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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.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. Paula permalink
    August 2, 2015 9:23 am

    Great idea and tutorial! I hope VMQG picks this one up too!

  2. September 11, 2015 8:31 am

    FVMQG is all on board! Block lotto for October! MOO haw, haw!

    • September 11, 2015 8:37 am

      Brilliant! Can’t wait to eyeball your eyeballs! 👀

  3. Vera permalink
    September 11, 2015 3:36 pm

    Berene these are adorable, maybe little scary. Lol. Hope I win the lotto at FVMQG. Finished my needle case and love it.

    • September 11, 2015 6:33 pm

      Thanks Vera. I’m so chuffed that your guild is doing this block lotto. It’ll be a fun one to win. Look forward to seeing all the blocks.
      Round love to see yr needle ok too. Are you on Instagram? If so post a pic and tag me.

  4. October 20, 2015 9:34 am

    Oooh! That looks great!!!
    Carol

  5. March 21, 2017 1:31 pm

    I’ve been doing the little scrap of fabric before stitching for years! Tip from a quilt instructor. Had no idea there was a name for it! Thanks 🙂

Trackbacks

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