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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Octagonal Spider's Web

I'm excited to finally share this project with you.  It's part of the JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts Stores Celebrate the Season campaign and I've had a lot of fun creating it.  This is a sponsored post, but as always ALL opinions are mine.

It's been a while since I've quilted and I thought this would be a great opportunity to come up with a new design that would be fun for Halloween.  My favorite part of quilting is the design stage - all those numbers and geometry are right up my alley - but I know many others of you out there (like my mother) are cringing at the notion.  So I've done the math for you.  Win - win, hehe.

I searched the internet for a spider web block that wasn't paper pieced.  Quick aside: I don't mind paper piecing, but I've quickly realized that with a little one running around (and no longer napping) strip quilting is much faster for me.  I can sew a long strip, do a quick press, and then put them aside to be cut or trimmed as a group when I get another minute to work on it.  With paper piecing I've had trouble keeping track of where I am when I don't have consistent time to work on it.  My search turned up a few patterns which had a hexagon shape, but that wasn't the look I was going for.  The webs (in my head) should be at a wider angle to each other, which is why paper piecing seems to be the favorite method.  An octagon was the only shape that would work for the web I'd prefer.

Creating my own pattern was in order.  I decided for simplicity, that I would only use my regular cutting ruler and mat and not use any special triangular rulers.  This would leave the method more available to any of you that would like to use it, yet don't have all the fancy quilting tools.

Here is the tutorial for a 6" block (6 1/2" including seam allowances):

You will need at least three colored fabrics and one for the background "negative space."
I found some great Halloweeny colored fabrics and this spooky green used for the background at JoAnn. 

First I'll show you how to make one of these squares which will be cut diagonally to make two of the eight wedges needed for the web.

Cut 2 strips 1 1/2" X 4 3/4" of green
1 strip 1 1/4" X 4 3/4" of purple number 1
1 strip 1 1/4" X 4 3/4" of black
1 strip 1 1/4" X 4 3/4" of purple number 2

Step 1: sew the strips together pressing the seams in the same direction. (note that my strips are a bit scrappy so they aren't exactly 4 3/4" long)

Step 2: using your ruler and rotary cutter, cut at an angle starting 1" down from the top left edge to 1" to the left of the top right edge.  This angle is the key to the correct piecing of the wedges.

Step 3: admire the angle, hehe.

Step 4: turn so the cut edge is aligned with the marks on your cutting mat.

Step 5: cut parallel to the first edge 3 3/4" away.

Step 6: this is what it looks like after you cut in step 5.

Step 7: turn 90 degrees

Step 8: line up your ruler using the most recent two cut sides (you will be making a perpendicular cut) to make sure the sides are squared.  you are going to cut the green stripe making sure there is 1/4" of the green left next to the purple number 1 color.  Since we are making a square that is 3 3/4" you will want to be sure there is the same amount of green stripe next to the purple number 2 color at the opposite corner using the 3 3/4" mark on your ruler.  in the picture above the two white arrows are pointing to the edges which should have 1/4" of green once cut.

Step 9: once you make the cut in step 8 you can see in the bottom right corner where there is 1/4" of green.

Step 10: turn 180 degrees, line up the ruler at 3 3/4" and cut.

Step 11: now you have a completed 3 3/4" square

Step 12: tilt the square, lining up an edge that is only green stripe along a diagonal line on your cutting mat.  since you want to cut diagonally, make sure two points line up on a straight line on your mat as well.  cut the diagonal from the thicker green points - not the 1/4" points (ask me how I remembered to tell you that)

Step 13: two of the eight wedges of the spider's web have been created.

Step 14: repeat from step 1, making another 3 3/4" square to get two other wedges that look like the ones in step 13.

Now we need to make the wedges that angle in the other direction.  The process is the same except for the first angled cut. 

Step 15: repeat step 1, but with different colored strips.

Step 16: using your ruler and rotary cutter, cut at an angle starting 1" to the right from the top left edge to 1" down from the top right edge.

Step 17: once again, admire the angle.

Step 18: turn so the cut edge is aligned with the marks on your cutting mat.

Step 19: continue on from step 5 above, now that you have the correct angle.

Step 20: this is what you'll end up with.

Step 21: and this is after the diagonal cut.

Now you have all the pieces you need to assemble the block.  Four wedges angled in one direction and then four wedges angled the opposite way.  Once you stagger them, they end up making a great octagon web shape.

If you're like me and you need to make a bunch of these webs, I'd recommend piecing longer strips and cutting your 3 3/4" squares from those.  You will end up with more of the exact same wedges, but all you have to do is make a few different strip combinations and you'll have a stack from which to choose. 

All of these instructions, plus more information on how to handle cutting the longer strip pieces I just mentioned, are available in this free pdf download: Octagonal Spider's Web.

I'd love to see what you make using this block, so leave a comment if you do.

This is how I used the blocks!  As something fun to add to our #spookyspaces of course.  Since Bean is young and seems to be afraid of everything lately, I didn't want to go too spooky.  The Octagonal Spider's Web fit in perfectly with these colluding cats on the Halloween themed table quilt I'm making. 

And what's a table quilt?  I'll tell you all about it in a couple of weeks for my Thanksgiving themed post, hehe.  In the meantime, feel free to follow me on instagram, twitter, or facebook (new page!) for updates on my #turkeytablescapes.

Thanks to JoAnn Fabrics for sponsoring this post, and I highly recommend checking out their Celebrate the Season or Creativity Made Simple sites.  There are lots of great ideas (some by our fellow blogging friends - seriously guys Rachael's famous) up there so it's worth the trip.  And of course, don't forget to bring this 50% off coupon with you to shop at JoAnn's before the end of the month. 


  1. Holy cow - the webs are pretty cool, but combined with the cats it's amazing!

  2. Just the right amount of spooky! Very cool I'm working my way up to a quilt again, I tend not to do seasonal because it is a long process for me :)

  3. I can't believe you can do that kind of math. I can't even read the words that explain that kind of math. The cats are really cute!

  4. These look fantastic! So awesome!


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