The Making of my Mystery Quilt

I had a blog reader message me and ask me what I’m doing about Bonnie Hunter’s mystery quilt.  The colors were released on Halloween and she was wondering what I’m going to do…white based neutrals or cream based neutrals.  Well…I started thinking about it.  Often I don’t do anything until the day the clues start coming out as I have plenty of stash to start a quilt with.  This time…I decided to give it a more careful look.  Why??  Raspberry.

Raspberry isn’t a color I typically have…except maybe in batiks.  So I went to the batik bin and pulled.  It might look pretty good to you…but this look LOTS of back and forth work.


I’d pull one out…I’d put one back.  I wasn’t completely happy with this…but it might work.

I LOVED the raspberry to pinks.  I thought they would be just fine.  The greens I started thinking I wanted one piece and the tone was all wrong but the color she has…well it’s not really a batik friendly color.  So what’s a girl to do.  Make sure there is contrast.  Bonnie herself said make sure there is contrast.  Again, that’s a little hard with batiks.

I was willing to buy some more fabric but didn’t want to buy all new fabric.  I thought well maybe it should be Civil War prints.  I’ve often made my mystery quilts out of Civil Wars and it’s worked great.  Nope.  That wouldn’t work…no raspberries…few light blues and again, that green.  Hmm.  I knew immediately I didn’t have enough bright prints so the best way to spend the least amount of money and use my stash to it’s best was batiks.  So…batiks it is.  Now to make them work.

I ended up picking out my base fabrics.  These are the ones that showed the contrast I wanted to replicate.


Then knowing I needed more fabric, I went to the quilt shop.


I had brought my base fabric with and started looking.  Immediately I found the bolt of green I liked and ended up buying that.  It’s going to be my constant green.  I know it’s dark but I’m going with it.  My green on top is going back into the batik bin with the other greens.


I really liked the blue bolt that’s under the green bolt.  I have to careful to maintain the contrast with the green but I think it’s okay.

Then I found two more aquas.  Aqua is really hard to find that isn’t super mixed with blues or greens.  If you look to the right in the picture below those were some neutrals I picked….but more on them later.


When I got home I laid it all out on the table again…See??My light blues….

My Aquas…
My Raspberries…I love these.

My dark blues…


Okay…I feel like it’s getting better.  I do need a couple more dark blues, light blues and aquas but I can start like this if I need to.  I’m sure there are scraps in the strip boxes that will come out and work into the quilt too.  I still like to have at least the called for yardage though, only depending on the scrap buckets to provide variety.

Now onto the question about neutrals.  Everything was laid out on the table that I was certain about.  The neutrals that are there, I picked up at the quilt shop with the couple other pieces and the constant green.  I liked these neutrals with what I have.


I went upstairs and grabbed neutrals.  Hmm.  This might be harder.  You can quickly see that the tannish ones aren’t quite right.  The raspberry and aqua are both bright.  The blue is bright, it lends itself more to lighter based neutrals…but…there are not really any “WHITE” batiks.  All are off white and that’s okay….I can make this work.  I pulled the tannish ones immediately.


Then I auditioned.  The ones from the quilt shop are on the right.  The ones in the middle are definite yes’.  The ones to the left I’m waiting on.  If I need or don’t find anymore, I might end up using a couple on the top of the pile.  So my answer is light batiks…no tans…a few creamy neutrals but hopefully the cream is mixed with more of white.  I’d like to find a few more that have a print in them that’s colored like a few of the ones from the quilt shop.


I had to chuckle a bit to myself when I read a post on Quiltville.  A person new to the mystery wrote, “So all of you are going to make the same quilt?.  If you’ve done the mystery or been around and watched, NO.  Even though Bonnie suggests colors, even though she give paint chips out, the quilts don’t ever look all the same.  I’m sure there are lots and lots of other people using batiks.  Still our quilts won’t look the same.

If picking colors is something you hate, I saw Quilted Twins was offering a bundle just for the mystery.  Here is a sampling of the fabrics they picked.  You can find more about in their site HERE.  That was $85 for enough fabric for the top.

20191102_170636.jpgI saw that Quilted Twins also has a batik bundle.  In fact their batik bundle has been so popular that it sold out twice and this is their third and final cutting of batik bundles for the mystery.  The gals said they have been having busy days filling mystery fabric orders.  These are the colors for that….

