Epic Halloween QAL, Week 12: Assembling your quilt top

Well, here we are—it’s time to put this bad boy together! Go ahead and lay out your blocks on your design wall (or floor) using the following image as a guide for which finished size goes where.

Epic Halloween QAL | Flying Parrot Quilts

If you have not yet cut your solid filler blocks, here are the sizes you will need:

  • 1 – 3½” x 3½” square
  • 6 – 6½” x 6½” squares
  • 1 – 12½” x 12½” square
  • 1 – 6½” x 9½” rectangle
  • 1 – 3½” x 9½” rectangle
  • 1 – 4½” x 6½” rectangle (or 3½” x 6½” if you resized your small spider to 9½”x9½” and made the 9½”x3½” broomstick)

Of course, you can substitute additional blocks (such as witch hats, candy corn, or variable potion blocks) for any of these as well.

As you may have noticed, in this layout there are not a whole lot of long straight seams that run along the entire quilt, so we need to use a technique called “partial seams.” It’s exactly what it sounds like, and it’s super easy!

Begin by sewing your blocks together into the following sections:

Epic Halloween QAL | Flying Parrot Quilts

Once you have sewn your blocks into sections, assemble sections A-E using partial seams. The following pictures use a small quilt block to demonstrate, but it’s exactly the same technique for larger sections—you’re just sewing longer seams!

Partial Seams Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Begin by placing E on top of A, right sides together, and lining up the righthand edge. Sew these two pieces together, but not all the way. Stop your seam about 1-2″ before reaching the uneven edge and backstitch to secure:

Partial Seams Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Open the pieces up and finger press the end of the seam upwards towards piece A.

Partial Seams Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Now, you can attach B to the unit you have just made. Sew the entire seam:

Partial Seams Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

And press the seam.

Partial Seams Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Continue around, sewing on piece C:

Partial Seams Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

And piece D, being careful to not catch piece A in your seam:

Partial Seams Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Press the seam. Your unit should look a little like this:

Partial Seams Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Now, all you need to do is finish the first seam that you only partially sewed. Line up the edges as normal.

Partial Seams Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

And sew the remaining part of the seam a little past where you originally stopped, backstitching for security.

Partial Seams Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Now you can press the final seam with your iron!

Partial Seams Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Again, while this was a small block, it’s exactly the same for larger sections! We will need to use another partial seam to add sections F-I.

Epic Halloween QAL | Flying Parrot Quilts

  • Add section H to the bottom right of the large bat block (section C) with a partial seam (open to the left).
  • Sew section F to the right side of sections ABCDE/H.
  • Add section I to the bottom of  the F/H section, sewing the full seam.
  • Add section G to the left of the H/I section, sewing the full seam.
  • Finish the seam between H/G and the rest of the blocks.
  • Sew section J to the bottom of the quilt and you are done!

Congratulations, your quilt top is done! Because of all the paper piecing in this quilt, I strongly recommend stitching around the entire outside edge of your top (about 1/8″ in) with a relatively short stitch length (2mm or so) to secure all the seams and tame bias edges.

This concludes the main portion of our quilt-along, but since I haven’t revealed my finished quilt yet, come back next week for photo overload and, I hope, lots of ideas for you on how to quilt your finished quilt! Thank you all so much for quilting along!

Tag the photos of your finished tops with #epichalloweenqal and the hashtags for all the patterns included (#midnightbitepattern, #ringofcoffins, #eyeballquilt, and #spookyspiderpattern)!

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Epic Halloween QAL, Week 11: Broomstick and Haunted House

At this point, I imagine you are all old pros at paper piecing! This is the last week before we assemble the quilt, so the end is in sight.

Today we have two last blocks: the broomstick and the haunted house.

First up is the broomstick.

Broomstick | Flying Parrot Quilts

You’ll notice in the pattern that there are two options, a 3″ x 9″ and a 3″ x 10″ finished block. The reason for this is that the broomstick is part of the odd section that doesn’t quite fit into the 3-inch grid.

odd section

If you made your spider 8 1/2 inches, use the 10-inch broomstick; if you enlarged your spider to 9 1/2 inches, use the 9-inch broomstick. This pattern should be pretty straightforward, if a bit fiddly on the actual broom end!

The haunted house is perfect for fussy cuts in the door and windows! What sort of horrors await visitors to your house?

