Friday, November 27, 2020

Grassy Creek Mystery! Part 1!

Good Morning, Quiltvillians!

Let the Black Friday mystery sewing commence! 

You know, as I sat here the past 30 minutes before hitting PUBLISH on this post - I realized that though so much has changed this year during the Covid Pandemic of 2020 - that this ONE THING - Our ability to join together to participate in this global quilting mystery fun has not changed!

And I am so grateful for that.  For the sewing behind the scenes, for the watching of everyone pulling their fabrics and deciding on color changes and all of the happy hubbub that comes with that - this is our crazy normal behind the crazy.

So before I go any further, I want to thank you for once again participating in our yearly reader appreciation mystery, and for your sticking with me through the past year of just plain weird.

And if you are new here, I want to welcome you too - and I hope you will have a great time and stick around for the things that happen throughout the year - and join us again when next winter's mystery rolls around.

Click HERE for Printer-Friendly PDF.

If you are just joining us, we’ve already released our introductory post including the colors of this year’s mystery and the yardage requirements.  You’ll find that post under the Grassy Creek Mystery tab at the top of my blog.  Catch up there.  It’s not too late to join in!

All posts that relate to our Grassy Creek Mystery will be linked under that tab, so it is good to take some time, locate the tab and know where it is should you find yourself missing a part, needing a refresher, or helping someone ELSE know where to come find the info.

A refresher from mysteries past - especially if you want to post your progress to your social media (Facebook and Instagram, etc.)

The PDF file for each part linked at the top of each post is for your convenience.  You can save paper by not printing - just save the file to your computer to read it there.

You can also choose how many or which pages to print from within your own printer settings.

You can also copy/paste any pertinent information into a word document to tailor your saved info to suit your own needs.  

When I present our mysteries, I look at them as a teaching opportunity for the newest quilters amongst us. My job is to teach, no matter how many pages it takes.  You don't need to print everything. But then maybe this mystery that stretches through many weeks is worth the cost of the paper and ink that it is printed upon?

This is a gentle reminder - PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE pay attention:

DO NOT post unit sizes, or unit/piece counts in your posts.  This is a MYSTERY quilt, those participating in it already KNOW the size of the unit, and how many there are to make.

I am especially pointing out posts that give the unit size or the count or say things like "200 done, 40 to go..."

Please do not share this info in your social media posts, rather direct folks to the mystery on my blog where they can find that information. 

Instead you can say things like My BATCH of this unit is done...or I am half-way - or something vague.  But again - do NOT give unit sizes, or piece counts.  Thank you thank you!

For my part - I will be giving you the unfinished and finished dimensions of any unit along with a couple of optional ways to accomplish that unit.  You are welcome to use whatever method you wish to make the unit - just keep in mind the unfinished and finished sizes we need.

Please note that using other methods may take more yardage.

Shall we get started?

Part One is half-square triangles!

23 sets of 8 matching

(184 total)

Units will measure 3 1/2'' unfinished and finish at 3'' in the quilt. Make each set from a different combination of fabrics if going scrappy.

Anyone want to guess how many different ways there are to make half-square triangles? Too many to mention. Feel free to make them how you want, just make sure they measure 3 1/2'' for this step.  Once in the quilt they will measure 3''.

If you are working with regular rotary cutting math, that means you will start with 3 7/8'' squares.  Cut 4 matching grey and 4 matching gold squares. Place a grey square and a gold square with right sides together.  Either slice on the diagonal from corner to corner into 2 matched triangle pairs and sew with a scant 1/4'' seam, or draw a line from corner to corner on the diagonal and stitch with a scant 1/4'' seam on either side of the line.  Slice on the center line to yield two half-square triangle units after sewing.

Press seams toward the grey.  Trim dog ears and square unit to 3 1/2'' as needed.

Don't like drawing lines?  Check out the Diagonal Seam Tape in the Quiltville Store.

Essential Triangle Tool Method:

This is what I go through for photo shoots!

I love using my Essential Triangle Tool for just about everything half-square or quarter-square triangle related.  It works easily with the sizes of strips I keep in my Scrap User’s System and actually saves me fabric as one set of dog ears is already trimmed before sewing.

Cat-Free version!

Place a grey 3 1/2'' strip and a gold 3 1/2'' strip with right sides together. Square off one end as shown.

Making the first cut:

Move the clean cut edge you just trimmed to the far left if you are a righty, Lefties – go the opposite and cut from the right.  

