Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mystery Quilt, Step #3

Darlene’s Mystery Quilt Step #3

So let me just start by saying that I know some of you do not care for doing applique work. And so I think that if you really hate it, and don’t want to do it, that you should just leave this border plain fabric and have some beautiful extensive quilting put in later. I’d much rather you do that, than quit now and leave it unfinished. So, it’s absolutely up to you whether you do the applique or not. No pressure! 

And with that being said, here we go.

From a light fabric for the applique background (this could also be done with 4 different fabrics) cut:
  2 - 6 1/2” x 34 1/2”  and  2 - 6 1/2” x 38 1/2” 

For each of the morning star corner blocks cut:
  1 - 3 1/2” square of a dark for the centre
  4 - 2” squares of light for the background
  4 - 2 3/8” squares of light for the background
  4 - 2 3/8” squares of dark for the points

Choose fabrics for the applique feathers. I used a variety of greens, and I used a total of 6 - 2 1/4” strips (cut from the width of the fabric) to cut the feathers from. 

For the small outside borders cut:
  5 strips, 2 1/2” wide by the width of the fabric
Prepare the fabrics for whichever type of applique you choose to do. I did machine applique and used Steam a Seam 2 for the fusible web. Prepare the templates that I’ve provided at the bottom of the post. You can click on the link to bring up the page that is printable. Trace the templates onto the prepared fabric. You’ll need 8 of the end feathers, and 88 of the vine feathers ( 44 traced from the front and 44 flipped and traced from the reverse).

I also cut 1 strip approximately 1 1/2” wide. After I had prepared that one strip with the fusible web, I cut 2 strips from it, 1/8” wide x 21 1/2” long and 2 strips, 1/8” wide x 25 1/2” long. 

 Applique Instructions:

These instructions are basically for machine applique. If you prefer to use hand applique, use whatever techniques you prefer. 

Prepare the background fabrics for the applique. Fold the background pieces in two down the centre. Press to make a base line. 

Open that up, and fold in two the opposite way. Press. Now you have the centre marked on your border. 

Find the centre of one of the 1/8” x 21 1/2” strips that you’ve prepared. Match that with the centre on one of the shorter of the background pieces. Position the strip down the press line that you made earlier. Don’t press at this point. 

Using the first picture at the top of the post as a guide, position the feathers, five sets and one end feather on each side of the centre. The feathers don’t fit perfectly together. I wanted them to be a bit primitive and to lay a bit more casually and not perfectly aligned. Once you’re happy with the placement, press. Repeat this process with the other three borders, with 6 sets of feathers and one end feather on each side of the centre with the longer borders. Do whatever applique technique you prefer.

Morning star corner block:

Using a pencil, draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of each of the 4 - 2 3/8” light squares. (The next three pictures are from the same technique in Step #2, so the fabric cuts are not what you'll be working with in Step #3)

With right sides together, position a light square onto a dark square being careful to match up all four edges. Stitch (using the drawn line as a guide) 1/4” on either side of the line. You can chain stitch these to speed up the process.

Now using your rotary cutter or scissors, whichever works best for you, cut directly on the drawn line. Now you have two half square triangle units. Press the seam allowances towards the darker fabric. 

Pin two of the half square triangle units together, with the triangles positioned so that the lights form a Vee in the centre of the unit. Stitch. This makes a flying geese unit. 

Press the seam allowance open this time. 

Repeat this process with the others units, resulting in four sets.

Pin one of these units with the point of the Vee pointing inward, to the 3 1/2” centre square. Stitch. Press the seam allowances toward the flying geese unit. Repeat on the opposite side of the square with another unit. Set aside.

On each end of the other two flying geese units, sew one of the 2” background squares. Press the seam allowances toward the geese. 

Pin these onto either side of the centre square unit. Press the seam allowances toward the geese units.

Repeat three more times, for a total of four blocks.

Stitch one of the morning star blocks to either end of the longer appliqued borders. 

At this point, you’ll attach the new borders to your quilt.
Pin and stitch the shorter appliqued borders to the top and bottom of the quilt. Press the seam allowance toward the new border.

Pin the longer borders, with morning stars attached, to either side of your quilt. Stitch in place. Press seam allowances toward the new border. 

