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Tattoo quilt: LOVE

April 22, 2017

Years ago I was invited to join Cynthia Frenette’s Fab Bee. On Cynthia’s month she asked us all to make blocks for a quilt for her husband, Norm, using her doodle fabric with greens and blacks. I had never met Norm but I’d seen a few pics of him and he had a bit of a biker look going on with some tats, but despite that he struck me as a rather gentle guy. I used this “tough softie” idea as the inspiration for my block. Now it may be odd making a heart for a chap you don’t know, but when I get making I like to follow the winds of intuition, and that’s where they was blowing. I mostly improv’ed the block. Here’s what it ended up looking like:

NormHeartTattoo

I thought it had potential and that I should tweak it to make a LOVE version, but it went into my sadly overflowing WIP folder and gathered dust for years. Fast forward to 2017! My new years’ resolution this year was to design a new pattern for my Etsy shop every month. I started with this one and after some fine-tuning I am pretty happy with how it turned out. I love these fabrics against the Essex Linen background. I called it “Love Heart Tattoo Pattern” and it’s available in my Etsy shop here.

LoveHeart1HSL

I made the block into a pillow for our orange sofa, using an Ikea FJÄDRAR inner cushion.

LoveHeart6HSL

FYI for the pillow I used my favourite flanged border and hidden zipper techniques that I have in this ILLUSION pillow pattern (also in my Etsy shop.)

Yes, I have a bit of a thing for Essex Linen! It is to my stash as eggs, bread and milk are to my grocery list. But hey, I’m open to alternatives too. Here’s a second version of the block I made using some text fabric and Kaffe Fassett shot cottons. I graduated the wings on this one for a bit of an ombré effect.

LoveHeart4HSL

As soon as I’d made these two blocks I realized that I was onto something. Worldwide there is so much insanity going on, it’s truly heart breaking. We seem to be losing touch with what being good kind human beings is about. And I think whatever side of the fence you’re sitting on, we’re all quite emotionally charged about our view points. I think we need to process these feelings. So I decided that I need to make a series of these “emotion” tattoo quilt blocks. This being the first. I’m a bit behind blogging about them as I’m close to launching the fourth. Bear with me in the next short while as I’ll post each one individually. With each block / emotion I have found a source of symbolic meaning and inspiration. This is my message behind this LOVE block:

Sometimes it takes courage to love and be kind to someone different to you, not in your “tribe”, “other” than what you were taught is “normal” or “right”. The reality is human beings feel safer with those “like” them because we feel like it validates who we are. We need to own this to understand hate. But we also need to learn that we are actually stronger, not weaker, when we embrace that which is “other”, because as a group it provides us with diversified strengths. Validating who you are by surrounding yourself by others like you is a false sense of security. Allowing others to be strong around you builds everyone up as a group, which is way more powerful. So today my friends I challenge you to go out there and BE BRAVE, BE BOLD, reach out and BE KIND to someone that’s NOT in your tribe. ❤️️

This pattern seems to have hit a note with quite a few quilters. There are some real beauties out there that have been made so far. You can see them on Instagram with the hashtag: #lovehearttattoopattern You can also see some of the other blocks I’ll be posting with the hashtag: #tattooquilt If you make one please tag the pics so we can all see yours too.

I’ll finish off with this one by my lovely friend Lugi who made a gypsy styled version:

LOVEheartLugiHSL

Pussy March Quilt

January 24, 2017

pussymarchquiltheader

PUSSY MARCH QUILT BLOCK LOTTO (& flying geese tutorial)

Inspired by the Women’s March of January 21, and the Pussy Hat Project I came up with an idea for this month’s Toronto MQG block lotto: a Pussy March quilt! Diverse coloured pink triangles marching in the name of women’s rights, and in support of peace and love over hate and prejudice. My husband and I both marched the Toronto march in our hot pink pussy hats, and came home buzzing with motivation to keep the dialogue going. As protesters marched together, so too as a block lotto project, this quilt will represent many hands coming together to symbolize the same unity. And the flying geese block used for this quilt concept, has a symbolic history in helping uneducated slaves from the south find their way north via the underground railroad. (To read more on that see point #11 here.)

I thought I’d share the details of this quilt concept here on my blog in addition to the TMQG blog, in case some of my followers were inspired to make one for themselves. Let me know if you do. And tag your pics: #pussymarchquilt

DEADLINE FOR TMQG: March meeting, March 26, 2017. (Since quite a few members will be away at Quiltcon for the Feb meeting.) As usual ONE lotto ticket BLOCK.

