Wednesday, February 12, 2014

WIP: Ghastlies Quilt Design - Color Musings

For a while now I have been wanting to make for a baby quilt out of the Ghastlies fabric line by Alexander Henry fabrics. It is intended for my daughter's best friend throughout high school and college, who was also the matron of honor at her wedding. I knew this friend had a penchant for this Ghastlies fabric and her baby was due around Christmas time. The large scale print comes with a white, grey, green, or mauve background. Here is the feature fabric in mauve that I will be using. That lady character with the broom is 8.5 inches tall, bow to toe, and the little rosy-cheeked girl off to the right is 4.5 inches tall, also bow to toe.

When my three children were born in the 1980s, it was the norm not to know the baby's gender until the delivery room. In this day and age, however, it was a rarity that my daughter's friend elected to neither find out, nor reveal, the baby's gender. So I was faced with the dilemma of having to gender-neutralize the mauve colored fabric. Fortunately I procrastinated enough that the baby was born before I made the quilt. I learned she had a baby girl, and I could proceed on the quilt without gender ambiguity or the challenge of masculinizing the feature fabric. Actually, the Ghastlies are amusingly frightful enough that they could be slanted to either gender.

I'd bought a yard of the feature fabric and a half-yard of each of the coordinating tree fabrics with white, green, and grey backgrounds, planning to make a simple strip quilt of horizontal bands. That way I will not cut up the large feature print Ghastlies too much. I just love these Charles Wysocki style black twig trees and would like keep them in rows. I also bought a bit of the mottled mauve and black mini-print peeking through on the far, far, left but just might table that one. Here was my first layout proposal, but it seems ho-hum and a bit too serious to me. I wanted to brighten it a bit for a baby without compromising the intended tone and mood of a theme titled ghastly. One quilt teacher told me once that every quilt needs a bit of yellow. I tried adding a bit of yellow and lucked upon the yellow with olive dots with just the right tonality for the green in the bushes of the feature fabric and the green of the tree fabric. However, plunked in place as a row, it seems like an afterthought.

I googled "ghastlies quilt images" for inspiration and liked that several quilters (sorry I do not know their names to give credit) spiced up their quilts by added orange to the mix, leaning toward a Halloween theme. I particularly like these examples, but did not want a Halloween theme for a Christmas baby.

So I went to my stash. Nothing lightens up a mood like cheery polka dots. I selected these candidates and will need to narrow down my choices. I still like the yellow with olive stenciled dots but perhaps I may need to place it more inconspicuously on the back. Rows of trees will still be in the quilt but whether I will fussy cut them one, two, or three trees tall is yet to be determined.

Taking a closer look next to the feature fabric, here are my thoughts on the down-select for the supporting, coordinating fabrics.  I am pretty sure that the dark green in the upper left will be included since the dots are erratically shaped and have a bit of a monster vibe to them. The upper central coral-pink dot is a keeper, too; it echoes the little girl's rosy cheeks. That pin-dot lilac will add just a bit of white without being too stark. I am considering binding it in the black and white pin-stripe or, if I am feeling really playful, that black and white zebra print.

Next I need to decide what pattern and quilt layout. I especially admired the wonky cut and the harlequin-like styles of the orange accented images I googled. I have been thinking on variations of the strip layout, but that is a topic for another post. I will probably spend more time deciding the design of this quilt than I will spend time actually assembling the top. But I really think the design decisions are fun and they play a large part in making quilting so personal.

Here are my stats updated relative to my WIP  01/15/14 post. Some projects jumped from new to completed, never being in the ongoing category in a WIP post. Most ongoing projects are awaiting quilting. I suppose I could send those projects out to be quilted but I want to practice FMQ and try my hand at renting time on a commercial long arm quilt machine, so there they sit, pining away in ongoing limbo, until completion.

Completed projects since 01/15/14 WIP post:
  1. Paisley Pearl quilt (February 8, 2014 post)
  2. Hello quilt (February 9, 2014 post)
  3. Thor from Days of Yore cloth book (February 7, 2014 post)
  4. Thor Dragon pillowcase (February 11, 2014 post)
  5. Two chickadee burp cloths (February 9, 2014 post)
  6. Six owl themed burp cloths (February 7, 2014 post)
Ongoing projects:  
  1. Ghastlies baby quilt
  2. Classic Cars strip quilt (August 3, 2013 post)- need to back, quilt, and bind
  3. Grinch quilt (May 22,2013 post) - all borders added, need to back, quilt, and bind
  4. Jack O'Lantern Trio (February 2, 2013 post) - awaiting FMQ
  5. Chicken quilt - awaiting FMQ
  6. Overlapping square wall hanging - awaiting FMQ
  7. Mask quilt (October 19, 2011 post) - hidden away awaiting inspiration for arranging hexagons
New projects since 01/15/14 WIP post:  
  1. Hello quilt
  2. Thor from Days of Yore cloth book
  3. Thor Dragon pillowcase
  4. Two chickadee burp cloths
  5. Six owl themed burp cloths
  6. Ghastlies baby quilt
Stats since 01/15/14 WIP:
     Completed  projects - 12
     Currently in progress - assembly completed on 5 of 7;  finishing is my bottleneck
     New projects - 12

I will be linking up today to Freshly Pieced WIP for more inspiration. 


  1. Oh i love the Ghastlies! Perfect feature fabric for fussy cutting.
    And i love that you have all those dots just in your stash! Awesome!

    1. Thank you! I do have a thing for polka dots. Fussy cutting can be a challenge. I have no design training as do many of the fabric designers so I need to be careful I do not chop something up into an unbalanced mess just to be different.