Scrappy Jack Quilt: Improv Halloween Sampler by Stash Bandit
I start with orphans, leftovers and rejects.
And somehow before it’s over, the whole thing comes together. It isn’t without frustration, error and ugliness, though. There’s a lot of messing around. It feels like wasted time but I’ve learned it’s necessary.
I start by putting all of the elements that might work on the design wall.
I tried to make this quilt last year but I couldn’t bring it together. So I decided to try again. The key this time around was in letting go of the ones that didn’t work. I edited out a bunch of things! I hated to let the giant ghost and pumpkin go but their scale just wasn’t working.
After a lot of playing, I got a little closer, above. At this point I took a photo and printed it, as it helps to look at it in a different form. If I need to, I can cut up the paper and rearrange things.
By this time I can start to see how sections could be built.
Eventually I start sewing things together because you can only stress for so long. I add coping strips or patches as needed to make things fit. Some sections come together easily.
Some are more difficult, like the one below. It still feels awkward to me but I had to keep moving forward in spite of it.
One thing I do continually is to back up from the design wall so I can see the big picture. Standing too close is deadly. Back way up!
Kathy Haverly from Hastings, Nebraska made the stars blocks, and I bought them on a guild garage sale for a few dollars. There were so many! I used a lot but I still have a lot!
My overall recipe was orange, black and blue so the bits of blue in the star blocks were a gift. The wonky Flying Geese were destined for some long-forgotten idea.
The giant ghost and pumpkins had to go but the giant house got to stay!
I was so happy to fit it in, and I love its glowing windows.
I created a spooky tree beside it but after a struggle, I abandoned that idea in favor of a coffin, which was easier to execute and is cuter, too.
When I’m sure of an applique feature, I fuse it down and machine straight stitch close to the edges. I came up with the spiders to fill awkward empty spaces. Now they’re my favorite part.
I did have to unsew a few places to insert the rickrack but it was worth the trouble.
Do you see how things don’t need to be in proportion as they’d be in real life? Those spiders are huge compared to the house. But it’s all so whimsical that it doesn’t matter.
Here’s where I landed. It took me about two days to get it this far. And remember…
…the elements were mostly already made. I thought it was finished but I added a scrappy black border to fill with hand sewn big stitch. More on that later.
This has truly become my favorite way to create. I’d love to teach “Improvisational Quilt Sampler” at a four or five day event.
Wouldn’t that be fun? And I have almost enough of them to warrant a new trunk show. In the meantime, they’ll go into the Taste Test Trunk Show of unexpected sampler quilts.