My Summer Magical Mystery Quilt

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you follow my blog, you know that I’ve been struggling to find quilting time. Now, as the semester has come to a close, finally, and the deadlines are becoming less frequent (and less intense), I am planning to embark on a couple of quilting projects. Specifically, a lap top quilt that is part of a mystery quilt challenge. And at my daughter’s request, I may finally tackle something I’ve been thinking about for a while–quilted postcards. Their small size and relatively low time commitment may be just the thing to be me back into some regular quilting. I have some other projects I’m hoping to get to as well, but these are the two I’m going to focus on–mainly because of the structured nature of the projects themselves. First up, the mystery quilt challenge.

On May 22, I saw a blog post inviting participants in a summer quilt-a-long. Aby DolingerΒ  is hosting it, and you can find more information here. Her pattern tester and partner in crime is Karlene at Scrap Muffin Quilts. If you love quilting and aren’t following these two wonderful blogs, you should go check them out.

In that May 22 post, we were given the fabric requirements and told that the first clue would be given on June 1. No problem, I said to myself. However, when the first clue came on June 1, I was in a bit of a panic since I hadn’t yet selected fabrics.Β  The couple of times I went to peek in my fabric stash, I would find one or two fabrics that I wanted to use. Then I would start trying to find playmates for it, and it never ended well. After a few frustrating minutes, I would throw up my hands (after throwing the fabric back on the floor one of the shelves.

mystery quilt fabricThese are the fabrics I’m going to use. I was surprised how hard it was for me to find five fabrics that I could really get excited about. But I chalked it up, in hindsight, to the chaotic pace of life and all the deadlines. As June was moving along, and the 2nd clue for July would be showing up in my mailbox, I knew I needed to get moving if I wanted to be part of this challenge. And one afternoon, I tried again, going with a different color scheme, and this came together. I took a picture of it, sent it in an email to Aby, and I’ve now completed s.

Step 1 (given on June 1) was all about cutting different widths of strips from these four fabrics. From the fifth fabric, we were to cut thirty-one 6 1/2″ squares. These cuttings were then placed in a series of 4 zipper plastic bags according to the instructions. I’ve seen July’s clue for Step 2, which is to start sewing. And I have until August 1 to get it done. YAY! This is a challenge that I can handle.

So let me tell you a few of the cool things that attracted me to this particular quilting challenge. First, it’s a mystery quilt, and it’s easy enough for beginners. Although I’m not a beginner, I’m not looking for technical challenges–I just want to get back at some quilting. When I’m ready for something to advance my skills, I might give paper piecing a try, but that won’t be this summer.

Did I mention that it’s a mystery quilt? That’s cool because I’ve never done a mystery quilt before. I told you above that the first of each month, we get instructions about how to cut, or how to sew, BUT we don’t get any pictures of what the finished quilt will look like. We are constructing one kind of block this month, and there will be something else to construct with August 1’s clue. But it won’t be until the September clue that we finally find out how it all fits together into its final pattern.

My sewing machine is set up, my strips are cut, and there’s a chance I can do a little sewing over the next couple of days. It would be nice to get this clue completed. And then maybe I can tackle a few other ideas that are rolling around in my brain.

And I am intrigued by those quilted postcards, but I’ll save that for another post.

I’ll be back with pictures of my progress. Thanks for stopping by!

21 comments on “My Summer Magical Mystery Quilt

  1. I love the patterns/color combination you came up with! Here’s to seeing how the mystery turns out πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Kimberly! I think that’s a large part of the attraction of this particular challenge. It was interesting choosing fabrics that I liked without knowing HOW they were going to be used–trust the process. πŸ™‚

  2. That’s a really ingenious idea for a quilting challenge – not knowing what you’re making! I bet you’ll be more and more enthused by it as you go along and whatever you’re making starts to take shape! πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Elaine! It was part of the intrigue for me. Although I have to admit something. In the last quilting challenge I did, we knew how it was going to look when we started out, and I kept changing things, right from the directions of fabric selection. My quilt top turned out great, but no one would recognize it as part of the challenge. πŸ˜‰

  3. I loved reading about your process of selecting fabrics. Thanks for not giving up in frustration. And thanks for advertising the mystery quilt to your blog readers!

    • I’m very happy to advertise the challenge. And I’m so glad I didn’t give up on the fabric selection. I’m enjoying the easy-going pace of things as I ease back into quilting time. Thanks for organizing such a great project.

  4. Pingback: Quilted Postcards: A “fun” project | Container Chronicles

    • Interesting that you would mention that. I have little confidence in that department. So when something actually comes together, it’s such a huge relief. Of course, the bigger challenge comes from working from what is in the fabric stash. If I had time and money to spare, I like to believe I could put all kinds of combinations together. But in reality, I would probably become even more overwhelmed. πŸ˜‰

  5. Pingback: SUMMER MAGICAL MYSTERY QUILT: UPDATE (Clue 2) | Container Chronicles

  6. The reason why you were having trouble picking the fabrics is because you didn’t have an over all idea as to what the quilt would look like. Some of us are very visual and our brains can whip up a image when we need one. I actually dream sometimes in color. I know you follow me closely and I can get really into color in just one block. I always pull a bunch of colors from my stash and then line them up. Pulling the one from the pile that seems not to fit. I don’t over think color wheels or light/dark thing. I tell everyone that a stash is like a crayon box and pretend you are a kid again.

    Some people start with a colorful inspiration piece of fabric that they love and then pull colors from that. You look for a fabric that matches one of the colors in the piece. Even if you don’t end up using the inspiration piece in the project you end up with a color pallet that you like. The manufacture already did the work for you and you know this combination is going to be pleasing.

    • Thanks for those great tips. I think they will be helpful in my future projects. I know, too, that part of my problem was just my general stress, and turning the quilting into just “one more thing” on the to-do list. Once I let myself relax a bit, it went much better. πŸ™‚

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