Thursday, January 3, 2013

Mystery Quilt, Step #1

Mystery Quilt

Fabric Requirements
 - I used fabrics from my stash for this project so I don't really have any definite amounts to give you. I did suggest to the guild members that if they wanted to start out with several medium and dark fat quarters and several lights that would be great. In my centre section I used a mix of 30 darks and mediums and roughly the same of the lights. And I'll continue to work from those fabrics and probably add here and there as I go. My colour choices are rich country tones, but again, do what works for you. Some are doing batiks, some are doing two colour quilts (red and cream) and some are using neutrals. It will be so interesting in the end to see what everyone has chosen. As for size, the quilt is designed so that you can stop at any point along the way. If you continue to the end of the steps with me, you'll have a large queen size bed quilt or you may decide to be finished after you've got a size suitable for a table cloth or lap quilt. Again, whatever works for you, works for me. Please share pictures as often as you can by sending them to my email or post them on your blog if you have one and send me the link. 


From your stash of fabrics, 
 - cut a total of 30 - 4 1/2” squares from your medium and dark fabrics
  • cut a total of 120 - 1 1/2” squares from your light fabrics
These next cuts are for the floater borders, wait to cut these after the center section is finished and you’re able to check your measurements.
  • cut 3 - 1 1/2” strips of a dark or medium fabric 
   - from those 3 strips cut 2 - 24 1/2” strips and 2 - 22 1/2” strips
  • cut 3 - 1 1/2” strips of a second dark or medium fabric 
   - from those 3 strips cut 2 - 26 1/2” strips and 2 - 24 1/2” strips

Using a pencil, draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of each of the 120 light squares.

Position a light square onto the corner of one of the dark squares, stitch across the corner directly on the drawn line. Repeat this process on all four corners of all 30 squares. You can chain stitch these if you wish, which makes it a lot faster. 

Cut away the excess part of the square creating a 1/4” seam allowance. Press the seam allowances towards the dark fabrics.

Arrange the finished blocks in a 6 rows of five blocks. Using a 1/4” seam allowance (this is very important) stitch the blocks together.  ( Sorry about these next two pictures, they should be rotated, but I had a problem with my edit program)

At this point, measure your quilt. It should measure 20 1/2” x 24 1/2”. If it doesn’t measure that, you will need to adjust the width of the borders that go on next so that the next section will fit properly.  

If your quilt is the right size at this point, attach one of the 24 1/2” strips to either side of the quilt. Then attach one of the 22 1/2” strips to each end of the quilt. Repeat with the other 3 strips that you chose for borders, sewing the two 26 1/2” borders on the sides and the two 24 1/2” borders on the ends.

If your quilt was not the right size, you will need to adjust the size of your borders so that the finished section measures 24 1/2” x 28 1/2”. You may need to make your borders a bit wider or a bit narrower depending on the size of your quilt.

The last picture here actually only shows the first outer border, I will get a picture in the next couple of days with the other border on. 

So, that's step #1, I hope it makes sense to you! This is the first time I've done this so if something doesn't seem quite right to you, please let me know. Thanks so much to all of you who are playing along. Especially to Kaaren for sending so many of you my way. I only hope I don't disappoint! 

Happy Sewing!


  1. Thanks Darlene! Going to go choose my fabrics and love snowball blocks!

  2. Wonderful, Darlene. This will be fun. Thank you so much for putting the time into sharing all the info and photos. Yours is already underway and looking good.

    I am going to try and get the pieces cut out tomorrow as soon as I put together the charms I have ready to sew. If not, it'll definitely be cut sometime during the weekend.

    Would you like us to check in somewhere to share progress and pics?

  3. love your country tones !! thank you !!

  4. The photos don't do Darlene's center block justice. I saw it for the first time last night at our guild meeting and the colors are much richer in person. It really is gorgeous.

    Having said that, I'm going to start to cut and sew mine this weekend. I can't wait!

    Thanks, Darlene!

  5. Going shopping today for a few more fat quarters. Will sew them up this weekend. Will post pics on my blog when it is done.
    Looks great Darlene.

  6. Going to start pulling fabrics from my stash.....hopefully my center will be finished over the weekend.
    Thank you Darlene, this is going to be fun!

  7. Darlene , this is gorgeous , you are tempting me and I want to do it but right now better concentrate on getting what I have on my UFO listed completed .

  8. I love snowball blocks. Can I use I Spy fabrics for my snowball blocks?

  9. Looks great; can't believe I'm gonna do this!! Question: the fabrics for the snowballs, I don't have to have extra of those fabrics to repeat somewhere else in the quilt do I? I have a whole load of 5" squares I can trim for the snowballs, but no extra.

    1. ha. Just found out those 5"squares I thought I had were 4". Grr. Never mind, I just cut some more. I think I will make 2 of 15 fabrics, it will be o.k. to have a repeat, right?

  10. Beautiful centre with all those wonderful snowballs! And I hear it was even more beautiful in person! Great part one!

  11. Think I'll have to go with 1800s/country too! Looks great

  12. Im new and I look forward to this quilt. I have lots of stash. Will try to decide something. Great blog.

  13. I Found your Mystery because of Kaaren at 'Painted Quilt'. I only have one question. After the second border what should the center measure. I have a good idea I just want to make sure I'm right so everything else fits. Thank you for offering your mystery to the rest of the world.

  14. I Found your Mystery because of Kaaren at 'Painted Quilt'. I only have one question. After the second border what should the center measure. I have a good idea I just want to make sure I'm right so everything else fits. Thank you for offering your mystery to the rest of the world.

  15. Thanks for the tour of your studio - its always fun to see how others organize their "stuff" and get new ideas as well. Your quilt is looking great!

  16. I am a mystery QAL addict. so I am in. One request, could you add the google friend connect button to your sidebar, so people can follow you, and don't lose you. I did add a button to my blog so I can continue finding you each month, and it will also redirect others your way too.

  17. Well, that Lesley is such an instigator - I am putting the last border on now.

  18. Hi Darlene,

    I am going to jump in on the fun too. Not sure what fabric I am going to use. Will pick out something this week. Hopefully, will have something posted by this weekend.

  19. Thank you Darlene for making this mystery quilt available...this is my first on line mystery quilt...looking forward to next month..Feb. instructions........your time and work is greatly appreciated.........

  20. Hi Darlene!
    When do you publish the second part of this quilt? I am so excited to receive it!
    Cathy from Belgium

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