Friday, January 01, 2021

Grassy Creek Mystery, Part Six!

Happy New Year, Quiltvillians!

Grassy Creek Road runs from Grassy Creek North Carolina, crossing Highway 16 and becomes Grassy Creek Road, Virginia.

If you happen to tell someone you live "On Grassy Creek" They will ask you "NC or VA?" just to get an idea of which side of the state line you are on.

If you remember our header photo for Part 5 from last week - the photo for Part 6 is taken from the same spot, up by the Methodist Church, overlooking the valley below.

That square white building toward the center is the Grassy Creek USPS.  And I love that someone is tending a small vineyard here.

If you look closely - can you pick out the inspiration for our Grassy Creek Mystery colors?

Click HERE for Printer-Friendly PDF.

It's time to dig into those grey strings!

I am sure just by this graphic you can tell which direction we are going, and I have some different options for you.

These units are going to measure 3 1/2'' x 9 1/2'' and finish at 3'' x 9'' in the quilt. We will be making 60 of them.

Those of you NOT doing strings, you are going to cut your grey fabric into 3 1/2'' x 9 1/2'' rectangles and use them the same as we would our string rectangles.

You may make them from scrappy greys, or you can use all one fabric.

I do my string piecing on paper as many of you know.  You can use whatever foundation you wish, or use no foundation at all. It is up to you.

My favorite foundation for string piecing is phone book pages.  Financial prospectus weight paper also works great, as does doodle pad paper from the dollar store.  There are commercial foundation piecing papers available.

When I need large shapes like this, and want to get as many usable sections as I can out of the paper, I'll go for the largest phone book pages I can find. I know they are becoming a bit extinct. Luckily in my area, they are the larger size, even though there are fewer pages per book.

Another great source of foundation paper - especially if I want to PRINT on it, for "sew on the line" foundation piecing designs - 

Size: 8 1/2'' x 11''

I have this paper listed in the Quilting All the Time category of the Quiltville Amazon Affiliate Store.

We love our Prime shipping, and we don't have to leave the house!

Okay - back to this, shall we?

My phone book pages are roughly 8'' x 10 1/2''.  I'm going to piece the strings the short direction, and then cut across them the long way.

Cut a wide variety of grey strips in random widths from about 3/4'' up to 2'' and everywhere in between.

Place 2 strips with right sides together toward the center of the paper, extending the strips just a bit beyond the paper for a bit of extra "wiggle room".

Set machine stitch length to a smaller stitch - 1.5 on a digital machine, or 14-16 stitches per inch on a vintage machine like my 301 shown here. Smaller stitches make the paper much easier to remove.

You can also use a larger needle, a denim needle works great for making bigger holes in the paper, which also makes the paper easier to remove.

Sew the two strips through the paper with an approximate 1/4'' seam.  And then sew on to a second piece of paper.  Use each sheet of paper as the Leader/Ender for the other, saving you lots of thread tails in the process.

Press the top strip out, and continue to add strips to either side of the center strip until the paper is full.

As each sheet of paper is completed, pull in a new one to keep the leader/ender action going.

Try to avoid having your last seams closer than 1'' from the ends. If you wish, you can trim the length of your page to 9 1/2'' so you know where those last seams will fall.

Last week some of you thought my flying geese photo looked blue.  It's the lighting here, and how that light filters through the window tint on my big front windows. I assure you - there is no blue in this quilt. Only various shades of grey.

Squaring up the pages.

Square one long side and 2 short sides of the page. The remaining long side is waste/margin. There is no need to square it before tossing it away.

Trim the page length to 9 1/2''.  Cut 3 1/2'' sections across the strings for string rectangles that measure 3 1/2'' x 9 1/2''.  Make 60.

Carefully remove the paper - it's a great activity while binge watching something good.

60 trimmed - ready for some de-papering!

Adding corners:

We have used many of these same methods when making our Flying Geese in Part 5.

For the "Draw a line and sew next to it" or "Use the Diagonal Seam Tape" methods, you will need 240 neutral 2'' squares for corners.

Drawing method:  Draw a diagonal line on the back side of each 2'' square.  Place the square in the corner of the rectangle with right sides together and stitch - not on the line, but right NEXT to the line into what will be the seam allowance.  This allows room for the fabric to fold up and over the thread so your corner will reach the edges of the rectangle.

Trim, leaving 1/4'' seam allowance.  Repeat for all 4 corners, pressing all triangles out toward the corners.

For the Diagonal Seam Tape (no drawing lines) method, follow the directions that come with the package.

Fabrics are GREY not blue.

Place a 2'' neutral square with right sides together at one corner of the rectangle.  Place the black diagonal line from corner to corner on the square as shown.  Trim leaving 1/4'' seam allowance.

