Questions Answered Edited from email
INFO ON MYSTERY BLOCKS?
I've really enjoyed your site and am using several of your patterns, both purchased (both nativities) and freebees (bald eagle). But I don't understand the mystery blocks. Can you explain?? ...Are the mystery blocks what they sound like – blocks you design of various things that don’t become apparent until after you’ve made the block??--Rody
Here is some general info about the mystery blocks from the faqs page.
The Mystery Blocks are free. They are pretty random in subject matter, meaning there is no theme.
They are not meant to go together, although some people manage to make some of them work together in one quilt (see the projects pages).
I don't give a finished picture. The pieces are separated on the printed pages so you can't tell what they form. There is no background shading on the pieces. (On my
saleable patterns, the whole pattern is one piece before cutting apart, and there is shading in the background to help you see the image.)
Some people cut out the pieces of the mystery, arrange them on a table like a puzzle, make out the design as best they can and then make decisions about fabric and color from there (and/or whether to do it at all, I'm sure).
The real adventurous types cut it out, use my suggestions for color, and just start sewing.
They find out what it is when they sew it together.
(So... which one are you? :)
HOW DIFFICULT FOR A BEGINNER / MASTER & COPY?
Linda, I have done SIMPLE paper pattern quilting (MH designs). I have been looking [at] your patterns (specifically the snowman, wedding cake and nativity scene). They are adorable!!! How difficult are they for a person who has only done a handful of paper pattern quilting?
Also, I am noticing that you sell a master and a copy. I do not understand why a person would by both. Please explain. thanks.--Linda K.
If you can do other paper piecing, my designs are the same, just more, smaller pieces.
They would take longer. I don't know how MH Designs instructs you to sew sections together,
but you can get an idea by going to my how-to pages and see if it is similar. You could also check out my mystery block. I think of these patterns as intermediate.
Almost all of my patterns include both the master and the foundation copy in the package. The nativity is the only pattern that is available as a master and a copy because it was too big to send through the mail with both. If you buy only the master, you can use the pattern in it to make your wallhanging, but you won't have a master left when you are done. The additional copy allows you to use IT as a foundation and keep the master for another day.
A lot of people buy the master only; the foundation copy is not required to purchase.
I hope that makes sense.--Linda
HOW TO FINISH PROJECTS?
In November I ordered the pattern O Holy Night from you...I'm anxious to start this project. I have a few questions which I hope you can help me with:
1. After completing the piecing, how do you suggest that the project be finished? Should it be machine quilted? Hand quilted? If it isn't quilted in some way, is it possible that the pieces will droop because of the weight of the pieces?
2. If it is to be quilted, do you suggest using batting? Should the entire project be lined?
3. Is there supposed to be a border/sashing?
4. After the project is completed, should a dowel rod be used to display it?
The piecing instructions were quite complete, but there were no finishing instructions included with my pattern. I wondered if a sheet of finishing instructions was omitted from my packet. Any advice/help you can give me is appreciated.--Joyce
Hello, Joyce--Thank you for waiting.
Ah, finishing! It is true, this is where I leave quiltmakers to their own devices and presume
they will supply their own happy ending. There are no written instructions. (The bulk of my designs do not even have borders. This is partly because the bigger the pattern, the more difficult to print unless I go the professional route, and I don't sell enough of any one pattern to allow for that.)
I'd say that most paper piecers are also machine quilters. In paper piecing there are a ton of seams and therefore bulk in the seams, making machine quilting a lot easier than hand quilting. Most people
add simple square borders to the designs, a narrow and a wide, or incorporate the blocks into some
other design they have in mind (say, a bed quilt). Or maybe they add a paper pieced border they've
purchased or found.
I know what you mean by droop; I've seen it, but I don't think it is a sure thing, and probably depends on the quality of the sewing. (Section seams must be sewn together carefully to avoid extra fabric in the seams, leading to extra fabric in the top, possibly leading to droop.) Regardless, I personally would do at least a minimal amount of quilting, by machine or by hand, to stabilize the project, with at least a thin batting.
There is a book called Happy Endings which I recommend. Once you have added a border of some kind (or not!
There is no requirement!), batting, backing, quilting, and then binding, I would ask an experienced quilter
about advice on hanging. Yes, I have used a dowel, but I prefer a flat piece of wood with holes drilled in both ends. This allows the quilt to hang a little more flatly at the top than it would over a dowel.
I hope these ideas and suggestions are useful to you!--Linda
Thanks for your prompt reply. I understood everything you wrote about except the part about using a "flat piece of wood with holes drilled in both ends." Do you mean a board across the top of the project and another one across the bottom of the project? What do you use to put through the hole of the board to fasten to the quilt? I'd hate to put a hole in the quilt, and I'd also hate for it to rust by using a nail. I must not be aware of a product that is available for what you suggested.
I was considering using invisible thread, so I appreciate your sending the other email about its plasticy look.
Thanks again, and Happy New Year!--joyce
Hi again, Joyce,
What I have done is to put a sleeve on the top of the quilt. The sleeve is not sewn perfectly flat to the top; there is about an extra 1/2" of fabric in the sleeve to allow for the dowel or hanger.
The sleeve is about 4" less than the width of the quilt, which leaves about 2" on each side of the quilt for the wood to stick out. I use a slat--a piece of flat wood, about 1/4" thick, 1-1/2" or 2" wide, in a length about 2" less than the width of the quilt. This means it sticks out of the sleeve about 1" on each side. I use a drill to drill a hole in the ends of the slat in the middle of the 1" of wood that shows. (Draw yourself a picture if it will help to make sense.)
I can remove the slat and, using a standard bubble level, I can place the nails in the wall where I want them. Put the slat back in the sleeve and hang the quilt. Nothing is fastened through the quilt itself.
I usually don't bother to put a slat in the bottom of the quilt, but I haven't hung very large quilts with this method. Hope this is a little clearer.