Haunted House | Flying Parrot Quilts

The second story of the house (section B) has a special window section. You’ll piece this first, remove the papers, then use it in space 5. The house is full of wonky angles, so exact placement isn’t so important, and you could even just improv piece that section if your fussy cut requires a slightly different shape of window. The provided window section includes a slightly larger seam allowance to make piecing it into that slot easier.

As always, show us your progress using #epichalloweenqal on social media!

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Epic Halloween QAL, Week 10: Curved Spiderweb Blocks

This week’s block involves some curved piecing! Don’t worry, though, the curves are very gentle, so this is an easy introduction to curves if you’ve never tackled them before. You’ll need 3 blocks that finish at 12″.

Curved Spiderweb Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Click here for the templates.

Trace all the templates onto a piece of template plastic and cut out. If you have the Phillips Simple Curve Ruler you can use it instead of the arc sections on page 3. Trace the dashed line on sections A and B onto your template as well. This is a reference line for trimming.

For one block, you will need to cut 4 each of Background Template A and Background Template B from your background fabric. The gray areas on the template are extra space to give you some leeway to trim accurately later on.

Curved Spiderweb tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

On this block, I wanted to keep the directional background fabric going in the same direction, so I placed the background templates very carefully on my fabric.

It is up to you exactly how to arrange your arc sections—your finished arc size should add up to 5″, so you could, for example, choose five 1″ strips, or two 1 1/2″ strips and a 2″ strip, etc. However you decide to arrange your fabric, you will need to cut 8 of each arc section.

To piece your curved arc sections together, take two arcs:

Curved Piecing | Flying Parrot Quilts

Mark the centers by folding them in half and finger pressing a crease.

Curved Piecing | Flying Parrot Quilts

Place them on top of each other, wrong sides together, like this:

Curved Piecing | Flying Parrot Quilts

Line up the centers you just marked by creasing and place a pin.

Curved Piecing | Flying Parrot Quilts

If you’re not comfortable with arcs yet, place another pin or two on one side of the arcs, lining up the raw edges.

Curved Piecing | Flying Parrot Quilts

Then, begin sewing with a 1/4″ seam.

Curved Piecing | Flying Parrot Quilts

After you reach the center pin, you can use your fingers to gently manipulate the raw edges together as you go.

Curved Piecing | Flying Parrot Quilts Curved Piecing | Flying Parrot Quilts

Your sewn arcs will look like this.

Curved Piecing | Flying Parrot Quilts

Press the seam towards the lower arc, and that’s your first set done!

Curved Piecing | Flying Parrot Quilts

Continue adding strips as necessary, always aligning the centers of your strips. Repeat for the other eight strip sets, keeping the order of strips consistent among sections. As you get more comfortable with curved piecing, you will probably find that you only need the pin keeping the centers aligned!

Finally, add the bottoms (cut from Background Templates A and B), again keeping the centers of the curves aligned:

Curved Spiderweb tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Place your section A template on top of a pieced section (that contains one of the Background Template A pieces), and line up the curve on the template with the bottom curved seam. Trim.

Curved Spiderweb tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Trim your Section B pieces in the same way.

Sew the long side of a Section A piece to the long side of a Section B piece to complete one quadrant. Repeat for the remaining pairs.Curved Spiderweb tutorial | Flying Parrot QuiltsThen, sew the quadrants together into a full block!

Curved Spiderweb tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Curved Spiderweb Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Post your blocks with the hashtags #epichalloweenqal and #curvedspiderwebblock this week!

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Epic Halloween QAL, Week 9: Barn Bats

This block is based on a traditional block called “Barn Bats.” The bats are typically stacked on top of one another (as in this mini quilt), but this tutorial is for individual bats with one bat per 6 1/2″ block. You’ll want to make 6 blocks for your quilt.

Solo Barn Bat Block | Flying Parrot Quilts

Start by cutting your fabrics. From the background fabric, cut:

  • 1 strip 2 1/2″ x 17″
  • 1 strip 1 1/2″ x 15″

From the main bat fabric cut:

  • 1 strip 2 1/2″ x 12″

Starting with the background fabric, fold your strips in half lengthwise.

Bat Block Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Take your wider 2 1/2″ strip, and, starting at the raw ends, line up your ruler’s 60-degree line with the top of the strip and trim.

Bat Block Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Line up the edge that you just cut with the 3 1/2″ line on your ruler and cut. (I rotated my fabric for easier cutting.)

Bat Block Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Then, cut 2 1/2″ pieces in the same way.

Bat Block Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Next, take your 1 1/2″ strip and trim the ends to 60 degrees as before.

