...to post about my NewBee block for July. *grin* Our challenge from The Busy Bean was a 12" house block using some pretty cute Halloween fabric. Our guiding principle was kid-creepy: think The Nightmare Before Christmas, not Freddy Kruger. Colleen asked us to use a black with yellow bits for the background, to mimic a night sky. She also sent some Riley Blake dots that I needs must track down. They were so cute!
Before I continue I have a bit of a disclaimer: The only thing I remember about The Nightmare Before Christmas is a preview I saw in what must've been the early 90's of a really skinny scary creature standing on a curly-q hilltop. *grin*
So I went with it...
Between The Nightmare Before Christmas and a nod to my favorite children's book author, Bill Peet, this is what I came up with:
My brothers and I grew up loving the work of Bill Peet ---- The Caboose that Got Loose, Chester the Worldly Pig, and Hubert's Hair-Raising Adventure, to name a few ---- and I adore his auto-biography. For some reason I have two copies... *grin* Bill was also an illustrator for Walt Disney and he worked on some of my favorite Disney movies, including Dumbo (I love Elephants on Parade!). One of his trademarks was drawing faces within houses. My brother Tom and I were especially fond of tracking those down...
The fence and chimney were inspired by Nightmare --- my original plan for the chimney was to piece a snail's trail, but the boxy nature of the trail seemed clumsy and just didn't quite do it for me.
In my block drafting, I came across a picture of a paper-pieced rose --- I'm scared to death of paper-piecing, but I really liked the effect of the swirling center. I isolated the parts that struck me as chimney-worthy and drew my own pattern. The house block is divided into quadrants and each measures 6.5" --- my rosey chimney is a pretty big part of the overall effect of the block and it took me several hours (and several ripped seams) to get it right. Have you ever tried to pluck out a back stitched seam set on the smallest stitch length? I had three of them to rip on this block and they about did me in. *grin*
Jack's mouth was the starting point for my fence --- I wanted to mimic the uneven "teeth" and at first I thought about paper-piecing that, too, but thankfully my mother-in-law pointed out an alternative: I could applique the fence onto the finished block. Am I ever glad I listened! It took me 4 hours to get the paper piecing "right" on the chimney; I'm pretty sure I would've ditched the block if I'd had to do anymore of that. And, applique let me add zig-zag stitching which hollers, "Frankenstein" and, me thinks, is kid-creepy approved!
I love the windows --- errr...."eyes" --- of the house, too. They were such fun to do and my ode to all those cross quilts floating around on Flickr. That part of my block was pretty easy, too; I just might have to give in and do a whole quilt of 'em myself.
And here is my house in all its Technicolor glory:
p.s. An "Aha!" moment: I had no idea when you paper-piece things that they have a tendency to come out backward! If you notice in my mock-up, the chimney is supposed to be on the left side of the roof. Mine is on the right in the final block! *grin* I was still able to complete my block as I envisioned, but yah, it's backward.
p.p.s. I don't know entirely why, perhaps since I was trying new techniques, but this block took me 7.5 hours to complete!
p.p.p.s. My one regret: that silly visual "line" that runs down the center of the block. I didn't mean for it to happen and the window only accentuates it further. When I joined the two parts of the roof together, I had to fiddle a bit to get the slope of the roof to match. In doing so, the dots in the fabric worked against me. Instead of "blending" as I had hoped, I created a fairly distinct line right down the center and cut off some dots. I didn't have a whole lot of wiggle room so I opted to leave it. Then, after making my windows and joining the quadrants together I realized the spider's web in the window and the line in the roof almost perfectly join one another. *sigh*