Salem Quilt Guild Mysterious Mystery

When this blog first started, we went on a road trip with our friend, Carol, and picked up a nifty pattern by Crabapple Hill called “Mystery at the Salem Quilt Guild“.  That was in September 2017 and now finally, this long and often overlooked project has been started.  It surely is mysterious why we never started this project before now but we’re on our way now!

Mysterious Light Box

We have used a lightbox a few times throughout our crafting journey.  Most crafters eventually find a need for one although it mostly ends up not being used often.  Have you found this to be true?  We have a really CUTE one that works great.  The light area is the size of a piece of paper, so it was too small.  One nice student’s dad made us a HUGE one.  Sweet, huh?!  It moved with us from house to house safely, without any damage.

Witches tracing

January 3rd, during the holiday time-off extravaganza, was The Start Day.  Where is the lightbox, we wondered.  After pondering a bit, we both knew it was in the closet somewhere.  Sue just reorganized the closet, used her label maker on EVERYTHING, and stuffed batting into every possible nook and cranny.  Never once did she heed the thought that she would want the lightbox.  Being the nice friend that I am, while trying to save my important stuff around my sewing area from being moved, I offered to find it.  There it is!  Right there, behind the basket holding bolts of fabric with yardsticks balanced just so.  Also, balanced just so are the aforementioned batting packages – slippery things they are.  Just saying.

Mysterious Lightbox continued

Do I really need to go on with the old lightbox saga?  Yes, of course, I do because y’all need a good laugh.  After standing on my head, spitting quarters, moving everything from that HALF of the closet out, and having an unseen decorative shelf fall on my little toe (ouch), I pulled out the lightbox.  Let me also mention that it is HUGE.  Easily 30″ x 36″ and made with 2″x 4″s, plexiglass, a light bulb plus an extra-long cord that didn’t trip me because it had hooks to wrap the cord around.  Can you picture it because I forgot to take a picture and it is no longer with us sadly.

old lightbox

Similar to our old lightbox only ours gave slivers upon a whim

Why, you might wonder, is it no longer with us?  Because we plugged it in after getting an extension cord – Sue didn’t want to trip on the nice, long cord that wasn’t quite long enough.  Amazingly enough, the lightbox lit up!  In spite of having a 30″ x 36″ work area the light only lit up a 6″ x 6″ spot.  You will see in the nice photo above that the edges are d.a.r.k.  Sue could trace if she squinted or moved the paper and fabric every few minutes.  The pattern is 48″ x 15″ so you know that would be easy to do and wouldn’t cause any stress.  Right!  Or, I could hop out of the disaster of the sewing room, with its closet that has exploded.  Leave the mess behind and go check for a new lightbox.  Where could we get one TODAY?  So what if it is right after the holidays – we need it now because we have time to work on it now.  Who gives a lightbox as a present anyway?

Mysterious Lightbox Saga Continued AGAIN

Yup, I am wrapping this up now.  Stick with me.  No one had a new lightbox in stock.  FYI, they measure the size of the lightbox as they do a TV, or diagonally from corner-to-corner.  Amazon to the rescue with Saturday delivery.  Two hours after I left the sewing room behind, a new lightbox was ordered.  Time to wrestle with those batting bags.  Again.


Saturday dawned and now we can get started on this project!  Too big, too heavy and huge, and finally just right.  Holy moly, lightboxes have improved over the years.  It weighs less than a feather, lights up the WHOLE screen, and has a variable light setting.  When we need it again in 10 years, I’m sure it will be outdated as well.  Binder clips work great for holding the paper and fabric steady while tracing.

Mysterious Salem Progress

This post is getting quite lengthy and tracing barely has begun.  Alas, pictures were a forgotten commodity – you would think I wrote a blog or something and would like photos to share.  Here is the update as of Sunday night on the first panel:

  • tracing complete
  • coloring complete
  • ironing/blotting of the crayon done
  • muslin backing purchased, washed, ironed and attached with a long basting stitch (no, we couldn’t possibly use any muslin that we already had – I don’t know why)

Witches basted

  • embroidery has begun

Witches embr

Thanks for enjoying the saga.  There had to be some chuckling on your part because Sue and I laughed our butts off throughout the whole process.  It’s a good thing we both have a fabulous sense of humor and enjoy working together.  It might have caused other people some stress but not us.  Sue loves having a nice hand project for the evening or any free time moments.

Join us each Tuesday for the To-Do Tuesday Linky party that we host.  The Linky Parties we join can be found by clicking the link above or along the sidebar on our website for more quilting fun – check out what our friends are up to.  Like/follow us on our Facebook page and you can share your photos of what you’re working on.  We would love to see them!


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20 Responses

  1. chrisknits says:

    I would have given up at the outset, not wanting to face the closet. LOL!

  2. nanamickie says:

    Holy Moley you made me laugh! Glad you could find one that size (I didn’t know that came that size!!!). I do use my light box pretty regularly but I like to sew embroidered blocks! Your project looks amazing! Have a great day!

