Tag Archives: Mystery Quilt

An Actual Finish!

Well I never, I’ve only gone and finished a project! My Alaska lap quilt is now sewn together, quilted and bound, and ready for use, just in time for the cooler autumn and winter months.

I know, it’s hard to believe, isn’t it? Especially when you consider that I actually started this particular quilt quite early on in my sewing life. It dates back to 2009, when I was living in the US, and I signed up for a Mystery Quilt class, billed as a “Mystery Tour to Alaska”. There were 2 different colour ways on offer, and I choose this palette of icy, watery blues.

I eventually finished putting the quilt top together about 18 months ago, and, until very recently, it had been languishing in my Cupboard of Unfinished Quilt Tops. I know exactly why, too – and for once it’s not just a case of laziness and Quilter’s ADD!

First off, the quilt’s pretty enough, but my tastes have certainly changed over the past 5 years since I started it. Now I liked this quilt, sure, but I didn’t love it. Looking at it now I find the colours to be a bit ‘meh’, and it’s all rather, well, uninspiring and triangular, really.

Secondly, I was totally lacking inspiration about how to quilt the blasted thing. I knew that it needed some carefully-chosen quilting to turn it from somewhat bland into something special, but I didn’t have the first clue about what that quilting should be.

And so in the cupboard it went, and in the cupboard it stayed, until I decided to tackle it as part of my Q3 Finish-Along list.

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Unquilted top – bland, dull and meh…

 It was my lovely friend Ms E, who first suggested that it needed feathers. Now, I’ve never been a massive fan of feather quilting, I’d always thought of it as rather dull and old-fashioned. But I had to agree that the idea of feathers, with their flowing curves, would give the quilt the illusion of movement. And once the idea was in my head, that’s where it stayed. And grew. Until one day I went out and bought some feather stencils. And the rest, as they say, is history…

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Feather-tastic!

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Loving all the curves in those feathers!

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Quilted circles to complement the curves in the feathers

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Close-up of quilted block

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The design in the dark blue triangle is a smaller version of the one in the pale blue triangle

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Feather quilting in the outer border, too…

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Close up of border quilting

The best thing about doing this was it was so liberating! I wasn’t totally in love with the quilt top. It wasn’t intended as a gift, it wasn’t going to break my heart if I totally screwed it up. I didn’t let myself get hung up about ‘perfect’ quilting. I was brave and chose a dark colour thread, which would show up prominently against the mainly pale background fabric. I just went with the flow.

And do you know what? I actually really like this quilt now!

What’s more, it looks like Mr. Boy agrees with me 🙂

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Linking up with Audrey over at Glory Be Quilter for TGIFF – why not pop over and check out some more lovely finishes this week?

Finish Along Q3 Goals – or, Living in La-La Land?

So, it appears that today is the last day to link up for the Q3 Finish Along, over at The Littlest Thistle.

I never quite got round to setting myself any goals for Q2, which is probably just as well as I’ve been so busy lately that I’m not entirely sure I actually managed to finish anything this past few months. I started a few projects, sure, but, well, they seem to have just been added to my ever-growing stack of Works In Progress rather than Beautifully Completed Creations. Oh well…

To be honest, I’m probably not going to achieve all that much this time around either. After all, it is the summer, and we have plans! Oh yeah, baby! Visits from my lovely niece, Miss B, and our Stateside friends Mr and Mrs S and their kids. A long weekend in Berlin. A trip back to the UK to see Mum and take in all 4 days of the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham with my friend Ms C. Days out locally, boat trips on the lake, picnics and barbecues. Not to mention a photography course I enrolled on to try and learn something about how to use my new-to-me camera. Phew!

But with about a bazillion projects on the go as usual, and an ever-growing stack of quilt tops waiting patiently to be quilted, I thought I’d link on up for Q3. Hopefully this will encourage me to get off my backside and actually finish something up over the summer.

Well, a girl can dream, can’t she?!

