Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Easy Street!


Mommy, where do UFOs come from?

No, this is just part of the pile of UFOs!

Let's see, I have
  • 4 Christmas gifts to finish* (but realized I have another one that's not even started!)
  • 1 completed quilt that just needs a label
  • 1 quilt basted and ready to quilt
  • 1 quilt top finished and waiting for a back
  • 1 quilt top pieced and waiting for borders
  • 3 blocks for my Simple Sampler class not even started (there would be 4 except that Hurricane Sandy flooded out my LQS)
  • 6 Barrister's Blocks cut and ready to sew
  • 5 Barrister's Blocks that I haven't even selected the fabric for (and 3 more coming tomorrow)
  • A large container filled with quilt kits, both purchased and self-made
  • 1 knitted infinity scarf 3/4 completed
  • 1 needlepoint project barely begun
* These were the headrest totes and CD holders that got done in time for my trip to Memphis, but while I was packing, I discovered that I'd completely neglected to make another gift that I'd planned.  Ack!

So where to start?  Of course!  I've decided to make the new Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt!  It's called Easy Street, and I just couldn't resist!  You can follow along by clicking on the link on the sidebar of this blog.

Easy Street Mystery Quilt

I love Bonnie Hunter's blog, her quilts and her attitude.  If you aren't familiar with it, check it out -- free tutorials, quilt patterns, so much cool information and photos!  I've learned so much just from poking around in her website, so I really wanted to take a class from her.  But at this point that doesn't seem possible.  She is totally booked into 2015, and none of her classes are anywhere near me.  So when she announced that this year's Mystery Quilt, I was interested.  She calls it Easy Street because it's less complicated that some of her previous projects.  OK, I'M IN!

A mystery quilt is one that you work on without having any idea what it's going to be when you're done.  This is my first mystery quilt, and it's a little scary.  The fabric requirements only say the total amount of each color that you need, but don't say anything about a minimum width or length.  The more scraps you use, the more uncertain whether you have what you need.  Since I ended up having to buy most the fabric for this quilt, it should be OK.

She's using black, white and gray as background and purple, turquoise and lime green for the color.  I guess I could have used more of my stash if I'd used different colors, but I love these!  Here's what I ended up with:

I can't find the photo I took of these fabrics before I cut them.  Too bad, they were all fat quarters or yardage and some were almost too nice to cut (see the big dogwood flowers?)

I was careful to select fabrics that are mostly white, so the units wouldn't be too dark.





I like these colors so much, but I had very little in my stash, mostly purples.  When I started quilting, I was using mostly baby fabrics, then was drawn to a more muted palate (like the Civil Was fabrics).  And I'm not [yet] into modern quilts.  But this was a chance to use these pretty fabrics.


The Disappearing 4-Patch!

Step #1 was to cut the gray and black-and-white into 2" strips.  Piece of cake with the Shape Cut ruler!  Strip-piece, cut each strip into 2" pieces and stitch up 4-patches.  So why do I call this the Disappearing 4-Patch?  I chain-pieced the patches in groups of about 30 (one strip per B/W fabric pattern). 

So where are they?  They disappeared!

Peek-a-boo!  I see you!  Down on the floor under the sewing table!

This is why I'm climbing the walls waiting for the acrylic insert for my sewing table!  It took two months to come in the first time, and then it was the wrong size.  So I still have the machine extension table in place and that gap behind the machine.

Another question mark in a mystery quilt is just how much to cut for each step.  The directions say you'll need a certain number of each piece or a certain number of units, but when you're using assorted scraps plus yardage and FQs, it can be a bit of a challenge.  Anxious to get started, I didn't methodically figure out how many pieces I'd get from a WOF (width of fabric) strip.  In fact, I got a bit overenthusiastic and cut 2" strips of all the gray and almost all the black-and-white.  If I'll need something wider,  I could be in trouble!  (Or back in the fabric store, LOL!).  Lesson learned: I should have cut just one strip of each color, sewed it up and made the 4-patches, then calculated how many strips I'd need for the first step.

Step #2 is to make flying geese with the purple.  That will be my next post.

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