Thursday, January 30, 2020

Good Fortune Progress

A little late, but happy Lunar New Year/Spring Festival everyone! It feels appropriate to have progress to share on Bonnie Hunter's 2019 mystery quilt, Good Fortune.

All the blocks are done! 🎉🎉🎉

Assembly has started! 🎉🎉🎉

I'm just laying out 9 blocks at a time, and trying for an equal distribution of dark and light values in each section. The orange blocks with the skinny inserts will be in the centre of the quilt, and the string blocks are going around the corners. It's already a very active quilt, so I decided a symmetrical layout would be best.

This is the point where you find out how accurate your sewing was last year. 😂 Fortunately, I tend to sew scant, so it's easy to trim the block or tighten up a seam if necessary. And fortunately, that hasn't been too often.

So far, so good! 🎉🎉🎉

Monday, January 6, 2020


My original plan with Bonnie Hunter's Good Fortune mystery, when it started last year, was pretty much to follow the pattern. Except for the dark background, I used about the same colours as Bonnie in the same places as Bonnie. I did plan from the beginning to make it larger, and hoped to use one of my old Asian fabric panels in the centre, since Bonnie's inspiration was her trip to China last year two years ago. 😂

Eventually I accepted that my very western fabrics didn't play well with the panel, so that idea is on hold and I went with the Mariner's Compass I showed last time instead.

While I was playing around with the layout of the quilt, I had the bright idea of blending the edge of the blocks out into a scrappy brown border. Partly because just following the pattern started to chafe, and partly because some how when the clues came out, I cut way too many brown squares.

I really have no idea how that happened. It is over 3 inches/8 cm high!

Anyway, I made quite a few of these...

...instead of these...

...with the goal of doing something like this.

Fast forward one year, and I am now regretting it. It would be a lot faster and easier to just make all the blocks the same. And it would give me more flexibility in the final layout, I expect. And most of all, the tricky border is not really going to be better. The quilt was already good.
But, today I accepted that it would be more complicated to unpick all those units, than to just keep going. So the tricky border lives.

I do have to say that I am loving all those browns. They really give so much life to the colour scheme.

It's all a balancing act, isn't it? I've been looking at quilts with fresh eyes this past couple of months, and I think one thing I've been guilty of in the past was overthinking and making my projects too complicated. And then they stall. Reading the first AHIQ post for 2020 (which is thoughtful and beautifully written, btw), I laughed to see that the definition of modern utility quilt now includes an emphasis on a finished quilt. I am sure that is one of Ann's contributions to the dialogue. 😉 Totally right too, and I'm hoping to channel some of that energy this year.

Of course, you don't have to look very far back in my feed to see this crazy idea. But obviously it will be EPIC and I still plan to do it.

But I am also hoping to maintain this new perspective, and try to keep my projects from getting overly fussy and involved. The question is if the extra detail adds value to the finished quilt. If it does, then great, but if it doesn't, move along.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy New Year!

Pattern by Judy Mathieson

So, it turns out that I am very bad at quitting anything. I'd like to say I've found my compass, or something apt like that, but truth is I'm just blowing around in the wind. But in any case, I may as well blog about it. 😂

The new Quiltville mystery, Frolic, has started! I started too, but I'm not so sure my colours are working. I'm waiting for the reveal to see if I need to change course. In the meantime, I have plenty left to do on last year's mystery, Good Fortune! I've shared a little of that on Instagram, but never here on the blog.

I decided to try a dark background for a change, and I'm very happy with that. The instructions called for string units, but I didn't have a lot of orange strings. I tried some slightly improvisational skinny inserts instead:

I'm happy with them too. Of course, the process of making them created a lot of orange strings! And since I decided to make the quilt larger by adding blocks, I made some string blocks as well.

My new laptop doesn't have the good editing software, yet, so apologies, my pictures are not the usual standard.

The orange blocks are nearly finished. I made two test blocks for the stars...

They looked a little small when I took the photo, but I don't know if that is just a question of pressing or if I need to tweak them.

And that Mariner's Compass at the top? A medallion for the centre! The pattern is easy foundation paper piecing from Judy Mathieson's book Mariner's Compass Quilts, New Directions (C&T Publishing 1995).

I'm super happy with everything in this quilt, the warm colours will be really nice in winter.

I want to do another dark background for this year's quilt, but I'm not quite sure of the colour placement. Bonnie's colours blend where mine contrast, so I think I should wait for the reveal. And as we all know, I have plenty of other projects to keep me busy.

Happy new year everyone! Let's sew!
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