Awash With Color Mystery Quilt: Awash With Color Mystery Block 1

Let me introduce myself. I'm quilt expert Carolyn Vagts and I'm an addicted quilter. I tend to eat, breathe and sometimes sleep with my quilting. I have a beautiful studio with my work space right in it.

I hope everyone who is going to participate in this Mystery Sampler has dug through her or his stash for fabrics and has purchased the background fabric. The fabric requirement for the background fabric is given below.

Supply List
4 to 5 yards of background fabric
Lots and lots of stashed fabrics and scraps
Basic sewing tools and supplies
The will to create!

So, are you ready to start? Well, I am! I've selected a black background fabric for my quilt, and I'm going to use bright and fun batiks from Hoffman California-International Fabrics. Batiks are my favorite fabrics to work with, so I tend to have a lot on hand or stuffed in baskets. I have a lovely 20-piece Indah Batik fat quarter pack that I've been wanting to use, and I think it will be perfect for this project along with some of the other Hoffman batiks I have in my stash. I've decided to use pinks and blues for my Log Cabin blocks with a black block center.

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My black background fabric and fat quarters I will be using throughout this mystery sampler, along with stashed fabrics and the fabrics I've selected for the first block.

Before you begin to cut out your pieces for Block No. 1, make sure you have enough of your chosen fabrics to make both of the blocks. The medium- and light-color pieces can be cut from one each 2 x 40-inch strip; the dark blue and dark pink each require two 2 x 40-inch strips. The cutting list is for two blocks. If you are going to make each block a different set of colors then divide the list in half.

Cutting List for Block No. 1 -- Log Cabin
(Makes two blocks)

From background (black) fabric cut:

  • 2 (3 1/2-inch) H squares

From dark blue cut:

  • 2 (2 x 11-inch) A strips
  • 2 (2 x 9 1/2-inch) B strips

From medium blue cut:

  • 2 (2 x 8-inch) D strips
  • 2 (2 x 6 1/2-inch) E strips

From light blue cut:

  • 2 (2 x 5-inch) F strips
  • 2 (2 x 3 1/2-inch) G strips

From dark pink cut:

  • 2 (2 x 12 1/2-inch) C strips
  • 2 (2 x 11-inch) A strips

From medium pink cut:

  • 2 (2 x 9 1/2-inch) B strips
  • 2 (2 x 8-inch) D strips

From light pink cut:

  • 2 (2 x 6 1/2-inch) E strips
  • 2 (2 x 5-inch) F strips

When you have cut out all your block pieces, use a sticky note and add the assigned letter to each piece as shown in Photo 1. It will help you as you assemble each block.

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Photo 1: All my pieces cut out for both blocks and labeled.

1. Stitch one H square and one blue G strip together as shown in Photo 2 and press open. Turn the unit a quarter turn to the right and then stitch one blue F strip to the unit as shown in Photo 3. Press open. Using a square ruler, square up the unit if needed to make sure it measures 5 inches square.

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Pieces G and F stitched onto the center square (Photos 2 and 3), and checking to make sure the F-G-H unit is square (Photo 4).

2. Referring to Photo 5, stitch one pink F strip to the unit from step 1 and press open. Turn a quarter turn right and stitch one pink E strip to the unit and press open. Use a square ruler again to make sure that the unit measures 6 1/2 inches at this point. It's very easy to get askew if you don't check after each round that is stitched into place. It's a good practice to check each round of piecing. It's easy for the unit to become out of square if you don't, and it's much easier to make corrections at each step than to try to straighten the block once it is complete.

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Add pink F and E strips to the center black square (Photos 5 and 6); check that unit is square (Photo 7).

3. Referring to Photo 8, stitch one blue E strip to the unit from step 2 and press open. Turn to the right and stitch one blue D strip to the unit as shown in Photo 9. Use a square ruler to make sure the unit measures 8 inches square (Photo 10).

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Adding the blue E and D strips to the unit (Photos 8 and 9) and making sure that the unit stays square (Photo 10).

4. Working always in the same direction, stitch one pink D strip to the unit from step 3 and press open. Turn again and stitch one pink B strip to the unit. Press the unit open and use a square ruler to again check to see if the unit is square (Photo 11). It should measure 9 1/2 inches at this point.

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Photo 11: Squaring up the unit before adding the last round of strips.

5. Referring to Photo 13, stitch one blue B strip to the unit; press open. Turn and stitch one blue A strip to the unit; press open. Turn again and stitch one pink A strip onto the unit; press open. Turn and stitch one pink C strip onto the unit; press open. You now have your first block completed. Using a 12 1/2-inch-square ruler make sure that the block measures 12 1/2 inches square (Photo 12). If you need to trim, do so. If you have checked your measurements as you went along, it should be square.

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My first finished block is nice and square (Photo 12) and finished (Photo 13).
6. Follow steps 1-5 to make the second block.

A couple of suggestions for any new quilters who are working on this mystery quilt: When working on Log Cabin blocks always check your measurements after each round of strips is added. This will save you a lot of time in the long run and will allow you to make any corrections before your block gets too far out of shape. Log Cabins are considered easy to make, but they can get out of square very fast, especially when you work with some of the block variations. Also, it's a good idea to pick your colors and lay out the strips as they will be assembled into your block before you start sewing. Sometimes the colors can be too close and you may lose the effect of the gradation. A traditional scrappy Log Cabin is usually done with one light-color side and one dark-color side instead of using bright batiks ranging from light to dark on one side as shown in this block.

For more detailed help with quilting techniques, view our Quilting Lessons or consult a complete quilting guide. Your local library will probably have several on hand that you can review before purchasing one.

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Other mystery blocks in the series:








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