Dressmaking

Finish my Marfy Jacket…

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… which has been sitting in my sewing room ever since I got back from my couture sewing class in June. I’ve been finding the lining really tricky to put together, in particular attaching the sleeves to the lining body, as the silk is very slippery and there’s no ease in it at all. But it’s so beautiful, and I so want to see it finished and to wear it, that this is absolutely my number 1 goal for Q3!

Sundress

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Ha ha ha!!! Yes! This was on my list for Q1, and I never got round to it. But I still want to make a pretty sundress. I have the pattern, I’ve chosen the fabric and I’m all ready to go. But I’d better be quick about it or the summer will be over and I won’t get a chance to wear it…

Quilting

A while back, my friend Ms C decided that she wasn’t going to start on any new project until all her existing quilt tops were quilted. Now I have quite a stack of un-quilted tops awaiting my attention, and, what’s more, I really want to get better at free motion quilting, so I thought I would steal borrow her idea and focus on finishing things up for a change.

Well, this is a Finish Along, after all 🙂

Bear Paw Quilt

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I made this quilt top about 5 years ago, when I was still living in the US. It was a mystery quilt project at my local quilt store, and was intriguingly billed as a Trip to Alaska. All became clear when the top came together – a variation on the Bear Paw block in icy blues. The poor thing has been sitting forlornly in my cupboard ever since, waiting for quilting inspiration to strike.

Time to put it out of its misery, methinks.

Butterfly Quilt

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Another mystery quilt, this one, but much more recent.

This was the quilt I made at the latest Patchwork in the Peaks Quilt Retreat back in April. In the end I chose a butterfly print as my focus fabric, and I love how it turned out. I even know how I want to quilt it – with stipples and butterflies. I just haven’t got round to doing anything about it yet…

Solids Chevron Quilt

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I’ve become a little obsessed with solids recently. I obviously still love prints, but I’m intrigued about how using solids really focuses attention to the design and pattern of a quilt. I’ve also been wanting to make a chevron quilt for quite some time. So I combined my solids-obsession and chevron-desire and made this Solid Chevrons Quilt. And it’s big. Big enough for our super-king size bed.

All I need to do now is remove Mr. Boy from his new favourite spot before I can baste and quilt it 🙂

Craftsy BOTM Quilt 2012

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I signed up in 2012 for the free Craftsy Block of the Month programme, and made all 20 blocks – woohoo!

Then I signed up for Leah Day’s companion class on Free Motion Quilting a Sampler. I’ve watched all the lessons (several times!), and love the quilting designs she’s come up with for each of the blocks, but that’s as far as I’ve got. I really need to stop watching and get started quilting!

And finally…

Start Mum’s (long overdue) bed quilt

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Pattern chosen and fabric picked. Mum’s birthday in October. Or (perhaps more realistically) Christmas a few months after! Let’s get cutting!

So there you have it, a snapshot of what I’m hoping might get done over the summer. Is it realistic? Or am I living in La-La Land? Only time will tell, but I’m certainly going to enjoy getting to work on some of these babies!

Linking on up to the Finish Along – why not pop over and see other people’s plans for the summer?

Shopping my Stash for a Mystery Quilt

In less than a month I will be at the next Patchwork in the Peaks!

Patchwork in the Peaks is a bi-annual quilt retreat, run by my wonderful friend, Ms E. In April and October each year, a group of lovely ladies gather in Morzine in the French Alps to quilt their hearts out for four days. I’ve gone to every retreat since the start, I’ve made some fantastic friends, and it’s a wonderful way to spend a long weekend. You can read all about October’s retreat here.

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Quilting with a view!

(Incidentally, it seems that 2 spots have opened up on the upcoming retreat – if you’re at all interested, I’d hurry up and snap one of them up before someone else does, seeing as they were all taken within a week of registration opening back in December – click here to find out more…)

But I digress…

As always, we’ll all be working on the same project during the retreat, and this time around it’s going to be a Mystery Quilt.  I’m really excited to see how it’s all going to turn out, but it’s also rather daunting to choose fabric when you have no idea what you’re making. Oh, and when you’re on a Fabric Fast and so have to use what you already have rather than jump in and use the lovely Fat Quarter Shop discount for Peaks participants…

So what to do?

