Grand Illusion still a Work in Progress

You may have heard that Bonnie Hunter – Quiltville released the setting for the Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt on New Years (eve).

We got our marching orders…how to assemble the blocks and use all those pieces from Parts 1 thru 5.

I have done my best to keep up and on January 2nd, I got to sew 12 of the blocks together.  Because we had built the individual pieces during clue 1-5, it was like putting a 9 patch together. I got 12 blocks together in an afternoon, but they still need a bit of “squaring up”.

In my version; I used a solid turquoise block in the center of the block.  The pattern called for a  4 patch; and that wasn’t working for me. I found it overwhelming. Take a look at the finished pattern and you may see what I mean.

My Version - solid center block instead of a 4 patch

My Version – solid center block instead of a 4 patch

Now, before I show you some more pictures of my project; I thought you might like to read a commentary by a Facebook poster on the Quiltville Open Studio group –

Becky Groska ” I get 2,896. 52 pieces in each square. 52 pieces/square x 25 squares = 1,300. 16 pieces in each sashing unit…16 pieces x 6 units per row x 6 flanking rows = 576 PLUS the sashing units that are flanking each side of the blocks — 6/row x 16 pieces x 5 rows = 480. Inner border: 8 cuts of WOF. Border units: 40 units x 12 pieces per unit = 480. Corner 4-patches in border: 4 x 4 = 16. 1,300+576+480+8+480+36+16 = 2,896. “

I decided since I altered my block slightly not to count yet! (Or drive myself crazy trying to count).

If you pop over to Bonnie Hunter’s original design; you will see the next step, after you have built the big block,  is to SASH with “checkerboard – green & white & black”.

Clue 3 complete

Clue 3 complete

Well…I thought about that alot..Another very busy element right next to those already busy blocks.  The “sashing” she was having us use was the blocks from Clue 3.  I believe I made about 120 of them.

Well, I decided I needed some seperation between the busy block and the sashing…so I played around on the design wall a bit – I layered some more turquoise up there with corner stones etc…and have been thinking about how I should put this together.  Somewhere along the line, I decided this was going to be for young girls, so I wanted the sashing to be bright and cheerful; and I eliminated any thought of black or white or solid pinks.  Of course, now I needed to go shopping for more turqoise, in something that read solid.

Thinking about how to sash the blocks

: Thinking about how to sash the blocks

And this is what I came up with so far – 3 blocks sashed with turquoise — but no decision yet on the darn green & white & black checkerboard. (Of course, since I made the block essentially BIGGER by adding the turquoise sashing, now the checkerboard blocks don’t fit…..)

3 blocks sashed but no decision yet on the checkers

3 blocks sashed but no decision yet on the checkers

I stuck a bit of turquoise in between the green and don’t like it. Was considering going solid with the green…but then I thought….CONTINUE my turquoise across the top and bottom of the green checkerboard…that might give me the added length I need.  Meanwhile, I have been looking at the photo’s that are being posted on the Quiltville Open Studio facebook group and all the variations that are coming out. Maybe something will click.

I also decided that I don’t need an 88×88 quilt (larger with my added sashing).  I thought about what fun colors this quilt had in it, and how I could essentially turn this into TWO twin size quilts.  So; I made a quick shopping trip, got more turqoise, and also bought some backing fabric. My grandaughters (2 & 4) will eventually be sharing a room, and I want to give them coordinating quilts, but not exact matching quilts. So, the first 12 finished blocks will be made into a quilt for the oldest girl, and I hope to have it ready for her birthday this spring.

Last week was so busy with Quilt Guild and working at the DelMarVa Model Railroad Club open house (2 weekends in a row); that I never got a chance to work any further on the Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt. Got my fabrics prewashed & that was it. The bone chilling 10 degree weather made my sewing room over the garage unbearable, even with the heaters running.  We figured out a way yesterday to use some bifold doors we had stored to wall off my immediate area, and finally got the temperature up from 48 to 72; so it is MUCH better. And waking up to 34 degrees instead of 10 degrees will help keep the temperature reasonable.

I did sew at our guild workshop on Tuesday.  Our speaker was Heather Kojan from the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild, and she taught a class about MODERN IMPROV Log Cabin quilts.  Here are 3 of my WONKY blocks.  We started with 2.5″ pieces and then did some angle trimming. I of course get carried away and made some serious angles. (Most people just made very tiny slivers). I will turn this into a modern quilt at some point, or a table runner or maybe placemats. Who the heck knows. For now, into the project box for a day when I feel compelled to be a little wonky!

(Did you notice some of my Pat Sloan Bobbins & Bits fabrics in there? LOVE that fabric and it was my feature fabric from which all the other fabrics were chosen)

Hope your projects are only as WONKY as you wish them to be! Stay warm.


4 thoughts on “Grand Illusion still a Work in Progress

  1. I was fascinated with your adaptations on the Grand Illusion quilt and the enormous amount of thought behind them. I don’t think I would have come up with these changes but I like what you’ve done.


  2. Thank you Lillian. I am still pondering my next “move”…meanwhile I have 13 more blocks to build and 22 more to sash with turquoise! Plenty of time to figure it out. One day I am going to invest in EQ7, so I can play with the colors on the computer before racing off to the store for more fabric. I figure until then, the fabric I guess will go into the stash if it doesn’t all get used on this project. Most of the fabric for this quilt has been stash fabric. I’ve only bought the yellow, a few neutrals, and the turquoise that I am now sashing with.


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