A bit of light hand sewing was all that was possible in yesterday’s heat which meant I could finally finish the mystery quilt by Di Ford Hall that I have been steadily working on, all by hand, since it was published in Quiltmania in 2014. It is quite big, 179 cm square, so I had to go right to the top of my design wall to fit it in for the photo.
The final step was the border and I auditioned a lot of fabrics from my stash and hunted out border prints in lots of quilt shops. I settled on a 1999 Moda pillar print by Barbara Brackman and Terry Clothier Thompson that was in my stash and a stripe from Di Ford-Hall’s 2015 Cloverdale design for Andover Fabrics. The pillar print is split down the centre, then to bring the bright mustard back into the quilt, I bordered that with a strip from the Andover fabric. I really like the way the seaweed edge blends the two together. Splitting the big print is one of Di’s techniques and it really works well integrating the border into the body of the quilt. I spent ages measuring and adjusting the fabric so that it would make an interesting pattern at the mitred corners. I am so glad I didn’t rush this final step.This mystery started with a centre medallion borderie perse appliqué cut from a large floral VOC Chintz by Petra Prins. I decided to use the mustard colourway of the print rather than the one with a white background and then added a bargello look fabric from the Virginia by Williamsburg collection by Windham Fabrics for the border. There is not very much of the chintz left, it is mainly holes.
As each part of the mystery was published I adapted the colours in the pattern to suit my brighter version. At times I had serious doubts about this, but with the encouragement of my many friends at different sewing groups I kept on going. There is so much to learn from making a quilt like this, it makes you look at each piece of fabric very carefully for its design potential. Nearing the end I thought it was looking a little dull, so brought a touch of the bright Windham fabric back in to the stars in the final round.
Here is the original quilt made for the magazine and using the fabrics which were sold as a kit . The details of the magazine issues are on the Quiltmania website (there is one stray picture, not sure what it is from) and the whole pattern can now be purchased from various quilt shops.
And if you want a closer look at my finished top click on these segments.