Last week I had an itch to make something for Halloween. So I went to my two favorite places: eBay for some novelty fabric and Pinterest for some inspiration!
I wanted to do some sort of string block, so I looked up ideas on Pinterest for making something like a spider web. Below are a few of my favorite pins (sources link to the original blog post):
I could spend all day just pinning and planning, but after a while I just want to step away from the computer and start doing something! So even though I didn’t have a clear plan, I started with an idea and went from there.
Earlier in the week, I ordered some Halloween novelty fabric jelly rolls (pre-cut strips of fabric) from eBay… and wow, the prints are like a Halloween explosion! In retrospect I wish I had also gotten some more muted oranges or blacks for more balance, but it was also kind of fun to go full speed ahead with the busy Halloween kitsch.
Halloween Wall Hanging
I used this tutorial from PS I Quilt for making a 6 ½-inch string block. Four together equals a 12 ½-inch finished block. I’ve been intimidated by using a paper foundation, but I was happy to find out that it’s super easy!
There are lots of great tutorials online, but here are a few pics of the basic steps:
Cut as many 6 ½-inch squares as you need out of paper – any kind will do; I used regular computer paper, but I’ve also seen scrapbook paper or even phone book pages.
Attach the center strip across the diagonal with a dot of glue stick on each end. I used a white strip as the center for each block for some cohesion, but of course you can do all scrappy too.
Plan out what strips you want to cover the rest of the square, and cut approximate sizes. I did a pattern of orange-black-orange on either side of the white strip for two blocks, then black-orange-black for the other two blocks.
Lay the first strip right side down on top of the center strip and sew together with a ¼-inch seam. Make sure to change the stitch length to 1.5 to perforate the paper.
Press to the side and repeat!
When your blocks are all done, trim the edges using the paper square as a guide.
Then tear out the paper between each strip. Sew the four 6 ½-inch blocks into one 12 ½-inch block.
I knew I wanted to make some kind of wall hanging that could later be used as a table topper/runner (when I actually have a dining room or table that seats more than two), but after making two string blocks I decided I wanted something different for the center block. I went back and forth trying to decide between a spider block to go with the webs, or maybe a black cat… and then I remembered a cute patchwork pumpkin pin and decided to use that as inspiration.
In retrospect… I like how the inspiration pic’s colors weren’t necessarily “Halloween” prints. And I was a bit limited by my 1 ½-inch jelly roll strips, so the pumpkin turned out pretty tiny since I couldn’t use bigger squares.
But I made it work anyway! I added more strips log cabin-style until I had a 12 ½-inch block.
I attached the three blocks with a strip of white sashing, then I started scrounging around for some backing fabric. I settled on one piece of grey because I didn’t want to bother with a pieced back, but it made me realize that it would be nice to get a few yards of fabric just for backings… I have tons of fat quarters, but hardly anything bigger. I’m also down to batting scraps… time to do some more shopping!
After layering the batting, backing, and quilt top, I used the pillowcase method to turn the right side out. I sewed a ¼-inch seam around the perimeter to close the gap. I quilted each block separately – a big X first, then spiraling squares like a spider web.
The quilting was my favorite part, which is unusual! Generally it stresses me out, but it was actually fun to think up the design and I love seeing the spider web on the back.
Oh! And before I forget… since I intend to use this as a table runner eventually, I didn’t want to add hanging pockets. So I rigged a no-sew hanger with a piece of ribbon and some mini clothespins.
It actually works pretty well! (I leave the 3M hooks up year round, I love those things!)
And there you have it – a fun Halloween project that took me a leisurely weekend to complete.
And in the process, I…
- tried paper foundation string blocks for the first time
- combined patchwork and log cabins
- actually enjoyed the quilting part, and
- reveled in a riot of crazy Halloween prints.
I call that a win! I’ve got a couple weeks left before the holiday to enjoy my wall hanging, and I will definitely look forward to pulling it out again next year to add to my decorations.
I’m linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish Friday!