Christmas in January

Isn’t it exciting to see a quilt top come together from a random pile of fabric? Because I seem to make a lot of quilts one-block-at-a-time, I have really enjoyed the mysteries hosted by Bonnie Hunter where we prepare a batch of different units with no idea of the final design.

My last mystery with Bonnie was Easy Street, which I completed as a twin in May this past year.

Grand Illusion is a spinning firework of a block with a checkerboard border. (If you want a copy, go and download the instructions now, because they will be removed in a few months). I’ve decided I want to keep this quilt top in progression (I even bought the backing in the cyber Monday sales), so I’m going to make completing the flimsy my January goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes, hosted by Sew Bittersweet Designs. I’m going to aim to link up at least 10 times this year, wish me luck!

Two completed, 10 to go

Two completed, 10 to go

I have two blocks finished, and I’ve been using the double diamonds as leaders and enders as I construct each block, so that I have the 4 units I require for the next block. I also put out the broken dishes units which will be the border to sew into pairs. I am really happy with how my colours worked out–I used similar values and contrast to Bonnie, and am working down my Christmas fabric stash. I would never want to use the identical colour scheme however because then my quilt would look just like everyone else.

organization jan 5 sm

If you look closely, you may see that my seam allowance wasn’t quite scant enough in the first block, but I think I’ve got it right now. I will be making a 4×3 setting, which works out to a generous throw size, so if you’ll excuse me, I’ll get back to my piecing! Have you ever made a mystery quilt, and if you did, how long did it take you to finish?

Linking up to Quiltville for January 5 and Let’s Bee Social with Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts.

My Button Grand Illusion Mystery



  1. I’ve done four mysteries: one was supposed to be a wall hanging, but mine became three child sized quilts when two things happened: my two pinks didn’t look good next to each other and my 1/4 inch seam on flying geese wasn’t the same as it was on other square pieces. I got behind, so I could see the end goal and revise. Another one ended up a table topper, and I had no need of that so made a child quilt. Again got behind. I actually finished one, but didn’t like the look of it so donated it to keep someone warm who wouldn’t care about my feelings about the design. And the fourth is still sitting. I wised up to the fact that I don’t thrive on mysteries and haven’t started any more.

  2. Coming along, coming along! I like the idea of combining your steps as you put Idaho block together! I may steal that idea from you :). I am just finishing up step 3 and looking at the overwhelming step 2. I like your christmas fabrics! What a creative idea. I am hoping to get mine totally finished by the end of March…i’ m gifting it. I see that you are quilting after work πŸ˜‰

  3. That looks like a lot of piecing but it looks great so far

  4. Denise Terry · ·

    love the Christmas fabric arrangement, i’m curious about the checked border, what color will you use ?

    1. Actually it’s the sashing which is checkered, and i used dark blues., towards navy, and neutrals. On Jan 7, 2015 12:56 PM, “Lisa in Port Hope” wrote:


  5. Your block is looking so fine! What a great idea to make the pieces as a leader ender wip!

    1. And a little more done last night, slowly but surely it’s coming together. On 2015-01-07 4:47 PM, “Lisa in Port Hope” wrote:


  6. You have great colors and fabrics, love it!

    1. So fun not to have to buy fabrics for a new project! On 2015-01-07 4:48 PM, “Lisa in Port Hope” wrote:


  7. redeemedsheep · ·

    What beautiful Christmas quilt it will be when finished!!

    1. I’m going to try wool batting too, so it will be beautiful and warm. On 2015-01-07 4:52 PM, “Lisa in Port Hope” wrote:


  8. Good luck with your 10 link ups. I love the movement in the block.

    1. Just keep swimming! On 2015-01-07 5:36 PM, “Lisa in Port Hope” wrote:


  9. Your fabric selection worked out perfect for this mystery.

    1. Thank you! On 2015-01-07 6:34 PM, “Lisa in Port Hope” wrote:


  10. I absolutely love your blocks. I have quite a bit of Christmas fabric that I need to do something with. It was purchased on clearance. Even though I have quite a few Christmas quilts, I still need to use this fabric. This may be the perfect quilt design to use it. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Not all of mine is specifically Christmas fabrics but keep the colour scheme. Now that you see the whole thing, you could even swap some of the colours saround.

  11. Wow! That looks amazing! No idea how you piece that many pieces together successfully πŸ™‚ And I love the crash course in “quilt speak” -though i might have to all you to explain a few next time see you!

    1. Maybe i will have to start a glossary πŸ˜‰ On Jan 8, 2015 9:36 AM, “Lisa in Port Hope” wrote:


  12. It’s really lovely – your colour choices are just right. I’ve never made a ‘mystery’ quilt – I think I’m too much of a control freak for that, haha! Keep on piecing πŸ™‚

    1. Haha, the first one I did I was like that! I was so anxious about my colour and fabric choice until it all came together. But Bonnie demonstrates that the scrappier, the better. Someone said, it is easier to match 50 fabrics than 5, and I think that is true!

  13. Looks good so far!

    This is my fourth mystery, and now I have 4 mystery tops. But this year is my year to get the quilting done!

    1. Once you get started, I’m sure those tops will quilt up quickly and be ready to be loved. On Jan 10, 2015 4:11 AM, “Lisa in Port Hope” wrote:


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