New mystery quilt started


Yesterday the first clue in Charlotte Hawkins’ new mystery quilt along was posted, and with the help of yet another snow day, I’ve started right in.

This quilt is called Surrounded By Scraps, and involved cutting a lot of small squares and rectangles that today I started chain piecing into 4 and 9 patches.

It is all about the 1 1/2″ squares for this first clue.


There is plenty of time to get all of this ironed and finish sewing as the next clue isn’t until February.  When we will probably still be out of of school . . .

These icicles are the only real sign that any melting is occurring.


Blue and black finish


A bit of binding . . .

and the quilt is done!



This was a Scrapitude mystery quilt, the second I’ve participated in.  I’m so pleased with the colors and the stash-busting.  And just as pleased to have one quilting project to check off the WIP list. The

I kept the binding  scrappy to match the rest of the quilt, and sewed it down by machine. I’m not a purest when it comes to binding, and since the quilting isn’t done by hand, I always figure it doesn’t matter if the binding is either.  And I think it is sturdier this way.  Not as polished on the back, but around here, hard wearing is more important than perfect.

I modified the pattern slightly, leaving out the sashing because I didn’t want the quilt to turn out as big as it would have.  I’m not sure of this one’s destination, but someone will come along who it will be perfect for.

It is in the dryer now, getting its crinkle.  I love a quilt just out of the dryer!


Happy to be sewing again

It has been months since I did much sewing.  I’m not sure why.  Yes, we were busy with the kitchen for a big chunk of summer, but even after that work died down, I just couldn’t get back to my sewing machine. Maybe it was how messy the room was, or the huge pile of unfinished projects was too overwhelming.

But today there was actual quilting!  My Scrappy Stars Around the Corner quilt has been sitting, pin basted, since last spring, and at long last it now is quilted.

I went plain with the quilting, using stitch-in-the-ditch (which for me is often stitch-near-the-ditch) on diagonal lines.  I used pale gray thread on top and navy in the bobbins as the backing is pieced from blue and black fabrics.

Next up, binding.

Blue and black backing

I hope to go over to my sister’s school this week to pin quilts on her classroom floor, so I needed to get cracking on quilt backs.  I gathered all the larger pieces of fabric I used in the blue and black Scrappy Stars Around the Corner quilt and started arranging them like puzzle pieces on the livingroom floor.

It came together well as I had just enough long strips left to work it all out.  It isn’t a lot bigger than the top, but there are a couple of inches on each side, so it will be just big enough.


I don’t have much left of the blues and blacks in my stash – just small pieces.  They’ll get cut up and added to my pile of squares for future scrappy projects.


Scrappy Stars Around the Corner



I’m very slowly making my way through my list of WIPs.  Today I finished the Scrapitude mystery quilt called Scrappy Stars Around the Corner (a rather unwieldy name for a pretty pattern).

A lot of seam sewing with even more pins.  I tend not to use pins in my piecing, but I really wanted to get my seams and points lined up, so I slowed down and stuck them in.  It did improve the results.


When it was done we attempted the usual over the deck picture.  The drizzle and grey day didn’t make for a good picture. (I seem to make excuses for my photos a lot – maybe not the lighting, but the operator?)


This quilt greatly reduced my blue and black fabric stash, especially the dark blues.  It may take more shopping to get a back pieced together.  I think I can bear a little time in a fabric store.   🛍

A mystery solved

The fourth and final clue in the Scrappy Stars Around the Corner mystery QAL came out quite some time ago (April 12) but I didn’t get to it until this week as I was caught up in the red and white X quilt top instead.  That one out of the way, I got to work on sewing blue and black triangles and squares together again.

The centers of these 12 blocks, like the star blocks, are basic economy blocks, and then additional corner layers add a bit more complexity.  My point matching skills got a work out and as always, I improved over time so it is best not to look too closely at the earliest parts.

I’m eliminating the sashing that the pattern calls for as the quilt will be plenty big without it. It takes up my whole design wall, floor to ceiling and side to side. I couldn’t get far enough away in my small craft room to fit the entire layout in the iPad camera.

Just nine more blocks to sew the last corners on and then I can sew it all together.


The blue and black make a restful change after all the red I’ve been working with.

Mystery QAL clue 3

I devoted this weekend to clue 3 of the Scrapitude Mystery QAL.

