I’ve Gone Rogue!

Remember I am supposed to be doing the Dirty Dozen Challenge?  Remember I always do the Bonnie Hunter mystery?

Well, I’ve gone rogue.  I’m not following the rules.  I’m not being my normal self…and I think I’m okay with that.

With the Dirty Dozen we are supposed to work on the UFO that is picked each month.  I went off the rails…remember these quilts were sitting on the quilting frame??


I decided to throw them on the quilting machine and get them done.  I was done waiting for their number to show up on the Dirty Dozen list.  I just wanted them finished and out of the way.

I have new designs worked up on EQ but I’m letting them sit.

Bonnie Hunter’s mystery quilt colors were revealed.  I don’t think I’m going to do it.

I am finding myself so happy with less stuff in my quilting room that I don’t care to clutter it up with something I might like…or might not like.

I asked myself, “Would you rather sew the mystery or would you rather finally get your Double Wedding Ring quilt completely finished?”  I asked would you rather do the mystery or work on your bucket list quilt, Hawaiian Sunset?”  This quilt???


Hands down, I would much rather get this quilt made.

I’m been emailing my friend Connie back and forth a few times telling her I didn’t think I was going to do the mystery.  She laughed.  Rightly so.  For the last two or three years I’ve told her that I didn’t think I was going to do it and every time, I’ve caved and done it.  I don’t know…this time, I think I’m going to stay strong.

I’ve told myself I can always jump in.  If I like it once the reveal is up, I can go back and print the instructions…or rewrite them in a way it makes more sense.  I’ve gotten so that I get frustrated with mysteries.  I like to sit down and do the long endless piecing and quilt mystery writers can’t write the clues that way.  They have to twist the clues so that those that like to guess, can’t figure out the layout.

I think the last mystery did me in a bit.  I didn’t like the “group this together and clip the pieces together”.  I like things a little more straight forward.  I’m not criticizing the mystery, just saying I’d rather wait for the reveal and deal with the blocks in a straight forward method.

More than all of that…I want to do my own stuff.  I have projects there that want to be finished more than I want to start a new project.  I really think while I’m on a roll, I want to stay focused and keep tackling those UFOs.

As far as the Dirty Dozen, I think I’ll keep going with that but allow myself to skip around if need be.  In the beginning, I was trying really hard to stay focused on the designated project.  Then this month after finishing this quilt top, I realized I just want to finish all the quilts I can and not worry about the order I complete them in.


Although picking the number and tackling that project is great, I also love the “snowball” theory that Dave Ramsey totes.  That theory is working on the project closest to completion and then then next closest and the next closest claiming that you get more momentum as you see projects getting finished.

That theory is what I’ve been going with lately and I have to say, it’s really working for me!!

It’s working for me so much that I can say that I’ll have finished quilts to show you every Friday for the month of November.  I’m so excited.  I’m hoping I can keep the momentum going and show you a few in December too.  That all depends on what happens with covid and how much I have Kalissa’s boys.  Having them really cramps my sewing room time…but that’s okay and I always have the option of pulling a machine and sewing on the main floor of the house.  We’ll see.

In the meantime, I’m holding strong and not doing the mystery…yet.

32 thoughts on “I’ve Gone Rogue!

  1. Sherri C

    Stay strong and don’t do the mystery. Getting caught up and cleaning your sewing room will be so rewarding! Cleaning up after each finished project is the best thing I learned. My cutting table started to have “stuff” piled up on the end and it was frustrating to have to move the pile in order to cut a backing. No more piles and sewing with my stash has been the best thing I’ve done during Covid.

    I so enjoy your blog, Jo. We don’t have any grandchildren and I love seeing the blog posts about your kiddos.
    I found your blog just after you bought the house! Seeing what you and Kramer accomplished with help from your kids is so inspiring.

