Monday, January 3, 2022

Skulls On Fire

Well, it took four years after buying all the fabric, but my husband finally has his very own quilt.

Does it ever feel good to have a finish on the second day of January! I'd like to thank Leanne at Devoted Quilter who is hosting TGIFF this week, for her 100 days of WIPS on Instagram #wipsbegone2021 which gave me an extra push to get this done. 
When I first asked him for an idea/theme for his quilt, he said he wanted something like this silkscreened rectangle:

I was pretty chuffed to see this photo made the Aurifil Sunday Showcase on their blog AND it was one of the nine tiles they use as a header!

He'd found that on Etsy. I purchased it, and it became the jumping point for his quilt. But seriously, fabric like that? Well, my friend Judy who used to blog at Quilt Paradigm found the main super-duper-cool "skulls on fire" (all lower case) fabric which became the theme. Either she or I saw the quilt design on Pinterest that I thought I'd probably make. Much fun and many hours were spent combing the Internet for shops carrying skulls fabric. The main colour, of course, was black. I bought the skulls on fire in black and in red, and so that became the colour theme. And there the stack of fabrics sat, marinating patiently. So too, sat the husband, patiently, never once bugging me about hey, weren't you going to make me that skulls quilt? Meanwhile I made at least 60, probably a lot more, quilts since buying his fabric. (12 per year for Island Batik for three years alone, plus the Benartex ones, family ones, RSC ones, etc. etc.)

Many reiterations of my sewing studio, many organizations and reorganizations, packing up, and unpacking meant I had to have a think and a search for my notes. It took me um, a while but when I did, there was the name of the pattern! Boxtrot. Anyhow I went online, hoping to download it, and that took me a bit to even find it. It's only available in paper in just one shop I found, and at that point I didn't have time to wait. So this is not exactly the Boxtrot design and doing all the math took almost as long as sewing the darn top! Patterns are worth the money. There are a few quilts out there with this rail fence plus framed boxes idea, and, as I'm not selling this quilt nor sharing my math, I think I'm okay here. It's when people take others' ideas and give them the tiniest of a tweak and THEN sell them that I get rather irate.
But I digress.

The frames and skinny rail fence section was a fabric I had in my stash, not intended for this quilt. I had intended the paws fabric (see the fourth section below) to be there. However, it did not work to go around the black skulls on fire. I am not so sure that I had intended to use the black 'sof' fabric there, and my notes didn't indicate which one, strangely enough, because they are fairly detailed as to what I was thinking/planning. Again may I say, raise your hand and pat yourself on the back for having a healthy stash my friends!

Before I went to bed on New Year's Eve (which was before midnight as per usual lol) I had a flimsy. But not the one you see below.
Observant types will notice the side edges are uneven. This is because not all fabric is created equal in width, and I used the entire WOF to make the rail fence sections.

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll have seen the first iteration, which had a different red fabric for the fifth section. It bugged me; my gut was telling me to rip it all off. So I got up January 1 and did just that. I had lots of the red skulls on fire fabric, (still have a yard left) and he just loves this fabric. I got quite the reaction when he came upstairs to see it on the design wall on New Year's Eve, so it was worth it, and he is worth it, 😍 to redo it.

I made the backing and sewed on a label I'd found in more reorganizing done last week as I figure out my 'system' in my new studio with all these lovely cabinets. I loaded it, Bella supervising, (she's so happy to have me home, really missed me):

Was I over the moon skull and crossbones to find that Minky fabric for the back! I did run it by MacGyver first in case he thought it too pirate-esque but he said no he thought that would be fine. And hey, it's Minky!
Pre-binding. Yay for a little snow that may stay this time.

I had bought two yards, thinking a throw size was what I was going for. Well I did five sections (four would've fit the two yards just fine) so I was about 8" short. Rummaged through the Minky pile of leftovers. Found this strip from Gingham Quilt for J, and it was perfect. I ended up with about 2" left to trim.

I opted not to put batting inside. Again, conferring with MacGyver and placing the flimsy and backing on his legs on the couch confirmed what I knew: this couch quilt was plenty snuggly and warm as it was. I've done this with three Minky-backed quilts now.

