Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Quilt Projects and Musings, Early January 2012

Got a couple of things going on down at the design wall.  One is a Leader Ender and the other a Real Project but I'll be dipped if I can tell you which is which!

Bonnie Hunter last summer casually suggested bowtie leader-enders might be a good thing to be doing and although I'm not one to jump on quilting bandwagons, I pretty much agreed.  Bonnie was doing cheddar; I had gobs of pink and brown left from another project, and promptly began cutting.  My bowties are made from 2" and 1-1/4" squares and finish nice and small.  You can see that I've begun to sew the little blocks together; my quilt center will be 9 x 9 bowties.

Because crumbs didn't get out of my system with Pictures At An Exhibition, I'm making more of them; these will finish at 6" rather than 4" and each one has a person or an animal among the bits and pieces.  Talk about addictive!  I'm going to need a couple of off-to-college quilts in another year and a half, and I'm convinced that these crumb blocks will be just the thing.

Speaking of bandwagons, I've been thinking lately about people who participate in quilt-alongs and in mystery quilt projects.  I've never done either of those things and I've sorted out the reasons why:

(a) I more than enough ideas for quilts I already want to make!
(b) I don't want to be doing the same project that a bazillion other people are doing.
(c) I can't imagine going out to buy fabric for a mystery quilt -- that I wouldn't know how it was going to turn out -- talk about a possible expensive mistake -- and I don't have a huge stash of yardage.
(d) I don't want to invest time and fabric in a project without knowing what it is going to be.
(e) So far, I haven't wanted to make an exact copy of another quilt.

All of that being said, I'm fascinated by the number of quilters who do get involved in quiltalongs and mysteries and enjoy seeing the various outcomes.  I'd be interested to hear the reasons (if there are any!) that people choose to participate in these activities.

Home sick today with a head cold, I spent a couple of hours sewing, but more time reading (the current book club selection, Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler which so far I'd give about 5 stars) and sleeping.  My hunch is that I'm going to be here another day but if staying home from work in any way prevents this from morphing into bronchitis, so much the better.


cityquilter said...

i ordinarily don't do mystery quilts as i, too, have more than enough other projects i really want to do, but i did bonnie's mystery because i love her quilts and thought i would try one....and i had nearly all the fabrics on hand already, so no big purchases were necessary

Anonymous said...

stay well. You could come south with us!! it is 81 there today, expected to be 78 when we arrive tomorrow!! your CA cuz

Suzan said...

I started one Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt. (I used stash and scraps.) By the third set of cutting directions I knew I would never make it. I did a quilt along making 12 different stars (stash and scrap) just because at that point I had only made 3 different kinds of stars and liked the idea of tutorials. I am going to follow Jodi's scrap quilt along for inspiration to make a couple of scrap quilts to reduce my scrap inventory. I think the common theme behind the quilt alongs that I followed was that I wasn't spending money but using fabrics I had on my shelves.

Lori said...

Love your pink and brown bow ties!!

I get involved to be part of a bigger quilt group. I don't have a local quilt group so this is my alternative.

Janet O. said...

You have verbalized my "no mysteries or quilt-alongs" feelings so well. I am, however, planning on doing Lori's QAL (my first) for a doll quilt. I have been enamored with little quilts of late and I like the vintage doll quilts Lori copies. I can do that from my stash. Like Lori, I don't have a local quilt group (there are guilds but they either meet when I can't or they do projects in which I have no interest) and that is why I got into blogging--to feel a part of a larger quilting community. If that community loves making mysteries, I will love watching! Orca Bay is a stunning quilt, no matter what colors people have chosen. : )
Your bowties are coming along! I love the brown and pink and have a pattern in a box with a bunch of such fabrics awaiting their turn.
Hope you get feeling better soon. I have had a propensity to develop bronchitis when a cold sets in, but I have been free of it for over 2 years now (knock on something or other).

Marj said...

I have gotten involved in Bonnie's mystery quilts when I have time because they don't make you have to invest anything but time and scraps. If I decide that I don't want to keep a quilt that looks like a lot of other peoples, I donate it to a good charity cause. It is fun to join other quilters on line and meet like minded people from all over the world. Maybe you should give it a try some time and get out of your comfort zone. You can always put the parts of a mystery quilt together in your own unique way.

Bonnie K Hunter said...

come to think of it, I don't do mysteries that other people have designed because I have too many quilts in my head that I want to do too! :cD

my word verification is typertud funny! Typertude?? :cD

floribunda said...

I haven't done any of Bonnie's mysteries because they are such an investment of time and energy, and usually result in big quilts -- but I enjoy doing some of the other ones that I can make "baby-sized" or even miniature. I always work from stash, often scrappy, and for me it's a fun way to try a different fabric/color combination with little stress. These days I pretty much do only one particular designer's mysteries and they're only once a year... fun designs and good instructions.

Vivian said...

