August 27, 2009

Elizabeth's Mystery Quilt Challenge Update

When Heather had to take a break from releasing the patterns of her Twilight Mystery Quilt four blocks in, I became anxious about never finishing the quilt. I tossed a few ideas around and then Iris showed us her layout. I borrowed her idea but I decided that there wasn't enough room in the layout for everything I wanted to put in my Twilight Quilt. So, I drafted out a second layout and began working on a design of my own. It was such a great creative outlet that I decided to continue in that direction even after the last two blocks of Heather's Mystery Quilt were released.

Iris issued the challenge that we each finish our Twilight Mystery quilts (duly named because no one knows how they'll turn out now) but I knew that I would never make that deadline. I thought, however, that I would be farther along than I am. I got hung up on Isle Esme. I'd originally planned a panel spanning the width of my quilt. This little vignette was to be 4" tall by 46" wide. However, it soon became apparent to me that Isle Esme was in the wrong spot, and so part way in to making the first block I began to turn over different ideas in my head of how to move Isle Esme into a more chronological position and still have it fit in with all my other blocks, which are 6" x 6", with a 1" sashing in between. I wasn't sure how I was going to keep the scale of the design. I discussed this dilemma with Iris and Shannon and they had the perfect solution -- move the waves from the sides of the layout to the bottom. This allowed me to make it into a 6" x 20" panel, which will fit better into the overall layout of the quilt and also fit the timeline of events. I've done some mental rearranging of my layout and now just need to get it down on paper. Another plus to moving Isle Esme is that it leaves me room to add more blocks.

I have been working on this little scene for more than a month now, and it is finally finished. Without further ado, Isle Esme (click on the picture for a large image):

The pattern for this house comes from Marcia Hohn's Website, The Quilter's Cache. The pattern is 6" x 7" and I reduced it to 57% so that it would be 4" tall (and 3 3/8" wide). I liked the square window next to the door so that is why I chose this pattern. Windows are hard; I never know what color to make them, so I used Butter Fairy Frost in the window. I lived in Brasil for 18 months and Isle Esme is an Island off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, as we all know. I used this brick print because it reminded me of the architecture typical of that country. I searched high and low for a red tile print for the roof, but wasn't able to find one.

Isle Esme wouldn't be complete without feathers. This is a quill pattern by Jennifer Ofenstein at Sewhooked. Her website is a favorite for fabulous paper piecing patterns and Cat has many of her designs posted there. I reduced this pattern down by quite a lot, but can't remember by exactly how much. The length of the feather is 1 1/2". I used a beautiful pearly fabric that Iris sent to me for the feather (see how it shimmers even at this small size) and Linen Fairy Frost (thanks Shannon) for the shaft. I pulled my hair out working at this small scale.

I think the fabulous trees are my favorite part of the island. They were designed by our very own Cat. Thanks so much for sharing your amazing talent (she said she's willing to share this pattern, so e-mail if you'd like a copy and we'll get you in touch with the right people). I used Lily Pad Fairy Frost fabric for the palm fronds. Cat varied the the shape and color of the pieces on the tree trunks. The browns I used vary in shade only slightly and so this neat detail doesn't show up in the picture. I love the tropical blue of the sky, but it has a subtle directional pattern, a vertical and horizontal cross-hatch that nearly made me crazy when trying to piece it so that the pattern went in the right direction.

When I thought of Isle Esme, I wanted to include some sort of beautiful tropical flower. I was browsing through Marcia Hohn's patterns and found her N.F.B. block (no idea what N.F.B. stands for) which reminded me of a Bird of Paradise and so this was the natural choice for an exotic flower for my block. Again, I reduced this pattern, but I'm not sure by how much. I had originally intended for this to be a 4" block, but decided that if the flowers were the same size as the trees, it would throw the scale off. So, I reduced again to finally end up with a 2" block. I used Fairy Frost again (have you noticed a pattern? I have been given the moniker 'Queen of the Fairy Frost' by Iris). The colors are (from outside to in) Orange, Lipstick and Honey, with Lily Pad for the green.

For the waves, I had originally planned two 4" blocks on either side of the Island. I planned to use the Snail Trail pattern, winding it so that eventually there was beach next to the flowers. But when I rearranged the quilt, the size necessitated ten 2" blocks across the bottom to create beach and waves. I pre-pieced the four-patch in the center and then paper pieced the rest, due to the tiny scale of the waves. I loved the fabric, a Batik from a favorite LQS (Local Quilt Shop). It reminded me of water.

