Foothills Mystery Quilt

Foothills Mystery Quilt {Friday Finish}


I had an absolute blast quilting my Foothills Mystery Quilt, and I am so excited to share photos of the finished quilt with you today. Lots and lots of photos…

I went up to my local mountain park to photograph my Foothills Mystery quilt on Monday afternoon before the light snow from over the weekend had a chance to melt off. As I was driving through the park, I drove by the most beautiful, knobby tree, and I spent at least a half hour trying to figure out a way to photograph the quilt with this tree. The root ball to the lower right was too vertical and I couldn’t get the quilt to “stick” without me holding it. After fuddling around a bit and taking photos in other locations, I ended up on the slope above the tree when I realized a neighboring tree branch would be the ideal location to hang the quilt. Muttering to myself (don’t fall down, don’t fall down, don’t blow down, just another shot…) I was able to run around and get a photograph before the wind knocked the quilt down into the snow.

Foothills Mystery Quilt
Foothills Mystery Quilt

The next photograph was one of the last shots of the afternoon; the wind was starting to pick up a bit and I had to drape more of the quilt over the top of the fence to keep it from blowing down than I would have liked.  I haven’t really gone “on location” to photograph my quilts before, so I am going to have to consider creative ways to get my quilts held up. I am going to have to put some thought into prop tools… any suggestions?

Foothills Mystery Quilt
Foothills Mystery Quilt

Tree branches worked really well to hold up the quilt.

Foothills Mystery Quilt
Foothills Mystery Quilt
Foothills Mystery Quilt
Foothills Mystery Quilt

So did this road side railing.

Foothills Mystery Quilt
Foothills Mystery Quilt

This is a trail-head for the hiking path to the top of the mountain, and the stone work to the right of the quilt is a drinking fountain that has clearly had its pipe burst. It made a lovely ice cascade down the front, though!

Foothills Mystery Quilt
Foothills Mystery Quilt
Foothills Mystery Quilt
Foothills Mystery Quilt

I even co-opted a park sign to hold up the quilt.

Foothills Mystery Quilt
Foothills Mystery Quilt

A simple snowbank and a bit of sunlight across a corner of the quilt starts to give you an idea of the texture and quilting detail that I put into the quilt.

Foothills Mystery Quilt
Foothills Mystery Quilt

I do not have any idea of the total number of hours I spent on the quilting; it was a lot. I worked on the quilting over 3 days, and I was inspired to try a lot of new patterns and ideas after taking Angela Walters’ Quilting Negative Space workshop at QuiltCon. I used a wishbone pattern around the borders, a square spiral at each corner, swirl hooks in the negative space around the blocks, a large swirl hook in the center of each diamond surrounded by a small rounded meander to help the swirl hook poof and pop up, back and forth lines in the diamonds and stars (alternating the direction of the lines for each pattern), and a different FMQ pattern for each row of the gray blender. Whew!

Foothills Mystery Quilt - Quilting Detail
Foothills Mystery Quilt – Quilting Detail

I used 50wt Aurifil #2692 (black) on the black and gray, and 50wt Auriful #2130 (medium butter) on the yellow and to sew down the binding. The thread blended perfectly into the quilt, and I really had a lot of fun adding in lots of dense quilting details across the quilt.

Foothills Mystery Quilt - Quilting DetailFoothills Mystery Quilt - Quilting Detail
Foothills Mystery Quilt – Quilting DetailFoothills Mystery Quilt – Quilting Detail

I got more confident with the small swirl hook meander pattern as time went on, but because I made the pattern so small it took a lot of time and an entire large spool of Aurifil to quilt just the black portion of the quilt. Adding in the amount of the medium butter thread I used, the quilt has roughly 1990 yards or just over a mile of thread just in the quilting.

Foothills Mystery Quilt - Quilting Detail
Foothills Mystery Quilt – Quilting Detail

Because the snow was melting, falling off of the trees onto the quilt and I placed the quilt all over on the snow as well, I brought it home and put it straight into the wash. I failed to get a pre-wash measurement (oops). Also, I tend not to specify the batting I use. 90% of the time (and for this quilt) I use Quilters Dream Green batting.

