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The overall design of the “Sky Lights” EQ mystery quilt is… well… a mystery! We will only reveal one block per month, saving the look of the finished quilt as a secret until February 2008. The final mystery lesson will give you step-by-step instructions for combining the blocks into a beautiful “Sky Lights” design.

How much fabric do I need to make the mystery quilt?

Mystery Quilt designer, Fran Iverson Gonzalez, provides these fabric tips and design hints for those of you who plan to start sewing the Mystery Quilt a block at a time:

The Starry Night (1889)
by Vincent Van Gogh

Size: The finished quilt is 42″ X 54″. There are 35 6-inch blocks.

Theme: “Sky Lights” is a cityscape, inspired by Van Gogh’s The Starry Night.

Van Gogh used a wide range of values to create his moody landscape. The twisted Cypress tree in the foreground appears as a sinous, shadowy form, almost alive against the wild night sky.

The surprisingly consistent reaction that Fran received from everyone who previewed her Sky Lights quilt design was that it reminded everyoneof their own hometown: Austin, New Orleans, Chicago, Houston, Oklahoma City, etc., etc.!

Fabric considerations: Value is the most crucial element in Sky Lights. Whether you portray the city at dawn or at dusk, the gradual change in value across the quilt is essential. Using a large variety of fabrics in the design will make this incremental effect easier to achieve.

For this reason, Fran specifies scraps for block construction. Before starting the quilt, it is helpful to sort fabrics as you plan to use them in the blocks, paying particular attention to the value progression. It is important to use a wide variety of values and textures. The Mystery Quilt lessons will instruct you to color your blocks in white, light gray, medium gray, dark gray, black and yellow. These colors represent the values in your quilt. You will want to use scraps of all different colors.

Where your MYSTERY block is colored:
white – use the lightest colored scraps
light gray – use light/medium colored scraps
medium gray – use medium colored scraps
dark gray – use medium/dark colored scraps
black – use dark colored scraps
yellow – use some warm prints to simulate starlight and window lights

Fabric needed:
Blocks: Scraps, as described above. If you do not have scraps, and need to buy new fabric, you will need at least 12 different 1/8 yard pieces of fabric.

Border 1: 1/4 yard

Border 2: 1 3/4 yard

Backing: 1 2/3 yards plus 2 scraps strips of 3″ x 60″

Binding: 1/2 yard

How many blocks do I need to sew?

  1. Garret Windows block (Lesson 2): Sew 1 block
  2. Squared Chain block (Lesson 3): Sew 3 blocks
  3.  Log Cabin block (Lesson 4): Sew 5 blocks
  4. Courthouse Square block (Lesson 5): Sew 1 block/applique star to flag
  5. Squared Chain block (Lesson 6): Sew 9 blocks: 4 light / 5 dark
  6. Star and Nine-Patch (Lesson 7): Sew:
    - 4 blocks of Version 1
    - 6 blocks of Version 2
  7. American Homes (Lesson 8): Sew 1 block
  8. Garfield’s Monument (Lesson 9): Sew 1 block
  9. Tree (Lesson 10): Sew 1 block
  10. Peter’s Quilt (Lesson 11): Sew 1 block

Should similar blocks be the same or varied?

The more fabrics used, the merrier the design, according to Fran. So we advise varying the fabrics used when you’re instructed to make several blocks of the same design.

Have any hints on choosing fabrics for each block?

Here are some things to consider as you select scraps for each block:

  1. Garret Windows block — think of apartment houses (reds, greys, blacks, tans, dark greens?)
  2. Squared Chain block — think of skyscrapers (greys, browns, blacks, silvers?)
  3. Log Cabin block — think of a starlit night sky turning from dusk to dark
  4. Courthouse Square block — think of flag and building colors
  5. Squared Chain and Nine-Patch Variation – think of sky colors from very lightest sky to darker sky. These blocks will fit beneath the Log Cabin part of the sky. Note: The darkest fabrics of these blocks can be like the light half of your Log Cabin blocks.
  6. Star and Nine-Patch — These are also sky blocks. These blocks will fit above the Log Cabin part of the sky.
  7. American Homes — think of building colors — silos, barns.
  8. Garfield’s Monument — think of skyscraper building colors for the monument, and the lightest “sky” colors for the background around the monument.
  9. Tree — think of tree and light sky colors.
  10. Peter’s Quilt — Think of light sky colors for the half-square triangles, and darker building “skylight” glass, metal, or brick colors for the strips