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In the Quilting World

Awash With Color Mystery Sampler -- Finishing Up: Setting Instructions

We made it! We made eight different block designs for a total of 25 blocks. I hope this has been a great experience for you. I know I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm proud of my blocks, and now it's time to put them together. Our skill-building Awash With Color Mystery Sampler is now ready to assemble and enjoy. If you've just discovered our mystery skill-builder, you can still make this mystery sampler quilt. You can find all the block patterns on the Quilter's World website in the past updates. Just click on the "Select an Issue" pull-down menu at the top of this page and select the update issue(s) you need. The patterns will remain on our website for those who would like to make one.

Let me introduce myself: I'm Carolyn Vagts, editor of Quilter's World magazine and writer of this update. That's my day job, and at night, 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. How convenient, since I work at and with quilting. As editor, I am very hands-on with every issue. I'm also very hands-on with this update. I love to share my thoughts, inspiration and my experiences with other quilters in hopes to inspire them on to another project.

With each update, I select a book or pattern to accompany it that I think will be of interest or value to our readers. I try to find something that goes along with the subject of each update and what it's all about. For this update I'm suggesting you look into the Blueberry Cheesecake quilt. It's a great pattern to work on accuracy and piecing skills.

Blueberry Cheesecake
The Blueberry Cheesecake quilt pattern can be purchased at AnniesCraftStore.com.

Well, here it is: the final step to our Awash With Color Mystery Sampler. Below you can see how I did the setting. I hope you like it. I've set like blocks in diagonal lines except for the top left and bottom right blocks. I wanted this quilt to look unique, and I wanted to distribute the colors throughout. I think this layout accomplishes my goals. This is the time to play with the setting and be creative with your blocks if you want to try something different. Whether you follow the setting I've designed or want to explore other arrangements, as long as you have five blocks in five rows, the fabric requirements and cutting instructions below will work for your quilt. If you want to add more blocks or different borders, then have fun and go for it! Either way, when you're done, we'd love to see your finished quilts!

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Diagram of the finished layout for Awash With Color Mystery Sampler.

Finishing Instructions

Finished quilt size: 72 1/2" x 72 1/2"

If you would like to set your blocks like mine, here's what you will need: 2 to 2 1/8 yards of fabric to match your background fabric -- I used for black for mine -- for the first border (A and B strips), third border (E and F strips) and the binding, and 1/2 yard of aqua (or whatever color you choose to use) for the second border (C and D strips). You will also need backing fabric and batting to size.

Cutting List for Borders & Binding

From the background (black) fabric cut:
  • 8 (1 1/2" x WOF) strips, stitch short ends to short ends, then subcut into:
    2 (1 1/2" x 60 1/2") A and 2 (1 1/2 x 62 1/2-inch) B border strips
  • 8 (4 1/4" x WOF) strips, stitch short ends to short ends, then subcut into:
    2 (4 1/4" x 64 1/2") E and 2 (4 1/4" x 72 1/2") F border strips
  • 8 (2 1/4" x WOF) strips, stitch short ends to short ends for binding

From aqua cut:

  • 8 (1 1/2" x WOF) strips, stitch short ends to short ends, then subcut into:
    2 (1 1/2" x 62 1/2") C and 2 (1 1/2" x 64 1/2") D border strips

Once all your border and binding strips are cut out and you're ready to finish up this mystery quilt, stitch your blocks together into rows as shown in the layout diagram. Take your time and make sure all the seams are neatly pressed after each addition. Once all the blocks are stitched into rows, stitch row one to row two and so forth until all five rows are sewn together. Press again. Your quilt center should measure 60 1/2" square.

Sew an A border strip to each side of the quilt center and press. Then stitch a B border strip to the top and bottom. Press again. Continue adding border strips in alphabetical order in the same manner: Sew C border strips to the sides and D border strips to the top and bottom, and then the E border strips to the sides and the F border strips to the top and bottom.

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Adding the aqua second border and then the black third border.

Press the entire quilt top and then layer the backing wrong side up, the batting and the quilt top right side up. Pin-baste the layers together and then you're ready to start quilting. This is a great opportunity to also work on your free-motion quilting. I haven't made a sampler quilt for several years and thought it would be challenging to customize each block with a different quilting motif on this quilt. I first stitched all the black background and did some stitching in the ditch to stabilize the piecing and to help to keep it nice and flat.

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Stitching in the ditch to stabilize the top before filling in all the detail quilting.

Then I began to add each design I'd sketched out, changing thread colors to match each fabric.

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Starting to fill each block with quilting of my own design.

After all the black areas were stitched, it was very easy to go in and stitch each color. I jumped from block to block to wherever that color was so I didn't have so many thread and bobbin changes. Since I'd quilted all the black first, I could remove the safety pins and quilt unobstructed. I love the freedom of quilting without having to stop all the time to remove the pins. I love to do "allover" quilting, but there are times it's nice to be more creative. I changed my design with each block in order to practice new ideas and motifs.

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Playing around with different quilting ideas.

I took my time as I went, thinking about each block and how I wanted to fill it. After trying out several new fills, I found a few I really liked. I truly enjoyed every minute of my quilting on this project. Once I finished the quilting, I added the binding and spent a couple early mornings on my deck stitching it in into place while I had my coffee. I love the end results. How about you?

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My finished Awash With Color Mystery Sampler.

Please let me know how you feel about participating or if you have any suggestions for how to present the instructions. I'd love to hear from you at Editor@QuiltersWorld.com.

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