Whoo boy, where to begin?
Those of you who are regular readers of this blog of mine already know I’m a knitter, and (like many with leftover mask-making cotton) took up quilting during the pandemic. I’ve made a few quilts so far, but have been on hiatus since last September due to life happening (foster kittens in my craft room, book deadlines, medical issues, studio remodel, car accidents [yes, plural]).
Now things are settling down (mostly) and I have a little room to breathe and time to craft. I’ve picked up long-neglected knitting projects (those of you patiently waiting for things in my knitting queue, they’re getting done, I promise) and restored enough order to my craft room to begin quilting again. I’ve got one small quilt to finish and send off, then I’ll be ready for my next project.
This week has been one of the most stressful of my life for various personal reasons (everyone is okay; it’s a me problem), and quilting and other crafts are known remedies for stress relief. (Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, and Steve Perry-era Journey also help.) I’m sure you’ve all had those nights when you’re absolutely exhausted but can’t sleep so your brain goes on about All The Things, and when considering my next quilting project (once I finish the one that’s been waiting at 80% since September), somewhere along the way it reminded me that there was a Mystery Quilt Along all ready to go in my craft room.
What’s a Mystery Quilt Along? Well, exactly what it sounds like. Here’s a blog post (I didn’t write) about what they entail.
Let’s go back to the summer of 2022. June, to be precise. I had just received a FORTY POUND BOX of fabric from my Canadian Platonic Murder Wife Skyla Dawn Cameron. There were many, many fabrics in the box, including two quilt kits. One was this:
The packet included all eight installments of instructions (written in Comic Sans, no less):
Everything needed to complete the Mystery Quilt was included. Every piece of fabric was labeled and neatly packaged up according to the instructions (given in the eight installments pictured above). I brought it out again a couple days ago and checked off the fabric against the list (there were two sizes given, and the person who began the project chose to make the larger of the two) given in Installment One. Not only was it all there, but they had completed the majority of Installment Two — cutting some the fabric. Each is neatly labeled according to the instructions, and I admire the dedication of whomever started this ambitious endeavor (for the purposes of these blog posts, we will call her MeMaw from now on). Check out MeMaw’s handiwork:
Yeah. One of those baggies has 144 (ONE HUNDRED FORTY FOUR) half-square triangles cut and ready to sew together. This appears to be where MeMaw was either unwilling or unable to continue working on her Mystery Quilt, and I honestly don’t blame her. I HATE half-square triangles and have no desire to ever make them again. No matter what happened, everything got packed up in two gallon-sized Ziplocs and donated to the charity Skyla was working with last summer, and that’s how it ended up at my house.
MeMaw didn’t skimp on her fabric choices, either. She went with one of the suggested (and not inexpensive) lines from that year (2007 near as I can tell, given the date on the announcement newsletter) from a quality manufacturer (Moda). The fabric line is called Chocolat by 3 Sisters.
Doing a little research, Border Creek Station Mystery Quilt Club is still around, as is Hamels Fabrics in British Columbia, where MeMaw signed up for this Mystery Quilt Along (MQAL) seventeen years ago. The pattern is called “On The Road To Minnesota,” and as it’s a Mystery Quilt, I won’t know what it looks like until it’s finished. (Well, what I will make it into. Even the best instructions sometimes have errata, and even if a person follows them to the letter mistakes can still happen.)
How this unfinished quilt project ended up in Ontario is a mystery in itself, and I will attempt to do justice to the long-abandoned work. MeMaw spent a lot of money and time on this MQAL, and it deserves to be made. Believe it or not, there are people out there who make completing orphaned craft projects their mission. I doubt I’ll ever be one of them, but I have rescued more than one knitting project from a charity sale or two. (Okay, one was crochet, and I’ll get to it…once I’m better at crochet.)
I honestly have no desire to join a quilt club, guild, or anything “of the month,” so this will be an interesting experience. MeMaw chose well, and I look forward to finishing what she started. If it ends up being as large as the pattern states, it will be the largest size of quilt I’ve ever made at 76″ x 90″. I tend to stay around the lap to throw sizes, which are usually no larger than 60X60″.
So that’s the plan. I have no idea how long it will take to finish, given it’s partially complete and I have to pick it up in the middle. Quilt Along projects are usually done month to month in installments, so it seems MeMaw was two months into an eight month project. However, since I don’t have to wait for the instructions to come every month, I might get it done over the summer. It appears MeMaw did the hardest part of cutting out all the small stuff, but I won’t know until I get into the pattern. There may be more half-square triangles in my future.
If that’s the case, I’m really going to hate this project.
Until next time.
P.S. If for any reason you find yourself Not Okay, I highly recommend the Everything Is Awful And I Am Not Okay PDF from Sinope. Seriously. Print it out and put it on your fridge.