It’s Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt time and the theme is Good Fortune! What a lovely sentiment….good fortune. I have had the Good Fortune to be surrounded by friends and family both far and near and although the mystery is a special blessing for those whose families are scattered or gone for me it is a Blessing and a time for renewal and reflection.
This is the fourth mystery quilt I have chosen to create in the last 5 years. I took one year off and there are parts of me that still regret that decision. However, my design wall clearly called my name and asked that I finish a few of my own projects…..I completed 4 between Thanksgiving and Christmas...how, it’s a bit of a mystery.
My table is cleared….all 12 feet of it, the coffee is fresh and hot and my basket is waiting for the first clue. It’s just past 5 and I am up and showered and ready for the day. I will start work at 8 and I hope to have a start on the clues by then. I struggle with surprises and I reconize Bonnie’s need for sleep and renewal but like many of you….I CAN HARDLY WAIT!
The First clue is out and my husband is chuckling as the steam iron is fired up, my sleeves are rolled up and I am busy layering my reds. I love the reds we chose...the our beautiful shades of tomato from the gorgeous plum tomato to the rosy blush of an heirloom variety called Mortgage Lifter. Red is such a cheery color and I am so happy that we are starting with the neutrals and the reds.
The fabric is stacked 6 layers deep on my AccuQuilt strip cutter. I cut parallel to the selvage to minimize the stretch...this I feel is truly the key to accuracy in sewing….minimize the stretch and work with fabrics natural properties, not against them. All my strips were cut and ready to sew before I left to redecorate the shop and I even finished a few so that I could say I did it!
4 Patches… a classic are the theme for this week and that is absolutely perfect for me.
The repetitive sewing gives me time to reflect on what I am Thankful for this year. It gives me time to organize the classes that I will teach this winter and prioritize my Christmas Goals and it just gives me time to rest, recharge and refocus before heading in to work.
A note about cutting. Each of you will approach the task in a different way. My personal favorite involves the GoBig! AccuQuilt cutter; for me it truly does Cut time so that I can quilt more! More importantly, I begin the sewing process with accurate cuts.
If you choose a traditional ruler, take time to square the first cut to the printed fabric. Once the first cut is made the other cuts will be square to the fabric and the print. I love my Good Measures rulers for this. The fabric completes the dashed lines and you can clearly see that everything is aligned.
For speed cutting with a rotary cutter, I love the Stripology Ruler.
Again, take a moment and make sure the vertical lines line up with the printed designs….I am cutting parallel to the selvage of the fabric. The Stripology Ruler makes quick work of cutting multiple strips.
My initial pass of sewing the red and white strips are complete. I used a woolen mat to press the fabric seam towards the red. The combination of the wool, cotton and steam make a beautifully flat seam and wool mat minimizes the stretching that would normally occur at this point.
Sub cutting the red and white strips is a breeze with the strip cutter from AccuQuilt….one pass yielded 90 nested 4 patches ready to sew.
Best piecing practice is to sew off the fabric pieces that you are currently working on, on to another scrap or in my case a bonus piece. (Currently working on Flying South as my Leader and Ender project). Having fabric always under your needle prevents thread snarfles and wonky beginning and ending seams.
All 90 of that batch are sewn and pressed flat before opening them up to reveal the beautiful 4 patches. Remember to read Bonnie’s tips for pressing the seams.
200 plus red and white 4 patches ready to go. I am ready for her next clue...it’s a mystery and I can hardly wait. My coffee will be set to auto brew and I will be up in the wee hours of the morning to start on clue 2.
Happy Sewing! Bernina Joy
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