Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mystery gaining momentum

I am surprised and delighted every day when more Beyond the Block Mystery Quilt contest entries arrive. The one above one is from Elsie Vredenburg of Tustin, Michigan. Using photos of gloriosa daisies from her garden as inspiration, Elsie created these gorgeous focus blocks with fusible appliqué and thread painting.
Willie Fiedler of Sandwich, Massachusetts, writes, "After a trying few days to get my blocks to work, I persevered and got them together. I tried to work out of my stash which worked out until the cutting error in the directions. So, as I always say, there are no mistakes, only design opportunities. The large green areas are going to include appliqued vines when I get the quilt top together. Thanks for giving me a spark of creativity and a challenge when I really needed it."
You still have plenty of time to start the mystery quilt in the September 2010 issue of American Quilter magazine and enter our contest. (If you haven't yet begun the project, please make note of the corrected diagrams for patches E and H, shown in my blog posting on July 23rd.) The pattern starts on page 60 and contest details are on page 66. (AQS members can also access the pattern online at Be sure to send your contact information (address, phone, e-mail) along with photos of your focus blocks and completed Part 1 blocks.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More mystery

If you're working on the Beyond the Block Mystery Quilt (Part 1 was just published in the September 2010 issue of American Quilter magazine), be sure to read my blog post of July 23, which details the corrected dimensions and diagrams for two patches in the rotary cutting box.
Barb Bruce of Salisbury, North Carolina, sent me these photos of her focus blocks and four Part 1 blocks. The focus blocks are cut from a panel fabric, designed by Sarah Moe for Blank Fabrics. Barb added a frame around them to get the correct size.
Gorgeous fabrics and color palette, Barb! Thank you for sharing.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mystery Quilt Update

If you’re working on Part 1 of the Beyond the Block Mystery Quilt (published in the September 2010 issue of American Quilter), please note that two illustrations in the Rotary Cutting box on page 62 were not correct. These are the correct diagrams for patches E and H:

We apologize for this small error, but it does not affect the yardage requirements or any other aspect of the construction in Part 1.
Pat Thompson, an experienced quilter from Mount Vernon, Washington, is using vintage linens, embroidered with directional flower baskets, for her mystery quilt focus blocks.
If you plan to use directional focus blocks (blocks with a definite top and bottom design), follow the figure 9 below rather than the one pictured on page 65. Both are correct, depending on your focus fabric.

Janet Foster, another quilter from Washington, is using Oriental-style fabrics for her focus blocks. This is her finished Star block from Part 1:

And quilter/author Joan Hanson from Seattle, Washington, has forged ahead and already finished Part 1. She used a gorgeous large-scale print as her focus fabric, combined with a variety of complementary batiks and commercial prints. I can’t wait to see her completed quilt!

If you are making a mystery quilt, be sure to enter the contest described on page 66 of the September issue. You could win quilt books, fabrics, and a subscription to American Quilter!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Better fitting mitered borders

(Submitted by Marje Rhine, American Quilter magazine pattern editor)
I used to have a lot of trouble accurately applying mitered borders. It seemed more often than not I would end up with pointy or sometimes rounded borders. This was because I could not accurately cut the angles of the borders when they were already attached to the quilt. I also sometimes had wavy borders because most mitered border techniques do not have you cut your border to exactly fit the quilt. Here is my now-preferred method for cutting mitered borders.
Measure the quilt from side to side. Measure the width of the border. Tip: If your quilt has several mitered borders, sew the border strips together first. Make sure your length of border is long enough. To determine this, take the width of the quilt as measured, add 2 times the width of the border, and then add 2″. In my example below, the quilt measures 36″ from side to side and my border width is 4″. My length of border must be at least 46″.

36″ + (2 x 4″) + 2″ = 46″

Cut one end of the border strip at a 45° angle. Discard the resulting triangle. From the inside point of the cut, measure and mark the width of the quilt minus 1/4″.

Starting precisely at that mark, cut the border strip at a 45° angle. Make sure this cut goes in the opposite direction from the previous cut. Cut 2 borders this way—one for the top and one for the bottom of the quilt.

Measure and cut the side borders in the same manner before sewing any border to the quilt.

Now center and pin a border to the quilt. Use alignment pins to make sure that the intersections of the 1/4″ seam allowances on the border match the intersections of the seam allowances on the quilt. Stitch the border to the quilt. Be sure to backstitch at each end of the seam.

 Add all borders to the quilt in the same manner, then finish the mitered corners with a 1/4″ seam.
ADDENDUM: There was a question about why I subtract 1/4" from the measurement before cutting. Here is a diagram that shows why the diagonal for the cut piece is started at 1/4" less than the measured quilt width. Notice how because of the angle and seam allowances the the lower raw edge of the border is shorter than the raw edge of the quilt. I must admit that I often cannot remember if I add or subtract 1/4" to get the length to cut. For large quilts I often start the cut at exactly the width of the quilt then ease in that extra 1/4" as I go.