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In the Quilting World

Mystery Sampler, a Skill-Building Work in Progress

It's going to be a great year! There are lots of new quilting products, fabrics, quilting patterns and books coming our way this year. And, of course, there will be new opportunities to improve quilting skills.

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. It's usually something that I feel goes along with the content of my update, and sometimes, I feel it's just a great project or pattern I want to draw attention to. This time I want to share the Classic Logs table runner. It's a great project to help you work on your quilting skills, and to use on your table or as gift for a dear friend. With your own fabric color choices this pattern could easily fit into any style of decor.

Classic Logs
The Classic Logs table runner pattern can be purchased at AnniesCraftStore.com.

The reason I'm bringing up quilting skills is because every quilter can always benefit from a refresher course in basic piecing and quilting. I have been quilting for many years and I am always amazed by what I don't know. Every class I have ever taken has been worth every penny it cost in some way or another. There has always been a technique or some important little piece of knowledge that I've learned that has made the time and effort worth it and improved my quilting. Sometimes the smallest thing can make the biggest impact on your finished project.

It's time for me to revisit the basic skills it takes to make a good pieced block and how to keep it square. And as I've decided to do this, I thought you might like to refresh your skills right along with me. For that reason, I've designed a unique block-of-the-month mystery quilt to share with you in the next nine updates starting in the next one. I've named this mystery quilt, Awash With Color. I hope this is something that will interest you!

I'm usually too busy to actually work much on my own personal quilting projects so this is a great way for me to refresh my skills while making a fun quilt. This mystery quilt can easily be made from your scraps and stashed fabrics, if you have them, plus a background fabric.

Click here for larger image
The background fabric and a few of the other fabrics I'll be using to get started on my mystery quilt.

I'll be using a black batik background fabric and lots of bright batiks since this is mainly what I have on hand. This mystery quilt can actually be made with just about any group of fabrics. If you like reproductions or florals, then by all means use them! As long as there is contrast between your fabric choices and the background fabric it will work. And besides, you will have plenty of time to change up your fabrics if you find you don't like your first choices. Since I must work ahead of you, here are the first fabric choices I'm planning to use on the first step of this mystery quilt. Remember, these are my choices; you can use different colors as you see fit.

Click here for larger image
My possible fabric color selection for the first block. You will receive instructions for this block in the next update.

The background fabric is the only one that you will need a large amount for. You should have around 4 to 5 yards of one fabric for the background. That should get you through all the steps to finish up your quilt top. That is the only fabric requirement I will have for you. The rest should come from your stash, or maybe from fat quarters you have purchased but not used. Of course, you can certainly use fabric you've purchased for this project, but the whole idea of doing this mystery skill-builder quilt is to try to use what you have to build the skill of using scraps. Believe me, working with scraps does take some skill if you want a lovely quilt. I know it has taken me years to work with my scraps with confidence. And unfortunately, I still cheat a bit; I just can't resist buying more fabric.

So, find your background fabric, gather up your stashed and scrap fabrics, press them and be ready for the next update! You have three weeks before we begin. If you choose not to participate, I hope you still go over the skill-building tips. I think you will find it a valuable effort. We can always learn ways to improve our quilting.

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!

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

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