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and you can find the batik bundle HERE for $100- which is an awesome deal for batiks.

I saw Whittles had mystery bundles you can find HERE.  It’s kind of nice they offer the mystery bundles by color so if you are short in one color, you only need to buy that color.

So long story short…I think I have a good start.  I would feel better if I spent about $40 more….a few aquas, navies, and light blues..or a white or two would make this about what I want it to be.

Happily I know just the place to go.  I want to get to Forest Mills Quilt Shop in Postville before the mystery starts.  If I want batiks around NE Iowa, they are my best bet to have them!  See you soon Diane and Carolyn!!

15 thoughts on “The Making of my Mystery Quilt

  1. Janet R

    I have purchased fabric for mystery quilts in the past and then didn’t end up making them. I like these colors and want to make this one. I probably have things in my stash that would work, but much of it is still packed from the water damage fiasco. With my foot surgery, I can’t go digging around in boxes or do much walking back and forth, so I think I’m going to buy fabric for it. We’ll see how far I get with actually making it!

    I love your batiks. It’s going to be an amazing quilt!

  2. Donna

    I’m still debating on whether to start this mystery or not. I’d have to go out and buy fabric. :-/ I was thinking of just buying a couple of fat quarters to give it a shot and see how it goes. I’ve never done one of her mystery quilts before.

  3. Sue Gortakowski

    Love the colors you chose! I too have alot of batiks. Always wanted to make an all batik quilt. So maybe its time!! Good Luck! Sue G.

  4. Kim LeMere

    I will follow along with the clues and then see if I want to jump in at some point. I love seeing what everyone is using for there colors, following the paint chips, going into Christmas fabrics, using civil war prints etc. I do like your idea of using batiks and I look forward to seeing your progress. The quilt shop in Forest City is amazing.

  5. The Eclectic Abuela

    I’m planning to do the MQ. I’ve plenty of stash, so I’ll probably wait to pull fabrics until the first clue–these are colors I have a lot of. I’m not a fan of blue, but I’m going to use it anyway. It will make me stretch my comfort zone! :)

    Your batiks selections look beautiful.

  6. Patricia Boelens

    I love your idea of batiks because with all the little pieces, there wouldn’t be so much stretching. But then I think of how dense batiks are and how thick all those layers in the corners will be and I’m not sure how I’d like dealing with that issue. Suggestions? Your colors are sure to make a great quilt. Have fun.

  7. Diane in WA

    I am going to try to use Civil War type fabrics. I am using brown/tan for the dark blue/light blue. Red/pink for the raspberry color. Light blue for the aqua and then green. I guild friend gifted me probably close to 100 yds of this fabric. I will have to buy a green, tho. And add my own neutrals. Batiks looked enticing also, but I need to use what I have!! :)

  8. Cindy F

    Love the fabrics you picked! I’m only going to make half the units this year and pulled my fabrics. I really had enough for that size but wanted just a couple more pieces for variety and that turned into more fabric than I really needed. I haven’t decided whether to stick with whites or creams or do what I usually do and mix them. Still more time to decide though and this year my plan is to have them all ironed before Black Friday.

  9. mpv61

    I have a box of stuff marked “Jo” that I haven’t gotten around to sending. I also just found a 2-yard piece of lovely dark blue batik at a thrift store…and I rarely use batiks. So I’ll add half of that lovely batik to the box and send it off to you next week.

    Who would have thought that the Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt would be the impetus for me getting rid of some of my “procrasticlutter?”

  10. Jo Post author

    OH…I love it Melanie!! I’ve not heard “procrasticlutter”. It game me a giggle. Thanks for thinking of me.

  11. mpv61

    Proclasticlutter is a concept of Dana K. White of a Slob Comes Clean. How many times have we set something down and it sits there for a long time, and then when we finally deal with it, it takes 5 – 15 minutes to get it out of there? It’s a concept I recognized as soon as I read about it from her. :)

  12. Karen

    I thought I wouldn’t have much raspberry, and I don’t but I have just enough variety for the quilt. I am loving the inclusion of raspberry though. I am really struggling with my blues but am so excited its Mystery quilt time. Looking forward to seeing your blocks and quilt come together.

  13. Pingback: What I’m Working On… | Jo's Country Junction

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