Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Birth of the Baby Grand

So it's that time of year again when scrap quilter extraordinaire, Bonnie Hunter, begins her annual mystery quilt! This year's quilt is called Grand Illusion, based on Bonnie's stay at the famed Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan. And, just like last year's Celtic Solstice quilt, I'm changing things up again from Bonnie's instructions. This is the color set that Bonnie gave us:

Grass green
Light teal
Geranium pink
Butter yellow
plus black and white.

But my eye was drawn more to the scenery outside my window at the time. Ma Nature was putting on quite a show for us this Fall, and I suddenly realized that, with a little tweaking, I could use these colors for my Grand Illusion.
So here are my colors, all in batik fabrics:
Orange-Yellow of birch and aspen leaves
Yellow-Green of my yellowing lawn and the leaves mid-change on my maple tree
Blue of lake and sky
Red of oak and sumac leaves
Tan of frost-covered cattails and dried meadow grasses
And the deep, dark greens of pines at dusk

9-Patches for Shimmering Birches
So, not too different from Bonnie's colors. But then... 

Earlier this year I got bit by the miniatures bug. First, I started making Edyta Sitar's Shimmering Birches pattern, with it's adorable little 2-1/4" 9-patches:

Tiny T-Birds
Then, the local school was having an art contest: any medium, not bigger than 12" x 12", and with the theme 'Wing-A-Ding!' (that is, anything with wings). I was looking through Civil War Legacies: Quilt Patterns for Reproduction Fabrics by Carol Hopkins at the time, and saw her Darting Birds pattern in the book. Well, the team mascot is the Thunderbird, and the school's colors are orange and black, so I ended up with this:

And I started having fun with 1" hexies and made this 14" x 40" table runner. I used a technique described in Dr. Peggy G. Rhodes and Julia C. Wood's book Quick & Easy Hexie Quilts to make the hexies from folded circles. It's fast, easy, and fun!

Hexagon table runner

The Crafty Quilter's Nordic Mini Quilt Along
Aaaaand then Julie Cefalu, in her The Crafty Quilter blog, began a 4-part Nordic Mini Quilt Along. I've sewn only the Nordic Star blocks so far, but they are so adorable! They'll finish at only 4-1/4".

So can you guess what I'm doing with my Grand Illusion? That's right! I'm making it as a mini!

Yes, this is completely crazy, given that I don't know what the ultimate design is going to be or how small the pieces will end up being. However, nothing in Celtic Solstice finished smaller than 1-1/2", and Bonnie said this year's mystery should be easier than the last couple of mysteries. So I figure there shouldn't be any pieces for me that finish at smaller than 3/4", and that's do-able. (The Shimmering Birches 9-Patch squares finish at 3/4", and the HSTs in my Tiny T-Birds mini finished at 1/2", so I'm already there!)

I figure that, so long as I make the finished size of my units half the finished size of Bonnie's units, everything should still fit together just fine. So, if Bonnie's unit finishes at 4" (cut size 4-1/2"), then my unit will finish at 2" (cut size 2-1/2"). My finished quilt should come out at about 44" x 44". I figure I can either add an extra row of blocks to make a nice lap size, or, alternatively, I can use it as-is or drop a few blocks, and it will still be a nice wall hanging.

And I shall name it the Baby Grand. I love it!

A baby Broken Dish
So when clue #1 came out last week, I was all ready to go. I tweaked Bonnie's instructions and now I have some baby Broken Dishes blocks. Sew Sweet!!

Celtic Solstice, in progress

Oh, and as I'm sewing these together, I'm also getting last year's Celtic Solstice finished. I've got 4/7 of that quilt sewn together, with 14 of the remaining 21 blocks sewn. What's left? Only 26 of those dastardly chevron blocks! I'm using them as leaders and enders on my Baby Grand, and then I'll be able to get that top finished up too!

If you want to see what other people are doing with their Grand Illusion Mystery quilts, you can check out Bonnie's Monday Mystery Link-Up.

My next post, I hope, will be about these Broken Dishes blocks and all the different ways that they can be used in quilts. Once you start looking for them, they show up in a lot of patterns! And then there will be more posts on the Baby Grand as we progress through Bonnie's Grand Illusion Mystery. Won't you join me?


  1. Love your color choices and the fact that you've decided to go small. I love seeing miniature quilts. I hope to catch up with you later to see how this one turns out.

  2. Wow! Love your colour inspiration, and I'm in awe of your miniatures. I will look forward to seeing your Baby Grand progressing.

    Your Celtic Solstice looks fantastic.

  3. Super! Your idea of making a miniature is so neat. Your colors are great too. Why didn't I think of the idea of 1/2 size mystery quilt? Small quilts fit well with me since I like to use up so many of my small scraps and I love to have small quilts around the house. Good idea! Your other quilts are very nice too. Can't wait to see your progress after the next clue.

  4. It will be fun watching your progress on the mini - isn't Bonnie great for bringing this to us? And so much fun to see others work, yours is GREAT!

  5. What a great idea! I can't wait to see how it turns out.

  6. You are so brave to do the mystery in miniature! I considered doing it super sized but even that math intimidated me. I'm eager to follow your progress.

  7. Your mini units are cute! Your Celtic Solstice quilt will be beautiful! Love your colors on both quilts. I love mixing up the colors too.

  8. ::Inspired:: Love the colors and the mininess! Your CS is gorgeous. You have a great color sense.

  9. Love your colors. I was in Vermont late September for the first time ever. I was told it was an amazing year for color. A 50-year high! I was just lucky. We booked our flights months in advance.
    I'll be following your miniature journey.