Ask Jo: Mystery and More

Every so often questions or comments come to me that I think everyone might be interested in learning the answer to.  Then I address them here on the blog.  Today is one of those days.

After my Block of the Month post, Lisa wrote:
Jo, just a gentle reminder that Thanksgiving weekend is when Bonnie Hunter reveals her first clue for the mystery quilt. So maybe that will give you inspiration to finish this before Thanksgiving….

I look at that mess of blocks and I don’t feel inspired at all.  Nothing can inspire me to work on the quilt except the calendar and my commitment to finishing it.  Right now, I’m planning to give mine away for the Fireman’s Breakfast…so knowing me, I’ll finish it by January 1st-sih as that was my commitment then I’ll throw it in the “to be quilted” pile and it will sit there until the last week in February when I say “OH CRAP..the breakfast is next week”…then I’ll finish it.  That’s the “real” side of me.

That’s the reality of the Block of the Month quilt….

The reality of the mystery….I don’t think I’m doing it this year.  I think I’m burned out of sewing things I “have to sew”.  I’ve been busy and working all year to complete things with deadlines.  Many of them are self imposed deadlines but they are deadlines still the same.

I made the Block of the Month commitment.  I’m glad I did…but still it was a commitment.

Kelli and I have had several quilts published this year in magazines….Commitments.

I made the commitment of trying to finish all of the quilts in Bonnie Hunter’s String Fling book…It was a self imposed commitment, but still another commitment.

I look at my sewing room.  I look at what I really want to do…what do I really want completed…a mystery quilt doesn’t enter the list at all!!

I want to finish quilting ALL of my quilts in my pile of quilts that aren’t finished.  I want to learn to do a pantograph design.  I want to catch up on charity quilts.  I want to sew some of my own projects.  I want to play with my vintage machines.  I want to treadle.  I want to get back in touch with my stuff.  So long I’ve been shoving things aside so that something could get finished.  It’s time I gave my sewing room some attention.

Right now I would so much rather make one of the new quilts that Bonnie Hunter will have her new book rather than the mystery quilt.


The other day I was digging for something and saw this….It’s my Hawaiian Sunset UFO.  Oh..I love this quilt.  I really want to make it.  I’ve had it in and out many times but something ALWAYS gets in the way.  If I would not do the mystery, I could take the mystery time and finally make this quilt.


That sounds so good to me.  SO GOOD….

So as of now…no mystery for me.  I might make one or two of each step and print the directions.  If I end up loving it, great.  I can make the whole quilt.  If I don’t, no big deal.

I talked with my friend Connie and she is leaning a bit towards no mystery too….We’ll see, the peer pressure just might make us both cave.  Are you doing the mystery?  Inquiring minds want to know.

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39 thoughts on “Ask Jo: Mystery and More

  1. Robin

    I’m going to try the mystery. I’ve never done a Bonnie Hunter quilt but have sure enjoyed all of yours so I’m going to give it a try. When she gets one of her specialty rulers in stock I will place my order, and I might add in one of her books as well. I don’t have a huge scrap stash but I want to see what all of the “Bonnie Fuss” is about! As far as you participating in the mystery, I always say “do what’s best for you and your family”. I don’t want you to participate because I can’t wait to see all of the quilts you need to complete!!! You inspire me to make better use of my time, Jo.

  2. Karen

    No mystery for me either. I’ve got too much going on right now that I don’t want to take on another project. Too many UFOs as it is and dealing with health issues….I understand where you are coming from.

  3. Judy

    My quilter friend and I aren’t sure if we want to make the mystery this year. We are going to print all the clues and wait till the Reveal and see if we like the finished quilt. We got the bundles from Whittles last year and started in. Neither of us enjoyed making last years’ mystery and I haven’t put mine together yet. I have all the components done. I made En Provence and enjoyed it and like the finished quilt. So.. we shall see. I had some deadline quilts that I was making for a friend and just finished the last one today. I have four done and three to go.

  4. Barb

    I’m not doing it either. I really appreciate everything Bonnie does. My granddaughter asked for last years for their new camper. I was happy she wanted it. I’m going to concentrate on all of the other projects I’ve started. I need to finish Allietare too. I love it, but was too busy to keep up. Have fun with your projects too.

  5. Anne Hersch

    I haven’t ever done a mystery and won’t do this one. I like to follow along and watch but I just can’t justify putting all that time and effort and money into something I might not even like. I need to know what I’m doing before I start I guess.

  6. Adrienne

    Good for you for recognizing “your reality” and following your heart. There is more than enough stress in life without adding to it.

  7. Jean

    No Mystery for me this year. “Hawaiian Sunset” is gorgeous! I’ll be looking forward to seeing it come about. I’m working on my Double Wedding Ring. Thank you, Jo
    -Jean <3

  8. Dee

    I am not sure about the mystery either. I have been working on the double wedding ring and love how it is coming out. It makes me feel good to see I can do it. I would not have tried without the quilt along. I think the mystery may be pretty especially in “jewel tone”. Jo I loved the string quilt you did in jewel tone

  9. Donna

    After I saw your last post on Hawaii Sunset I found the pattern and made it. I love that quilt. Folks find it hard to believe it’s civil war fabric. Thanks for the inspiration! There’s lots of work in that quilt but it’s so worth it!