  • Flimsy Finish: 54.5-inches wide by 72.5-inches long
  • After First Wash: 50.75-inches wide by 66.75-inches long (~7-8% shrinkage)
Foothills Mystery Quilt - Quilting Detail
Foothills Mystery Quilt – Quilting Detail

Thank you so much, Cheryl @Meadow Mist Designs, for organizing this mystery quilt experience. I had a blast working on the quilt, and I look forward to seeing all the other finished quilts!

All my previous posts about the Foothills Mystery Quilt are linked below for reference:

  1. Foothills Mystery Quilt {Fabric Selection} (July 2014)
  2. Foothills Mystery Quilt {Fabric Cutting} (August 2014)
  3. Foothills Mystery Quilt {HSTs} (September 2014)
  4. Foothills Mystery Quilt {Square in a Square} (October 2014)
  5. Foothills Mystery Quilt {Diamond Blocks} (November 2014)
  6. Foothills Mystery Quilt {Hourglass and Four-Patch Blocks} (December 2014)
  7. Foothills Mystery Quilt {Whole and Half Hourglass Blocks} (January 2015)
  8. Foothills Mystery Quilt {Flimsy Finish} (February 2015)

Linking up to TGIFF hosted this week by Quokka QuiltsCan I Get a Whoop Whoop, and What I Did This Week (buttons to the right).


  • Yvonne, this quilt turned out spectacularly!! The colors you chose were perfect! And the quilting!! Your class with Angela is certainly paying off 🙂 I really really really like the black thread on the gray fabric!!

    And your photo shoot, wow!! The pictures are awesome! Every time I see pictures like this I think next time I finish a quilt, I have to go elsewhere to photograph it! I even know the perfect location. . . I need to be that crazy quilt lady and just do it 😉

  • Beautiful! For hanging, particularly on that fence where you were saying you had to fold over more than you wanted to, you could get Ikea Bumerang hangers (or similar). You could even get a few and paint or stain them to blend in with whatever colour is predominant in your quilt.

  • What a wonderful post for me to wake up to this morning! I love all your creative pictures, Yvonne. The colors against the snow are beautiful. The quilting is spectacular. I love those hook swirls. They look crazy good on the back of the quilt in that last shot. I really want to participate in Cheryl’s next mystery quilt. Xoxoxo I

  • Beautiful quilt with amazing quilting! And I loved all your ‘on location’ photos! Did you say this is your first time taking photos on location? …because they’re really wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

  • Because I haven’t been following blogs for all that long, I have no idea when outdoor photography with quilts became popular, but I love it. Not so good at it myself yet. I’ve been hanging quilts outdoors (mostly on my neighbor’s fence) with tacky plastic pants hangers. It works, but just isn’t artistic. I’ll be interested to see what others suggest. I think your quilting turned out beautifully, and I’m impressed with your black on black quilting, which I find to be very challenging to do vision-wise. Thanks for sharing the details (and your measurements post washing).

  • This is beautiful Yvonne! usually when I go to take pictures I bribe my husband or a friend to hold the quilt for me. Otherwise I just lay it in the snow, like you did in one of those last pictures. I’d be interested to hear what else you learn about useful props though!

  • The location shots are wonderful–especially the third one down. It shows off the quilt. The first one shows off the tree, which is quite a tree. I haven’t tried an outdoor shoot yet–Portland’s rainy season isn’t as conducive as snow. the yellows are so bright and cheery and the black sets them off quite well. Your quilting looks great.

  • Beautiful quilt. So glad you included that nice shot of the back which shows off your amazing FMQ. this quilt is a winner!

  • Lovely photos, lovely quilt!
    I use pants hangers (a set of 4 from Target so they’re all the same size) and painters tape to hold the hangers in place on fences, etc. so the wind doesn’t blow them around. Still blows the quilt, though! I’ve used safety pins and fishline to try to anchor down the lower corners, but without much success.

  • Lovely quilt, and all the pictures are beautiful! I would have a tough time picking a favorite. One suggestion to prevent them blowing down, try using binding clips or clothes pins to hold the flipped over side to the front along the edge.
    Started following on bloglovin. I’m over at

  • This turned out so well! I love the photographs as well! 🙂 I’ve been wondering about the Quilters Dream Green batting, but it sounds like you must like it well enough to use it often.

