Sew Hip Mystery Quilt 09 – Month 1 The Fabric

I want to make the mystery quilt in Sew Hip.

bunchofsquaresoncoloursThe instructions specify 3 colour families (which I chose using a mysterious new psychedelic fish for inspiration) – but despite having a longstanding patchwork fabric stash I don’t quite have enough of quite the right colours.

Worse still, I’m on a patchwork fabric diet (well I need to use what I have really, it has been sitting there for TOO long). Having pulled out any fabrics that were remotely like the ones I need at least my patchwork stash basket looks a little slimmer.


I was after turqoise, orange and neutral fabrics – this is what my stash has yielded. rawfabricsThey are mostly 100% cottons but with a few scraps of silk thrown in, I like to use the scraps from previous projects, it somehow feels truer to the original purpose of patchwork, (oh, and I didn’t have enough of the neutrals so one of these is  actually the cotton sling my son used when he broke his arm in the Autumn!). I overdyed the fabrics that weren’t quite right – strangely I already had some “Turqoise Saga” and “Nasturtium” dyes in my drawer. I used Dylon Cold Water dyes as these are supposed to be fast on cotton (when used with salt and “fixer”). The plan is that this quilt will be used and hence need to be washed so I really don’t want the colours to run. The neutral colours in the middle pile I have left undyed.

I washed the fabrics to remove any glaze or finish that would stop the dye from taking, and also to preshrink any fabrics prone to shrivelling up. Then popped any yellowy fabrics into the Nasturium dye, and any green or blue toned ones into the Turquoise dye.


The results from the Nasturtium dye bath were not what I wanted; too yellow, not a deep enough orange. This can happen sometimes with dyes, you don’t get quite the effect you were after. In this case it wasn’t a problem. I just dyed this lot again, this time with “Coral Pink”. This time I was happier with the colour, the coral pink added more depth to the yellowy colours and has resulted in a range of more satisfyingly orangey shades.

bluedyeorangedyeFollowing another turn in the washing machine, here are the fabrics drying on the washing line. (The neighbours must think I’ve lost the plot – hanging out strange coloured rags and then photographing the laundry!)

 Just waiting for issue 6 of Sew Hip for the next installment of mystery quilt instructions so I know what to do with these… and the other reason why I’m impatient to see the next issue is that my first published project will be in there too …it isn’t long to wait, it will be out at the end of March 09 but I’m almost bursting with excitement already.


Sew Hip Mystery Quilt 09 – Inspiration

with Permission from David Hall of

with Permission from David Hall of

With exquisite timing Issue 5 of Sew Hip magazine, with its first installment of instructions for making a mystery quilt, popped through my letter box on the SAME day that this new species of fish was announced.

I’ve been itching to make a new quilt for a while and this will be my first mystery quilt so I’m looking forward to the challenge.

The new species of fish is a type of frog fish and has been named Histiophryne psychedelica due to its amazing colouration – peach and white stripes with aqua eyes. 

The mystery quilt instructions for this month require us to find a set amount of fabric in 3 colour families, about 15-20 different fabrics in each colour.

The colours in our striking psychedelic friend reminded me of some in a quilt I’d seen by Oh fransson! And, whilst it isn’t at all subtle, I find I’m drawn to orange, blue and neutral combinations, like this one by Denyse Schmidt called “What a bunch of squares” – especially after a long Winter.

Better go and see what I have in my stash…

By this stage you may be wondering about why a fish became linked in my mind with a quilt project. Well, the fish has been described as moving along by bouncing along the sea floor on adapted fins, looking like a big beach ball which hardly sounds inconspicuous – in fact it is a bit of a mystery how it hasn’t been identified before. Ok granted, it’s a tenuous link at best, but it serves as inspiration for me anyway.

Perhaps I should’ve been a mermaid…