Halloween Quilt – Spider Web Log Cabin Block Tutorial

on Oct 16, 2010 in Quilting | 34 comments

The biggest challenge I encountered with these Halloween blocks was the setting. I had 8 blocks and no matter how I put them on the design wall, I didn’t like the result.

After a lot of dead-end attempts at different settings, I finally realized one block was dragging the whole thing down:

The characters in the windows just didn’t ‘go’ with the remaining blocks. I LOVED the pink and the crows and oh my goodness, that lightening is definitely the best sky in the whole bunch, but the sketched designs were just too different for my eye. Block removed.

7 blocks left. Now the math really didn’t work. It needed some type of filler block. I have a weird fascination with the names of quilt blocks and how their names relate to the quilt being made. Does that make any sense??? For a Halloween quilt the first thing that popped into my head was Spider Web blocks. I took to the web to learn how they are constructed.

I discovered two different styles of quilts that were referred to as Spider Web quilts. The most common one uses triangles where the ‘spider web’ gets created when the triangles are put back together. The design works over a larger quilt layout, not really block by block which I was looking to do. Some great tutorials for the triangle style spider web block:

Quilt It – clever use of fabric as the template which doubles as the middle shape in the triangle

Quiltville – a paper pieced version

Tallgrass Prarie Studio – a version using fabric selvages

Jaybird Quilts – a great potholder tutorial demonstrating a different flavor of piecing a single block

I found several historical quilts that appear to be hand pieced with a hexagon in the center. Example One and Example Two. I also found this FABULOUS 1880’s quilt referred to as a Spiderweb Log Cabin Quilt.

I went with a wonky version of the Spiderweb Log Cabin Quilt. Finished block size is 9 inches x 9 inches (size does not include the final Kona cotton sashing).

Step 1: Cut a hexagon free hand. Mine measures approximately 2.5 inches across finished (flat side to flat side).

Step 2: Cut 6 strips for one complete round of piecing around the center. Strips should be long enough to extend beyond both of the edges the strip is being sewn to.

Step 3: Sew strip one to side one.

Step 4: Sew strip 2 to opposite side of hexagon. Finger press open with seam allowance toward newly sewn strip.

Step 5: Sew strips 3 and 4 in the same manner. This time a little bit of strips 1 and 2 will be peeking out from the newly sewn on strips. Cut off the excess so it is even with the seam allowance.

Step 6: Sew on strips 5 and 6 to complete the second round.

Step 7: determine the desired finished width of that round of strips. For my orange set of strips I decided on 1.25 inches. You can see how I lined up my ruler with the 1.5 inch mark (.25 of that will go away in the next round of sewing on strips). Trim.

Step 8: This is what the block looks like after all sides have been trimmed. It’s now ready for the next round of strips to be sewn on.

Step 9: Repeat steps 2 through 8 until you have a big enough block. This is where I needed all my brain power focused on how to finish the block and forgot to take any more pictures! Basically I completed the Pink strip round and knew my block measured 9 inches across in some areas but not all. I free pieced the purple kona cottons onto 3 of the corners that came up short on the measurement. I did not need to do another full round of piecing, all that fabric would have been trimmed away and wasted.

Some thoughts on color and strip size:

  • I started out very scrappy. The Orange centered block uses 6 different black fabrics. I then swung to the other extreme and did the lime green round on that block with a single fabric. My third approach was using 3 different fabrics per round and placing each pair opposite one another.
  • I used the last formula for all rounds of the Lime centered block. I threw some Kona solids into the mix as well. That block has a certain symmetry that I really like.
  • The strip rounds vary in size from .75 inches to 1.25 inches.
  • I liked using a fabric that read as a solid for the center hexagon. It really defines the shape visually after all the strip rounds are sewn on.

***

Questions I’ve received on this quilt:

  • The Schoolhouse Block is a traditional quilt block that can be either paper pieced or pieced using templates. I designed my block using EQ software and made templates. I did my own block design because my windows and doors are a little bit wider than a standard school house block. That was at least 4 years and 3 computers ago. I’m looking to see if I can find my original file. If I can’t I’ll re-create the block. Either way I’ll post it.
  • Fussy cutting the fabric for the windows and doors in that block is not my original idea. I saw a quilt that was done in a similar way with all sock monkeys. I decided to do the same thing with a Halloween theme.

Thank you for all the encouraging words on the quilt so far. It’s keeping me motivated to finish!

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