Monday, July 29, 2013



blog with pictures of some of the participants quilts and tops.

When you belong to a guild, you participate, sometimes as the chairperson of a project.  This is how I became chairperson of "the guild Mystery quilt".  Yikes, did I really sign up for this.  I have a partner in crime.  She signed up because she thought it would be fun.  At our first meeting she admitted she had never done a mystery quilt.  Uth oh, I need help.  She is hiding her talents under a basket.  She is the pianist who plays by ear.  She looks at a pattern and is able to execute it without doing the math.
We tussled with patterns.  We found ones which are free for personal use, are not necessarily free for guild use.  Thus began our quest for a pattern.  The perimeters:  We needed something that would appeal to a variety of quilters.  Our last mystery quilt was a scrap quilt, we thought the group would enjoy a change with a planned color scheme.  We looked for something to use stash yardages (maybe the focus fabric we bought and didn't know what we'd ever do with it). 
We found a pattern with one of the fabric manufactures.  We asked permission to convert it to a mystery quilt.  In the conversion, the pattern ended only as an inspiration. 
We designed a quilt our guild can call their own. 
This introduction will set the scene to follow the clues.

A mystery quilt in 5 installments
Finished small Quilt, 57” sq with borders
Small quilt without borders 45” sq
Larger quilt, 63” sq without borders
Thank you for participating in this mystery. We hope it will be fun, easy, and educational.  If you know how to use the machine and how to stitch a 1/4 inch.  You should be comfortable working on it.  Newbie’s to the world of quilting may need a little help. 

During the Holiday Season there will not be an installment in December.  This quilt is designed to be done by beginners but it is not a “simple” quilt.  Each step includes hints and construction techniques.  Fabric cutting instructions may contain cuts which might not be used in that part.
Label them and set them aside.

This should not be a stressful quilt for you.  Each of the Clues should only take 2 hours of your time to complete (unless you choose to do the larger quilt, that installment will take, maybe 4 hours).  The First installment may take a little more time, 3 hours at the most.

Abbreviations used in the mystery:  WOF=Width of Fabric, SQ= Square

FABRIC CHOICES:  Six fabrics are required.   The quilt is not conducive to scraps, but it is stash friendly. Our stashes tend to lean towards one color family more than the others.  In my stash the hardest fabric to find is the focus fabric.  The focus fabric background needs to be light in color with multiple colors in it (they can be bright or dark).

   My stash is very limited in light background fabrics.  A large designed focus fabric works well. This fabric will have at least 5+ inches of design showing in the blocks.  It is also used for the larger border.  You will choose the other fabrics from the colors in the focus fabric.  Pick colors from the fabric you want to emphasize.  I.E., your fabric has a white background, which maybe you don’t really like, but it has another light color in it, you could use your light color for background fabric; minimizing the effect of the white. 

You should make a chart with a swatch of each fabric by its letter name, this helps keep confusion out of each step (I use a 2 ½ X 4 ½” rectangle.  When the  project is done I have usable pieces of fabric to use.)  I will refer to each fabric in the construction of the quilt, with letters.

There is always a worry when you participate with an unknown.  The biggest one I always have is, “Did they give a generous estimate of the fabric needed?”  When I cut these fabrics there was more than I needed.  When I cut the strips into sub units I had even more “left over’s”.  

FABRIC CHART ABOVE:  You will notice that the "B" and the "F" Fabrics are close in color.  The pattern is different but the colors and value are the same.  This will result in a different looking quilt, (not drastically different). 

This is the only chart I have a "C" fabric featured in.  The fabric was there when I was picking fabrics and looked great.  But I am one who changes her mind on borders and know I will probably change my mind again.  lol

At the bottom of the blog, there are 5  more fabric charts of quilts which are in progress (testing out the pattern to make sure the instructions are on point).  They are there to show you different interpretations.  I have used only fabrics in my stash.  My cohort used her stash too.


