Friday, January 6, 2012

Dipping my toe in Orca Bay!

I don't do mysteries--so why is this post about two of them? I only began following blogs about a year ago, and I was frequently running into references to Bonnie's mysteries, so I knew they were legend. But I don't do mysteries. Period. You may recall my angst last year over Bonnie's Floribunda quilt. In my "Open letter to Bonnie" I mentioned the knots I would get in my stomach when she alluded to her upcoming mystery. All of her mystery quilts have been amazing, but I DON'T DO MYSTERIES!!
As Bonnie began this mystery I was struck by the photo of Orca Bay that inspired her colors. It made me think of the purplish-orange sunsets over the Rocky Mountains that I see from my home. As she posted the different parts each week I would try to envision them in those colors. I looked at some of the links on her blog and would occasionally see these colors, but not in the shades I imagined. Once the reveal took place I knew I would buy her next book with this pattern and eventually make this quilt in my colors. Why? I don't know. Unless quilting for my grandchildren, I seldom use bright colors. I love orange and purple in my quilts, but not together, and usually in the more muted shades. But this quilt in these colors kept haunting me.
As I was reading posts of other bloggers' progress on Orca Bay over the past few weeks I saw where Kathy had chosen to use a solid piece of fabric in place of the string blocks (I also struggle with wanting to do a bazillion string blocks), and to make half the units for a smaller quilt. Smart woman, that Kathy. But I liked the movement the string blocks give to this quilt. Maybe I could do something like that--but use striped fabric in place of the strings to mimic the movement. Still, I was going to wait for the book to come out. I had plenty to do right now.
The final straw was when I walked past the men's shirts in the thrift store this week and there was a purple striped shirt and a coral-peachy plaid. I was sunk. Everything in this quilt is from men's shirts I bought that day. I was going to call the quilt "Sunset over the Rockies" but maybe "Sunset over the Men's Department" would be more appropriate. My quilt isn't really scrappy--you try and find more than one striped purple or peachy-coral shirt in a thrift store men's department. I'm just thrilled to have what I have.
Only the two blocks are made so far. I had to get the purple and orange parts completely cut to see how many blocks I would be able to make. It will probably be a twin size quilt. I'm working now to catch up on the HSTs and QSTs.

So, as Bonnie said when she learned that I had joined in, I succumbed! But it wasn't a mystery when I did, so I still don't do mysteries!!
Neither was this a mystery anymore when I finally got the Temecula 12 Days of Christmas blocks made. I started them last night after the twelfth block was shown. I am setting them a little differently than suggested, and I'm still playing with the border possibilities. This was a fun little project. If you haven't looked into this, they are leaving it up forever, so jump on it any time. Each block finishes at 3", so it doesn't take much fabric. I just pulled out my basket of CW scraps and made all of the blocks without cutting into yardage. Not so lucky on the borders.
So I still don't do mysteries. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!!

Janet O.

39 comments:

  1. This one really was interesting. I am a little frustrated but only at myself as I didn't square up anything as I made the parts. I just want to get the parts together to see the final result. Still learning patience and when I take the time to do all the steps correctly it works so great and so worth it!

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  2. I hope you stick to your guns Janet - cuz you don't DO mysteries! LOL

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  3. Funny and interesting post! I like what you have come up with. The stripes are just like strings but without the awful elasticity!
    You could call you quilt ' Men's shirts drying in the Sunset'

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  4. I'm loving the plaids and stripes in place of the strings.....it totally works! And purpley and orange is SO good! Love it!

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  5. Both quilts are pretty neat! I like the idea of the larger pieces on Bonnie's quilt, an the TQC 12 days was a given for me, too, like I said, who couldn't take on 12- 3 inch squares? FUN!
    :-}pokey

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  6. Wow! This is going to be one gorgeous quilt! Janet, you really think outside the box - stripes instead of strings. Bonnie will be proud of you for using men's shirts. I caved to the "Little Houses" project but am only making one house per week. I'm going to make a purple and orange house in your honor!

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  7. We are rubbing off on you, Janet...If I wasn't still recovering I'd have been more inclined to do the Orca Bay. I really like the idea of Not doing the string blocks. I like your mini quilt too.

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  8. Sunset Over The Men's Department - perfect! Purple and peach together = WIN! I think I will be working on my Orca Bay for months yet. I set up an Orca Bay design wall on my cubicle at work to show the different clues and how the blocks came together and it has generated a lot of interest. But I have a commission quilt I absolutely HAVE to start work on so as usual I'm going to be working on too many things at once!

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  9. I don't "do" mysteries either. But as I've seen finished tops of this one pop up, I sort of wish I did! They are all beautiful, but the red in the original is a bit over-powering for my liking. Yours, however, makes my heart beat faster. Stunning combination of colors and fabrics--and I don't even *like* orange! And what a brilliant move to use striped fabric in place of the pieced blocks. I have 3 large boxes absolutely stuffed with collected men's shirts, plaid and stripes. I may have to actually USE them some day.

    And that little quilt...gosh, that's one's adorable too. :-)

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  10. I think that you are a smart Woman to stick to your guns and not do mysteries. I told a friend last night that if I did this quilt again I would use a stripe fabric for the string blocks. I like the colors that you found.

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  11. Welcome to the club. I never did mysteries either until her Roll, Roll Cotton Boll last year. Now, I wait with excitement for her mysteries. I can't wait for her next one, and I just finished the top for this one. I love your colors for your quilt by the way. It's going to be beautiful!

