Mystery Quilt 2018

It’s a mystery – a Mystery Quilt!  As a person who likes to plan out every aspect of my life, giving over control to someone else can be difficult.  I can safely say that there was nothing overly difficult with this mystery quilt. I am so glad I made this quilt.

A beginning

I thought long and hard about the element I could control – the fabrics.  The initial instructions called for (3) fabrics.  I considered patriotic, monochrome and floral but then finally ended up choosing a Christmas theme.  In addition, all three fabrics had elements of gold to unify them.

Mystery Quilt 2018
Christmas Fabrics

The adventure begins

Because I never follow a quilt pattern unless I have designed it, the thought of beginning a new quilt at the instruction of others made me apprehensive.  My concerns were calmed as I began putting my sections together.  

Mystery Quilt 2018

It was easier to keep track of each set by using labels and zip loc bags.

Putting it all together

I won’t say that there weren’t a few bumps along the way, but in the end, I really enjoyed the process of constructing this Mystery Quilt top.

Mystery Quilt 2018

As I started placing blocks on the design wall, I was rewarded with another surprise – the circular secondary pattern that was coming to life.  It began time to consider how I was going to quilt this beauty.

Time to quilt

I pieced the entire top, then took pictures.  I find this is an important first step when beginning to consider what type of custom quilting to employ.  My first consideration was thread color.  I thought of white, or beige or even red or green, but none of them seem to unify the quilt like I wanted it to.  Then I realized that the perfect color was GOLD!  As gold was laced throughout all three fabrics, this would be one way to tie them together.

Next, it was time to consider the actual quilting patterns.  I chose two different snowflake block patterns for the two blocks in the quilt; however the top ended up having an additional row around the blocks that completed the secondary pattern, so I wanted to address that separately.  I chose to use a meandering snowflake border to go all around the quilt.  This pattern was actually mirrored in the white background fabric.

Mystery Quilt 2018

I did have to fill in with some hand-guided long arm quilting to finish up the inside sections.  

The borders were a different story.  As I said, the inner border was filled with dancing snowflakes, but the outer border was something special.  I thought a great deal about what to do here and I really wanted to include something like piano keys.  The problem with that is that it was not quite Christmas.  Then I had a revelation!  I created a Tree/Key combination for the border that was perfect.

Mystery Quilt 2018

No longer a mystery!

Mystery Quilt 2018
Johnson County Quilt Guild Mystery Quilt 2018

I will never say that I did not follow a pattern again!  I am so glad that I took the plunge and went outside my comfort zone.  Thank you Donna Bardwell for all your hard work designing this quilt.  I can’t wait for next year’s mystery adventure.

Paper Pieced Scrappy 2018

Paper Pieced Scrappy 2018

Paper Pieced Scrappy 2018 started out as a need to do something fun.  I really just wanted to create a quilt that included paper piecing, scrappy and movement.  

How to start?

I started by perusing the different, simple paper pieced blocks in my Electric Quilt 8 Program.  After checking out a variety of those offered, I settled on Crazy 28.  Four blocks together creates a wonderful star effect.

Paper Pieced Scrappy 2018
Crazy 28 Block from Electric Quilt 8

I had lots of fun choosing fabrics.  Those in the image above “represent” the colors and textures that I used for my own project.  


The border treatment for this quilt changed over time.  I originally wanted to do a geometric diamond border, but the more I looked at it, the more it seemed to compete with the motion of the blocks.  Instead, I decided on the following:

Paper Pieced Scrappy 2018

This border kept things spinning, but also seems to contain the movement in the center.


The quilting patterns I chose were rounded but full of motion.  What the heck!  The curves relate well to the sharp points but don’t hinder the twirling of the star pattern that has emerged.

The finished quilt

This quilt measures about 60″x60″ and works great on the wall or as a lap quilt. Front or back, I love this quilt no matter what view.

Other paper pieced projects:

You can find other paper pieced quilts I have created here:

Blue Beauty
Strip Tease Quilt

Vintage Inspired

I am going to make it a point to sprinkle in some smaller posts that feature individual projects.  A full course meal is always enjoyable, but sometimes you just only want a snack!  How about something vintage inspired?

Peonies and Polka Dots

My first snack is indeed yummy – Peonies and Polka Dots is the name of the gorgeous vintage inspired quilt.  From the moment I saw it, I had the feeling that I was looking into the past. This quilt reminded me of my Great-Grandmother’s flower gardens in Illinois.