FABRIC A:  This is your focus fabric.  It should have a light background (AS IN LIGHTER THAN THE FABRICS DESIGNS.  IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE WHITE.  AS IN THE GRAY ORIENTAL FABRIC BELOW) with a couple of colors in the designs.   2 1/4 YD (3 yd) is the minimum.  Remember the adage “Measure twice, and cut once.”   Fabrics “A”, “B”, and “E” touch each other.  (This fabric could a fussy cut type.  If you fussy cut you will need more fabric).  The quilt lends itself to theme prints.   THE FABRIC ALLOTMENT CONTAINS FABRIC NEEDED FOR THE OUTER BORDERS ON THE SMALL QUILT.   WHEN TIME TO CUT THESE, YOU WILL BE TOLD YOU CAN WAIT TO CUT YOUR FABRIC FOR BORDERS.  YOU MIGHT LIKE TO DESIGN YOUR OWN BORDERS.

FABRIC B:  Choose a color on the medium to the dark.  This would be a good place for a solid to semi solid (blenders, tone on tones, batiks). 1 yd.(larger quilt needs the same).   

FABRIC C:  Something with pizazz. This is your inner border.  Pick something in the focus fabric which will stand out but not domineer.  You can also go wild with a bright version of one of the colors in your focus fabric. It is a border you can wait till you have assembled your top to make the decision on this fabric.  3/8 yd (No measurement available for larger quilt, 1 yd should be more than enough)                                                                                                                           

FABRIC D:  Medium to medium dark.   Do not make it medium dark if the “B” and “F” fabrics are medium dark.  You want good contrast with the “B” and “F” fabrics, but do not go light.  ¾ yd. (same for the larger quilt).

FABRIC E:  Light to medium light. (“D” and “E” are in the same Unit together) 1 yd (2½ yd.).  If your “D” is on the medium dark side do not go too light.  Medium would work better. This is the "background" fabric.

FABRIC F: This is the place your darkest choice of color would work best. This fabric touches “B” and “E” 1 yd (2 yd.) 


If you are a quilter, you have them at your finger tips.  I am listing the ones I am using. 
This is my “MISE EN PLACE”* for this recipe.
*Mise en place is a French term that translates as “everything in place,” and refers to the organization of equipment, ingredients, and thought processes employed by the cook. Planning and anticipating the needs of a recipe from beginning to end for the successful completion of the recipe, while maintaining order in the kitchen. They do all they can ahead of time without spoiling the results.

Organizational tools: 
A container: large enough to hold your finished units and your fabrics.  Not necessary, but very helpful.  You will be working on this for at least 6 months.  It will help keep it handy in one place between installments.

A 3 ring folder to keep the installments (some installments refer you back to others). 
If you are doing the quilt on the internet the installments are right here you don't need the note book.
(I always print out the instructions from the internet so I will have them in front of me.)

Rotary cutter, rulers, mat, scissors, Sewing machine, needles, thread, loaded bobbins, straight pins. (Things you normally use)  Have them ready.

The ruler I use when squaring up units, is the small 5” EASY SQUARE JR.  It is a handy size for squaring up smaller units.

A Large 12” sq. is handy for the corner block squaring.

HINT:  Use some tiny bits of self adhesive medium grit sand paper on the back of your ruler.  It will keep the ruler from sliding out of position on the fabric. (This hint originally came from a work shop with “Pat Spathe of Nickel quilts”).

While working on this quilt I have used a long ruler for cutting strips and a medium length ruler for cutting sub units and marking pieces.

Homemade "marking board":  A piece of cardboard larger than an 8X10 sheet of very fine grit sandpaper.  Use a glue stick and mount the sandpaper on the cardboard.  The sandpaper keeps the fabric from slipping and stretching out of shape.  (My sandpaper is mounted on the flip top of the box I use to keep my notebook and “this quilt” related items.)

This quilt pattern is very good for featuring theme prints or even fussy cutting fabric with larger designs.   If you are fussy cutting you will need to figure for extra yardage.

The larger version of this quilt will not have border instructions supplied.  It will be up to your discretion on how to border it.  I did include the approximate (but not accurate amounts for the larger borders if you want to do it the same as the smaller version).


