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A Mesmerizing Mystery Quilt, Part One

So I have embarked on a new quilting adventure by taking part in constructing a mystery quilt that is being sponsored by Quilt Stitches in Beatrice. Normally the quilt shop will release each step of the quilt making process once a month and participants must then come into the store to pick up those instructions. Since these unusual times call for creative measures the store is sending weekly videos of the instructions via email. As a result the quilt will be finished in a matter of weeks rather than months.

Two things motivated me to take on this project. The first was a customer who participated in the last Quilt Stitches mystery quilt and it sounded like so much fun. The second was two packages of Bali Pops (2 1/2” coordinating batik strips) that I had purchased last summer at an estate sale and didn’t know what to do with. My only hesitation was that I wasn’t sure that I could keep up with the construction. That didn’t last long though as I quickly realized that it wasn’t a competition and I could simply archive the instructions and complete the steps as I found time.

The Week #1 video gave the fabric requirements needed to make the quilt in four different sizes - lap, large throw, queen, and king. I checked out the two packages of Bali Pops in my stash and discovered that one had 20 strips and the other had 40. Since the large throw required 34 strips I opted for that size. In addition she gave cutting instructions for 3 1/2 yards of background fabric and 1 1/2 yards of an accent fabric. I didn’t have those pieces in my stash so off to Quilt Stitches I went.

I had determined that a light gray for the background fabric and a dark purple for the accent would coordinate well with my 2 1/2” strips and I quickly found those pieces at the quilting store. While I was waiting for that fabric to be cut I discovered a sheet which gave the exact fabric requirements needed for the quilt and found that I also needed fabric for two borders. Hmmmm.....I hadn’t thought about needing any other colors. The clerk was very helpful though and suggested that I unwrap the Bali Pops and see what other colors might coordinate. Even before unwrapping the package I could see quite a bit of green but was surprised to find some pink too. After searching the shelves I found a bright pink for what I think must be a narrow border and a green print for the wider border. Now I still need fabric for the binding but will wait until the quilt is complete before deciding which color to go with.

After prewashing all of the fabrics - separating the lights and darks and using a Color Catcher in the wash - I began the cutting process. I needed 208 4 1/2” squares of the light gray background fabric and 76 4 1/2” squares of the purple accent fabric. Once the 4 1/2” strips were cut the width of the fabric I stacked the strips into six layers which makes cutting out so many squares much more efficient. The instructions then were to either mark a diagonal line on the background squares or plan to place a handy tool on the bed of the sewing machine which guides you in stitching that diagonal line. I just happen to have one of those tools - mine is called The Angler 2 - so I will make use of that option.

Stay tuned for the next few posts which will document my journey in constructing this quilt. I can’t wait to see what it is going to look like!

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