Bat Block Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

From this strip, cut two 2″ pieces.

Bat Block Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

And two 3 1/2″ pieces.

Bat Block Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Next, take your bat fabric strip, and fold it in half also.

Bat Block Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Make a 60-degree cut as before:

Bat Block Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Then, cut two 2 1/2″ pieces:

Bat Block Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

And two 1 1/2″ pieces:

Bat Block Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

This is how your bat will fit together. The narrow (1 1/2″) short pieces go above and the wide (2 1/2″) short pieces go below the bat:

Bat Block Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Sew your strips together. In order for the edges to line up when sewing 60 degree angles, the corners should overhang slightly. The inside corners formed from the overlap of the two patches should line up with your seam line.

Bat Block Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Press seams towards the bat, except on one of the narrow strips. This will let you nest the seams and line up the center strips nicely. Sew the two narrow center strips together.

Bat Block Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Take your ruler and make a mark 1″ down from the tops of the bat ears on both sides of the center strip.

Bat Block Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Line these marks up with the seams on your bat wings, and sew the two side strips to the center.

Bat Block Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Your bat should now look like this, and all that is left is to trim it!

Bat Block Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Trim the block down to 6 1/2″ square. I like to line up the top of the bat ears with the 1″ mark to get the bat nice and centered in the block.

Bat Block Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts Bat Block Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Post your finished bat blocks with the hashtag #epichalloweenqal!

Bat Block Tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

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Epic Halloween QAL, Week 8: Eyeballs

It’s time for a field trip over to Happy Sew Lucky for a tutorial on making spooky eyeballs! The tutorial is for 12 1/2″ blocks, and you’ll need a 6 1/2″ and a 9 1/2″ square (unfinished) block for this quilt, so keep that in mind as you think about sizes for your eyes. There are lots of options for you to choose from!

eyeballsheader1

Image used by permission of Happy Sew Lucky

Here are the two blocks I made for my quilt.

9 1/2″ square (for reference, each eyeball is 3″ wide in this block):

Eyeball block | Flying Parrot Quilts

I did a little bit of fussy cutting for the pupils, so that there is a scary skull “reflection” in them.

6 1/2″ block (each eye is 1 1/2″ wide):

eyes 2 web

Easy peasy! Please tag this week’s blocks with #eyeballsquilt in addition to our usual hashtag #epichalloweenqal. Next week, we make some more bats!

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Epic Halloween QAL, Week 7: Midnight Bite

This week is the last really intense paper piecing pattern! We are making bats from the fantastic “Midnight Bite” pattern by Nicole of Lily Ella Stitchery. Grab your pattern here if you don’t have it yet.

You will need to tape some foundation pieces together following the instructions in the pattern. Again, please be sure to use masking, painter’s, or washi tape instead of scotch tape so that you don’t end up with a melted mess on your iron!

Large Bat | Flying Parrot Quilts

We’ll be making all three sizes of bats, but there are some slight size adjustments to make on a couple of the blocks. The large block fits into our quilt nicely as is. The medium block will need to be trimmed down to 9½” x 15½”. Just trim ½” off each of the short sides.

Medium Bat | Flying Parrot Quilts

The small bat is sized 10″ x 6″, and would be easier to fit into the quilt if it were 12″ wide, so we need to add an inch to either side.

Find sections D and E, and line up the one-inch mark on your ruler with the outer (dashed) line.

Resizing tutorial | Flying Parrot Quilts

Notice how the 1 inch mark is lined up with the OUTER edge. Be careful!

Draw a line to indicate your new block boundaries.

Resizing | Flying Parrot Quilts

Then, just extend all the piecing lines to your new boundary!

Resizing | Flying Parrot Quilts

Draw in the finished block boundary 1/4″ inch away from the outside edge. This way, you still have those points for purposes of joining sections.

resizing 4

Repeat for sections I and J on the other side of the bat. You may have to tape on a little extra paper.

And that’s how you extend the background on the small bat!

Small Bat | Flying Parrot Quilts

I loved using some of my metallic fabrics for the bat wings—it made them shimmery and ethereal!

Tag your bat blocks with the pattern hashtag #midnightbitepattern and the quilt-along hashtag #epichalloweenqal!

 

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Epic Halloween QAL, Week 6: Variable Potion Blocks

This week we’re bottling fame, brewing glory, even putting a stopper on death piecing Variable Potion Blocks, so called because you have lots of options on what size to make your potion blocks. These potions are also a great place to show off some more fussy cuts.