Periwinkle roses fabric: This fabric presented a challenge to me because my stash is very shy in "blues" which would work.  I wanted to use the "yellow" in the quilt but alas among the yellows they were either too light or too yellow. 

The selvage strip is to help you if you have trouble deciding what colors work, refer to the selvage. 

The "B" fabric I used in one of the other sample quilts.  I was calling it very close on the amounts.  It turned out too close.  I mentioned measure twice and cut once, I should have listened to my own lessons.  Also do not watch baseball at the same time!  I had exactly what I needed for the "D" fabric.  I cut one  strip one inch shy.  I ended up having to piece the pieces I needed.  It was a good lesson in frugality.  A hint:  When you have to piece pieces, Iron the seams open so the fabric lies flatter. If you are 3 feet away you can't see the extra seams.

Gray Oriental fabric: When I saw this fabric in the stash I really wanted to feature the blues in it.  I didn't have a single blue which would work.  I did have the wonderful black with the blue in it ("F" fabric).  My "B" fabric was very dark and I worried about the relationship between the two fabrics.  Yes they did blend together when they touched but they made a pleasant design feature. 

The fabrics which, to me, didn't work as well in the quilt were the "E" and "D" fabrics. The "E" was too light and the D too dark to play together. (They will be in the same unit in the quilt.)  When I added the final rows and made the larger version they did look nice.  You'll notice I haven't picked a "C" fabric yet.

Pink and Blue Fruit fabric:  I'm scrapping the bottom of my stash closet for fabrics with light background.  You will notice these fabric selections have two fabrics repeated which I used in another quilt.  In this quilt the only fabric I would change is the pink fabric, even though it is a perfect match, Is too light to be touching the "F" fabric.  It looks good but it makes that unit's design feature very prominent.  What would I choose instead?  Probably a medium dark green, but if I choose that green then I would probably have to change D and E too.  

                              JUNGLE FABRIC CHART
Since I posted the article I have made another quilt.   Mostly ignoring guidelines I've set. (Picking from a stash using what I had to see if it worked).  I used an "A" fabric which has a dark background,  I made the "D" fabric lighter instead of a darker medium.  I used a medium dark for "E" fabric, which should be lighter. This one worked too.  The only thing sis some design elements do not show off as much.  This quilt is a fun everyday quilt for a child.  When I joined the first clue units into the quilt, (I didn't fussy cut),  I made sure the animals in the unit were going the same direction.  If I had enough fabric, fussy cutting would have been great.)

The above quilts are the ones I have started.  I will make one more as I make this journey with you. (WITH THE ABOVE NEW ADDITION IT LOOKS LIKE I NEED TO RAID THE STASH FOR ANOTHER FOCUS FABRIC FOR MY QUILT BEGINNING October 16.)
  My Cohort in this mystery is also checking the instructions out.  She has made two quilts so far.  Hers are mostly from stash.  I believe she said she had to purchase one fabric in each quilt. 


This is a "Zany" Quilt. The choices are very happy and exciting together.  Her fabric choices work.  The "B" does stand out, but doesn't dominate. 

This is my cohorts second quilt.  The fabrics have a very "English cottage garden" look.  I haven't seen her quilt yet.  If I were making  it I would have used the "F" fabric for "B" and the B fabric for the "F" position.   I can't wait to see if there is definition in the pattern where it butts up against the "E" fabric.  I spoke with her today at guild.  She said the design element does not disappear in the "F" fabric, it just becomes a muted design

Other blog sites by me:
about our pup we acquired at our gate.

Where I have stories of my cats and other pets
a blog about my courtship with my husband,
and a blog about my most embarrassing moment.
A "Soap box" blog where I do air my opinions.

blogs about the wildflowers on our farm
Organic methods we use, some cooking and some poetry,
blogs about Seed sprouting, insects, and garden pictures
Blog about an endangered beneficial beetle

All recipes, pictures, and writings are my own.
I give credit for items which belong to other people in my blogs .
Please do not copy without permission

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