  10. maggie fellow

    I felt the same way last year, and I eventually made most of on ringo lake. This year I think I will do it especially since Ihave enjoyed spending the year catching up on mysteries thanks to you.:)

  11. Mary

    My plan is to wait a few weeks into the mystery to see if I like the quilt components. No string blocks for me. I’m fairly certain I’ll make some version of the quilt but I’ll use different colors. I love the challenge of Bonnie’s quilts and the fun of working alongside other quilter friends to complete it.

  12. Elle

    I do Bonnie’s mysteries when they don’t have strings as I don’t have any because I don’t enjoy working with them. Therefore, I wait until she states it and if she doesn’t, there are usually strings.

    Make 2019 Jo’s year!!!!

  13. Susan the Farm Quilter

    I’ll follow along and save the directions, but I need to see the finished quilt before I decide. I really dislike orange, so I will need to change the color scheme! Most of Bonnie’s quilt colors are not my first choice…I hate cheddar!! I prefer cool colors or brights, and I like the modern quilts where I get to play with the quilting in lots of negative space. I still love to see Bonnie’s quilts and I have so many of her books!

  14. Cindy F

    I have done the last four mysteries but have yet to complete one. I have one flimsy and one almost flimsy and the other two have the components but need trimming before making blocks. I thought I would pass this time around but darned if I haven’t rounded up the colors she put out. Just need a few more oranges and one or two fat quarters of green and blue and I’m set. I think the excitement draws me in.

  15. Sharon B.

    I have done the mystery quilt for the last 3 years and even though it is very intense, I have really enjoyed the challenge. These mystery quilts are not something I would do on my own, but seeing the progress of others week to week makes me want to keep up with the clues. And even though I usually change at least one of the colors, this year I don’t care for the color combination at all. I’m finding it really tough to come up with 4 colors that work well together when I have no idea where all the colors will be in the quilt. I’m hoping that an idea will come to me in time to gather all the fabrics and begin.

  16. Beth

    Your commitment to making civil war tribute helped me got my set of bags and complete my top so thank you for the motivation to get it done. I use Bonnie’s mysteries to help me destash and use colors that I don’t usually work with. I’ve never completed them in real time….usually save it for January after the holidays fun. I’ve liked most of them, a few not so much.

  17. Kris

    This time of year is so stressful, the worst time to deal w a mystery. I’ve done 2 and enjoyed them, but they were on years when we weren’t hosting a family celebration. Our relatives are 4 and 11 hours away. So, we don’t have day visits, we have daysss visits. My in-laws arrive this Thursday for an 8 day stay. We’ve been cleaning house and I’ve not even started on meal planning. So, I’ll save the mystery clues, but I won’t be doing it this year.

  18. Bernadette

    If and when you decide to do a panto graph, I would be happy to come over and help you. I have several patterns that I have used, and I an sure that you would like some of them.

  19. Sherri Crum

    No mystery or BOM for me. So much I want to make and so little time so I’m doing the things taht inspire me.

  20. Linda in NE

    I’m not doing the Bonnie Hunter mystery either, at least not as a mystery. I’ll print out the directions and who knows? If I love it I might make it later. I’ve done several of the mysteries, but always after the fact. They’re the ones that really grabbed my after the reveal. Allietare is a pile of blocks waiting to be put together. That tells you that I’m always 2-3-4 years behind anyway. LOL I am anxious to see her new book and maybe I’ll want to start one of those quilts. I have NEVER gotten into the Block-of-the-Month thing. It just seems like too much of a schedule. Just doesn’t appeal.

  21. Norma

    I will not do the mystery. I may print the clues. I really like to see what I’m making to know if I want to invest my time in it and I certainly have enough ideas to last Two lifetimes! And yes, it’s such a busy time of year, I don’t need the stress! There are many quilts I would like to make so I have started a board of future or “wish” quilts.

  22. Cindy

    I’m not a mystery quilt maker. I need to know how it will look first. I’ll print off her instructions and then decided if I want to make it. And I don’t do BOM’s . I don’t need/want the stress of trying to finish the block each month.

  23. Sue

    I’m choosing not doing the mystery this time when the clues come out. After the reveal, if I really love it, I will print the directions and make it. If I end up making it, I’ll change a few of the colors. Got lots of Christmas gifts to finish.

  24. Nancy Mahan

    I do plan on making the quilt. The colors aren’t my first choice – but I don’t need to be keeping more quilts so it will probably be gifted or a donation anyway.

  25. Paula

    Jo, you do so much for others, it’s time you let yourself do something for you! Have some fun. You’ve earned.