Sew with a slightly scant seam, so the triangle has room to fold up and over the thread to reach the size it needs to be.  Press seams toward the triangles just added.

Work around the rectangle, trimming and sewing and pressing as you go.

Which method did I use?

A combination of  Simple Folded Corners and Essential Triangle Tool!

I love how "What the Simple Folded Corners takes off, the Essential Triangle Tool puts back on."  They work hand in hand together.

I used the Simple Folded Corners as shown to trim the corners of the string rectangles.  

And then cut the corner triangles from 2'' strips using the 1 1/2'' finished red line on the Essential Triangle Tool ruler for half-square triangles to cut the corner tringles I needed.  With ZERO  neutral triangle waste.

If you want to try this method - be sure to place your 2'' neutral strips with right sides together so you are cutting them in mirror image (left and right facing) pairs as you did for the flying geese in Part Five.

You will need 120 mirror image pairs, giving you 240 triangles needed.

Remember - these fabrics are GREY, not blue! (!!!)

When you open a pair of triangles into left and right - you will see the flat spots will work in your favor when adding to your trimmed string rectangle.

As with working with drawn-line corner squares - work one corner of the rectangle at a time.  Trim a corner, place a triangle, sew (chain sew them all if you wish) press toward the triangle, and trim that one dog ear that you see.

Then trim the next corners on the rectangles, add a corner triangle, sew - and press all seams toward the corner triangles, removing dog ears.

Grey!  Your mind sees GREY!

Finished rectangle.

They should measure 3 1/2'' x 9 1/2'' at this point.

Make 60.

Oh what fun this is!

And that's it for Part 6!  We'll see you back here on January 8th for Part 7!

Other things going down in Quiltville Land!  Did you see??

Sew Those Winter Blues Away!

Gather your blue and neutral scraps for an escapade of crazy easy sewing!

Small Blocks with Big Fun, guaranteed to chase your winter blahs far, far away!

Finished Quilt Size: Approximately 81'' x 95''

The response to our new Winter Blues PDF pattern has blown me away!  All I can say is Thank you thank you thank you from the bottom and top of my heart.

At the end of this very strange and difficult year, there are still bills to pay.  it doesn't fill the gaps left from not traveling to teach and lecture, but it helps!  And I really can't thank you enough for your support by purchasing PDF patterns and items from the Quiltville Store.

The introductory price is good through Sunday, January 3rd, 2021 (YAY! 2021!) and will revert back to $12.00 the morning of January 4th.⁣
This quilt would also be great in completely scrappy colors, or in whatever else inspires you to create.⁣
I can't wait to see where your scraps take you in 2021!

Once again - if you have never ordered a PDF pattern from my store, and plan on downloading it to an iPad or iPhone - click HERE so you know where to go to find your files once downloaded. Apple doesn't give you a choice. (Hint:  Make sure you know where your FILES APP is.)

And that's not all:

Irene at Cotton to Quilts has Blue Fabric Rolls!

The rolls are perfect for adding to your own blue variety when making my Winter Blues quilt.  And if you are in need of enhancing your neutrals - she's got neutral rolls too.

And did you see the grey string packs?

A little birdie also suggested we offer up a Winter Blues Gift-Away - so stay tuned, that is coming soon!

Quiltville Quote of the Day

It's a Brand New Year with much adventure ahead!
"And suddenly you know it's time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings."
— Meister Eckhart
Happy New Year, 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. I had decided to use a constant gray in my quilt and have done that so far.Can I switch to scrappy for this clue, or would it be better to stay with the constant?

  2. I really can't answer that for you. If you are unsure - wait until after the reveal, and then make your choice and come back.

  3. Oh Hooray!! I love piecing strings - it will be a Happy, Stringy, New Year’s Day around here today. Cheers to a bright 2021 for all of us!

  4. Woohoo!!!! I can do this!!! (not using scrappy - still have LOTS of leftover gray from backing . . . . )

  5. Thank you for blessing us all with your talent and creativity, Bonnie. Happy New Year and many blessings to you.

  6. Happy New Year Bonnie! Thank you for all that you contribute, especially this past year.

  7. I see blue until the last picture but I knew there was no blue! ;) Can't wait to start this clue. Something new for me. Still have 3, 4 and 5 to do first. New Year's Day will be sewing here UNLESS that ice storm takes out electricity. Thanks for all you are doing Bonnie and Happy New Year.

    1. Oh, Linda! Thank you! I'm still working #2! those cute little hour glass squares! The holiday rush seemed to keep me out of my studio... my love and blessings to all Quiltvillians, Cats in Carlsbad, CA

  8. Counting your generosity and kindness among my blessings. I’m enjoying spending the fifth holiday season with you making mystery quilts. Happy New Year!