BLOCK DETAILS:

Block pattern: basic Flying Geese block (see tutorials for 2 methods below)

Size:      Width: 6” finished (6 ½” unfinished)

Height: 3” finished (3 ½” unfinished)

COLOURS:

pussymarchpinks

Geese: The larger centre triangle is to be PINK.

Any shade of pink, but please use SOLIDS. (No prints, tone-on-tones, batiks etc.) Use a variety of shades of pink, as diversity is the name of the game on this one!

Sky / Background: The outer smaller triangles are to be linen. Natural beige / taupey linen colours as shown below.

pussymarchblocks

Recommended linen brand: Essex Linen (colours: FLAX, NATURAL, SAND).

(Please avoid the Essex metallics though, as they tend to be a little scratchy)

If you’re not using Essex linen, please make sure the weight you are using is suitable for quilting. Please PREWASH your linen.

A little word in defence of linen:

I know a some quilters freak out about linen, but I think it’s because they haven’t tried it yet. Let me warn you, it’s pretty addictive once you give it a go. And a quilt made with linen has a lovely weight to it – perfect for snuggling in the winter. 

 Tips for working with linen:

  • I mostly use Essex linen by Robert Kaufman
  • Prewash it, as it does shrink. Wash it on a warm setting, then tumble dry it on warm too, and take it out the dryer before it’s completely dry. I then arm myself with a spray bottle of water and a spray bottle of starch and go at ‘er till she’s nice and tame. Once that’s done she’s a breeze.
  • A nice new blade will glide through her like a knife through butter.
  • Stitch with a universal needle 70/10 or 80/12.
  • Once pieced I am careful not to manhandle my blocks as they can fray, although I find the Essex linen is generally very well-behaved.
  • I press seams away from the linen when I can, but use a wooden roller to train them flat when I can’t.

 The end result is a wholesome feeling, somewhat tactile quilt. It’s a beautiful thing!

 

There are a few different techniques for flying geese. These are my two preferred ways:

 

FLYING GEESE: option 1 – “the singleton”

Recommended for using up scraps or individual blocks of fabric.

Quilt math: (makes one block)

For the centre triangle (“goose”) 1 x rectangle: finished size + 1/2″ added to width and height. So for our 6″ x 3 ” finished blocks you will need to cut these 6 1/2″ x  3 1/2″

For the outside background triangles (“sky”) cut 2 x squares: finished height + 1/2″. So for our 6″ x 3 ” finished blocks you will need to cut these 3 1/2″ x  3 1/2″.

Draw a line with a fabric maker diagonally across the backs of the square blocks.

flyinggeesea1

Four rectangles shown will make four blocks.

Pin one square right side down onto right side of rectangle, with the diagonal line starting in the bottom corner and ending in the centre of the opposite rectangle edge. Stitch along just outside the line as shown. This will give you the extra smidge of fabric needed for the fold, so that you can still have an (6 1/2″ x 3 1/2″) accurate size once folded and pressed.

flyinggeesea2

flyinggeesea4

Stitch just OUTSIDE the line.

flyinggeesea5

Fold it open to check for size accuracy, then trim the seam allowance to 1/4″.

flyinggeesea6

Fold it open and press seam allowance away from pink triangle.

flyinggeesea7

Place second square right side down onto the rectangle as shown.

flyinggeesea8

Stitch just outside the line as before. Then trim the seam allowance and press it away from the pink triangle. Trim block to clean 6 1/2″ x 3 1/2″.

flyinggeesea9flyinggeesea10

*SNEAKY OPTIONAL BONUS*

If you don’t want to waste the trimmings then here’s an extra couple of steps that avoid that and give you some bonus HST blocks to make a little extra somethin’ somethin’.

When drawing your diagonals on your squares draw a second parallel line 1/2″ away from the first on one side. Position it on the outside half of the square. (The part that you would have trimmed and thrown out.)

flyinggeesea11

Stitch along the first main line as instructed above, but then along the second line as well. Trim down the centre as shown. Repeat for the second square. When you’re done you’ll have one flying goose, and two little HST blocks.

 

FLYING GEESE: option 2 – “quad geese”

Recommended for when you need to make multiples of the same fabric.