  26. Deb

    I’d really like to…I’ve got the On Black Lake (we’ve got a 1-1/2 acre pond and we live on Black Road!) top finished, the back pieced, but haven’t started quilting yet. The colors, I’ll need to change, if I do. I’ll need to Change the oranges, as OBL had tons of it. Can’t wait! That’s the first mystery quilt I’ve ever actively somewhat kept up with lol!

  27. Karen

    Sometimes you need a break, it’s call Self Care. I haven’t done the last few mystery’s after doing a number of them. I’m like you, self imposed deadlines and soon you’re stressed because you didn’t make the deadline or it’s looming in front of you. We don’t need that stress. Take a break, you deserve it!!

  28. Carol Lorraine Stearns

    I have all the fabrics pulled for Good Fortune and not using her colors. Rather it is Civil War. With surgery coming next wednesday, not sure how that will turn out and I’m thinking my left arm will be affected. I want to sew the binding onto On Ringo Lake and start the handsewing process. I’m thinking that Good Fortune might be good luck for me so if I have good luck on Wednesday, might have to do it.

  29. Sharon Hughson

    Yes, I’m doing the mystery this year. I’ve got the evidence to prove I rarely finish them, but have tried every year for the last 5-6 yrs. Since I discovered “Bonnie”. I love the fact that it occurs in the holiday season. I’m really lonely this time of year in spite of the fact that I do have 2 grown children and 4 grands. They are all busy with their lives. I want to be busy too and with the mystery I am. Bonnie has helped me in so many ways and I have only seen her at one lecture in Hersey one summer. I will buy her new book. I try to support my favorite quilters so they can continue to do what they do so well.

  30. Kris Pedrow

    No mystery for me… I’ve never done one, and while I usually like the outcome of her quilts, I’m not fond of the colors and don’t have the energy right now to try to choose other colors and try to change them. I have so many very large quilts that need to be basted and quilted… I need to channel my energy there for now.

  31. Stoney Monte

    No mystery. I will print out the clues and decide later. I like what others are saying about self care and personal choice.

  32. Beth LaMotte

    Our beloved local quilt shop, Coastal Stitches, is moving to a bigger space and will be hosting the mystery quilt sewalong weekly. The owner even provided the paint chips tied together with a cute bow. Needless to say, we quilters are thrilled to have a place to gather, but more importantly, we want the shop to be successful. I did the mystery quilt last year, but did not finish. I think having a group of “cheerleaders” to sew with will be so much more fun and conducive to finishing the quilt. Bonnie’s reasons for providing the mystery quilt during the holiday season really resonated with me. So now the big question is, will I finish it? Stay tuned!

  33. Karla (threadbndr)

    No mystery for me this year. I started On Ringo Lake last year this time and it’s still a pile of components. I am SO not a coral/orange girl. I love some of the ORL quilts that I’ve seen with alternate colorways, and I’m so sorry I jumped into that one with colors that don’t ‘sing’ to me. With so much orange in this year’s quilt, I’m holding back, printing the clues and hoping that I can find an alternate colorway that I can love. I would rather do a quilt from one of her books where I love the colors than another orange quilt.

    I’m still working on my own BOM – I have six more blocks and the pieced sashings yet to do. I’ve been very bad about keeping up.

  34. Carla

    Reading the comments is both inspiring and daunting. (Prayers will be going your way Tuesday night for your Wednesday Carol. I’ve set a reminder) I wouldn’t ever do a BOM because it would stress me out, not motivate me. I like your plan, Jo. Just wondering if you’ve ever heard of a book titled Every Last Piece by Lynn Harris. It has lovely scrappy quilts. I saw her on an episode of Sewing with Nancy.

  35. Andi

    Hi Jo!
    I’m not doing the Mystery this year either. I haven’t gotten last years finished, so I will collect the clues so that I have the pattern, but don’t see doing it at this time. I’m hoping for this next year to be a “sew what I want to sew” instead of committments as well.
    I want to encourage you on one thing. When you start learning to do Pantographs ( I quilt for people and only do Pantos) remember this one thing and you’ll do fine. The line you are following is really an imaginary line. You are the only one who knows what line really is on the paper. Get ‘er started and just keep going. You will develop a rhythm that works for you – its a muscle memory thing. Most of all, have fun! Email me if you have questions, I’ll gladly help. :-)

  36. Roberta Campbell

    Truth is – I’m printing out the clues and then going on with my set goal of UFO’s and actually cleaning out the fabrics and projects I’m no longer itching to use. But I will look at everyone’s posts of steps.

  37. Colleen

    Oh gosh I want to join in on the mystery quilt, but I’ll be a clue collector this year. Bonnie Hunter is doing this when she can and it is so helpful for those who need an extra boost over the holidays. I have had a few rough holiday seasons and may have more so having a project to ease the loneliness of that time of year is so thoughtful and nice
    The pineapple quilt is lovely it looks like it is a challenging project. You are so good al breaking your projects into manageable pieces

  38. Terri in BC

    I found a fabric line I would love to do the mystery in, but it won’t be released until February 2019, so I’ll do the mystery in the spring. I’m going to use mystery time to finish one or two of the other mysteries I haven’t finished yet.

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