Merry Grinchmas Quilt, Part 1 of 3

My husband’s family, specifically my MIL, goes INSANE with Christmas decorations.  She has, to date, 14 Christmas trees in her house, all decorated in different themes. My husband has come to have a certain distaste for decorations as a result, and is downright Grinchy as a result.  The bargain at our house is that he will put up outside decorations, which are all airport themed so as to appease his Grinchiness, and I decorate the inside and the tree.  So when Kaufman came out with the Grinch fabric line, I knew I had to make a quilt for him out of it.

I bought the Fat Quarter assortment of the fabric from Fat Quarter Shop, which includes 12 fat quarters and three 2/3 yard pieces.  One of those 2/3 yard pieces is a panel (link to Kaufman) of 11 different “pictures” in various sizes, so I decided to make that the focus of the quilt, rather than conventionally pieced quilt blocks.  This quilt is ALL about the fabric and print, rather than fancy piecing, so it comes together quickly after some math. Note: Jaybird Quilts actually has a published pattern for the Grinch fabric, so this design looks a little like her in that it’s a 3×3 arrangement of these panel pieces, but she does a fancy postage stamp finish and fusible applique to mount the panel blocks. I’ve never found fusible applique to hold up well after repeated washings, so I opted for piecing instead.

Here is my materials list, but you can adjust according to your stash:

  • 1 FQ assortment of Grinch fabric
  • Red solid fabric (I had Kona Cardinal on hand from the Terrible Quilt): 1 yard or slightly less
  • White solid fabric (for inner border): 1/3 yard (if you cut WOF).  I had a weird long piece that allowed me to cut along the grain so I didn’t have to piece it.
  • Green solid fabric (I used Kona Lime because it’s a nice Grinchy shade): 1/2 yard
  • Binding fabric – you can do a scrapping binding using leftovers from the FQs, or scrape up a 1/2 yard of something else
  • Backing fabric – Again, piece it together using FQs leftovers and other cuts, or enough backing for a 66″ x74″ quilt.

To separate the panel into individual blocks, I lined up my ruler on the pictures and cut 1/2″ bigger all around each picture.  Most of these pictures have a printed border that makes it easy, but for those that didn’t, I just carried on the cutting line from the block closest to it.  The good news is that there is about one inch between each block, so cutting looks like this:

Unfortunately because of the nature of printing on fabric, the blocks don’t always print on the grain, so your cuts will be slightly off grain. Always cut to the printing and not the grain for stuff like this, and if bias worries you, then just starch the snot out of it.
 
You’ll note I’ve labeled the blocks A, B, or C.  Those correspond to various widths.  Save those other two smaller blocks because we’ll use those later. (SPOILER ALERT: in a border!).
  • The 3 A blocks are the skinniest at about 9 3/4″ x  11 1/4″.
  • The 4 B blocks are 8 1/2″ x 11 1/4″.
  • The 2 C blocks are 9 3/4″ x 11 1/14″

Because I am mildly OCD, and also anal, I like my quilt blocks to be the same size, so I needed to frame these pictures to make them all the same size.  Mine ended up 14 x 16 1/2″ after trimming (so they will be 13 1/2″ x 16″ finished).  Here are the cutting directions for framing up those pictures using the FQ prints from the assortment you purchased:

  • A blocks: Cut 6 – 4 1/4 x 11/14″ for the sides and 6 – 3 1/4″x14″ for the top and bottom
  • B blocks: Cut 8 – 3 1/2 x 11/14″ for the sides and 8 – 3 1/4″x14″ for the top and bottom
  • C blocks: Cut 4 – 3 x 11/14″ for the sides and 4 – 3 1/4″x14″ for the top and bottom

Here what the blocks looked like all framed up, in bad lighting and photography:

As you can probably tell, I opted for the smallest print FQs to frame the biggest pictures, and the biggest prints to frame the skinniest pictures. I paid attention to direction for the stripes, but had a brain fart and didn’t for the Grinch print in the middle row on the right. Oh well. I tried to balance the colors out so I didn’t have ALL RED or ALL GREEN blocks, but do what makes you happy.
Take your nine blocks and arrange them in a 3×3 layout with good balance of colors. This is not my final layout, but it’s an idea (too much red clustered together, IMO):
Step 2: Arrange them in a pleasing manner

Now it’s time to cut the sashing!

Here’s the cut list:
  • Solid red:
    • A pieces: Cut 12 of 2 1/2″ x 16 1/2″
    • B pieces: Cut 12 of 2 1/2″ x 14″
  • Grinch print of your choice (I used the green small Who print)
    • C pieces: Cut 16 of 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″

Work some magic, wave your wand, and the sashing is magically pieced together! Just kidding. I just chained pieced all of these together, and always pressed to the sashing (because nested seams make for awesome matched corners):

Step 3: Join blocks together using sashing and cornerstones
Finish sewing it together, press, and enjoy your quilt center! It should measure about 50 1/2″ x 55″
Next post: adding borders!
Part 2 is here.
Part 3 is here.

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