skull quilt ideas?

vacuumfreakAugust 2, 2012

I finally found the right forum... I accidentally posted this on the sewing forum by mistake and couldn't figure out why it wasn't showing up here!

I have a dear friend that I met at community college (during the part of a year that I went :o) and I've known her for about 7 years now.... she has since moved back to Arkansas to be with her family, but we still keep in touch... anyway, she just got married and got her first home and I'd like to send her a quilt or wall hanging as a housewarming gift... She's a biker chick, so her tastes are eclectic to say the least, but the house is themed with skulls and the color scheme is red, silver/gray and black... I think something homemade would mean a lot to her and it would be a fun project for me to do (I don't seem to finish things I do for myself, but if it's for someone else, there's more encouragement to see it through)....

Anyway, I had two ideas, but I'm not entirely sure how to execute them. I was looking for ideas online and came across a pieced wall hanging that looked like a skull, and it turned out to be from a book called Whip Up Mini Quilts by Kathreen Ricketson... I didn't want to wait for a book to arrive, so I bought the E-book from Amazon, but the instructions about how to piece and assemble are so vague, I can't understand them. This looked really neat and I figured two wall hangings would be both easier and faster than 1 queen sized quilt, but because of how badly the book is written, I can't follow this to completion.

My other thought was to buy a variety of fabric that had skull prints and just piece a quilt together. I would do something simple, but I would like to frame each fabric square individually with a border rather than sew blocks together, but I've never framed fabric squares or blocks in on the body of a quilt before and can't find any patterns or information online.

Any ideas would be appreciated!

Here's the picture from the book that I bought, but again, I can't understand the instructions.... the cutting instructions are clear and precise, but the piecing ones aren't at all...

This is my first time using the new picture feature, but I actually prefer Photobucket.... this is easier, but if you proofread and edit, you lose the picture have to upload it all over again.... plus you can't decide where in the post you want the picture or put more than one picture in a post!

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It would take some organization, but that doesn't look too terrible.

I'm not sure how they told you to cut things, but to me, it looks like strip sets would work.

I'm looking at the lower right corner of the right-hand quilt. It looks like a strip of grey was sewn to a strip of pink, then subcut (across the strip) to create that 'block', then turned up and down. [This is similar to a rail fence quilt block, only done with 2 strips instead of 3 or 4] The next block to the left is a strip of pink sewn to a strip of orange and subcut, place horizontally.

It it were me, with poor instructions, I'd take out graph paper and re-color it for myself.
Then I'd make a list of all the strip combinations I can find (grey/pink, pink/orange, orange/grey, etc.)
Then I'd count how many of each combination I need.
Then I'd figure the width of strips and the length for each 'block', and so some math to determine how many strips I'd need.
Then I'd start sewing strip sets.

After the grid drawing, you can determine how best to piece the skull, working it into the 'block' around it. I can't tell from the picture if it's mostly large pieces of white, or all smaller strips/sections pieced together. But with the black areas, I'd create 'blocks' using the black & white around it, then add from there out.

Does that make any sense? Hope it works out in some way for you, this is a neat little project that seems like it'd fit your friend well.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 1:17PM
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If you want to keep it simple do as already suggested and draw/color it out on 1/4" grid paper. You don't have to do strips with this quilt. If you want to keep it simple for example the top of the skull would be six 1" x 1" finished squares or six 1.5" x 1.5" unfinished squares (this is the size you would cut). When you draw it out on large 1/4" gridded paper, let each square be a 1" x 1" finished square. If you do it like that with 1/4" seams you can cut everything out with your rotary cutter and it should go pretty fast. That's what I would do rather than trying to piece a bunch of multi-sized strips, just use 1" x 1" finished or 1.5" x 1.5" unfinished squares of fabric for the whole thing. And when you draw your gridded picture pattern, make a copy of it and use a highlighter or marker to mark the squares on the gridded paper copy as you go along sewing, sewing it row by row horizontally. Not counting the border, the overall quilt, if you use 1" x 1" finished squares, would measure 18" vertically x 20" horizontally when finished. So on your grid paper color 20 squares across and 18 down. So for example you would cut 87 1.5" squares of grey fabric, 48 black squares of fabric, 44 brown squares, 43 orange squares, 8 black plaid squares, 40 pink squares, and 89white squares --- and all of this is for the skull quilt on the right in the photos above. And your rows with white which are the hardest to count are as follows:
first row of white at top will be 6 1.5" x 1.5" fabric squares
next row of white fabric squares, etc as follows
8 1.5" x 1.5" white fabric squares
10 (same as above)
10 (same as above)
9 (same as above)
11 (same as above)
7 (same as above)
9 (same as above)
4 (same as above)
3 (same as above)
7 (same as above)
5 (same as above.

That's how I would do it. Hope that is not too much information - I was bored and needed a small break from my Lotto blocks. Hope that helps.

best to you,

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 3:44PM
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Wow Sandra, just Wow!

Vacuumfreak, I don't think anyone can help you more with that first idea, it looks like Sandra did all the counting
As far as your 2nd idea, if you'd like to frame some skulls, you could applique skulls to a plain block, and then frame it with an outside border of whatever width you prefer. If you made more than one block per wallhanging, you could mix up the colors a little to reflect how eclectic your friend is, and maybe even do the skulls out of different fabrics... some white, some fabrics with skulls, etc.

Please let us know what you do, and post pictures! You've got a great idea, and I'd like to see where it takes you! HAVE FUN!!!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 7:35PM
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Thanks for the tips!

Wow Sandra, you did a lot of thinking/work on that! I think I am going to follow your advice... I went to Wal-mart and bought some cheap material to make a practice project with so I can see how it turns out. I've found it's best to waste cheap material on a practice project first, you learn so much that way! I'll post a picture if it even resembles the picture :o)

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 9:56PM
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Well good luck and please post a photo when you get one done. :-)

Best to you,

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 7:27PM
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Thank you again Sandra... as I'm cutting I keep referring back to your post and I really am using it as the guideline, so I really do appreciate the time and effort you put into figuring all that out...

I've got the gray, brown, and orange cut... I'm using red instead of pink so I'm on that now, and then I just have the white to go. I've been cutting since I got up today and my neck is killing me from looking down so much. I just took a break because I started to get frustrated... the ruler kept slipping and I was slicing too deeply into the fabric with the rotary cutter, so I figured it was time to take a breather for a little while. I'm standing in fabric scraps an inch thick, but I feel like I'm really getting something done! It will be a while before I get to the sewing, as I still have to finish cutting and lay the pieces out, but I can't wait, that will be my favorite part. I'm going to use my new quarter inch foot with the guide so my seams will be as straight as possible.

I decided to cut 2 inch squares, so the finished project will be a little bigger...

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 5:47PM
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attagirl! keep it up, and do take those breaks! you sound like you're enjoying yourself!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 6:18PM
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