Thursday, November 24, 2011

Orca Bay Mystery -- Deal Me In

...because I can never resist a challenge -- especially a challenge that involves insanely high numbers of small precision-pieced units, makes a big mess as I dig through scraps, and will require long hours, late nights and even further neglect of basic housewifely duties like cooking and cleaning -- I jumped into Bonnie K. Hunter's Orca Bay Mystery this week.  This is actually my very first mystery quilt, and it looks like fun.  At 10:30 of Thanksgiving Day evening, I had pieced over half of the 2 1/2" hourglass blocks required in the first clue.  Which is actually pretty good considering I didn't really start until yesterday, and I've got a bunch more triangles cut and pieced into pairs.  Tomorrow should finish it up, especially if I don't have to go shopping and everybody is happy with leftovers.
This clue has you make 224 hourglass units in blacks and neutrals that will finish to 2".  You can use any method that works for you, but she suggests starting with 1 1/2" strips, layering a dark and light right sides together, then using a specialty ruler to cut pairs of QSTs and sew them together, then pair them with different pairs of triangles so your finished units all look different.  I have a Fons and Porter flying geese ruler that works well for cutting the triangles, and this method seems to be a little more precise than the method I used to use, where you draw an X on a square that is cut 1 1/4" bigger than the finished measurement.  There seems to be less pull on the bias this way, though you do have to be careful as you feed the units through that the points don't curve under or to the side.  As you can see, I set up an assembly line when it comes time to press.  I'm taking her at her word that I can use up some of those scraps that I'm not really in love with.  The beauty of these kinds of quilts is that the pieces are small enough that even strange conversational prints blend in with the whole unless you want to look really close.  If you do, you will see some pirate skulls, pretty flowers, dogs, cats, birdhouses, Kermit the Frog, maps, patriotic designs, chili peppers, musical notes, polka dots and plaids.  I absolutely love a quilt where I can use all of those different elements and get away with it.  This is going to be so fun!

4 comments:

Sandra in the UK said...

Way to go Kathy!! I'm trying to keep busy until the next clue, but cause I am 5 hours ahead, the excitement has more time to build.

Eat, Sleep, Quilt said...

Great start, Kathy! I've been doing other things so I still have about 10 more to go for the first step.

Art by Rhoda Forbes said...

very interesting colors

Candace said...

I didn't see Kermit the Frog, but I sure do like your blocks. Bonnie's mysteries are habit forming, and even if you haven't finished the last one yet, you look forward to them all year.