Variable Potion Blocks | Flying Parrot Quilts

4 tall potions (12″ x 6″). Potion Inception on the right!

The paper piecing pattern is here. For this quilt, you’ll need four different blocks:

  • 6” x 6” (two short potions)
  • 9” x 6” (three short potions)
  • 12” x 6” (four short potions)
  • 6” x 9” (two tall potions)
Variable Potion Blocks | Flying Parrot Quilts

3 short potions (9″ x 6″)

Full instructions are in the pattern, but here are just a couple of hints. First, how full the potion bottles are is merely a suggestion. To change the levels of your potions, just change the position of the line between sections 1 and 2, like I did here with a red pen:

Variable Potion Bottles | Flying Parrot Quilts

For the four-potion block, you will need two center pieces for the tops and bottles for the four-potion block.

Variable Potion Bottles | Flying Parrot Quilts

You will need to insert one additional potion neck section into the existing three-potion neck section.

Variable Potion Bottles | Flying Parrot Quilts

Begin by cutting along the red dashed line.

Variable Potion Bottles | Flying Parrot Quilts

Stick some tape (washi or masking tape—remember, scotch tape melts! 🙂 ) on the back of one of the sections, like this:

Variable Potion Bottles | Flying Parrot Quilts

And carefully line up your pieces. You may want to use a ruler to check that the horizontal lines stay straight. Repeat for the other side.

Variable Potion Bottles | Flying Parrot Quilts

Your finished section should look like this.

Variable Potion Bottles | Flying Parrot Quilts

 

Here are the rest of my potion bottles:

Variable Potion Blocks | Flying Parrot Quilts

2 tall potions (6″ x 9″)

Variable Potion Blocks | Flying Parrot Quilts

2 short potions (6″ x 6″)

Are you a potions master, or did stitching these blocks make your cauldron melt into an unrecognizable heap? Post your creations on social media with #epichalloweenqal.

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Epic Halloween QAL, Week 5: Ring of Coffins

Happy Independence Day to all my American readers! I hope thinking of Halloween helps you survive the heat!

This week’s block is “Ring of Coffins” by Jessee Maloney of Art School Dropout, and I think it’s one of the most inventive Halloween blocks I’ve ever seen! Jessee’s original block is sized to make an 18” block; I reduced this to fit on a 15” block. If you prefer to make it full size, you’ll have to do some reshuffling of blocks to make it fit into the final quilt layout. To reduce the pattern to fit on a 15 1/2” unfinished block, set your printer scaling to 85%. (This means you’ll have a little less than the specified ½” seam allowance, but that should still be plenty for EPP.)

Jessee has very kindly agreed to let you in on all her tips and tricks for putting this block together, so please head over to Jessee’s blog to read all about her secrets!

Coffin block | Flying Parrot Quilts

This block is a great one to work on throughout the remainder of the quilt-along, adding to your little pile of coffins as you generate scraps from all the other paper piecing.

Here are a couple of links to general English Paper Piecing tutorials, if this is a new-to-you technique.

Video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDrTVi0jk6w
Photo tutorial: http://www.thezenofmaking.com/2013/06/tutorial-english-paper-piecing-hexies-part-1/

Tag these blocks with #ringofcoffins and #epichalloweenqal to share your progress with everyone!

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Epic Halloween QAL, Week 4: Cauldron & Potion Bottle

If you haven’t yet recovered from making three spiders, this week should give you a breather and allow you to catch up! This week we are making two more paper pieced blocks, both freely available from the lovely folks at Fandom In Stitches, and in particular the Harry Potter section (check them all out in case you find one you really want to include in your quilt!).

Cauldron block

Potion bottle

These blocks are sized to be 5” finished, so we need to resize them to 6” finished. Check out this excellent tutorial on how to resize any block! In this case, we need to print the blocks at 120%. You can also just resize the block by adding a ½” border (1” cut strips) on all sides. This is essentially what I did for the cauldron block.

Much of the fun of this quilt is in the fabric placement, and this week’s blocks are the first good opportunity for some strategic fabric placement. Spiders are the main ingredient in the potion bubbling away in my cauldron in the forest!

Cauldron | Flying Parrot Quilts

Here is my potion. It’s a little different from the pattern, because I tried used curved piecing for the bottom section. I thought that would be easier, but the fiddling around trying to get sections to line up wasn’t worth it, so I’d recommend just sticking with the pattern! You can omit some of the really tiny pieces (e.g. 2 and 3 in section B or 3 and 9 in Section D) if you’d prefer.

