Friday, February 4, 2011

Cutting up the mystery quilt

My fabric choices for Mystery Quilt 2011

I'm attending a mystery quilt retreat with one of my book club friends and her entourage on February 12th.  Never heard of a mystery quilt before?  I hadn't either until I went to my first retreat with the same friend two years ago.  Here's what happens.  You get a list of fabrics to buy with amounts based on what size you want to make.  For example, this year the list for a crib size quilt was:

1 1/4 yards of medium multicolored print that looks good as a 6" square
1 1/4 yards of light solid or small print for background
1/2 yard medium to medium dark solid or small print
3/4 yard light medium to medium solid or small print
3/4 yard medium solid or small print

Then you get a list of cutting directions.  Here's the list of how I had to cut fabric B (i.e. the background fabric of above) prior to the retreat:

8---2 1/2" width of fabric strips
2---4 1/2" width of fabric strips
1---6 1/2" width of fabric strips

There are directions for how to cut each fabric and what equipment and supplies you need to bring.  I think the most difficult part is choosing the fabric.  You have no idea what the design of the quilt will be until after you start making it.  At the retreat, you are given directions one step at a time as to how to cut and sew things together.  

I have been meaning to make a quilt for Tom Thumb's bed for a long time.  His room is minimally decorated with vintage airplanes.  I had searched high and low for a fabric that I liked that had vintage planes on it with no success.  Then I walked into Joann one day and there it was.  I bought everything they had (which was a little over 6 yards) because I didn't know what I wanted to do with it.  Curtains?  Bedspread?  Pillow shams?  I didn't know.  Then the fabric went to sleep in my craft closet for a year and a half because I couldn't make a decision.

Then a couple of months ago, Jean invited me to go to her quilt guild's retreat for this year.  We had such a great time two years ago.  Imagine a banquet hall full of women with sewing machines, sewing, talking, laughing, eating snacks.  My favorite part was seeing how everyone's quilt developed.  They all were the same design, but looked unique because of the different fabric choices.  Here's a link to her guild's retreat from previous years.  Check out all the variety!  I finally finished my mystery quilt from two years ago just a few weeks ago.  Although I'm a little nervous to be making a quilt with the plane material with no idea what the ultimate design will be, I'm excited that it will get me to work on his quilt.  My advance cutting is done.  More pictures will be coming post-retreat!

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