If you are looking for more reasons why people do or don't do mysteries check out this post at Mary's blog because she recently asked the same question:

Anonymous said...

Ladder of Years is my very favorite Anne Tyler. I 'm glad you ar enjoying it as well.

wordmama said...

I don't work fast enough to keep up with quiltalongs,etc. I loved it when Amanda Jean at crazymomquilts had a 36 patch quiltalong and would love to do one myself.

Mystery quilts terrify me. Too much pressure to keep up and then you might not even like it.


Quiltdivajulie said...

Skipping the other comments until AFTER I post mine.

When I was still a new quilter, I participated in Bonnie's New Year's quiltalong, but we knew the pattern and the outcome before we started (mine were PIF/Kindness quilts). That was a lot of fun.

I did start Bonnie's mystery for Old Tobacco Roads with my own color controlled version ~ but my quilt (Dandelion Detour) doesn't look at all like Bonnie's sample. (I didn't cut enough of something and when I hit that point, I wanted to go off in my own direction).

I like how some of Bonnie's current myster Orca Bay quilts are turning out ~ but I have too much else on my cutting table and design wall (and in my head) to take on anything else right now. I'm adding her pattern to my "Bonnie" notebook in case I want to make one of my own someday.

That said, I love your list of reasons and, these days, feel much the same way (could we also be siblings separated at birth?).

howdidIgethere said...

Guess I'll jump in with my comment since I suspect a recent conversation about mystery quilts was, at least in part, responsible for the post.

I am working on my first mystery quilt -- almost have the blocks for part 1 completed. A number of years ago, I signed up to do one on a retreat. As it happened, I had to bow out of the weekend for non-quilt-related reasons, but only after I had spent an extraordinary amount of time agonizing over fabric choices -- totally unable to decide given the "X yards of light + Y yards of dark" etc. It has been quite a while since then, with few thoughts of mystery quilts intervening, mostly because I, too, figured I'd never be able to "keep up".

However, one of my goals is to try to be less controlling (AKA anal-retentive) and do some stretching outside my comfort zone. The MQ I started allows that since it's from a bi-monthly magazine and only 3 parts, i.e. spread over 6 months. My plan was to pull fabrics from stash, but I ended up not happy with what I had (most of my pieces are not long enough), so I found a great sale and purchased what I need -- purposely not my usual palette.

As for making the "same" quilt as others, we do it, more or less, each time we swap identical blocks made with specific types of fabrics. The resulting quilts are still unique as no two people will start with precisely the same assortment and, even if they do, the arrangement is different. While the pattern may be the same for everyone in a mystery, their unique selection of fabrics creates a quilt unlike any others.

I already have on my "to-do" list a number of quilts with no intended recipient in mind, so this just adds one more.

And, besides, I roped Pat into doing it with me so I have "company"!

Deb said...

I've only completed one quilt-along and reason I participated was because I already had the pattern and material, so thought by participating it would force me to finish it by the deadline, and it worked! I do participate every summer in a LQS mystery quilt. They provide the pattern for free over a 12 week period, I always purchase my material for it during their summer porch sale, where I can get the material for 50% off. If you complete the quilt you get to attend a party in the fall where they give you a 20% off coupon and a roll of fat eights, so it's pretty nice incentive to participate.

Salem Stitcher said...

Take care of yourself! Make Blackberry snuggle up with you for a nap!

Pat said...

What Howdidigethere said.

My very first quilt ever was a mystery, done at a day-long class at a LQS. Wow, did I learn a lot about color values. It was also a lesson in seeing that the same quilt pattern can be rendered in a hundred different ways. I've done a number of mysteries since, some of which have turned out well, and others not so much so. None, other than that first one, were big, so there wasn't a lot of fabric investment.

Marsha and I will have fun with the mystery she roped me into doing. It's an adventure!

Anonymous said...

a. ok more than enough ideas.... but are you making them? sometimes a quilt a long or mystery quilt get the juices pumping and the sewing done... there will always be a use for a give away quilt even if you HATE it.
b. I doubt seriously that every quilt you have ever made is original design by you.... fact is every quilt most of us make we take an idea or a pattern and do it our way.... so there are a bazillion hexie quilts out there but MINE is unique...
c. Not sure if mystery quilts are for buying fabric but for USING fabric... no I would not use a fabric that I love love love, but there are many so so's on the shelf that probably will work.
d. FAITH.... your time and fabric will be a hit or a I mentioned before, the misses to you are probably great give away quilts.
e. most quilt a longs and mysteries we are told how much light how much dark how much of color one, etc. I can't see any of the quilts being exact copies on another quilt.

take a look at bonnie hunters ocra bay mystery quilt just finished ... she has a place where peeps put pictures of their work.... exact copies - hardly... and these folks have an almost finished quilt, many of them from scraps... sure know I would not choose to sew this quilt, yikes the number of pieces ! but did know with the zillion pieces and finished I would have a GREAT quilt....