Quilt math: (makes four blocks)

For the centre triangle (“goose”) cut 1 large square: finished width size + 1  1/4″. So for our 6″ x 3 ” finished blocks you will need to cut these 7 1/4

For the outside background triangles (“sky”) cut 4 small squares: finished height + 7/8″. So for our 6″ x 3 ” finished blocks you will need to cut these 3  7/8″.

Draw diagonal lines across the wrong side of all the small squares.

flyinggeeseb1

I have a variety of pinks here – these will make 16 blocks.

Place two smaller squares right side down onto the large square so that the line is one long diagonal line, and the squares overlap at the centre. Pin.

flyinggeeseb2

Stitch 1/4″ on either side of the line drawn.

flyinggeeseb3

Cut down the centre along the line drawn.

flyinggeeseb4

Press the triangles open with the seam allowance towards the small triangles. (Repeat all the following instructions on the second half as well.)

flyinggeeseb5

Place another small square right side down with the diagonal line at 90º to the previous seam sewn. Pin.

flyinggeeseb6

Stitch 1/4″ seam on either side of the line.

flyinggeeseb7

Cut down the centre along the line.

flyinggeeseb8

Press triangles open with seam allowance towards the smaller triangles.  Trim the minimal excess to finish up with four neat 6 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ unfinished blocks.

flyinggeeseb9

Look how beautiful the diverse collection of pinks and linens look together. Whoever wins all the blocks will have a fabulous time organizing all those pink marchers. I pretty exited about this block lotto. Fingers crossed I get the winning ticket!

flyinggeesepile

Prairie Points Show Ribbon Tutorial

July 25, 2016

QuiltRibbonTuteHeader

On August 27 & 28 the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild is hosting their first quilt showcase at North Van Shipyards Building near Lonsdale Quay. With over 150 modern quilts on display, it’s sure to be amazing. I’ll be sad to miss it. Despite my move to Toronto a couple of years ago I have maintained my membership of the VMQG – because I love those girls (and couple of guys). The show committee has been rounding up volunteers to help organize, and making the show ribbons was a job I could do from afar. So sign me up, Baby!

Inspired by a prairie points mat in my laundry (sweet story about that here), I decided to use prairie points instead of the usual ruffled ribbon.  I love how they turned out so I thought I’d share my technique in case anyone was keen to make some for their guild’s shows.

Materials needed (for one prairie point show ribbon):

  • 4 ½” hexagonals x 12 pieces for exterior ring
  • 3 ½” hexagonals x 12 pieces for inner ring
  • 9 x 2 ½ strips for ribbons x 3 pieces
  • 3 ½” x 3 ½” front circle fabric (for behind pin)
  • 4 ½” x 4 ½” backing fabric
  • 7” x 4” iron-on fleece
  • 2” x 8” scrap of batting
  • Brooch pin / large safety pin
  • Elmers white glue
  • Fine fabric marker
  • Needle & thread
  • 3” printed button
  • lightweight iron-on interfacing for ribbons
  • Template print outs on card – PPribbontemplate and ppribbonhexietemplate

 

Prairie points rings:

1. Print out the hexie templates on cardboard template and cut out. Work out which colours you wish to use for the outer ring and the inner ring triangles. (Contrasting colours recommended.) Stack a few layers of your fabrics chosen and trace hexies touching as shown. You will need a total of 12 of each size per ribbon. (Note: I was making 3 ribbons so I have quite a few shown here.) Pin the centre of each hexie through all layers. Use sharp scissors and cut along the zig zag line, then down the vertical lines.

2. Fold each hexie right sides together in half (between two points). Then fold twice more into an equilateral triangle to make prairie points as shown. Press.

QRtute2a

3. Now carefully trim the inside triangle tips down as shown, and press. (This is to help reduce bulk in the prairie points ring when assembled.) Do this for all prairie points big and small.

QRtute2b

4. Start with the smaller inner ring template and arrange the prairie points on the template, interlocking them as you go.

QRtute3

5. Place a small dot of glue on the inside corner of a triangle, close to cut edge, and finger press down. (Make sure no glue oozes out or is visible.) Repeat all around the ring on both sides so that all corners are secure. Allow to dry or give it a quick press with the iron – no steam – between parchment paper or using a press cloth.

