Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Pixie Ghost ~ Booyah!!

Another project I thought would be a breeze...had a few bumps along the way!  Regardless of the ups and downs I was able to finish two things and mark them off my list.  This little pixelated ghost and interfacing squares.  

Pixie Ghost
18" x 16"
I've had this little ghost tucked away in my mind and computer for years.  Knowing one day I'd tackle it and come up with a concrete idea on what I wanted to do.  That day came, the idea hit, it was time!

A long, long time ago I saw a tutorial on Sew Mama Sew on how to make Quick Piece Tiny Squares.  I always wanted to give it a try and now was the perfect time!

I decided to use 1" squares (unfinished), hundreds of squares, I'm going tiny here!  Like many of my projects, the idea hit and I had to capitalize on it, right then and there.  I grabbed some lightweight interfacing and began marking a grid with my ruler.  The first go around, I made a 1/2" grid. Which is what I wanted my squares to be when finished.  Oops, I had to remark the grid which ended up being a big confusing mess.  I had to go with it since I didn't have any more interfacing.

First problem:  The interfacing wasn't big enough, so I had to use 5 different pieces. 

Second problem:  Marking the grid.  I used a pencil on the non fusible side which was hard to see when it was time to place the squares.  

I have to say, I enjoyed this next step!  I used a washable glue stick and stuck each square on the fusible side of the interfacing.  I first placed the black squares for the outline and once I 'thought' I had it right the real fun began!  Putting all the filler squares inside.  When I say 'thought', I mean I had a hard time making the outline with the five pieces of interfacing.  A few frustrating moments at the beginning and then at the end when I thought it was right.

Third problem:  Confusion with the different pieces of interfacing.  
Forth problem:  It's important to be accurate when marking your grid.  


After all the pieces were glued, I ironed the squares on to the interfacing.  At this point you want to make sure everything is lined up exactly the way you want it.  Once they are fused...there's no going back!  I had to make a slight modification in my design because I made a little mistake!

The next step, sewing the 1/4" seams.  This part went pretty fast.  You do have to fiddle with it especially if you have small squares, but it's very doable.  I first stitched the vertical seams.

I'm thinking, those seams...they are going to be so bulky!  My solution was to cut the edge of the seams so I could press them open.  Good idea?  I thought so!  For this part I grabbed an old seam ripper, inserted it at the interfacing fold and it sliced it.  I was thinking this is great!  SO easy!  It was a royal pain in the butt pressing the seams open!  But the seam ripper, what a great idea...

Fifth problem:  Bulky seams.

And then the sewing the horizontal lines.  Here is where you could really feel the bulk adding up! The sections would naturally roll with each seam.  

With all the seams sewn it was time for the seam ripping magic.  Screeching halt!  It wasn't working.  I think it was because of the interfacing and how it's made?!  I don't know.  I ended up having to snip each seam with scissors.  It wasn't fun, it wasn't easy and it made a mess!  
Sixth problem:  Seam ripper action doesn't work on the seams.
Seventh problem:  The seams are even harder to press!

You might be asking why are you doing this?  I asked myself that same question!  Believe me, I was not feeling the love very much at this point.  What kept me going was the hope that it would all come together in the end.  

I still had to sew the five pieces of interfacing sections together.  I thought doing it after the seams was the best solution.  The jury is still out on that one, I may try something different next using one piece of interfacing or using bigger squares!  As careful as I was to make the grid and layout the pieces, I had a difficult time lining up the squares.  It's amazing how off things can get.

Once all the pieces were together you wouldn't believe how heavy this became!  Yikes! I was shocked and knew if it turned out it was going to have to be washed to give it some 'drape'!

I used lighter squares for the filler on the outside, added an inside border of white, and then a final border using squares.  I didn't use interfacing for the outside border, I wanted to finish it at this point with little or no fussing.

It was time to quilt this sucker!  I used Aurifil white, black, pink and cream for the pebbles.  It went surprisingly fast and I was pleased with the results.  

The rest of the quilting, organic straight lines.  

A little plaid action in the corners just for fun!

The back has the 'spirit' of the ghost, which I love!  You can also see the piece scrappy binding.  Visual interest as they say!

Oh my goodness!  I actually finished it!  

I was so excited that I forgot to add my usual hanging corners on the back!

Eight problem:  Hanging method, don't forget!

Since my discovery of the Sew Mama Sew tutorial, there have been advances on this technique. Such as interfacing with a grid.  I've never used or seen it, but I've heard about it. 

My thoughts: 
Would I do it again?  Yes, maybe!  Even with all the pitfalls, it was still fun. 
Would I use 1" squares again?  No.  Too, too tiny!  I thought it would be more accurate for such small squares.  Mostly it was, but I think I could have achieved the same thing piecing strips of fabric, and by doing so not have the problem with the seams.

I found that no matter how careful you are at marking a grid and cutting 1" will be off.   

Would I use pieced interfacing again?  No.  When piecing sections together you would be surprised at how easily and how much your squares don't line up.   

The seams.  I don't even know what to say about those.  I choose to press them open.  I know others have not.  I'm left wondering what would happen if I used a 3/8" seam and then rotary cut the fold off, would that work?  Would it be easier?    

The stats on this little puppy:
Finished: 18" x 16"
Ghost/Center has: 672 ~ 1/2" squares
Border has: 126 ~ 1/2" squares
For a total of: 798 

Call me crazy!!