My sewing mojo was really off.  I kept making really dumb mistakes, and my seam ripper got quite a workout.  And my seam allowance was all over the place.  Usually I’m fairly consistent, but despite using the same line I normally do, my blocks grew and shrank randomly.

I couldn’t even read directions correctly.  My eyes saw 4 1/2″ despite the fact that the number turned out to be 4 1/4″. That doesn’t help in making correctly sized blocks.  Nor does forgetting to cut squares into 4 sections, not two.

Despite all this, the various parts of clue 3 are done.  Not necessarily done well, but done.

My best guess at how the various pieces are going to come together.


But it there are a lot of squares left, so there are still some twists yet to come.


Scrappy Stars Around the Corner, clue 2

Several sewing sessions this weekend yielded 20 finished blocks.

Lots of sizing up and corner clipping.  I mixed sewing randomly and trying to make sure that the same fabrics didn’t end up directly next to each other.  Generally successful, but a few times I slipped up as the number of fabrics grew along with the blocks.

I had fairly good luck keeping all the points, so I’m showing some improvement there, but my scant 1/4″ seam is a little too narrow so I’ve a new goal to work on.

And then there is watching which way I attach the pieces:

The finished blocks are 12 1/2″.  I still have a lot of squares left, so either these blocks are going to get bigger, or the sashing is going to be fancy.

There are a lot of yellow squares that haven’t been touched yet.

The original directions specified squares of three values: dark to medium fabrics, medium to light, and very light.  The background could be very dark or white.  I went with the white, since I was already using blacks in the pattern and didn’t want to lose the difference, but now the pale grays/tans I used for the light colors don’t seem much different than the white background.  It works in these blocks, but I may have to make adjustments coming up if the two are ever going to touch.


While I sewed, my visiting sister worked on the octopus that we started months ago.  She is in charge of getting the button suckers sewn on so I can quilt it.


There is a ways to go, but she’s promised to add at least six buttons a day.



Catching up

It just dawned on me that the weekend is about to start, and I never wrote about last weekend’s project progress.

I finally got started on sewing the mystery quilt-a-long that is going on over at Scrapitude Quilts, Scrappy Stars Around the Corner.  I got all my pieces cut out months ago, and then when the clues started I was working on other things, including finishing my own scrappy star quilt top.


Clue 2 is already out, but I just got through most of clue 1.  I went with black and navy, with upcoming touches of yellow and gray, and white on white fabric as the background.

Lots of chain piecing of triangles to squares.  Very assembly line, but it does make for quick progress.

And now I have piles of completed clue 1 pieces, with just a few more to go before I’m ready to move on to clue 2 this weekend.


So many squares!

I hope everyone who celebrated had a good Thanksgiving.  It was rather crowded here in our little house with my sister’s family here for the first time in years, as well as my Cousin’s family and my mom.  We needed an extra table in addition to the extra table leaves.  And I see a need for floor pillows for the living room before next time.  Yay! More sewing projects!

We made lefse, which is traditional in our family for holidays – pretty much the only carryover from the Scandinavian ancestors.



I also learned that 1) brussel sprouts come on enormous, thick stalks, and 2) I don’t like them.

In addition to hosting Thanksgiving over this holiday weekend, there was crafting. I did a lot of cutting.  Square after square after square.

Some of it was for an upcoming mystery QAL that starts in January.  The cutting list requires more than 600 squares ranging from 2 1/2 to 4 1/2, with lots of 5/8 and 7/8 variations inbetween.  It is the new Scrapitude QAL, in case anyone else wants to join in.

Scrapitude quilt squares

Looks like a pretty small pile for 600+ squares! doesn’t it!?  I went through my black and dark blue scraps, added some gold and yellows, and very pale neutrals for the rest.  I’m still debating the background color – white or medium gray probably.

While I worked on the fabric squares, my cousin spent an equal number of hours playing with my sister’s cricut machine, cutting out all manner of shapes.  I snuck in a few snowflakes.  (The boys and I hope that putting them up in the window will attract real snow, though the strong El Niño makes that an unlikely event this winter.)  That machine is so much fun!Cricut snowflakes

I cut a bunch more 2 1/2″ squares for my scrap bin as well, and then yesterday I got ichy for the sewing machine after all that family togetherness so I started making wonky stars with them.  I’m throwing in as many different fabrics as I can, so it is going to be very colorful.  Hopefully, the white stars will give eyes a place to rest from the bright mish-mash.

Making them is addicting – I was up this morning before I even got dressed, making more.