The Mystery Continues

The most exciting part of my week was to open up the instructions for Part 1 of the Greenmarket Square Mystery Quilt. Last year’s mystery quilt-along, run by the Good Hope Quilters’ Guild, was so worthwhile that I am fired up to do this one. Three of my local quilting friends have also caught the enthusiasm and we are egging one another on. They had made their blocks for this week by the end of yesterday (Friday 14 January) when the pattern was released on the website (link above). My excuse for lagging behind my super-fast sewing friends is that I have been finishing off last year’s mystery quilt.

Modern Mystery. 183 cm (73 inches) square

Also designed by Diana Vandeyar, the 2021 pattern is called Cape Wildflowers. Apart from the excitement of wondering where the blocks constructed week-by-week were going to lead, there was also the pleasure of following very clear instructions and thus producing perfectly constructed blocks.

The quilt top was finished in 12 weeks but waited until the end of the year to be sandwiched and quilted. I decided to quilt it by hand over the Christmas break and didn’t manage to finish it until this week. There’s nothing quite like a new challenge to spur one on to finish a previous project!

The back of the quilt. I used a beautiful soft cotton African cloth, given to me by one of my quilting friends, and bordered it with white cotton. This photograph shows up the rows of machine quilting that I did along the outside borders.

And now it is time to go and sew my blocks for this week’s Greenmarket Square mystery quil. The fabric is cut and the four 16-patch blocks are waiting to be sewn.

As an aside (and for my non-South African readers) Greenmarket Square is a cobbled square in the city centre of Cape Town. I have fond memories of it, as I used to walk across it twice a day during the week en route to my very first job. I also enjoyed going there over weekends for the flea market that transformed the square.

In the introduction to this mystery quilt Diana Vandeyar gives very useful sewing tips for the construction of the quilt as well as a brief history of Greenmarket Square:

This years’ mystery quilt is called “Greenmarket Square” after the historical square, built in 1696, in the centre of old Cape Town. Following its establishment as a market, the square became the administrative and social centre of the city. Eventually, simple thatch-roofed dwellings gave way to imposing and elegant buildings. The first of the new buildings was the Burger Watch House and Council Chamber (Old Town House), whose history is inextricably interwoven with Greenmarket Square.
South Africa’s oldest tobacconist, Sturks Tobacco (opened in August 1793), was located on the square until the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting tobacco sales ban resulted in its closure in June 2020.

Introduction to the Greenmarket Square Mystery Quilt

24 thoughts on “The Mystery Continues

  1. Congrats on finishing the Cape Wildflowers quilt. What a feat of piecing and quilting! The occasional bits of shaded colour make it even more beautiful. Love the parallel quilting lines on the border. They somehow โ€˜containโ€™ and hold the central floral extravaganza, with a kind of calmness ๐Ÿ˜Š. Good luck with Greenmkt Sq. too๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ . Look fwd to watching it take shape…๐Ÿงต

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    1. Thanks Leela for your wonderfully comprehensive comment. The deeper shade of lilac was a happy mistake (I ran out of fabric and couldn’t match the colour!) Here’s to discovering Green market Square!

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  2. What a lovely challenge, the Green Market Square Mystery! And how stunning are your latest quilts, especially one in the second image. I like how the white cloth bordered with cotton makes the blue quilt a beautiful centerpiece.

    Sorry to hear about the Sturks Tobacconists’ closure. My dad was a pipe smoker, I’m sure he got some of his tobacco from there. Unfortunately the pandemic has been responsible for the closure of many businesses. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
    Nonetheless, have fun solving your quilting mystery!

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  3. I wish I could get a few “projects” finished. The lady I had planned to gift a book to, was here this week but it’s still not finished!
    Love your mystery quilt and look forward to progress on the next mystery

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    1. Finishing is a project is much harder than starting one because one’s enthusiasm wanes. So, don’t be hard on yourself on not finishing the book. The mystery quilt lay fallow for about 8 months before I finished it.

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    1. Good morning my sharp-eyed, purple-loving friend. Thanks for the chuckle. It is upside down Swahili. I think it is the brand name/reference number for the cloth. The words are “furaha ya wazazi N33MA kwa watato”. Alas I do not know the language. With the help of Google it seems to refer to the joy of parents for children. Isn’t that delightful?
      You no doubt surmised that I inadvertently used the cloth the wrong way round, unlike William Blake who purposefully etched his poems in mirror image (for the printing process). Excuse the essay. Have just read Olga Tokarczuk’s book Drive your Plow over the Bones of the Dead, hence the Blakean reference

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      1. Upside down Swahili – very cool! Especially the implied translation.
        I’m thinking the cloth switch was purposeful for you to do as a quilter…by that I mean, you liked that side of the cloth for color shading, texture showing, other features that the other side didn’t offer. Like using the ‘wrong side’ of fabric because it’s more faded or subtle or whatever.
        I did not know that about Blake – it seems us creatives are always having to learn new and weird skills just to get our (he)art out there!!! This is a huge comfort to me here in the 21st century because I often feel so isolated and impotent in the world of the virtual, techie and thrust-upon-DIY and am constantly having to learn and re-learn stuff just to ‘get anything out there.’
        HA!
        Yeah, coming up on a snag with some music release stuff. But at least I don’t have to play my music backwards to get it out there (my equivalent to Blake’s mirror writing).
        Thanks for the ‘essay’
        ๐Ÿ™‚

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      2. Truth is it was a mistake! The cloth is so well printed that both sides are equally purple.
        Sympathies and strength to you in overcoming the snag. I can’t begin to imagine the technicalities of recording and releasing music.

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  4. I like the back of your quilt as much as the front! And that pillow goes with it perfectly. Iโ€™m not a fan of making mystery quilts myself – I need to be more in control of what Iโ€™m making ๐Ÿ˜Š – but I enjoy seeing what others do with them.

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    1. I also almost prefer the back of the quilt. I have surprised myself by enjoying the unknowns of these mystery sew-alongs. It does help that I really admire the work of the designer, Diana Vandeyar.

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    1. Thanks Tierney. It is a striking quilt, thanks to the design, which included the suggestion to only use two contrasting colours. Thanks for noticing the back and the coordinating pillow (made from some of the leftover scraps)

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