The ruler is marked in “FINISHED UNIT SIZE.” Place the 3’’ finished red line at the top of the strip set, ON the fabric, not above the fabric on the mat. The green triangle will be pointed toward you.  Make the first cut as shown.

Pivot the ruler so the green triangle is up. Make second cut. Repeat the process to cut 8 half square triangle units from this strip set, ready to sew.

Cut 23 sets of 8 triangles each from a variety of greys and golds. 

Stitch units with a scant 1/4'' seam.  Remove dog ears and trim to 3 1/2'' as needed.  Pin or clip each set of 8 to keep them together.

Simple Folded Corners Method:


I have used this method for other sizes of triangles and it took a bit of figuring how to get what I wanted (8 units per pair of squares) without a lot of waste.

Start with 8 '' squares - one grey, one gold and place them right sides together. (You can go with 8 1/2'' squares if you feel you need some wiggle room.)

Place the diagonal line on a large square ruler along the bottom edge of the squares as shown, with the 3'' line on the diagonal at the bottom left corner (Bottom right if you are a leftie.)

Make a cut.  This cut will give you one half-square triangle unit and enable you to cut bias strips from the remainder of your large squares.

Make 2 cuts at 2 3/4 inches as shown.

Please note that the 2 3/4'' mark is ON my fabric, not on the mat next to the fabric.  If you want your units to come out the right size, it is important when cutting ANYTHING to get the line up on the fabric, or your strips will be one line width too short.

Line ON the fabric, not next to!

When done cutting, you will have 2 corners, and 2 segments 2 3/4'' wide.

Testing your Seam Allowance:

This is important!  Please do not skip this step!

Before you start sewing triangles, we need to be sure that your seam allowance is giving you what you need to reach unit size.  You may find you need to move your needle to find the seam allowance that works best for you.

Start with a pair of 2'' squares.  Cut them out with the line on the ruler ON the fabric, not next to the fabric on the mat.  If you cut correctly, the seam allowance will give better results.

Sew the 2'' squares together with 1/4'' seam.  Press the top square to one side and measure across the unit from side to side.  Two 2'' squares sewn side by side will measure 3 1/2'' unfinished.  If your unit is too small, skinny down your seam until you have the correct result.  If your unit is too big, fatten it up just a bit until you reach 3 1/2''.

There are many pieces and seams in this quilt, and if you shoot for unit size with each unit, they will all fall together the way they should.

Here is a post I wrote in 2016 about trusting a 1/4'' foot that was wider than the 1/4''.  NEVER TRUST ANY 1/4'' FOOT!  Always sew a seam, and test the unit.

Sewing time!

Stitch the two half square triangle pairs, and the 2 3/4'' segments with your tested 1/4'' seam, stitching the segments down BOTH SIDES.

Sewing on the bias means we'll have straight grain on our outside edges.

Place the 3'' line on the Simple Folded Corners ruler or Simple Folded Corners Mini just above the seam line, allowing for the "turn of the cloth" when pressing.

See the ruler line just above the seam line?

This will give a bit extra room for the fabric to fold up and over the thread when pressing so things don't fall short.

Pivot the ruler to cut 3 triangles from each of the 2 3/4'' strip sets.  Trim the corner triangle units as needed.

There will be a few stitches at the top -

They easily lift open.  Press to the grey.

Use the ruler to check size, and trim dog ears.

Eight is Great! And that's all the waste I had.

8 half-square triangles from a pair of 8'' squares.

Make 23 sets of 8.

I hope this gives you some different methods to try - and some new skills to add to your wheelhouse.

With Instagram blocking the "recents" hash tags from posts for the time being due to the election process, it may be a bit difficult for us to see what each other is doing this year - possibly until the inauguration anyway.  I have tried to find out more info on when "recents" will be back for those of us in the USA, but haven't found the answer.

But - so that we can see them when they ARE available again, please use the hashtags #quiltvillemystery and #grassycreekquilt when you share your posts on Facebook and Instagram.

Please tag me @quiltville_bonnie in your Instagram posts, because I DO get notification on those and I really want to see what you are up to.

And I would love to invite those who use Facebook to join my Quiltville’s Open Studio group where there is so much sharing of mystery progress going on, especially during this time.  I can see your photos there in real time as can everyone else.  It's a wonderful giving and accepting community and I'd love for you to be a part of it.

Part 2 will be posted next Friday, December 4th.

And I post here 6 days a week, so there is always something new to discover. If you would like to receive posts by email (they come the next day to your inbox) visit the blog on a real computer where the right hand side bar is visible.  Input your email address toward the top of the column where it says "never miss a single post."

