Tag Archives: mystery quilts

Improv Mystery Clue #5

I see Clue #6 is up, so I need to post #5 so I can go look at #6.

It is laid out and basted; the hand work to be continued.

clue 5 layout

Clue #4 had, besides the three circles, the meaning of the quilt. I’ve chosen to keep that symbolic instead of using words. I may include it in the title or the quilting…we’ll see.

Clue #5 wanted three in three blocks. I’m stretching a bit here. If you can add you will find the 3 in 3. I haven’t seen a place to put the “square(s) in three blocks,” and I might take that one as a suggestion and not do it. We’ll se if an idea comes to me for squares that would add but not intrude.

ETA I see I misread Clue #5. “add a number to three blocks” ; well, I have done that, no problem. No stretching even. Still thinking on the square. I may have to clip the corners off of a square. . . .

Off to read Clue #6.



Filed under design, quilting

Improv Mystery Clue 4

I am a bit behind on this; Clue 5 has already been given. I still have not decided where to put my three circles for Clue 4.

If you have a preference of the three options for the group of three, or if you see another better location, leave a comment.

So far I have played along, doing only a little creative interpretation  (aka stretching) of clues. Clue 4 also asked us to add a message; I will let my message be symbolic; I’m not into doing letters. I have read Clue 5. I think I can add 3 on three blocks, but not sure if I can add a square. That could be too much variety.

I decided it was time to attach all six blocks–it will be mostly applique from now on. I can insert the two larger circles, but not the small one. Since machine applique is not an option for my straight stitch machine, the rest of the top will be needle turn applique. So I have time to think on Clue 5.

If you have missed the beginnings and care to see them, they are here, here, and here.

Linking up with The Quilted Snail. and with Off the Wall Fridays.



Filed under design, quilting

I May Have Cheated on Step 3

I had wanted to finish Step 3 of The Quilted Snail’s mystery quilt before QuiltCon, but it didn’t happen. So I got to it today. AND I managed to refrain from looking at Step 4 before 3 was finished. (For newcomers,  my step 1 here, and step 2 here)

I knew what I wanted to do with the two rectangles that connect two blocks (that is where I may have cheated); I was stumped by the triangles (3 different fabrics on 3 different blocks). But there comes a time to stop pondering, so here it is.

Step 3The rectangles are added to the upper right and the lower right blocks. Yes, I know they look like sashing. But they are rectangles, and they do touch two blocks, so I’ll call them linking. They were to be the other “neutral” than the one used in step 1. Hmmm. I’d used both “neutrals” in step 1. (My “neutrals” are the two shades of teal.) So I put a light where I’d used dark and a dark where I’d used light. Seemed a good solution. It involved unsewing one seam connecting two blocks. But improv involves ripping.

I prefer piecing to applique; that is one reason I’d not yet connected all the blocks as instructed. I ended up “designing” the triangles by checking where I could piece them. Not the most refined way to make design decisions, but I strived for the best possibility within that parameter. I wanted to repeat the purple of the circle and pondered the other two. Finally decided on the reddish batik with aqua splotches in the middle and a repeat of the red batik of the long narrow strip for the top. So I’ve added one new fabric; three to go.  I used stitch-and-flip, then trim to attach each triangle. And if you followed the link above to The Quilted Snail, you know what comes next. This was probably the last gasp of piecing. The smallest circle I could insert is 6-inch diameter, and that seems too large. Applique here I come.

I am still processing QuiltCon and will probably share some thoughts and photos in the next day or so. Overall it was a good experience. As with any show, I really liked about half the quilts and disliked a few. As with any judging, I didn’t always agree.

Traveling always makes me disoriented–just realized today is Wednesday, so linking up with WIP Wed.


Filed under quilting

Mystery Quilt Clue Two Finished

It took a lot of gazing and shifting of the circle to finally decide on this:
Circle insertedWhile the folded fabric looked fine on the right in the audition (here), when I played with a larger circle there was no “right” place. I gave up my original thought, which was to insert something into the squares that did not get the red streak. It occurred to me that there would be other chances to put something there. So I started moving the circle around. It is small plate size–wait a minute while I measure it–I’m back. The diameter is eight inches. I had thought I wanted ten inches, but I don’t think any larger would have worked.

And I must say, it is the best job of inserting a circle that I have done yet. I use the Ricky Tims no-pins method. On my other tries I’ve ended up with small tucks or pleats. The last time I tried I didn’t trim the seam allowance down to the scant quarter inch, so then the concave couldn’t stretch enough to fit the convex. And the first time I tried a smaller circle than recommended. On all previous times I’d been rather careless about the angle of my registration marks so that matching them wasn’t exact. This time I was careful to make them perpendicular to the circle line. Both details helped a lot.

Clue three has been give–click if you want details. I am pretty sure where I want to put the two “neutral” rectangles; I am totally clueless where I might put three triangles. I have two weeks to ponder.

Oh, and I cheated a bit. Directions were to stitch all squares. I stitched only the ones that needed to be together to add the circle. It is easier to work with small pieces. We have photographic evidence of my plan, so I’ll not be able to cheat and rearrange any squares.

Linking to Design Wall Monday even if it is a design floor. And Let’s Be Social and WIP Wednesday–use button on sidebar.