6. Stitch the inside cut edges to make sure they’re secure a scant 1/8” from the cut edge.

QRtute6

7. Repeat steps 4, 5 and 6 with the larger outer circle triangles.

8. Place small dots of glue, close to cut edge of inner circle. Carefully centre the small inner ring on top of the large outer ring, taking care not to smear the glue. Press down and allow to dry. (Whoops! I forgot to stitch the inner edge of this grey ring!)

While the rings are drying let’s prep the other elements.

 

Front & back circles:

9. a) Cut two circles out of the iron-on fleece:

  • 1 x small – 2 5/8” diameter
  • 1 x large – 3 3/4” diameter

b) Iron the small circle onto the wrong side of the fabric that goes underneath the button on the front.

Iron the large circle onto the wrong side of the backing fabric. Trim a 3/8” seam allowance around both circles.

c) Stitch a basting stitch all around the circles just inside the cut edges. Pull the thread ends together to gather the fabric inwards. Press circle with right side up. (Fleece may melt if ironed directly.)

 

10. Prep the ribbons:

a) Optional but recommended tip: If I had to make more of these I would interface my ribbon fabric. (I had to starch the crap out of mine) So I recommend ironing interfacing ono your fabric before cutting.

Cut three strips 9 x 2 ½. (Note: I made mine this width as I was fussy cutting the text on my fabric for fun descriptive words for my ribbons. You can make these fatter if you prefer. If you would like to use &  fussy cut the same fabric I used, you can find it in my Spoonflower shop here:  Improv Adjectives fabric. There are 367 adjectives per half yard to choose from!) Fold the strips in half widthways, right sides together. Stitch down the length, backstitching at start and finish. (Seam allowance ¼”.)

b) Press seam open with seam down the centre of the back. Stitch across the bottom, backstitch at start and end.

c) Trim the corners of the end stitched closed. Turn right side out, starch and press.

 

11. Complete the rings.

a) ­Hand-stitch the front ring to the back ring with vertical stitches, close to the cut edge, only going through the back layer of the front ring of prairie points, so that the stitches don’t show on the front.

b) Stitch around the circle between the two rings – slipping the needle through the in-between layers. This step may be a bit of overkill, but I think of it as insurance. Wouldn’t want someone’s prize ribbon falling apart after a couple of years!

 

 

12. Assembling all the elements:

a) Pin or glue-baste the front circle onto the front of the rings. Applique stitch into place.

b) Cut 3 or 4 circles of the batting scrap about 1 ½” in size. Place the ring front side down. Place these in the ring hole to fill the gap.

QRtute12c

c) Arrange the ribbons in order, then place them right side down on the back of the prairie points ring. Glue-baste  in place, taking care not to get glue anywhere that will be visible. Place the back circle right side up on top, centred on the ring of triangles. Glue-baste or pin in place, then appliqué stitch around the edge.

When you get to the bottom of the circle be sure to stitch through the ribbons but be careful to keep the stitches hidden from the front view. Then add a few sneaky stitches between the layers to make sure the ribbons are secured in place.

d) Stitch the brooch pin onto the back. I used large safety pins as I couldn’t find my box of brooch pins, and they work just fine.

QRtute13

e) Now for the cherry on top: Pin the button centred on to the front. Whoohoo, you’re done! Put on your fancy shoes head to the show!

QRtute13b

 

I’d love to see yours if you make some. So please tag #prairiepointsshowribbon and @happysewlucky

 

Rainbow Mash-up Quilt

March 11, 2016

PrintAs anyone who knows me knows, I am a rainbow enthusiast. When asked what my favourite colour is I am somewhat stumped, and usually revert to providing a favourite colour combination. There’s something about the juxtaposition of colours that makes my heart skip a beat. So when I decided to design a quilt for a transparency quilt workshop that I was teaching, of course it had to be a rainbow. And a 16 colour one at that!

RMQ.rainbow

I combined this rainbow of solids with one of my faves Essex Yarn Dyed Linen. I love how the colours pop against the linen.

RMQ.closeup

And for the binding I picked Alison Glass Geometry Sunset. The fractal colours are just perfect for this quilt design. And for the backing my daughter picked out the Alison Glass Abacus because it has the weeniest colour wheel that was clearly meant to be on this quilt.

RMQ.binding

I’m really pretty psyched with  how it turned out. The PDF pattern is available in my Rainbow Mashup Quilt Pattern. Or you can buy the kit here at FabricSpark.  (If Daryl is sold out of the kit, message her as she keeps a waitlist and restocks.)