Potion bottle | Flying Parrot Quilts

Let’s see your progress! Tag your photos with #epichalloweenqal.

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Epic Halloween QAL, Week 3: Spooky Spiders

This week we start with some of the larger paper pieced blocks—it’s spider time! If you don’t have your pattern yet, get it here. Stick with me as we talk about the block measurements; I’ve got a tip for cutting your background fabrics at the end of the post. If you’ve not made a pattern that requires multiple sections to be joined before, my paper piecing guide here covers how to pin them together to get the best alignment.

The pattern includes three sizes: 16″, 12″, and 8″ finished. Trim down the large block to 15 1/2″ (unfinished)—there is plenty of background so you won’t get too close to the spider itself by doing that.

Large Spooky Spider | Flying Parrot Quilts

Aragog the Large

This largest spider requires you to tape together your pattern pieces B, C, E, and F. Word to the wise: use masking tape, painter’s tape, or washi tape. Scotch tape melts under the heat of your iron and makes a mess!

Shelob (medium, 12 1/2″ unfinished) fits perfectly into the quilt top.

Medium Spooky Spider | Flying Parrot Quilts

Shelob the Medium

The small size is 8 1/2″ unfinished, and needs a bit of an adjustment. This spider fits into the quilt in this odd section:

odd section | Flying Parrot Quilts

I had a 4 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ fussy cut haunted house (from the “Ghastlies” line by Alexander Henry) that I wanted to include in this section. If you want to use a piece of fabric this size, piece your spider as directed in the pattern, then add a 1 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ strip of background fabric at the top:

adding top strip | Flying Parrot Quilts

If you’d rather stick to the 3″ x 3″ grid layout, in which case you can add extra candy corn, witches’ hats, or a potion bottle in the remaining slot, you’ll want to size up your spider to 9″ finished. To do this, simply print the small spider pattern with your printer scaling set to 112%. Please be aware that this will make your seam allowances a little larger, too, so you’ll want to use a ruler to square the block up to 9 1/2 x 9 1/2″ at the end rather than relying just on the outside line. Also, if your top seam allowance line bleeds off the edge of the page, just redraw it 1/4″ from the block edge using one of your rulers.

Small Spooky Spider | Flying Parrot Quilts

Charlotte the Small

There are a number of large-ish background fabric pieces in this pattern. Here’s a little tutorial on how to cut your background pieces to minimize fabric waste. (This tip will come in handy for the bat pattern later, too!)

Since the two halves of the spider are mirror images of one another, you’ll need mirrored background pieces. Fold your fabric in half and place Section F in the corner:

Fabric Cutting for Paper Piecing | Flying Parrot Quilts

We will start with piece 13, the bottom corner piece. Fold the template back along one of the seam lines:

Fabric Cutting for Paper Piecing | Flying Parrot Quilts

 

Using an appropriate marking tool, trace the line about ½” away (to account for seam allowance)

Fabric Cutting for Paper Piecing | Flying Parrot Quilts

Repeat with the other seam line(s) of piece 13: fold back, then trace along the line, leaving room for seam allowance.

Fabric Cutting for Paper Piecing | Flying Parrot Quilts

If you like, you can go ahead and cut out the piece you’ve already marked. Cut through both layers, then pin a note to the pieces to remind yourself where they belong. In this case, because you’ve folded the fabric right side out, the bottom piece will be for section F, and the top piece will be for the mirror-image section C.

To move on to the next piece (in this case, 14—the order in which the pieces are sewn is not important for this!), shift your paper up so that the fold line is now about 1/2″ on the other side of your drawn line.

Fabric Cutting for Paper Piecing | Flying Parrot Quilts

Then, follow the line about 1/2″ from the edge of the paper.

Fabric Cutting for Paper Piecing | Flying Parrot Quilts

This way, we don’t waste fabric in between all those weird angles.

Fabric Cutting for Paper Piecing | Flying Parrot Quilts

Continue with sections E and then D, tracing the pieces in the approximate configuration in which they’ll be sewn.

As a final reminder, when placing your fabrics, don’t skip folding the paper back! This really helps a lot with placement, particularly when you’ve pre-cut your fabrics close to the size of the final piece.

Tag your finished spiders with #epichalloweenqal and #spookyspiderpattern!

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