Bowser Quilt: The Negative Space

Bowser Quilt: The Negative Space

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.

BowserQuiltBackground

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.

BlowserClownCarOK – 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.

BowserQuiltNegativeSpace (9)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.

BowserQuiltNegativeSpace (8)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: BowserQuiltNegativeSpace (3)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:

Steps1-3Steps-4---6

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!

BowserQuiltNegativeSpace (11)I chained them and could easily grab the square on the top without accidentally grabbing two or having to take extra time to separate them.

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!

 

 

21 Comments

  1. That is an inspired choice of fabric! And your pieced squares are the right blance of pieced but not too pieced. I love your cheesy stack tip too!!

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  2. Love that fabric, Susan!! Cheese stack – food and sewing, perfect combination, don’t you think?! ;)

    -Soma

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  3. Love the grey fabric! Sometimes solid just doesn’t work for a quilt and I think you definitely picked the best choice! Love the blocks too!

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    • hahaha! Mine too! :) Happy New Year Diana!

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  4. Just love the fabric.

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    • Thank you so much! It is a Jo-Ann exclusive and I think it is still available.

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  5. Love this choice… It’s perfect! I’ll have to try the cheese stack:)

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    • hahah, so funny how the most random things inspire others isn’t it? I’ve got a few tricks from working at a video store for years too!

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  6. Awesome! That fabric is perfect. Happy New Year Susan. I hope 2014 is super fun and creative for you.

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    • Thanks Izzy! I’m sure it will be – once I can get off the couch. Silly chest cold has grounded me! Looking forward to what you come up with too – I’m sure it will be excellent.

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  7. Perfect fabric choice! I can’t wait to see this one finished, it’s amazing!
    And i’ll be looking forward to seeing what you come up with for 2014!
    Happy New Year Susan!

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    • Thank you muches dear bloggy friend! I’ve got my eyes on you for 2014 too. :)

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  8. Each photo shows the grey with a slightly different cast to it, but it seems to coming together really well!

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    • Tis true – the camera so hates that reflective thread. The most accurate colors are in the seaming images. Won’t be long now – maybe even this year. :)

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  9. What a great background fabric; well worth the wait! They make the quilt so much more interesting. And partial seams are such a great way to sew so many blocks.

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    • Thanks Ann! Partial seams is now part of my vocabulary! Which is good – I can google it when I get in trouble next time. :)
      Happy New Year!

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  10. I have to agree that background fabric was the perfect choice. It has a gorgeous print but does not distract from the main focus of the quilt! Great pics showing how to do the partial seam to make your background blocks more interesting! I am kinda partial to that method myself! Love your work and looking forward to seeing what inspiring creations you will be sharing with us in 2014! Happy New Year!

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    • Ah partial seam! I figured there was a name for it. Too bad I didn’t know what it was – I could have googled it!

      I’m very much looking forward to 2014 too – as soon as I shake this awful chest cold. dang it!

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  11. It IS the perfect background! I love it!!!! I also use the cheese stack lol, it makes life so much easier.
    I’m so excited to see the finished top!

    I am always searching, searching, searching for the right fabrics… I guess I just don’t have the “eye” but I’m very lucky that my fiance is a natural at picking fabric. Which is pretty ironic since he can’t even match his outfits without my help! LOL

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    • I’m looking forward to it as well! He’s put away for now, but I’m taking him to a sewing day with my bee in late January. It should go much faster now!

      Yay fiance! It’s always nice when they are supportive. I know the folks around her get really tired of hearing this and that about fabric! :)

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What say you?