Needle & Foot


  1. Thank you for that report and congratulations to that tiny monster beauty. Great work

    1. It’s nice to have completed a couple things on my ‘to do’ list! There were pitfalls, but I did learn a lot!

  2. Though you had so much trouble while making it, I like what came out at the end. And the basic idea for these tiny scraps is fantastic. Maybe I will give it a try myself.

    Best Mareike

    1. I was hoping it would turn out in the end and I can’t complain about the final results! It was tough going, but worth it! It’s worth giving it a try!

  3. Oh thanks for your interpretation of that tute--amazing how things that LOOK easy become a big pain in the butt!! is a lovely finished piece--I've always been intrigued by pixilated quilts (just don't have a martini when you look at them hahaha). My foray into sewing many many scrap squares together though has cured me of that idea!! Hugs, Julierose

  4. Wow. Thanks so much for your details of the good and the bad. But there is no ugly here. It turned out great. I can't imagine undertaking such a small (in size) task. Great job!!

    1. I was so far into the project before I realized all the problems! At that point I had to power through and I’m glad I did!

  5. What a boo-tiful finish, Jayne! I do think you are a tiny bit crazy, but in a very fun and good way. :)

  6. 1" squares are not fun. Ask me how I know? yet, this one is cute!!!
    You are completely crazy but please do not change.

  7. This is adorable. I love your trial and error process Jayne. The ghost 'outline' on the back is really cool too. I have seen the grid marked interfacing - that would have helped, I am sure.
    Thanks for linking up!!

  8. it looks great and so cute despite all the trouble it gave. I like the idea of a slightly larger seam and just cut it off!

  9. Such a cute little ghost! I used the grid method for a quilt and it helped to draw the grid on freezer paper and then put the interfacing on top of that. Snipping open those seams helped a lot, plus it gave me an excuse to buy a cute sharp little pair of scissors! In spite of your problems with it, this is a huge success!

  10. WOW! Just plain WOW! I love this, and how you quilted it is perfect. I've used this method before, but never with such small pieces. You are a brave (or crazy) woman, but I'm so glad you worked through the issues and persevered. Thanks for sharing with us. :-)

  11. Super cute Jayne. I think this process is great for small projects. Thanks for sharing what you discovered!

  12. Jayne, you never cease to amaze me. This is so cute! I've often wondered how this method would work, especially on such tiny pieces, so it was great to read your thoughts. I helped a friend create an Olive Quilt using this method, but with the pre-printed grid interfacing and much bigger squares. I wouldn't say it was my favorite method but for her as a beginner it went quicker.

  13. This is so cute! Love the quilting too!

  14. This little ghost is so cute. I admire you for your dedication to that quilting, it really is fabulous. When I have forgotten to add hanging squares, I just use the 3m velcro strips. I stick them right to the back of the quilt and the wall. They come off both with no trouble and no damage.

  15. Crazy! Uh. . . crazy talented and original :)

  16. It turned out really cute, I love how your quilting emphasizes the pixels. I have use this technique twice, with 2'' and 1.5'' unfinished squares and it was OK, not too much trouble (the 2'' are easier, of course).

  17. Okay, are crazy. But in a fun way! Thank you for the report on this. I think I will leave this type of project to the for example! I know my critters would be all over those one inch squares and I would lose most of them.
    Your project is so cute!!!

  18. Wow. That's a lot of tiny squares! Sorry that it was a troubling project, but it came out so cute in the end. Love the heart and his little rosy cheeks!

  19. Pixie Ghost is so, so cute, especially with the quilting. I did a pixel block with interfacing recently, and also wasn't feeling the love when I got to the tedious seam-pressing part. I clipped the seams with a rotary cutter, which left them shorter than I would have liked. Perhaps making them 3/8" would have worked better.

  20. This design has a crazy amount of squares but the effect is so powerful. the design is awesome and I love your choice of adding the quilted circle in each square!

  21. Fun design but I tried that interfacing technique once and it and I did not become friends. Love your quilting on this little one tho!

  22. Oh, girl. I've fallen for the same interfacing shortcut. I used 2.5" squares, though, so that made things more manageable. And I did as you suggest at the end -- I sewed generous 1/4" seams so I could trim a tiny, tiny bit of each off with my rotary blade and press seams open. I don't know ... I'm glad I gave the method a whirl, but next time, I think I'll pass and piece the old-fashioned way! : )

    Despite the challenges you encountered, what a crazy cute ghost! I'm not a Halloween kind of girl, but this creature has captured my heart.

  23. It's boo-tiful !! and definitely worth the mishaps :)

  24. This is sooo cute! Love the quilting!

  25. Yes, a little crazy ;-) That was painful just reading along. But the little ghost you got out of it? It's the cutest, I want to adopt one!

  26. This is the cutest little ghostie ever! I love it! Sorry for the heartache, but congrats on following through. It turned out great.

  27. Very cute! The creation process sounds a pit painful. It was certainly worth it that you stuck with it.

  28. What a cute little ghost! Worth all the effort.

  29. You're a better woman than I...I would have given up early on. Who am I kidding? I wouldn't have even started. 1-inch squares????? But it turned out amazing!

  30. Crazy Jayne....adorable little "pixie" ghost!


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