Ask Jo: Mystery Quilt and More

When I told you about the finish of my Mystery Quilt, I told you all that I didn’t do the scrappy way Bonnie Hunter showed for my setting triangles.  Instead I opted to use the same fabric throughout.  I thought it would give it more of a calming feel.  I’m happy I opted for this.  It also saved me time as I didn’t have to piece the scrappy triangles.

With this in mind as a question came from Shasta:
“Since you have already done the math, would you let me know what size you cut the setting triangles?”


I was in a little panic thinking I had to figure out the math. I called Kelli hoping she’d do it for me.  She filled me in on a little secret.  She doesn’t do the math.  She simply pulls up this web page.  It’s Bonnie Hunter’s page entitled “Math for On-Point Quilts”.  Scroll down the page.  Look up the size of your FINISHED blocks and the math is all done for you.  The cutting size and directions are right there for you.    How easy was that?  I sure appreciated the quilt helpful reference….here all along I thought Kelli was a whiz.  She was simply using this chart….It’s a secret no more!!!

A blog reader was reaching into the archives and found an old blog post from 2012.  Find it here if you want to see it.  She saw this “table cloth quilt”.

Margeruite asked, “What is the pattern for the circular tablecloth and where may I purchase it?

Well typically I am not a good resource for these type of questions but I happen to know Mary at Country Threads personally.  I sent her an email asking.  The shop had long closed so I wasn’t hopeful but figured if I could at least get the name of the pattern, maybe Margeruite could find the pattern used on ebay.

This is what I learned from Mary….”It’s called Circle of Geese – she can look for it or send me $10 and I mail it to her – without a photo – all gone.”  That translate from Mary speak means you’re welcome to look for it online through ebay or somewhere.  Mary has the pattern but she no longer has the photo that would normally accompany the pattern.  If anyone would like a pattern send $10 to Mary Etherington at 2345 Palm Ave. Garner, IA 50438 .  If anyone has questions about the pattern you can find Mary at this email address.

I have always loved this but don’t have a round table…ugh.

Janice a new blog reader was looking at blog posts about Bonnie Hunter’s String quilts, in particular this quilt, Daylilies that I’m working on.  I suggested that I found a typo in the book.   I said, “The corner block with the flowers needs to be cut at 2 1/2″ not the 2″  I tried and tried but there is no way the 2″ piece works in the corner of the flower block.  You might want to make that correction in your book.”  This is in reference to the Daylilies quilt.   Find the post here.


Janice asked, ” Went to my book and was going to change the 2″ to 21/2 but it must have been corrected in mine. I could not find where it called for 2″ corner triangle. Do you tone down her quilt pattern or are they as noisy in person as some of them look in the book?”  Here’s my answer…..If books go into second, third and fourth printings, corrections get made to the script.  I bought my book as part of the first printing.  The patterns weren’t tested yet that’s why mine has the typo…and others that were printed later don’t.

The second part of the question is harder to answer.  Everyone has their own taste and their own style.  Some people like what Janice would call “noisy”.  Some people tone it down.  Some people are working with stash and only want to use their stash, others are out at the quilt shop buying all new fabric.  If a person is working entirely with new fabric they can make the quilt to their exact liking.  Someone using stash only is limited to what they have.

I fall somewhere in between.  If I’m spending time on a quilt, I want to love it.  My stash gives me the variety I need but sometimes, I want a splash of something new.  I am selective in regards to my fabric tones.  I did a blog post on my different sets of scrap users totes.  Find it here.  It explains how I sort my scrap and how I use it.  Here is an even better explanation of how I work with Bonnie’s patterns and my stash.  Personally I don’t think that my quilts are “noisy”.  Sticking closer to the tone based suggestions I made in the blog posts I suggested helps as does keeping a constant fabric as I told you about with my mystery quilt and the setting triangles.  For someone who likes “noisy” and is working within the boundaries of their stash might love the scrappy setting triangles Bonnie suggested.  I happen to have found a piece of teal batik fabric on the clearance rack and bought it.  That allowed me to make mine not scrappy…and it cut down on the “noise” I believe you are referring to.

As I stated earlier, in this response… “noisy” is a matter of personal taste.  There are so many quilting artists out there.  Each talented in their own way…each wanting to work in their own individual color and fabric palette.  Like them, you have to pick and choose what you like.  Take patterns and make them in your own color taste and your own amount of “noise”.  Take patterns as a suggestion and then make them your own.  For example with my Daylilies quilts, I’m making all of my blocks in batiks.  If you read Bonnie’s pattern, she designed Daylilies with the intent of cleaning out some quilt blocks she made years ago.  Each of us have our own goals in mind.  If I had old quilt blocks lying around, I’d have likely make my quilt more like hers but I had the luxury of brand new fabric….I chose batiks.

That’s my round of questions for today.  If there are other questions, leave a comment or drop me a note

8 thoughts on “Ask Jo: Mystery Quilt and More”

  1. I collected from my stash & then purchased fabrics to add to them for the current Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt ~ specifically keeping w/ her colors so it would be easier for me to follow the directions. I did not start the quilt because my family & Christmas were more important to me. When Bonnie revealed the quilt the center blocks were me but I just wasn’t sure about the borders color & cutting & sewing so many triangles. You’ve solved it for me Jo! I love that you used one fabric! I am inspired to make my quilt now! Thank you so much for sharing the “clue” for the setting triangles, also!

  2. Oh dear in my excitement of you solving my problem & inspiring me to know make Bonnie Mystery Quilt I forgot to mention that I think your mystery quilt is beautiful!

  3. I, too, like Bonnie’s methods but sometimes find her style too “noisy” for my taste. For that reason, my favorite designs of hers are Jamestown Landing and Talkin’ Turkey, both of which are just 2 color families. Just this week I have started Jamestown Landing and plan to do more sewing on it today, as we are snowed in here in upstate New York.
    I enjoy your blog, Jo. That Daylilies quilt is beautiful so far – maybe I’ll eventually try my hand at applique. Have a great day!

  4. Jo, you stated that well there is no one way to make a quilt pattern. No one decorates the same or paints their walls the same so why would we all use a pattern the same. Quilting is an art form and you are in control of the pallet.

  5. I stumbled onto your blog last year and have really enjoyed it! You have a wealth of information and are willing to share. Thank you. I have Joan Ford’s book, Scrap Therapy plus one. She has a similar cutting system to Bonnies but included a 5″ block. Her theory is to use your scraps and add one constant to a quilt. I agree. The constant helps tone down the busyness of the scraps. My neutrals tend to be tone on tone whites and creams always. With little color in them. I dont nearly like her quilt patterns as much as Bonnie’s. I just sent STRING FLING to a friend. A string quilt is not on my bucket list. I dont keep anything smaller than 1.5″ and I have enough nice fabric not to dig in the trash can for bits and pieces. Keep on blogging! I sew enjoy them! Carol

  6. Thank you for this! I think I confused myself with thinking the sashing strips would change the size of the triangles somehow, but I can see now that they won’t. The length of the sashing is the same as the blocks.

  7. I think I would like to use just one fabric like you did for the setting triangles. It seems to contain the scrappiness. Do you know how much fabric you used? Thanks.

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