Filed under design, quilting

Mystery Clue Two Auditions

The mystery continues. From Step 1, here, I’m ready to move on. Moira of The Quilted Snail posted clue two. First assemble blocks as you wish.

Layout 1

Well, if I arrange the red as I want it, it would turn out like this. Very symmetrical arrangement of the bordered, unbordered and of the two without red strips.

On the other hand, I could focus on the borders.

layout 2I lose the alternating vertical/horizontal of the red, but get both “neutral” colors in each side. Hmmm. The two without red are together. In spite of  (because of?) the loss of symmetry, I rather like it.

After sewing them together we are to add a circle somewhere that it touches two squares. I have two fabrics to audition for that circle. First the purple–it has a big aqua flower in it, and here is a place I know that the piece will be big enough to show it. Ah here is where the mystery rub comes in. Since I don’t know what is coming next, I don’t know if I’ll have another chance.

Auditioning purple batik

I’m thinking a ten-inch circle; it depends on what size plates and bowls I have for patterns. Here is a close up to show the aqua flower.

flower, detail

I have a second purple in my six “other” fabrics, so it would not stand alone. But there is also a reddish  batik with aqua marks that looks good.

Auditioning red batikAs much as I want to use the purple, I think this one looks better. It seems to finish the red markings. I’ll have to take my chances on using the purple with the whole flower showing later.

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday and maybe some others. Depends on what else may get worked on. I know I’ll not be linking with any of the Friday finish blogs–no finishing is going to happen. And it isn’t an art quilt. Another week for those.


Filed under design, quilting

Yes, I’m Doing a Mystery Quilt

You are allowed to remind me that I said I wasn’t going to do any more mysteries after three disappointments ( here,  here, and here). But this one sounds different. Moira, of The Quilted Snail,  is leading an improv mystery. (The link goes to her first clue, Jan 11; next one coming up Jan 25. If you want to join in, click on the label “2015 mystery quilt” at the bottom of her post to get the earlier posts about fabric selection.) I started yesterday, and am now ready for clue #2.
Step 1I found the discussion of “neutral” odd and reinterpreted it to “colors you want to show up most” since 1/2 yard was needed of each. So I chose the medium and dark aqua for them. I have two backgrounds because I didn’t have 1 1/2 yards of any fabric that I liked for a background. Stash diving often leaves me with wrong amounts of fabrics in colors I want to use. When I’m lucky, I have more than one. When I’m not lucky, I change palettes or projects. Or shop.

The red is one of the six “other” colors (to be fat quarters or scraps). I have way more than six pulled–I”ll decide which to use when I see what is suggested to do with them.

You just don’t have that kind of control with an ordinary mystery.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday and Let’s Bee Social  and Needle and Thread Thursday .

Linking with Tuesday Archives since mystery quilts are the theme this week.



Filed under design, quilting

Quilt retreat coming up

I have three quilt events planned between now and Fall, and I am getting ready for the first one.

The first time I went to a quilting retreat I just took bags of fabric that had intended projects.  Of course, the line at the ironing board and at the cutting table created lots of waiting. Fun chatting in line, of course, but still slowing the progress. I observed how others did it.  Ah ha, they had precut their quilts and could sit and sew. If they chain pieced, they didn’t use the ironing board very often–but long when they did.  And another member mentioned that she did only easy things so she didn’t have to concentrate.

The people who really seemed productive were those who brought quilts that just needed binding and did the bindings. Another rather monotonous part of quilting that it is nice to have conversation while doing.

The April retreat, put on by ScottieDog Quilts at Eureka, CA, is a mystery retreat.

Now I have mixed feelings about mystery quilts.  I hate giving up the control over color and placement. But I enjoy group projects. So every once in a while I do one.

The first one I did was an online group on New Year’s Day for those of us not into football.  We got a clue an hour.  Of course I got behind–but that worked in my favor.  I did enough of each step to be sure I knew how while the leader was online to answer questions.  And I got to where the flying geese were to be attached to something with square parts. And though I thought my seams had been accurate, the sizes did not match. (I have since had that same problem with other patterns, so it was operator error, not a problem with instructions.)  But because I had not attached anything yet beyond the small parts into small segments, I could change directions.  Instead of the cool, precision pieced wall hanging I was supposed to end up with, I made three child-sized quilts for charity. There is a photo on my website of my three and a link to the wall hanging it was supposed to have become.

So we will see what happens this time. I need at least 16 fat quarters (any theme will do, they say), a background and an accent inner border.  I debated just shopping Vs. digging into my 12 big boxes of fabric, and because the thirties box was near the front and top, decided to take a look.  I have way over 16 fat quarters here, but nothing for border or background, so I got to shop too.  And while I was at it, there were a couple colors that would look better repeated. So I looked for–and found–five. (I’m not in stash busters yet. VBG)

Then there is the need for something to do if I finish a stage of the mystery before the next clue is given. Optimistic, I know, but you never know.  And just in time, someone in an online guild posted a link.

So I will be cutting a lot of 2 1/2 inch squares.  I really like the look of the Fading Charms quilt. I have enough scraps, though I may not be able to make them all different.

Check back after the end of April for a progress report.


Filed under quilting, shopping