Fabric Spark logo

Here’s my last pic from our photoshoot. Have a great day!

RainbowMashUpForest.HSL

Quilts for Refugees

February 10, 2016

worldmapquilt

Canada’s new forward-thinking government has committed to helping tens of thousands of Syrian refugees find a new home in this beautiful country. I’m so grateful to be living in a place that is kind and generous. After reading and listening to so many heart-wrenching stories in the news about the risks and journeys these refugees have taken with small children in tow, I wanted to find a way to get involved, and somehow help make those coming to Canada feel welcomed and supported. I was guessing that others in Toronto might be feeling the same way. And you know how it is with quilty friends: makers gotta make! So I posted an idea on Instagram to host a little quiltathon to churn some quilts out to donate, and got a great response. Of course a quilty logo was in order. Here’s what I came up with:

QFRsquare

Soon a plan was in place! Daryl of Fabric Spark kindly offered to help me coordinate the event, and organized donations of fabric from many of her suppliers.

 

 

We had a church hall and twenty-something quilters lined up. Everyone arrived with lots of enthusiasm, and we soon got stitching.

 

 

There was lots of cutting, pinning, stitching, collaboration, deliberation, contemplation, and of course, all around good banter. Donuts were donated, dunked and indulged in! (Thank you, Jay!)

 

 

This was one of my fave moments of the day when there was celebration as Deb finished her “Multi-Culti” quilt top. Such an awesome name and concept for this quilt. Love it!

 

 

Some generous long armer quilters who were keen to participate, but not able to attend the event, kindly offered to quilt some quilts for us. (Thank you Stacy Merton, Tania Denyer, and Karen Brown.) Also thanks to Steff Rose for your awesome quilting help.

I love how they quilted messages in these quilts.

 

 

A quilt arrived in the mail from an Oregon quilter who just wanted to be a part of the collaborative. She mailed wrapped it in an Oregon map!

 

Adrienne of Toronto MQG donated the fab Pick Up Sticks quilt that she had made out of the Quilt blocks she won in the block lotto. (Quilted by Stacey Merton and bound by Lauren of TMQG it truly was a community quilt!)

QFR.pickupsticks

 

By the end of the day we were knackered, but we had a good start on a pile of quilts with more in the works. (We’re expecting over thirty!)

IMG_0471

 

I designed some quilt labels for the quilts that recipients could know who made theirs, and also be able to track the story behind the quilt making if they were interested.

QFR.labels

 

Our deadline for delivery of finished quilts is the end of February, and then they will be donated. More on the final quilts, and hopefully some recipient stories to follow. Watch this space! In the meantime, here’s a pic of a few that we have so far with some of the lovely ladies that made them.

 

QFR.churchgroup

A few little notes of thanks:

To Maggie Helwig, at St.Stephen-in-the-Fields, thanks for supporting the project and allowing us to use the church. Much appreciated!

To Daryl for all your help in making this happen. It’s so much more fun when you have a partner in crime. And to your suppliers for their fantastic fabric donations! Thank you!

To everyone who participated: Thanks for your time and energy! Obvious to say this, but these projects just don’t happen if no one jumps on board. (Extra hugs for the girls who drove all the way from Orangeville, and to Krista who managed to squeeze in a visit and a bit of binding while in town on a visit from Vancouver. Yay!)

And to my amazing husband and kids who, as usual, supported yet another one of my crazy ideas. They schlepped tables & equipment, packed the cars, drove the quilters, baked snacks, stitched quilts, and put up with a piles fabric and quilting on the dining room table. Love you guys!

And for anyone touched by projects like this, who might wish they could have been a part of it, here’s what I suggest: Make a quilt to donate! Find a local organization working with refugees to give it to, or mail it to me to donate on your behalf. Better yet, host your own sew-in to make quilts like we did. It’s such fun and a really great cause. So go for it!

#quiltsforrefugees

Ola, Sugar Skull Pattern!