And while you are there, you can sign up for my Quiltville Newsletter as well - just a bit further down the column.

Did you also see in Yesterday's Post that we have THIS going on??

Kicking off Mystery Season with a SewPad Special!
For those wanting to get a jump on arm chair Black Friday shopping -

I wanted to let you know that my friends at SewPad are offering FREE PRIORITY SHIPPING on SewPad orders within the USA using coupon code PEACE at checkout!

Click back to Yesterday's Post for all of the details!

The last pattern sale of 2020!

Starting this morning, and running through Monday and ending Tuesday morning.  All Digital Patterns in the Quiltville Store are 25% off using coupon code DIGITAL25 at checkout.

My checkout page has a new layout!

To use the coupon code - click where it says REDEEM YOUR COUPON under the total. Enter the coupon code DIGITAL25 on the box that opens up.

Code MUST be used at checkout to redeem.  No refunds if you forget, okay?

When you check out - click your payment option.  You can use Paypal, but you can also click any of the credit card icons shown below the PayPal button. PayPal is only my credit card processor. - you do not need a PayPal account to check out.  

Want to use your Visa? Click the Visa button.  Mastercard? Discover? Amex? Click the corresponding button and enter your card info in the box that pops up.

If this is your first time downloading digital patterns from my store, and you intend to download to a tablet or phone (Especially of the apple variety) click HERE

Please read this page first before you download, if you don't know where to find your downloaded files.

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

Have a wonderful Friday, everyone!


This mystery is given for personal use only.  No part may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying for sharing, scanning or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.

Please no uploading and saving of this file with intent to share, email or distribute, either digitally or in hard copy. NOT FOR RESALE.

Please send your friends to my blog to print their clues. Thank you!


  1. WooHoo! Here we go! Let the fun begin! Wishing everyone happy quilting.
    Thanks so much, Bonnie!

  2. To be sure: it's a grassy creek day over here, gray sky and (still) golden leaves. Changed the gray for blue, as our sky is mostly blue, no shadow, and lots of water in the lakes. Friesland creek, lol! Thank you so much for hosting a mystery again!

  3. Are all 23 sets to be grey / gold combinations?

    1. yes. Thankfully, Bonnie is very specific in her instructions. For instance, if she wanted us to use different colors she would definitely specify it. Happy sewing!

    2. Yes. 23 sets of grey and gold. Other colors will get used later.

    3. Yes. 23 sets of grey and gold. Other colors will get used later.

    4. Yes, Linda K. all 23 sets are grey/gold.

    5. Each set of 8 needs to be the same grey and gold but each set will be different.

    6. thank you for asking this question; I had the same question; guess we will be doing all the sets in gray and gold.

    7. Okay, I read this wrong at first and I made 23 HSTs. I need to make 23 sets, each with a different combination of grey and gold that each include 8 per set? Also, do we get one clue each week? I am a newby so that you for your patience:)

  4. Thank you Bonnie for another wonderful Mystery! This is my first time participating and look forward to all the fun!! Cheers! ~Merri

  5. Here we go! I've quilted since the 80s and this is my first time with the mystery!! Thanks Bonnie and all my quilty friends.

  6. Love seeing your helper lying on your cutting mat! Mine (Turi) keeps my chair warm when I get up to iron, and keeps me company in general when I sew.

  7. “Just Plain Weird” says it all for me.
    Thank you Bonnie, for your beautiful voice, your words, your generosity and for being you.
    Blessings to you and yours.

  8. Sew Doable! Hsts any way you cut make a fun Part one!! Thanks for the tips. The Simple Corners ruler way is interesting. I might try a few that way to make the sets. My 9th Mystery begins!

  9. YAY! Let the fun of mystery season begin! Thanks Bonnie.

  10. Thank you Bonnie for this mystery quilt again! I am a sports "widow" this time of year and these are so much fun.:)

  11. And off we go! Thanks for another wonderful mystery season!

  12. Thank you Bonnie. During the Covid-19 pandemi you have been giving so much hope and joy to quilters world wide. In spring you gave us the Unity and now we have another mystery. You are the best!

  13. Ahhh, another opportunity for 2020 to get normal again -- the start of the annual Quiltville mystery season! With three past mysteries waiting for quilting and two more still in the piecing process, I hadn't planned to actively participate this round (but I WILL be following along weekly!!). However, I just reviewed the color specs again and I can see myself caving on this one in the near future!

  14. Finished Frolic 3 days ago!! I am ready for the new mystery now!!! I told my husband not to expect to see me for the rest of the weekend!! Thank you Bonnie for all you do for us. You are TRULY appreciated!!!