And since water doesn't break on the beach in perfectly straight lines, I did a few waves with the lighter fabric on the outside to break up the line. I hope it "works." I am considering making little hills and valleys on the beach/skyline because landscapes don't come in straight lines either. Any opinions or suggestions on that would be great! After hours and hours of work, I'm too close to the project to have a good perspective. If it needs some more work to make it better, I'd love the input.

Besides Isle Esme, I've done a few other blocks. I hope you'll indulge me, and allow me to share those with you. I am going to put the book covers in each of the four corners of the quilt. I have the Twilight book cover finished. I used Cat's Forbidden Fruit pattern for that. I enlarged it to 120% to make a 6" block. The stem is a satin stitch done by hand. This goes in the top left corner.

I also have the Eclipse book cover finished. I bought a machine washable polyester ribbon at JoAnn's and modeled it after the book cover, pinning it in place first and then stitching it down. This block will sit in the bottom left corner.

One of my favorite parts of Twilight is the baseball scene. It also happens to be my favorite scene in the movie. I designed the Vampire Baseball pattern for the quilt we made for Stephenie Meyer. Wanda put it together and I loved the fabric she used for the outfield. Doesn't it remind you of a forest surrounding the clearing? So I asked if she would send me some of the fabric for my quilt. She very kindly obliged and it really makes this block.

These next two blocks are a combination of ideas from Heather's Mystery Quilt and a design for Edward's Eyes that Iris came up with for her quilt. Heather had us put red in the diagonal row of squares in this traditional jewel box pattern, but I liked the color progression in Iris' block from gold to topaz to black, so I combined the two to make Vegetarian Vampire Eyes.

This block is another of Heather's designs, modified slightly by me. In her quilt, she did a progression of the phases of the moon from full to new. I chose to just use the New Moon portion of the block. Here again I used Fairy Frost; Natural for the moon. It is raw edge applique with a machine blanket stitch.

Iris modified Heather's full moon from her phases of the moon block and turned it into an eclipse. I liked this idea as well and so I'm incorporating it into my quilt with my version of an Eclipse. It is raw-edge applique with a machine blanket stitch.

Renesemee's Locket was another block we included in the Stephenie Meyer quilt. I wanted to include it in my quilt as well. I started out with a paper piecing pattern for a sort of oval shape, but it ended up looking like a perfume bottle. So, I drew out a pattern for an oval locket and Cat helped me clean the pattern up and put it in electronic format -- thanks again Cat! Jerri Lynn helped me out with the embroidery for the words and my machine provided the vine stitch. I had to use Fairy Frost fabric again, this time the color is Yellow. If you'd like this pattern, please e-mail. I'm happy to share.

The forest around Forks is a character in the books and so I had to have a representation for that. Iris helped me out with this fabulous pattern and I put together two long panels of trees, one for the top and one for the bottom of the quilt. Here is the top row, which is raw edge applique and will eventually have a machine blanket stitch around all of those trees (yes, I am crazy, in case you hadn't noticed):

This tall tree will connect with the bottom row of trees near the bottom left corner of the quilt. It is raw edge applique and is partially machine stitched down.

And here is the bottom row of trees, which is also raw edge applique and will eventually be machine blanket stitched. I am going to add a little sign that says "The City of Forks Welcomes You" to one of the rows of trees, probably the bottom row towards the right side.

I've got a lot of work to do, because in addition to these blocks, I have plans for the New Moon Book Cover, the Breaking Dawn Book Cover, Bella & Edward Dancing at their wedding, flowers from their wedding, And so the Lion Fell in Love with the Lamb, The Meadow, Bella's Bracelet, Bella's Truck, "My Jacob" wolf paw, La Push - First Beach, Edward's Diamond Heart, Fire and Ice, Bella's Broken Heart, the "Other" Jacob, The Clock Tower at Volterra, a Meteor, a Graduation Cap, Motorcycles, Cliff Diving, a Swiss Flag, The Cullen's house, Charlie's house, Bella & Edward's cottage, Jacob's house, Alice's Porsche, more trees and Charlie. I'm trying to come up with ideas for blocks for Carlisle & Esme, Jasper & Alice, Emmett & Rosalie and Renee as well. I'm also considering adding the Cullen Crest, although that is a movie thing.

I also want to thank those who have inspired me. Stephenie Meyer, you're at the top of my list for writing such an amazing series of books. My fellow coven members are right at the top as well. I wouldn't have been able to come up with all of this on my own.

As I mentioned, I won't be done with my quilt by the challenge deadline, but it is a priority and I am going to finish it. I'll keep you updated as I go along, as showing off is one of my favorite things to do.