October 22, 2015

Last year I participated in the Michael Miller Fabric Challenge with the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild. You had to use their Petal Pinwheels fabric in pretty much any way you wanted. There was something about the colours and the higgledy piggledy teeth-like print that reminded me of a sugar skull. So that’s what I decided on. I designed a pattern end I ended up with this:

Sugar Skull Quilt

I pieced the quirky teeth fabric for the mouth, and used reverse appliqué for the eyeballs. For the hearts and the cheeks I wanted some extra dimension, so I did a bit of stuffed appliqué – my version of trapunto. (I know, it’s not REAL trapunto, but it did the trick for me.)

embroidery

HappySewLucky.SugarSkull2

When I posted it on Instagram it got a lot of positive feedback, so I put it on my list of things to make a pattern for. This month, Daryl from Fabric Spark and I decided to collaborate on a project for her Creative Festival booth. So I designed a simplified version of my skull pattern that would be a tad less daunting than the one above. Here’s how it looks:

New pattern available in my Easy store: HappySewLuckyShop

New pattern available in my Easy store: HappySewLuckyShop

No stuffed appliqué and machine appliquéd skull instead of hand-turned and stitched. Embroidery pattern

Sugar Skull pattern

Daryl made up kits with fabric panels with the skull embroidery pattern printed on, to save you having to trace it. Then she picked fabrics for cushion backgrounds that would work well with the Day of the Dead design theme. Her kits also included matching embroidery floss. She has a few kits left over that she plans on making available soon in her fabulous online store, Fabric Spark.

If you prefer to choose your own cushion fabric and buy just the pattern, you can get a PDF version in my Etsy store: HappySewLuckyShop.

Although there’s a fair bit of embroidery involved, it’s a great project for road trips or when you have to sit in the car waiting for your kids while they’re at music lessons. The appliqué part is not tricky, and the cushion itself is really simple to put together. You can get the 18″ pillow forms at Ikea or many fabric or upholstery stores.

If you bought one of the kits at Fabric Spark, or the pattern from my Etsy store, I’d love to see how yours turns out so please tag me on social media when you post it.

See you on Instagram! 🙂

EYEBALLS Quilt – Block Lotto tutorial

July 19, 2015

Happy Sew Lucky

BOO! The next TMQG meeting is in October, so our next block lotto is spectacularly Hallowe’en themed. I’ve had this eyeball quilt in my head for a while, so I figured this was the perfect time for it. The idea being a whole lot of googley eyes staring out of the darkness. Some nasty ones, some scaredy ones and some looking left and right to see who’s there. There will be lots of stories to tell with this quilt! It would also be awesome to hang from your front window as decoration on Halloween night.

A quick note to take care of business: This is a free tutorial written and designed by me. Any guild or quilt group is welcome to use it for a group project or block lotto. However I ask that you please link to this tutorial for others to follow the instructions. Please do not repost my design, images or text on your blog without my written permission. You are welcome to make this quilt for your own personal use or for a gift. You may not however sell anything made using this design without my written permission. Under NO circumstances may you sell any form of a pattern or tutorial based on this tutorial. Thank you.

The first option is pretty simple to do – sort of a variation of the snowball block. There are a couple of more complex variations for you to try out if you want to get more creative. This tutorial explains the concept and gives step by step instructions, but the idea is that the eyes are all different sizes and locations on the block, so exact dimensions are not given. The idea is to have some fun with it!

FABRIC NEEDED:

Background: Kona BLACK OR Free Spirit BLACK – about 1/4 yard per block

(Available at The Workroom, Sew Sisters and Sew Be It Studio.)

Eye balls: White or low volume (should read as white) – Small amount per pair of eyes

Iris*: Orange, Purple or Lime Green solids – Small amount. *optional

THE SCOOP:

Trimmed block size: 12 1/2″ square (Finished size 12″ square)

Seam allowance: ¼”

Block size: 12 ½” square trimmed

Block Lotto Deadline: TMQG October meeting – October 25th, 2015.

STEP 1:

After reviewing the tutorial, sketch a drawing of the kind of eyes you’d like to make. Are they the Googly type? I which case which way are they looking or are the pupils surrounded by white? Then decide how big you want them to be, baring in mind the pair should not exceed 10″ square at the absolute largest. There is no limit on how small they can be. Then calculate your dimension and make a note of them on your sketch. (Tip: Remember to add 1/2″ to your cutting height and width measurements for the 1/4″ seam allowance)

eye quilt sketch

STEP 2:

Start with the eyeballs. Cut the eyeball out of black, and then the whites of the eyes out of white. (Note: I have examples from two different eyeballs shown in these steps. One pair is looking to the side, and the other is staring ahead.)

HAalloween quilt

These eyes will be looking to the side. (If you want yours to stare ahead, add another white strip on the other side.)