  3. Kathryn says:

    This is going to be so gorgeous when done. Giggled over the light box because I bought one a few years back and ahem don’t often get it out! It has a very short cord! But I turn it around so cord is nearer plug. But… sometimes the window is just as good!

  4. That is too funny!! but at least you now know where everything *sorta* is???

  5. quiltinggail says:

    Hi Roseanne!
    What a saga! I hope that you and Sue are still friends and that you got all the batting back in the closet without it all falling out! (Hmmm, how do I know THAT could happen?)
    I have always used a window for my light box … it just doesn’t work after dusk! 🙂
    Happy Quilting! 🙂

  6. I did enjoy reading your post and did chuckle more than once. My light box is a window. I tape the pattern and tracing paper on it and as long as there’s daylight I can do the tracing. This has to work for me because of the limited space in our apartment. Hope your toe isn’t too sore from the shelf! 😉 Carol

  7. Brenda Ackerman says:

    Hello Roseanne, Your project is going to be so beautiful! I am really looking forward to seeing pictures of it. A past friend let me use her light box, like the one you ordered, and it was fantastic to use. I always seemed to bump that light control somehow and was thinking what the heck is wrong with my eyes. I truly enjoyed reading your post and the search for the old lightbox, I did get some good laughs. Mainly because that is what it is like for me to go and look for certain items at times! Have a marvelous day!

  8. Denise says:

    So did you scrap the hand made light box? My dh made one for me years ago and I don’t use it as often as I did, say 20 years ago it is still handy to have. I think it 36″ square and I have to sit on the floor with it or if its on the table top I have to stand. Wouldn’t even try to guess how much it weighs. It lights the top up pretty good but with today’s led strip lights I have considered upgrading to them.

  9. Rochelle Summers says:

    Oh, what a great story. The light box I have is a little larger than 8×10″ and the light is getting dimmer with each use. Since the sewing machine repair person told me the light on my machine isn’t dimmer, perhaps it’s just my eyes dimming! But I’ve drooled over the ones that Amazon has. Just haven’t been able to part with the $$$ yet. So, during the daytime, I tape stuff to the window and trace that way. Doesn’t work as well on the really cold days. The ink doesn’t flow sideways, the tape doesn’t stick as well and the hands get cold! Thank you for the laughs. Good luck with this project.

  10. Lol!! I think the tracing was definitely the trickiest part of this quilt. I hope you traced all of the panels while you were in tracing mode. It’s hard to get back in the mojo once you move on to coloring and stitching. I absolutely love your little witches. I feel like we are visiting with the same friends . Yea!!!❤️❤️

  11. Jocelyn Thurston says:

    I got a kick out of this post, Roseanne. I too grapple with a huge light box…first wife used it for her stained glass hobby. It works fine but is mammoth so I keep it in a spare room. Meanwhile, love you are doing this Crabapple Hill project. I completed their Gardeners Alphabet years ago and need to join the blocks sometime. I will enjoy seeing your continued work on this one. I’m with Sue…handwork in the evenings in front of the tv is the best.

  12. Yes, I have found it to be true. However, I love having a light box available to me when I need it.

  13. My lightbox is from a “toy” we gave our daughter when she was young. It works sufficiently enough for my needs, for now. I don’t use mine often, but I always store it in the same spot. Away from battingmaggedon . . .

  14. Diann says:

    Roseanne, you tell a good story! Don’t we all have closets like that?! I have a small lightbox borrowed from a friend, and it lights up in only a small section, just like you were describing. Not very helpful! Maybe I should go check Amazon, too. Happy Friday!

  15. Roseanne, you definitely tell a good story, and yes I was chuckling. Glad you and Sue can laugh together. I too have a thin light box. It can be helpful for paper piecing—just saying! I have a snow day! Woo hoo!

  16. Adorable pattern — looks like fun — it’s been years since I did hand embroidery! I have newer light box small — collecting dusk on my desk — you’ve inspired me to pull it out ♥

  17. Carol says:

    Don’t forget, I have the other 2 panels that go with yours!!!

  18. sandradny says:

    Now that’s funny! I had a light box once, I wonder where it is — Cindy’s house??? That pattern is adorable. I can’t wait to see the rest of it. Have you ever been to Salem MA? It is mysterious!

  19. Laura says:

    Many moons ago, my hubby made a large plexiglass table to fit my sewing machine, and by putting my Ott lite under it, it doubles as a very nice light table. I also use my windows for tracing. It looks like you found a very nice solution! 🙂

  20. Colette says:

    Oh thank you for the description of your travails. It made me chuckle this morning. I have a closet like that in the room where I have charity stuff. The closet is currently blocked with a 6 foot table. We won’t even mention the master bedroom closet that has quilts hanging, clothing and enough packages of batting (bought on sale of course) to outfit a guild for a decade. Oh by the way I have an awesome light box, but when I tried to use it to transfer a design to a dark batik….nada. I actually used an old overhead projector…man that light is strong.

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