  9. Happy New Year and thank you so much for everything you do! You are a master at this craft!

    Not to be a picky Person but I believe the measurement in the paragraph below needs to have a / in it to reflect 9 1/2”.

    “Try to avoid having your last seams closer than 1'' from the ends. If you wish, you can trim the length of your page to 9 12'' so you know where those last seams will fall.”

    Thank you again.

  10. Oh, I can't wait to use up scraps with the strip piecing!!Bonnie, on the first 9 1/2, there is no /, so it might confuse someone. :) Thanks for all you do! I couldn't wait to get up this morning.

  11. Bonnie I love the newsprint you suggest. It feeds through my printer like normal paper. Thank you. I always try to use your suggestions. Also your digital patterns this past year are wonderful. I'm so glad you are happy where you are in life. I am too!

  12. Oh SNAP I thought this was coming out tomorrow. But that’s OK. I’m caught up for the FIRST MYSTERY QUILT EVER!

  13. I'll have plenty of Gray stripping days to sew between the other Parts. I'm catching up now that the snow fell. Life slows down when I am compelled to stay home. A Sew Day is a Happy Day! Happy New Year!

  14. Uh oh
    Wasn't going to participate in this one...but these string rectangles are teasing me tremendously...

  15. Two years ago I asked my neighbors on a local FB page if anyone had an old phone book I could have and got a dozen responses! I'm set for life, lol, thank you, Bonnie, and Happy New Year to all. (You have taught us to be very resourceful.)

  16. Thanks Bonnie! I love string piecing! Happy New Year, so glad 2020 is over!

  17. I purchased Winter Blues and can't wait to start on it! It's a gorgeous quilt and something I can wrap my mind around for true relaxation. Thank you Bonnie for all you do for the quilting world. I surely do appreciate you!

  18. I just knew if I waited too long, cottontoquilts would be out of blue rolls, LOL. I dare say I procrastinate a bit much,

  19. Cotton to quilts is already sold out of the grey rolls. And the neutrals. Darn. That’s what happens when you live in pacific mountain time zone! And I am not an early bird. Lol.

  20. I promised myself that I will finish this UFO that I have been working on a little bit at a time through the whole month of Dec and It still is not done. I can't start anything new until this is finished. GRRRRRRR. I am not being happy camper about this. I feel like I am being punished. Maybe I need to give in and just start something new. that is my happy place.

    1. Stop punishing yourself! Allow yourself to work on what you want to work on. Use the UFO as a leader/ender or just pack it away for another time.

    2. Why punish yourself. you will make quilting a chore rather than your happy place. The colors and designs are fun. So jump in and when you get caught up and have some time before next clue you can work on your project. It wont be long and the reveal will come. Happy New Year.

  21. Being on the later side of your post I missed the opportunity for the Cotton to Quilts fabrics. I was definitely going to take advantage of the blues and neutrals. Oh well, I'll need to look elsewhere. Anxious to work on this Part! Happy New Year! Sandi

  22. Gray. I see gray. I’m keeping this in my mind as I cut. Hahaha. I’m liking this quilt so much more than the others....probably because I’m learning more, slowing down to make accurate cuts, and sewing more accurately. Again, I’m seeing gray. 😆

  23. Thank you for this mystery quilt Bonnie. It has been really nice to work on and I needed the distraction this year more than ever!

  24. This is my first Bonnie Hunter MQ and I am enjoying it a lot. I have a question. I am only doing half size. Some of the clues end up with 12.5 being half. So I am doing 13. But since that is a prime number I suspect that might not be a workable amount. Would you suggest a different number of pieces to make when I end up with 1/2? Also the geese on Clue 5 have me overthinking things. I made 20 because 18 only gives me 4-1/2 sets.

    1. good point about clue 5 ! I didn't think of that.

    2. Me too :-) same thing - I'm doing half = 13 sets of some clues. I have done this in the past also. For me it has been better to just wait until the reveal and then make up the remaining sets when I know how many I actually need.

  25. Greetings - Yes, I saw all of the colors in the photograph. Nice seeing. And, so creative. Thank you for showing the photograph. Meg McKinney

  26. Happy New Year of Quilting Bonnie! Having only started following you in the autumn of last year, I'm looking forward to seeing the changing seasons where you live, through the eyes of your camera:)

  27. I am having so much fun making the mystery quilt. Just bought the pattern for the blue quilt also. Love your quilts Bonnie. Thank you for all you do. Happy New Year!

  28. Thank you! Happy New Year!

  29. I have been using old patterns for paper piecing for years. You can find them at thrift stores or yard sales for next to nothing. Pick out patterns with large pieces like sweats, dresses or capes and iron it flat first. I take the whole piece and fold it to the approximate size needed and cut all the layers at once with my rotary cutter. Easy peasy. Also very easy to rip off. I consider it recycling as nobody wants those old patterns anyway.


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