  • I thought the quilt was beautiful before you quilted it and now it is amaz-balls!!! Great photos, and I would be very interested in ideas people have. I’ve basically used the ground because I’ve not figured out how to hang from a tree and look good.

  • It’s lovely and your photographs are beautiful! Your quilting is so neat in this quilt, you certainly walked away from Angela’s class with so much wisdom and it shows in this work.

  • Such a beautiful quilt and it looks like that class with Angela really gave you some inspiration. Some of the things that I bring on my photo shoots (which are few and far between) are a bungie cords and large clips. It’s amazing what you can attach a bungie cord to so that you can hang a quilt somewhere.

  • What an amazingly beautiful quilt. I love the high contrast between the yellow and the black, that you footed it in the hills for pictures, and that you showed those awesome close-ups. And a mile of thread? Wow!

    When I take pictures of lap quilts on my fence, I attach 3-4 pants hangers to the top of the quilt. They act as a counter weight and allow me to get more of the quilt in the pictures and less hanging over.

  • I hadn’t seen all the previous posts but this finish is incredibly impressive. I don’t use yellow like at all and this makes me want to run out and do your exact quilt. Amazing contrast and yet but too bright to be overwhelming or harsh. Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!

  • Lovely quilt and great photos! I usually just drape things on a fence then cross my fingers and hope for the best, but you are right, there must be a better way.

  • It’s so beautiful! I love all the dense quilting, and it was fun to hear it used almost a mile of thread 🙂 I struggle with taking pictures outside too, mostly because I can’t quite figure out how to set up the quilt so it looks its best while also not having ‘clutter’ in the background. Your pictures turned out really well!

  • I LOVE that first photo! I completely know that “please don’t fall down, please, wind, don’t blow yet” feeling! LOL I’m a big fan of painter’s tape, although for photos like these, I would bring my trusty quilt-holder (aka my husband). He’s joked around about starting a blog called “Behind the Quilt” and writing about his perspective of my quilting hobby–including the quilt holding in crazy weather, precariously perched on cliffs, knee deep in snow in -4 degree weather… etc :)). I keep telling him he REALLY should start a blog like that, but we shall see 🙂

    Anyway, I really love these photos. I’ve been looking around for more on-location photo shoot possibilities, too. Isn’t it fun to be thinking about potential quilt photo shoots ALWAYS!? As for props, I’ve seen some people set up clothes lines with clothes pins holding the quilt up. The tree branch seemed to work well for you, too! I use painters tape to hang quilts on the sides of barns, brick walls, sheds, etc. I would love to know what tools you find useful, though, since most of the time it’s me and my two kiddos trekking around for photo shoots!

  • I love that you ventured out on location! Every time now please!!! And, unfortunately, my most handy, hanging props are children, although depending on the size of the quilt it’s often me that’s the quilt prop and a child who’s the photographer! I’ve seen tape, clips and pegs used to good effect, and occasionally I’ve used all those, but it just depends on what locations you have really. But you seemed to manage brilliantly with just your initiative, and you can’t go too far wrong with a snowy backdrop! Almost forgot, getting carried away with the photography side of it, your quilting is amazing!

  • It is fantstic! Can I ask what stitch you used for the back and forth yellow lines? They look hand stitched? I love them, but don’t know how to get the look.

  • Sorry! I know I should be admiring the quilt but I am too busy admiring the snowy scenery. I cannot think how many years it has been since I saw snow, and some of the photos have a lovely fairy-tale quality to them.

  • O.M.F.G. I seriously love this and if I didn’t make quilts myself, I would totally be buying this! Your pictures turned out superb also Yvonne! I personally use BIG binding clips when I go on location to snap photos. They work well and really grip into it. With that being said, I also bring the extra sticky painters tape. That way it doesn’t leave anything on the quilt but it sticks better than regular painting tape which loses it’s sticky grip after one pull off.

I really appreciate the time and thought you take to comment, and I look forward to conversing with you. :)