  15. Yay!!! Here we go Quilty friends! Thank you SO much, Bonnie.

  16. Since I am staying at home more I think to make my pieces it will be fun to try all 3 methods to make my 1/2 square triangles since I have your wonderful tools There are plenty of pieces to do it in all 3 ways. This will really be a learning experience. It will probably be Monday before I begin as Hubby is on vacation until Monday and granddaughter is still home from college. Thank you for sharing with us all over the world- only I am from Arkansas. LOL

  17. I did the Good Fortune mystery and that was enough for me. I am not a mystery girl I guess, but I love watching and seeing what everyone does. Thanks for all your hard work,Bonnie. Happy sewing ladies!

  18. Thank you Bonnie! I’m excited to get started. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  19. Thank you Bonnie! I’m excited to get started. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  20. And we're off! Thank you so much, Bonnie, I do so look forward to this tradition every year. I'm grateful you are so generous with your talents. Happy sewing everyone!

  21. Thank you Bonnie for all your hard work and bringing us quilters together. The mystery gives me a much needed distraction.

  22. To answer your question ... I have a dvd that shows 16 ways to make half sq triangles ... I bought it 10 years ago and since then several other methods have been developed ... example MAGIC EIGHT ... MORE methods have been invent using specialty rulers ... I usually stick with the old fashion sew down the diagonal and trim to the size you need.

    1. Yep! I do the same. I have tried every method out there and this is the only way I can get a "square" HST. More work but less headache later!

  23. So happy to be at the start of mystery season! I have things needing doing this morning but this afternoon I will start playing with gray and gold fabrics. I bought a sew pad when you had an earlier promotion. I love it!

  24. Wow! That Simple Folded Corners method is ingenious.

  25. Love Lola's sunlight example of the diagonal. She is so helpful in your studio. I hope her Christmas stocking has an extra bonus treat in it for all her hard work. 😹

  26. Thank you, Bonnie, a thousand times over!! The mystery helps me so much during the holidays!

  27. My first time with the mystery quilt and I'm very excited. Just need a little clarification before I begin cutting.
    I really wasn't planning on scrappy, so do I make all sets with the same 2 colors, grey and gold? I don't want to ultimately find out mine will look strange.

    1. Yes, since you are not doing scrappy, you would use the same fabrics.

  28. Excited to start this! When I make *lots* of HSTs, I use triangle paper if I have the right size -- and yahoo! For this first part, I do! P.S. Just bought your beautiful Appalachian Autumn pattern -- and messed up. I missed the tiny print for entering the discount. :-( Not a big deal -- even with the exchange to CAD it's not a lot of money...but this is a caution to others! Make sure you look for that tiny print on the bottom left in the shopping cart so you can enter your discount code if you have one! Sigh...

  29. Wow, HST's are right up my alley as I have just sewn around 400 of them using the Essential Triangle Tool for another quilt. I'm going to challenge myself this mystery by doing the units 1/2 size to hopefully come up with a quilt around 40" square. Wasn't even going to do it, but my friendly enabler is jumping in so it will be fun to sew this 'together' from a covid safe distance.Thank you Bonnie for all the work you do as I'm sure it's much more than any of us can conceive. Hugs.

  30. 23 sets of 8 huh! Took me a couple of beats to appreciate the subterfuge! LOL That's 184 HSTs!!! Silly me ☺

  31. Lol...Grandma K....I'm going the other way...be interesting to compare our finished product

  32. Such perfect timing for a mystery quilt!! My last day of work is Monday 11/30, and the start of my long awaited retirement!!! I did the mystery quilt in 2018 and really enjoyed it but felt a lot of pressure trying to keep up, and finally finished about 3 months later. This time I plan on keeping up and finishing on time!

    1. congratulations to you! this is my first and I hope I can keep up. I love the way Bonnie teaches technique along with the pattern. Very helpful for a newbie. Enjoy your new life!

  33. Thank you Bonnie for all your hard work so excited to get started
    Stay safe
    Love and quilty hugs
    Anne xxx

  34. I am gathering my fabric and so happy to start this mystery! Thank you, Bonnie!

  35. I don't have a grey striped kitty; can I use my B&W tuxedo Manx instead for the triangle essentials?

  36. Out of respect for my feline sewing assistant, please include at least one picture of your feline assistant in every mystery clue. Roscoe likes to read the clues, although he says he would be happier with recorded demos. He loves to watch TV.

  37. I'm so behind but I did these half square triangles so here I go....


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