Over the holidays I’ve had a little time to work on the Big Bad Bowser Quilt. I’ve finally found myself working through the top 1/3 of the quilt and knew I’d need lots of the 5.5″ x 5.5″ squares that make up the negative space. I went ahead and made 50 of them and thought it would be a good time to take a closer look at the negative space and how I decided to handle it.
Before I started work, I went round and round with myself for weeks on what to do with the background of this quilt. In the first drawing, it was solid black because that is what the screen shot looks like. I didn’t dig the idea, mostly because I had gone out of my way to buy textured/patterned fabrics for Bowser himself and the solid black just didn’t match.
OK – not black – what color then? Ouch. I decided to just start working my way through it with logic and patience. I knew it had to be neutral and had to be something I liked since there would be so much of it. It seemed like green would be a good choice. I bet I looked at 200 green fabrics. It never felt right – I suppose because Bowser has so much green. Tans/browns were too “light” for the evil Bowser. Grays seemed to be in short supply. I had nearly given up and went back to black when I walked past this gray. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was going to work. I love filigree, I love metallic, and it is in the right color family.
Ok. Fabric acquired. Now I had to decide how to do the background. I could have done pixels all the way across, but, well, yeah right! That’s a lot of pixels! I thought about making large strips and filling in the space with the biggest pieces possible. Nope, doesn’t work with my weird balance OCD. The pattern was broken into 5″ rows, so 5″ squares made sense to me. I started with plain old squares, but they weren’t dense enough to hang out next to the small 1″ pixels. OK. No worries. Just make it more interesting.
If I had been quilting for more than a minute, I would have seen the problem with this square instantly. Since I had not, I mucked a bunch of them up before I figured out how to get them flat – like this: To finish this block at 5.5″ x 5.5″ I start with a 3.5″ x 3.5″ square and four 1.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles. In this case, I’m using the same fabric all the way around, but I could imagine so pretty sweet effects with different fabrics. Here’s a pictorial that shows where I put the seams:
Bonus Tip: The Cheese Stack.
Years ago, I worked in a restaurant. Restaurant cheese comes in a giant stack block of slices. They can be challenging to pull apart when things are going a bit crazy. One of my jobs during down time, was to seperate the slices and stack them back up in a staggered turned 1/4 turn at each slice. It made it easier for the cooks to pull grab the right number of slices quickly. Turns out, the cheese stack works pretty well for fabric too!
So – what do you think? Gray/Silver work ok? Have you ever looked for a fabric forever just to have it jump at you when you least expect it?
Want to know everything there is to know about this Bowser quilt? Take a look at this handy index!