Some of my most popular Piecing Workshops are those in the Mystery Quilt Series. Each teaching different quiltmaking techniques, the projects in the Mystery Quilt Classes are a mystery to the participants until after they have completed several of the steps presented to them. Understanding that not knowing what the class project is raises several questions, I have presented many of those questions here. They help to clarify the concept of Mystery Quilt workshops, as well as explain how my Mystery Quilts are different from any others out there. Let me know if you have other questions! And come join me for an exciting adventure in quilting. There are several Mystery Quilt Workshops to choose from.
How do I know what fabric to bring if I don't know what the quilt looks like?
Each Mystery class begins with a segment on how to work with fabrics for scrap quilts. You will actually be shopping from the selection you bring. You might use a little of everything, but more often, you will choose from your selection and supplement it with either other fabrics from home, fabrics you swap with classmates, or new fabrics you purchase on the day of the class.
What is a Scrap Quilt?
Just because a quilt is a scrap quilt does not mean we will be reaching blindly into our stash and sewing whatever we happen to grap. I like to have more control over what I do than that. Therefore, bring fabrics that you love. Also, include fabric that you have not been able to figure out what to do with. My fabric selection segment will help you see your stash in a fresh way, combining things you might not have thought of before. Also, please bring pieces of fabric large enough to work with. While I call these scrap quilts, bringing tiny odd-sized pieces of cloth may not work for the sewing techinques I have in mind for you. I do want to encourage you to use your scraps, but you will enjoy their usage more if you have some larger pieces to combine them with. Quilters quarters are fine.
How big is the quilt we are making?
I have designed the quilts so the scale of the block is such that it looks great in either a wall hanging, lap quilt, or bed size quilt. The size you end up with will depend on how carried away you get! The class samples are wall-hanging size, simply so I can fit more quilts in my suitcase to bring to show you The resulting quilt you make can range anywhere from table-runner size to wall hanging, as you choose.
How much fabric should I bring?
I recommend that you bring a suitcase of fabrics. Be aware that we will not be finishing the quilts in class. The style of the quilt is such that you can add other fabrics from your stash at home later if you decide to, so while you want to bring a well-rounded selection to choose from, you do not have to bring everything you own. Again, be sure you include background fabrics as well as patchwork pattern fabrics. The class supply list gives you suggestions on what types of fabrics to include in your selection.
Do we swap fabric with other classmates?
You are certainly free to exchange with others if you like, although it is not a requirement. Some students find the perfect fabric in someone else's stash and enjoy the fun of bartering for it. Others bring fabrics they have been saving to use specifically for this project. The choice to swap is yours.
I am no good at putting fabrics together for scrap quilts...what should I do?
Each of the Mystery Classes begins with a segment on how to select fabrics for quilts, in this case, for scrap quilts. What is fun about the series is that there are different 'fabric selection tricks' given in each class, so even if you have taken one or two of the Mystery Classes before, you will still get new information in this segment with each class. In any case, remember to give yourself the variety suggested on the student supply list (solids, small prints, medium prints, large prints, and for visual texture, include checks, plaids, and stripes.) I can't tell you how many times I have heard "this is the best part of the class! I can't believe how much I learned about fabric selection!" What you learn in this part of the class will help you in other quilt projects you do.
How will I know what fabrics to use where?
Your fabric will be divided into 'backgrounds' and 'patchwork pattern fabrics'. For example, for the background area of the designs, you may want a variety of tans. Any of your colored fabrics may go into the patchwork pattern position as long as they have enough contrast with the backgrounds to show distinctly. I will guide you through the selection process.
Should I precut anything prior to class? Can I use leftover strips from other projects?
Please DO NOT cut anything prior to class. You may bring leftover strips if you like, but please do not bring ONLY leftover strips. If your strips are not the same size as the techniques I have lined up for you, you will be out of luck. Also, if you precut things, you will limit your fabric choice possibilities. There will be lots of time in class to do what we need to do, so do not worry about having things precut before you arrive.
What are bonus quilts?
So many of the machine piecing techniques we do these days result in left-overs that get cut away and tossed out. I look for ways to make use of these cut-aways so they will be usable for a 'bonus quilt'. Not only is nothing wasted, but you are making the best use of your time. There will never be enough hours in the day to do everything we want to do, but this helps us to be a little more productive and have fun doing it.
If I have already taken one Mystery Quilt class, why should I take another?
There are several reasons to take the Mystery Classes:
Do I have to take the Mystery Quilt Classes in order?
No. The series has grown due to popular demand, with new classes added each season. Each class is independent and does not rely on knowledge from previous classes. You may take the series in any order you wish.
Are the newer classes more advanced?
No. The title of each class just indicates the order in which they were designed and written. It is not indicative of difficulty or skill level. As mentioned above, each class is independent of the others and does not rely on knowledge from previous classes.
Why are Mystery Quilt Workshops 1 and 2 no longer offered?
The quilts taught in Mystery Quilt workshops 1 and 2 (A,B,C,D, and their bonus quilts) have been published in my newest book Scrap Bonanza 2. The other Mystery Quilt projects have not been published and are only available through workshops.
I already have too many unfinished projects...
And your question is what? Seriously, I consider having unfinished projects part of what makes quiltmaking so exciting! (Admittedly, another part is finishing the projects!) Many of my students have told me that the techniques and hints they learned in the Mystery Classes will make the completion of some of their UFO's much easier. The fun of these classes is the excitement generated in them. It recharges your creative energies and really gets you going. We all deserve to do something nice for ourselves, and this is it!