seeing it up in her home this year for trick-or-treaters.
Thank you for joining us on our Bitty Boo challenge!
When we first saw Denise Starck’s design, we saw so much potential for unique decorations—both because of the blocks’ small size and their “I need to make that” appeal—and immediately started bouncing around ideas for wall hangings, pillows, totes, banners, as well as full-size quilts.
We hope you’ve had fun seeing our interpretations of the original Bitty Boo pattern, and we hope you’ve been inspired to make one yourself. Send us a photo and description of your Bitty Boo projects at [email protected]—we would love to see it!
Wishing you a spooktacular Halloween!
The Quiltmaker team