I had bought another skulls fabric that didn't make the cut for the five sections, so I used it for binding. There was quite enough, so I used up the last inches of the black skulls on fire. 
The top was pieced with the brown Aurifil. The variegated Essential by Connecting Threads was just so perfect to use for the meandering I did over the quilt. I stitched in my initials, as usual, and MacGyver's real name on the opposite corner, and even remembered my label. I used Aurifil 2900 to do the custom quilting on the centre crow picking the skull's fleshy bits block.

I did do a couple of other custom quilting motifs. This raven was one, though it's hard to tell as the thread blends in so well. This fabric is Nevermore Collection and it is just an awesome piece, worked in perfectly with his centre block.

That skulls on the cross fabric was the hardest fabric I've ever quilted on which to see my quilting path! Several times I had to stop and put my nose or fingers on the fabric or crouch down to see if there was thread there or not! I may have crossed a meander path once or twice. It's another cool fabric isn't it? You don't notice the grey skulls and the curlicues at first.

I'm happy to report that he used it last night while watching TV!

This quilt is one of my UFOs, actually a USO (UnStarted Object) on my PHD list, so that brings my total to ten UFOs completed. I'm very happy with that, even though that was the only thing stopping me from completing my PHD. The other requirement is finishing every single quilt you start, which
I actually DID!! Shocked the hell out of myself, let me tell you. The temperature quilt didn't count since the last block was sewn on December 31, but it is first on my list of UFOs to complete for this year's PHD. 

Okay, off to organize a backing for said temp quilt. I do need to write my 2021 reflections post, and planning post for 2022 might be a part of it or a separate one. I'm enjoying my second year of 'no demands; make up my own deadlines' approach to my quilting life. However, I do like to set goals and have a plan, so ha, even if I don't publish it, I do always have one.

Okay enough rambling. I have said reflections/planning post to write and another to announce a super-fun QAL to brighten the blahs of January, so stay tuned.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern:  based on Boxtrot by Creative Sewultions
Size: 53.5" x 77.75" (after quilting)
Fabric: 'skulls on fire' by The Alexander Henry Fabrics Collection, 'Nevermore Collection' by Michael Miller Fabrics, 'Equestrian' by Camelot Design Studio, 'Otto' by De Leon Design Group for Alexander Henry Fabrics Collection, Headgear by Fabri-Quilt, Elizabeth's Studio is the paws print (I don't have the name)
Backing: Minky by (I believe) Shannon Fabrics (still available online)
Batting: none
Quilted: on Avril:  58 580 stitches
Threads: pieced with Aurifil; quilted with Essential variegated 100% cotton; centre block with Aurifil 100% cotton; The Bottom Line in the bobbin; binding topstitched down with Exquisite 100% polyester.


  1. Oh yay, that's fantastic! I love that the flimsy got a positive reaction and that he's using it and enjoying the quilt already. And I was just thinking about Judy last week; are you still in touch with her?

  2. What's not to love about this quilt! That Raven and Skull centre block, I like the overall design. One happy warm hubby to boot!

  3. Woohoo! Hubby has a quilt - way to go, Sandra! Congrats to on meeting your PHD. You have had an amazing quilty 2021!

  4. Oh wow!!! I know how long it takes to collect special fabric for quilts (and I always over buy). This is a remarkable quilt and I'm so glad you showed off the details of it. Better yet, MacGyver loved it! So happy you were able to finish you PHD list and not add new ones to it. What an accomplishment!

  5. Wow, well done on your finish and your amazing progress through your lists/ufos/uso. Happy 2022!

  6. Such a great quilt and already in use! He wasted no time showing his appreciation for it. Fun fabrics and a fun end to a year of PHD work. Another QAL? in January? Yikes...we better get a snowstorm as I have so much to do.

  7. Definitely a labor of love. Collecting special, sometimes obscure fabric takes dedication and perseverance and sometimes creativity. Well done! I think quilts with a top and minky are extra cudd. Evidently, MacGyver agrees! Awesome!

  8. That's one fun and fabulous quilt!