Credit for this quilt goes to Margret Lewis from the Johnson County Quilt Guild.

In 2015, I created a flower quilt – Hippie Rainbow Flowers that was beautiful but does not have the elegance of this quilt.

Peonies and Polka Dots

The quilt is quite large, being over 90″ long, but of course fit on the long arm just fine.  

Peonies and Polka Dots

I really love how the different patterns work so well together. Big peony flowers, small polka dots and a small scale floral all work in harmony.

Peonies and Polka Dots

Of course, the quilting pattern is floral – a cute daisy edge to edge doesn’t over power the beauty of the quilt itself.

Peonies and Polka Dots

From the back, the floral quilting shows up well among a small polka dot print.  So cute from this view too!

What do you think of a smaller scale post?

Plano Quilt Show 2018

Over the weekend, I found myself once at the Plano Quilt Show.  This is one of the shows I tend to visit each season due to the quality of quilts and vendors.  I love shopping at quilt shows!

Click here to view my post from Plano 2017

I may be wrong but there seemed to be more vendors than last year, this made me very happy.

Mini Auction

Mini Quilt Auction Entries

As you walk down one of the hallways, you can check out the Mini Quilt Auction.  I really need to try a mini quilt.


I love to shop – this made me happy!


As usual, I take pictures of the quilts that strike me.  Sometimes they relate to a different topic, technique or other unifying element.  Here are a couple of my favorite Christmas Quilts.

There were many familiar vendors to shop with including, Stitched with Love, The Gray Rooster’s Wood shop – Frederick Ray Herman, Plano Sewing Center, Thomas Sewing Center and more!

Gorgeous Quilts

As always, this quilt show provided no shortage of beautiful quilts.  I tend to like select groups of quilts due to their originality or some other unifying element.  Here are the ones that stood out for me.

Christmas Quilts

There were others, but these two stood out for me.

Colorful Critters

These fun critters all seemed to fit together, the Llamas really made me smile!

String Quilts

String quilts are simple creatures that can provide a great deal of joy.

Other Quilts that Inspired Me

Many of these have paper pieced and/or applique elements. Their sharp points and crisp lines are a joy to enjoy.


This quilt was absolutely gorgeous and while it is difficult to tell, this is actually a two-tone quilt.  The unfortunate part is that the shadows that played on it really didn’t do it much justice.  I wish I could have enjoyed it for it’s full beauty instead of only looking at the top half.

Did you attend the Plano Quilt Show 2018?  What quilts were your favorite?

Quilting the Alta Fenume

In my last post, I shared the creation of my newest applique quilt – Alta Fenume. I also said that the actual quilting of this extra large dragon, would be covered in a separate post.  Here it is.

Custom or E2E

This was one of those questions that was so easy to answer: Custom of course!  The entire quilt easily showed me areas that were perfect for computerized and hand-guided custom work.  I will break down how I approached this next.


Not all parts of this quilt were applique. The borders had personality of their own. This was one of the easiest parts, with all the structure of the floating squares and elegance of the cream sections, there were many directions to take.  I decided to do hand-guided arches in the boxes and computerized flipped feathers in the single fabric borders.

I used Gold thread for the arches, and did not use a ruler for this, I wanted them to look like gold string dangling around the edges.

The feathers were done in a matching thread color.  I really love how this added texture to the outside of the quilt.

The Dragon

The dragon itself was very fun to quilt, each section really did speak for itself.

The first section I tackled was the applique body.  I really wanted scales to add texture to the entire body.  Initially, I drew them out with chalk and then hand-quilted them with a matching green thread.

I was overjoyed with the result!

The smaller elements of the dragon were outlined, doodled, and/or accented in a way that allowed the sections to be properly nailed down and accented.  Then came the wings.

I decided that the wings should have veins, and was happy I did.  This allowed for texture just not too much.  Notice the poofiness?  I really liked that.

Lastly, and lastly because I was lamenting how to quilt it, came the background which the dragon flew in.  I took the blue clouds and did a repeat.  This was my least favorite part, but it works.

I was still having trouble figuring out how to quilt the skies when it dawned on me:  What do you see in the sky?  CLOUDS!

These big, fluffy clouds really did the job.  Not too much quilting-just enough to add a textural element.

Overall, I love this quilt and had a great time showing it off during our guild’s Show and Tell.  No, this wasn’t December – it was our Christmas In July event!

How do you quilt your applique quilts?




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