Then stitch the side/s of the eyeball whites on.

Halloween Quilt Pattern

These eyeballs are different from the ones above, they will stare ahead.

STEP 3:

Now cut 8 squares of Black fabric to make your corners – 4 per eyeball. (Recommended that these be about 1 1/2″ square)

Eyeball3

Turn the pieced block Right Side Down and mark 45º angles across the corners for slightly smaller squares that the pieces you cut. So if your black squares have 1 1/2″ sides then mark 1′ or 1 1/4″ from the corners and draw your 45º line across. The extra bit of fabric just makes accuracy easier as you have a little wiggle room if needed.

Eyeball4

Now place a black square Right Sides Together on a corner, matching up the two cut edges, and stitch along this line.

(Tip: Use a thread bunny when doing this to avoid thread snarling up under your tiny pieces. If you don’t know what they are, see a pic below.)

quilting tip

Thread bunnies are very helpful at preventing the snarly thread mess when starting at the cut edge of fabric. Instead start your stitching in the middle of a scrap – aka a thread bunny – then stitch a little chain of thread, then feed in your pieces. See? No snarly mess. Thank you thread bunny!

Now trim the corners off with a 1/4″ seam as shown.

Eyeball5

Eyeball5b

Eyeball6b

Note: On this one I didn’t cut the corner squares larger – see how I have a wee gap down the side? That’s annoying!

Press the piecing then trim your eyeball blocks as shown. (See why the little extra on these corner squares is handy now? You can cut night square blocks even if your angles were slightly skew!)

STEP 4: 

Add piecing between and on the sides of your eyes. Make sure that the finished width is more than 12 1/2″ so that you have a little extra to trim down to size.
Eyeball7

Eyeball7b

STEP 5:

Add fabric above and below to complete your block. Finally trim it down to 12 1/2″ size.

Halloween Quilt

One finished eyeball block!

But wait! There’s more… if this is too simple for you, we have options!! Read on.

MORE COMPLEX VARIATIONS:

STEP 6:  (“Scary” or “Scaredy” eyes option)

a) Start with a white rectangle (ratio 2:1) with a strip of black down the middle. (Note: this will make two pairs of scary or scaredy eyes. It’s a bit of a head scratcher, but one square will only make both eyelids going at the same angle. So if you’re ok with both eyelids slanting the same way, only make a square. But if you want opposite angles you need a rectangle.)

b) Cut a piece of Black fabric the same size.

Halloween quilt pattern

c) Place the pieced rectangle Right Sides Together down onto the Black piece and align edges. Cut into two squares. Then make Half Square Triangles.

If you haven’t made Half Square Triangles before, here’s how:

i) Use a fabric marker to draw diagonal lines from corner to corner. Stitch a 1/4″ seam allowance on either side of the lines.

halloween quilt

ii) Cut along the lines drawn.

halloween

iii) Press blocks open.

Halloween eyes

d) Next cut white strips for the eye bottoms, as well as black squares for the corners. Then use the same technique described in STEPS 3 to 5 above to finish your blocks.

monster quilt

Yup, he’s nasty. Don’t want to meet this guy in a dark alleyway.

scary eyes

Now life is not Black and White for everyone. So for those of you Jonesing for a little hit of colour, this next option is for you. (Note: TMQG’ers Andrea suggested that we make our blocks mostly B&W, with only about 1/4 of them with colour. She suggested making 3 B&W first then a colour one. Ha ha, so now that I’ve got you all excited about a rainbow splurge, I’m putting you partially back in the colour corset. What? Don’t blame me, I’m not the not-the-president. 😉

STEP 7:

a) Start by making a log cabin around a black centre. (TMQG’ers: colour restricted to orange, purple & lime green)

Log Cabin

b) Then add some whites strips. (Mine are looking sideways so only three sides have whites.)

eye quilt

c) You can do yours as per STEP 3 with equal corners. Or not. On these ones I wanted a less angular eye lid. So I measured 1 1/2″ distance in the height, and drew a line across to stitch on.

Eye quilt

eyeball quilt

d) Then add bottom corners and centre piece.

eyes quilt

e) And finally box them in.

Orangeiris6

Well that was one heck of a long tutorial! But I am excited about this block lotto. I think the quilt is going to be spooktacular!

If you or your guild are making and posting on Instagram, etc use the tag #eyeballsquilt so that we can all see how everyone’s look.