Is it a mystery or a challenge?

My friend, Susan Allen, and I are going on a ‘we planned it ourselves’ retreat with a few other friends December 2-4. There will be more on that in future posts. Today I want to tell you about the project Susan and I are planning. I’ll be sharing details along the way for any of you who want to take part from afar.

Susan has collected fabric for years with the idea to make something sort of like, but not really like, the quilt in this photo from Kaffe Fassett’s book, Welcome Home.

And this quilt that is on the facing page:

We had to talk through what Susan was drawn to so that I was sure I got it because we work in different ways. Susan lets a quilt evolve as she goes, I start with a plan. My plan can be flexible, but still… I need a plan. Here’s our plan:

We are going to start with the same 45 fabrics (you could start with any number of fabrics—5, 10, 100…). These are Susan’s fabrics that she generously split with me. Most of the pieces are 1/8 yard. Susan has wanted to work with these for a long time. I own (or have owned) many of them, but this is not my normal palette. It’s going to be a fun challenge for me.

We are each going to make 40 – 3″ blocks, 20 – 6″ blocks, and 10 – 9″ blocks. The blocks can be different—I could make 40 different 3″ blocks, or 40 that are the same. They will be precisely pieced, not improv. We will tradey/halfy our blocks on November 2.

I’m going to draw one (or more) 18″ x 18″ applique blocks that could be used as a focal block or center medallion. My due date is Oct. 1 mostly so we can each be thinking about it.

We plan to work on our quilts in some way at retreat. We can use the blocks in any way to make any kind of quilt that suits us.

For want of a better name, I’m going to call this Mysterious Challenge One (there could be a two in the future). I will post progress updates and the applique block pattern (for free!) so that you and your quilting friends who are interested can join us virtually. Happy planning!