Wednesday, February 19, 2014

WIP: Ghastlies Quilt Design - Layout Thoughts

I originally planned to make a strip quilt using only the fabrics from the Ghastlies collection by Alexander Henry. I'd bought 1 yard of the feature character fabric in mauve and 1/2 yard cuts of the coordinating twig tree fabrics in each white, green, and grey.  I was going to cut the character fabric in thirds for three 12" high bands. Since this fabric has a 12" repeat, even though it is railroaded, each band would have had the same whole characters and the same characters whose head or feet were cut off.  I decided instead to cut only two feature bands 15" high each and thereby showcase different family members of the Ghastlies relations. Here is my estimate of where to make those cuts. And, yes, I would be "wasting" 6 inches of the feature fabric.

My size goal for the quilt was about 42" wide (one fabric width), and about 60" or so long. This leaves about 30" of height to play in with the other fabrics. I considered a checker board of the Ghastlies Forest twig tree fabric but rejected it. The trees were already in neat rows. There would be a lot of fabric lost in the 1/4" seams and a lot of fussy cutting for not much effect other than ... rows of trees. I decided to keep the trees in horizontal full fabric width bands, cut one tree-row or two tree-rows high. The white background is so crisp and bright, it draws the eye, so the strips of white background trees will be only one row high. I already cut  grey bands the height of two rows of trees, but have not decided if I will use them. My intention was to save the green trees for accents on the back, partnered with my yellow fabric with olive stenciled dots but I am reconsidering substituting some of them for the grey trees on the front.

But breaking up full width bands still had some allure, if not for the Ghastlies character and trees fabrics then at least for the other fabrics I was introducing. I really liked the interrupted band effect I'd sewn in my Classic Cars quilt top based on the Check Me Out pattern from the It's Sew Emma line. (See August 3, 2013 post.) For cars, the checkerboard motif was great because of the association of checkered flags with racing; but I thought the regularity of that pattern was not in keeping with the tone of the Ghastlies.

Then I looked at my fat quarters as laid out on the top of my sewing machine cabinet and got the idea to use rectangles instead of squares.  I decided to assemble an array of staggered elongated rectangles, irregularly colored, for a sort of brick wall of similar patterns. I am also becoming more convinced I want to put some of those green trees on the front to tie in with the bushes in the character feature fabric and with my green spots selections.

I set the Ghastlies character fabric apart with a 1/2" wide band of black polka dots and decided to insert brick walls either two or three rows high of brightly colored fabrics. Here is the middle portion of the proposed assembly on my design wall. I did not entirely "waste" that extra 6" of Ghastlies characters. Can you find where I plan to insert fussy cut bricks?

So here's where I am now. The "brick wall" bands are assembled and the Ghastlies feature fabric is edged in black polka dots. But these strip quilts have a way of growing taller and taller. My remaining decisions are the height, color, and location of the tree rows. So far the height of the bands adds up like this:

√  30"        2 x 15" high      Ghastlies feature fabric (15" each)
√  24"        8 x 3" high        bright fabric bricks 2, 3, or 2 rows high  (3" each row)
     9"        2 x 4.5" high      Forest fabric cut two trees high (4.5" high) color TBD
     5"        2 x 2.5" high      Forest fabric cut one tree high (2.5" high) color white

54" committed, 14" still to play with =  68" TOTAL ... growing too tall?

I also have to go back and add a few inches to the black polka dot strips. I had only a fat quarter to work with, and when I pieced the strips on the diagonally, I lost some width in the seam. I need to add a bit back at these four edges so I do not need to cut about 2" off one side of the quilt.

Neatly joined together, I am pleased with how crisp the polka dot rectangles look in my three brick walls. This two-brick-high wall is in the bottom part of the quilt. Those white trees will sew up only one row high. As soon as I finish this post, I am going to my sewing room to be decisive about those trees.

Here are my stats updated relative to last week's WIP post. Since I have been actively working this Ghastlies quilt exclusively, my new projects and completed projects counts have plummeted to zero.

Completed projects since 02/12/14 WIP post:

Ongoing projects:  
  1. Ghastlies baby quilt (begun in February 12, 2014 post)
  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 02/12/14 WIP post:  

Stats since 02/12/14 WIP:
     Completed  projects - 0
     Currently in progress - actively working only on No. 1 
     New projects - 0

I will be linking up today to Freshly Pieced WIP. But I am not allowing myself the pleasure of browsing and commenting until I make those tree decisions!


  1. It's looking good - I wouldn't limit yourself to a set measurement - just keep going until the balance and whole quilt looks right!

    1. Thanks for giving me the encouragement to permit myself to let my quilt grow longer. I really wanted to anyway. Is is a bit longer now but I think it will come in under the length of a twin bed ~72". Still useful but not like a carpet runner down a hallway. LOL

  2. Ooh, that's absolutely Ghastly;-) I love the bricks... it is so annoying the way they did the repeats. I wish they'd thought a bit more about how this was going to be cut up. I've made several quilts using these lines and probably thrown away more yardage than I actually used. Can't wait to see it finished!!!

    1. Your remark about wishing "they'd thought a bit more about how this was going to be cut up" made me laugh. Don't famous cooks and artists want you to appreciate their work just as it is? I do not know what Alexander Henry looks like but I can visualize an image of a tortured artist with wild mussed up hair tearing it out at the roots crying. "No! No! My masterpiece is perfect as I created it. Do not destroy it with your rotary cutter and scissors! Please!" Yet we quilters all do it, and do it with enthusiasm and creativity. I am glad you like the bricks. I felt I was going a bit out on a limb with them. Thanks for visiting, commenting and brightening my day.

  3. Interesting concept. I have some gray Gastlies fabric I'm trying to decide what to do with.

    1. I find typing some key word from the fabric line into the Google search box and then choosing the images option is a fun and easy to get great ideas to start from. I found the deadly mauve color, though very interesting, was challenging to work with. Good luck with your Ghastlies. Hmmm, I wonder how the green Ghastlies would make up for St Patrick's Day? One could wind up with some interesting colored shamrocks... the battle of the Leprechauns vs. the Ghastlies. Thanks for visiting and commenting.