Back in February, I read this post from Isisjem, and it really struck a chord. Isisjem is also on a Fabric Fast, and she writes about approaching her stash as if it were a fabric store, with the idea that anything can be used for any project, rather than seeing it as a precious hoard of beautiful fabric to be saved for something special. I’m totally guilty of doing this with certain Too-Beautiful-To-Cut-Into fabrics (you know the kind..), but if I’m brutally honest, this means they’ll likely never get used because a) I have so much fabric already and b) I already have so many projects and ideas in the pipeline.

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So I have decided that as of now, any fabric in my stash should be fair game, and I have spent this morning ‘shopping’ for the Peaks Mystery Project – a throw sized quilt which will finish at 58″ x 74 1/2″.

Obviously, I need to start with the focus fabric. All I know is that it should ideally be a large scale print, and I will need 1 1/8 yards of it. This already takes a whole load of my stash out of the running, as I have a lot of fabric cuts of 1 yard or less. And so, after a hard morning’s work, I have narrowed down my choice to one of 11 different fabrics, all large-scale prints

Well, it’s a start, right?!

 

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Amy Butler – Love – Cypress Paisley

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P&B Textiles – Florentine

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Michael Miller – Eiffel Tower

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Holly Holderman – Jolie Jardin

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Philip Jacobs – Trumpet Flower

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Gift from the wonderful Ms JJ

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Robert Kaufmann – Tuscan Wildflower

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Kaffe Fassett – Dancing Leaves

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Yuko Hasegawa for RJR Fabrics

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Hoffman International – Indulgence

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Philip Jacobs – Coleus

 As you can see, I have a wide variety of colours and styles of fabric in my stash! Some of them have been in there for several years, waiting for the right project. Is this that project? Who knows!

I think I know which one I want to use, but I’m going to sleep on it for a few days before making a final decision.

And anyway, I’m interested – which one do you like best????

Linking up today with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday – because, hey, pulling fabric for a new quilt counts as a work in progress…

Back to the machine :-)

It’s Wednesday already, and I’m finally back at the sewing machine after a few days of catching up on post-England laundry, housework, emails, and sleep. It’s grey and drizzly here in Lausanne at the moment, so an ideal day to shut myself away in my sewing room and get creating!

But what to sew??? I have to admit I’m a bit of an ADD quilter – I’m constantly starting new projects, before getting distracted by something else newer or prettier. At the last count I had 17 projects on the go, not including projects that are neatly stacked in the cupboard waiting to be quilted, and those I have the fabric for and can’t wait to get started on. Oops! So it seems reasonable to try at least to finish some of them off before I get cracking with something new, tempting as it may be…

With this in mind, I’ve decided to link up to Freshly Pieced’s WIP Wednesday, in the hope it will keep me motivated and focussed on my many works in progress, rather than flitting like a quilting butterfly from one new project to the next. And the first thing I’ve decided to work on is my Designer Mystery Block of the Month quilt from The Fat Quarter Shop. The kit for the final block for 2012’s quilt arrived back in May, and while I was in England, Block 1 of the 2013 Mystery Quilt plopped into my mailbox. So, tempted as I was to jump right in with the new one, I thought it better to finish the old one first.

So I set to work cutting, piecing and pressing, and after a few hurrying-because-I-just-want-to-get-this-finished-now-and-start-the-next-thing related mishaps (cutting the wrong size squares for the pinwheel blocks, sewing the flying geese on upside down…), I eventually produced this…

FQS BOTM Month 12

Woohoo!

And with all 12 blocks completed, I did a little squaring up…

Squaring up

… and realised that one block was almost 1/4″ too big all the way round, and one block was almost 1/4″ too small all the way round. Grrrrrrrr!!!

But as I squared them up, something bizarre happened. I realised that I actually want to get this quilt top put together more than I want to start the next one. So, rather than putting the offending blocks back in their storage box, to be fixed later – i.e. almost certainly never – I’ve decided to strike while the iron’s hot, and deal with them right now. Today. This afternoon in fact! Oh yes! After which I can surely justify sewing a few strips together for that table runner I’ve been wanting to make for the past month. Can’t I???