Outside Border:
Stitch the 5 strips together end to end. Press the seam allowances open. From this long pieced strip cut: 4 strips, 50 1/2” long 

Pin and stitch 2 of the strips to either side of the quilt. Press towards the small border. Repeat with the last two strips on the top and bottom of the quilt. 

There you go, Step 3. Hope it goes well for you!


  1. I said it last night at our guild meeting and I'll say it again, Darlene...awesome job, my friend. Simply gorgeous!

    Thanks for the great step-by-step, illustrated instructions. I know how much work is involved to do this...especially the "remembering-to-take-the-photo" part.

    The photos do not do the quilt justice. It is stunning in person. I can't wait to get started on mine!

  2. Love the new row. Sew pretty. Now I must catch up so I can stitch the applique.

  3. Thanks Darlene, I love this addition :-)I am anxious to start , thanks again.

  4. Hi Darlene.
    Cannot wait to get started on this month's project!
    Thank you

  5. Hi Darlene.
    Cannot wait to get started on this month's project!
    Thank you

  6. Hi Darlene
    Cannot wait to get started on this month's project.
    Thank you again.
    greetings from The Netherlands

  7. Darlene,
    This is beautiful. Thank you so much.
    I just love it.
    Carole from Arizona

  8. Oh dear. I've been saying that this was the year I was going to face my fear of applique - I just wasn't expecting to have to do SO much so soon! LOL. It looks gorgeous. I hope I can do your design justice!

  9. Gorgeous.. I saw the first part of the quilt in "real life" and it is beautiful. The teasing picture you had sent of the next step had us guessing it would be appliquéd hearts.
    Absolutely gorgeous! Great job!

  10. Ooh, Darlene - I have to say this is my favorite part of your Mystery Quilt yet! Oh my, yes, I'm doing the applique. But you'll find me using my Accuquilt GO for the appliqué. I have a GO die that almost is the same pattern that you provided. Ooh, I have to hurry and finish the project I'm working on so I can do this next. I LOVE IT !!!!!!

  11. One quick question from this newbie appliquer... what color thread would you use when appliqueing? Do you match the feathers or the background or do you use invisible?

  12. Love it! This mystery is really fun and I have loved every step. thanks! kristie

  13. Wow applique, it's fantastic!!!!
    This mistery is an intriguing mystery, thanks!!

  14. I will try some machine embroidery. Love the opportunity for self expression, thank you.

  15. Oh boy... the jury is still deliberating on this step... it's beautiful!

  16. I think I'll love this new row !! love applique work !! thank you for this new add !!

  17. I am enjoying making this mystery quilt ,can't wait to get started . You are a very talented lady. Gail

  18. I'm on my second row of the applique pattern...
    you give such accurate instructions that it is fun to do and turns out just like your pictures of the mystery quilt you show........thank you

  19. Bonjour,
    je viens de craquer moi aussi pour ce quilt mystere.Il est très bien expliqué,même pour une française,merci.J'aime beaucoup!
    J'en suis à l'étape 2, bientôt des photos sur mon blog.

  20. This is lovely, can I join in or am I too late?

  21. Hurray! I did it! My first time using applique - I didn't do leaves but I did do applique. I've made about a dozen quilts and many small quilted projects, but I have to say I think this may be my favorite project ever! Can't wait to see what comes next. Thanks Darlene for making me face my fear of applique and for this fabulous design!!

  22. Oh Darlene, so glad I looked up this step tonight. I wasn't loving my crazy bright xmas prints, but I finished step 2 tonight and have to say that I like it. Then I see this step and I LOVE how it ties into the quilt. Thank-you. I hope to get step 3 done this weekend so I will be ready for April's step.

  23. Beautiful quilt Darlene! Nice job!

  24. Darlene, I have not used fusible web with raw edge applique. How does it hold up? Do the edges lift? I am behind in this quilt along and am working through this step today. I made the corner stars and have picked the fabrics for the applique. I usually use freezer paper and turn the edges over, then machine stitch them in place. I am a little scared of not turning the edges as I am afaird the edges will lift, but I have never used this method, so maybe it works just fine.