Thursday, February 29, 2024

Two Colour Mystery - Week 1

Happy Leap Day! I'm excited to kick off my Two Colour Mystery Quilt-Along today.

The weekly clues (AKA instructions) will be sent by email so if you haven't registered yet, make sure to register here to get your email address on that list.  The last day to register for free is April 10th, though of course you'll have a lot of catching up to do if you wait that long.   After that, you'll need to buy the pattern if you want to make the quilt.

If you are registered, watch your inbox for the first clue today.  It won't spoil anything to tell you that this week we're cutting fabric.  Because I like to cut all the pieces before starting to sew, that's how I've structured things.  That said, the cutting tables note which unit each piece will be used in, so you can cut as you go each week if you prefer.

Two Colour Mystery pieces cut and ready to sew.
Thank you to Northcott for sending me these fabrics:
Dark is Stonehenge Gradations - Peacock - 26755-66
Light is Crackle - Snow - 9045-10

How do you keep count of pieces when you're cutting?  I have different strategies when I'm cutting yardage than when I'm cutting scraps.

Counting when cutting yardage

Depending on how many layers I'm cutting at once, I count by twos or fours, and make stacks of 10 or 20, then add up my stacks for the total.

I cut the light fabric four layers at a time, so I counted by fours.  Each of the squares below is a cut with four layers,  so there are 20 squares there.  I fanned out the sets until I had 5 so I could count at a glance if got distracted and lost count.

20 light squares

Once I had 5 sets (20 squares) I stacked them to save space.

Still 20 light squares

I repeated this, making stacks of 20 squares, until I had the required number.  The I stacked the stacks, turning every stack a little so I could still count the individual stacks.  That will help me count more quickly later when I need only some of the squares for a particular step.

4 sets of 20 squares = 80 squares

By the time I started cutting my dark fabric I was feeling like cutting through four layers was hard work, so I cut the dark two layers at a time.  For two layers, I counted by twos and tens.

Each square has two layers, so there are a total of 10 squares

Still ten squares, but stacked

8 sets of 10 = 80 squares

I can't wait to start sewing these.  It's going to be so pretty!

Counting when cutting scraps

When I'm cutting scraps, I tend to cut different sized pieces at the same time, depending what I can get out of each scrap of fabric.  I had all different sizes of scraps to cut from when I made my scrappy test quilt for the mystery.

Red scraps for the scrappy version

Some could be cut in layers, but some needed to be cut one piece at a time. The methodical stacks I use when I cut yardage were not as useful, and I found myself losing count.  There really wasn't enough room on the cutting chart to tally the pieces as I cut, so I made up a different tally sheet.

All the dark parts for the scrappy version

It's not terribly clear in the photo, but I drew the different sized pieces on scrap paper, wrote in the label and the size, and had lots of room to add a tick mark in the appropriate piece for every piece I cut.  I grouped the ticks into groups of 5 (4 vertical ticks plus one across) for quick counting, and added a big checkmark when I reached the required total of any size, so I'd know not to cut any more that size.

It wasn't essential to draw the shapes. A list of sizes would have been sufficient, but I liked the drawn shapes as s visual aid to quickly locate the appropriate spot to add the ticks.  

Just in case you're wondering, the scrappy version of the mystery turned out great.  All those scraps add a lot of interest, and I managed to not overthink fabric placement too much.  I even ended up with the same fabric touching in places and didn't feel compelled to move them around.

And that's all I can say.  If I keep chatting, I'll end up including a photo of that super fun scrappy quit top and ruin the mystery.

Please share!

Please share your counting strategies with us in the comments. I'd love to know what works for you.  I'd also love to see what fabric you're cutting up for the mystery quilt, so please share pictures. If you're on Instagram or Facebook, tag your post with #twocolourmystery so everyone can find it.  If you blog, drop a link to your post in the comments.  

Also, if you're on Facebook, please join my Quilting with Canuck Quilter group to share your progress on the mystery quilt.  A quilt-along is way more fun when we can see everyone else's work too!

Happy quilting,




  1. I usually list piece sizes on paper and tally the number of pieces as I cut them. Looking forward to getting the cutting instructions this morning. ~Jeanne

  2. I use a similar system as you, but sometimes cut 8 layers if I have a nice, sharp rotary blade. Getting them into easy to count 10's or 20's is a great idea. I often use little post it's and mark the block letter and sometimes block size and count. This works well on projects that I may not be working on day to day.

  3. i count and stack as i go, then recount the stacks at the end and if all else fails make sure I have extra fabric! --B

  4. I cut & place in a baggie with ,the size, the number of pieces & the letter on the baggie.

  5. I count as I cut, then take the cut pieces and count them into a stack to ensure accurate count./

  6. I use the pile method as well, though I always seem to end up with too many... I guess that's better than too few? I'll be cutting tomorrow, but excited to start sewing soon, too.

  7. Cutting is the least favourite part of the process for me. Sometimes I cut multiple layers; sometimes single and sometimes it depends on the block I’m making.

  8. I also count as I go and will recount when I think I have lost count, which is often.
    I am not sure how to add my picture here, but I am awaiting approval to the facebook group to show my picture of cutting.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. There is a PDF of the clues. If you signed up, you should have received an email with a link to download the PDF. I will not be sharing the measurements, counts and instructions anywhere else, just in that PDF shared by email.

  10. Thank you for getting back to me, I have joined, and have printed out "Week 1"
    I tend to cut and count the same way you do, makes it easier for my old pea brain to keep track LOL

  11. countrylogcabin@me.comMarch 9, 2024 at 2:19 PM

    I think I joined the mystery, but then kind of forgot about it and I didn't receive any email. I searched today and it didn't show up. I'm afraid that I might have a problem because I'll be taking a trip on 3/21 and will be away from home for about a month. I will have my featherweight with me for the 2nd half of the trip though. from Ruth

    1. Thanks for letting me know the clues didn't arrive. I've resent them to you!

  12. I use thin paper plates to stack pieces of different sizes. One plate per size. I can write the dimensions on the paper plate and even keep a 'tick' chart as I add pieces. The plates stack well.

  13. I pile mine by 5s. They all go in one pile, but I alternate placing 5 as squares, then 5 as diamonds. They are quickly recounted this way.

  14. Have I missed the total yardage needed for this Mystery?

    1. The yardage was included in the clues that were emailed to those who registered to participate. If you registered but did not receive the clues, please send your email address so I can look into your registration. Registration is now closed, but the full pattern is available for purchase in my Etsy shop.


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