At the Fair Mystery Block of the Month 2015

It is no mystery that I love going to the Iowa State Fair every summer.  Love it!  The first time I went I was taken by the tiled quilt block frieze that runs around the exterior of the Richard O. Jacobson Exhibition Center.  I fell in love with it and decided that some day I would reproduce some of the quilt blocks in fabric.  That day is today and you can join me too!  It is going to be epic!

The At the Fair Mystery Quilt Block of the Month is based on the 36 of the tile quilt blocks on the exterior of the Exhibition Center and measures 96” x 92”.  The blocks range in size from 36” to 8” square.  For 18 months you will receive, via email, a PDF file with clear, detailed instructions for two quilt blocks on the first of the month.  The instructions will include color diagrams, pictures and foundation paper piecing templates, when necessary.  The block of the month program will begin January 2015 and end June 2016.


When I started drafting the blocks for the quilt I quickly realized that they would need to be different sizes.  Some of the simpler blocks can be made in the smaller 8” size while the more detailed blocks require a much larger size to make the piecing manageable.  What started as a necessity quickly became the base for a unique quilt layout.  There is nothing boring about this quilt!  Over the course of the year we will make:  1 – 36” block, 1 – 32” block, 5 – 24” blocks, 3 – 16” blocks, 15 -12” blocks and 11 – 8” blocks.

Full and detailed instructions for setting the blocks will be provided in June 2016. 

Fabric requirements:

For the At the Fair Mystery Quilt you will need a total of 14 yards of fabric.

If you wish to use the same background in all of the blocks you will need:
·         7 yards of background fabric
·         7 yards of a variety of solid or print fabrics (yard cuts of two or three fabrics recommended)
·         1 yard of binding fabric
·         3 yards of 108” backing fabric

Pick fabric that you absolutely adore!  You will be working with this fabric all year and you will not want to work with fabric that you think is just ok.  Large scale prints will be appropriate for the jumbo blocks and smaller scale or tone on tone prints for the smaller blocks.  I would recommend including some solids so that there is a clear contrast in fabrics, especially for the smaller blocks.  For background fabric, choose a solid color that contrasts well with your prints.

I will be using Michael Miller Cotton Couture in the following amounts:
  •          7 yards Bright White
  •          1 yard of Shell, Turquoise and Sail
  •          ½ yard of Apple, Limeade, Sea Foam, Clementine, Tangerine, Berry, Bubblegum, Mango and Lemon
  •          1 yard Clementine for binding

Skill Level:
Adventurous!  The variety of block patterns and sizes will keep this quilt interesting, but there are only a few basic techniques: half square triangles, quarter square triangles, flying geese and foundation paper piecing.  All techniques will be thoroughly explained with step by step photos and illustrations.


A flickr group has been created for this quilt along.  Post pictures of your fabrics, blocks and finished quilt at:  You can also post pictures on Instagram using the hashtag #atthefairmysteryquilt.  I can’t wait to see them!

Cost:  $35 for the entire year and a half!  If you sign up after January 1st all previous months' PDFs will be emailed to you within 24 hours.  Sign up here!  You are going to love making your At the Fair Quilt!