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  12. I can't believe you caved! I really wanted to do this along with everyone, but I just didn't have time. I still have the ONE blue string block that I made - does that count for anything?

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  13. I got burned on a mystery quilt years ago....don't do them. But after the reveal....what mystery!! I do love the solution you found in the men's dept. for the color and fabric. Yours is going to be beautiful. Great job on both.

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  14. Sweetie, you were a genius to substitute the stripes for the strings. Makes the project actually reasonable to do, and much less busy. I think Sunset Over The Men's Department is a terrific title. And you still don't do mysteries. Neither do I.

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  15. I love your quilt. It is so beautiful. Hugs

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  16. Janet, I'm in love with those two blocks -- they are quite gorgeous!! What an eye you have for putting those fabric colors/patterns together. Beautiful!!! :)

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  17. Thanks for the smiles this morning. I don't usually do mysteries either but I finally got sucked in last year with the Vignette quilt. It really isn't that bad!

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  18. "Sunset Over The Men's Department"....*lol* LOVE it.... and your idea to use striped and plaid fabrics! It's going to be a lovely quilt!

    Mebbe when I get Madame Le Sewing Machine re-geared, I'll try the little 3" blocks... I do have a ton of CW scraps!

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  19. I have done the same thing with Orca Bay. I kept resisting, and the last couple of days I have made a few "trial blocks". I really like my mystery quilt from last year, so might just make a few more blocks for this one, too. I love what you have done in place of the string blocks. Great colors!

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  20. I don't really do mysteries either! LOL Except Bonnie's.... Love your blocks so far!

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  21. love your color combo; this is probably the only mystery i'll do as well; most of hers are simply too large for my needs

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  22. Yes, some quilts are just meant to be. Genius using the stripe. I have a lot of strings, but I don't think I'd have enough of any one color to make the number of blocks needed. A stripe is the perfect solution. And I love the combination of the coral plaid. This will be a very striking quilt!
    Love how your 12 Days turned out. I'm not sure why the single unpieced block bothers me and I like how you moved it to the side - the corners and middle would be too prominent. Just my opinion. I love your fabrics; especially the border - good use of that pretty design.

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  23. Interesting "mystery"!! I'm pondering the Temecula 12 Days of Christmas blocks - think I'll make them and add them to my Christmas Greetings quilt. Always good to see your projects!

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  24. I really love that you made it work for you - I had also thought maybe the stripe fabric in place of string blocks (only because I do not have a lot of strings to play with)would be an excellent solution. You give me inspiration and new insight. Thank you for sharing not doing the mystery, just like me. Judy C

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  25. Love your "adjusted" plan for Orca Bay--great idea! I love a mystery but haven't had the chance to do one of Bonnie's yet (I did do Floribunda but that was not a mystery). I've downloaded the patterns anyway because I love her designs period and think they're great, mystery or not!

    And thank you for the pointer to the Temecula Quilt Co "12 Days" mini. What a great project!! Hope to get that one made up for the holidays too!

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  26. What a great way of doing the mystery blocks - such fun! Looking forward to seeing what else you get up to!

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  27. What a creative idea and time saver as well! Good job, and I have to say, the end result is very pretty! So far, I haven't seen any plaids with the many samples, and you might be the leader with that choice. Thanks for the photos - good ideas!

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  28. I really like your blocks. I never considered using a stripe instead of strings. I did Bonnie's mystery last year and the string blocks just about did me in. When I found out she was doing string blocks again I wasn't interested. But, I have to admit I like the way Orca Bay turned out and now you've given me some alternatives to consider. Thanks.

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  29. I really like the idea of using plaid shirts for the quilt top. I have been admiring Orca Bay too but I've sat on my hands, too much other stuff to do.

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  30. Into the vortex.......LOL Love your Orca bay- the colors are fabulous!!

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  31. Whilst I still LOVE scrappy quilts (which is why I make so many Bonnie patterns), I also love the clarity your more controlled version has. You can really see and appreciate the pattern without the busyness - great job :)

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  32. You are a riot!! Both of your mystery quilts are fabulous! Love the stripes and plaids and the blocks are absolutely mountain sunsets! Way to jump in!

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  33. I love both of your mysteries. The 12 days quilt looks so neat with the mix of fabrics. The borders pulled it all together. Very cute. I love your colors for the Orca Bay quilt. It will be really special.

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  34. I never do mysteries either and when I see them finished I wish I would of stepped on board. I did copy a pattern on one that is on my to do list. Love the two you are working on now and the color choices are great, can't wait to see them. You made my day reading this.

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  35. I like the idea of the stripe fabric instead of a lot of strip piecing. Works well.

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  36. Combining purple and coral makes perfect sense. It personalizes the quilt for you. Great choices. And I'll echo all the other compliments -- bravo for using stripes and plaids in place of the string blocks. Actually, I think you're doing this mystery quilt VERY well, giving it your own special touches.

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  37. had to laugh I don't do mysteries either I like to know what I am making and NEED to know my fabric choices are working for the quilt
    Have fun! love that border fabric on your little quilt it looks great.
    kathie

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  38. I'm behind on blogs and was thrilled to see that you joined the masses and have now worked on a Bonnie mystery quilt. You could stick with the it's not a mystery anymore or just say that you only do Bonnie mysteries. Etiher way it looks great!

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