  2. Tanya Quilts in CO

    I think the colors are very similar to the Good Fortune one from a couple of years ago–mine is done and still in the pile awaiting a home. I am intrigued with the grays though! I am going to save the directions, but I will probably skip it this time and work on some other things I would like to finish that I already have going or kits waiting. I love that you are getting so many UFOs done!

  3. Anita SS

    Jo, I’m with you this year. The colors aren’t really moving me enough to want to make the mystery quilt right now. But I really want to finish what I have in progress, so I’ll do that while I watch everyone’s mystery progress from afar. I plan to wait and see if I like the the Mystery quilt, after it’s reveal. I’m saving the clues, so if I decide later I want to make it, I’ll have them.

  4. Teri

    I think you will feel so much better if you keep finishing quilts. I keep wanting to start something new but then I look at my pile of ufos and ask myself why do I need to start something new. I’m going to try and finish a couple this month.

  5. Jazz Paz

    I’m 100% with you, Jo! I started Bonnie’s mystery quilt last year with such enthusiasm and ambition, but I never finished it because the instructions were mysterious and I was underwhelmed by the reveal. I’m incorporating some of my scraps from it in some charity quilts I like.

  6. Mary

    I also decided not to do the mystery. It is really big 94 x 94. I Have so many things to finish and start I need to concentrate on those. “ I am only one person” . Love your work

  7. Joanne

    Rules, rules, rules and more rules. Do this before that, do that before this. somehow, after decrying all the rules of the “quilt police”, quilters are coming up with more rules: don’t buy more fabric, finish what you started, etc. Given the stress of the covid situation everywhere do we add more stress to our lives.

    Do what moves you and enjoy it.

  8. Barbara Schamell

    You go girl!! You do what the spirit moves you to do when you want to. The only schedule you need to follow is your own. You have been going house on fire getting your sewing room where you want it to be. When you get it done it will be your haven. So happy to hear your test came back negative. You are such a central component for your family so we have to keep you healthy. My heart goes out to you, your family and all Iowans dealing with covid right now and will keep you all in my prayers.

  9. Paula

    I always wait for the reveal before starting a mystery quilt, and so far I haven’t seen any I like enough to make. I have so many projects waiting to be made and I’d much rather work on those. I don’t do quilt alongs until they’re finished either. Like you, I have preferred ways of doing things and I usually change at least one thing about a design or instruction by the time I’m done. Hang in there and good luck with your projects.

  10. Dot

    I like the Dave Ramsey approach! I am going to try that with my years-old box of UFOs. The nearest-to-finished aren’t necessarily my favorites, but I can get warmed up on them. Sending love to your family during these difficult times.

  11. Cindy E

    I’m with those who said to do what ‘moves’ you. As for the mystery, print off the instructions. When you see the review, you might want to start right away with your own color choices or wait until you have finished what you want to finish. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Lorraine

    I’m thinking the same thing. The last mystery did me in. I love the finished quilt, but I agree that it seems she’s making it more complicated so quilters don’t guess the end design. I haven’t retired so I just don’t have the time.

    Good luck on finishing your UFOs!

  13. Roxanne

    You do what’s good for you! I love that you’ve changed up your Dirty Dozen finishes. Strike while the iron is hot and have fun!
    I’m doing the Dirty Dozen by what I want to finish next. Usually there’s a reason—a baby quilt, a gift the receiver needs, etc. It’s making me very happy!

  14. Cindy F

    I like the Dave Ramsey approach and had been using that to a degree with my projects. We all have to decide what our heart tells us to do. Last year for the first time I did a half size mystery and found that really worked for me. I’m not loving these colors but the excitement of everyone working together will probably draw me into participating with another half size. I haven’t yet decided if I will go with the colors but I will wait and get the paint chips as I need to see them in person. But….I’m not sure I have the confidence to go out on my own. Time will tell!

  15. Beth

    Last year’s mystery was ridiculous. I had so many extra pieces and had to make extra things to make the blocks correctly that it drove me crazy. Plus 5 yards of gray seems gloomy especially for 2020. I think I’ll wait and see what it will be…I need happy, not gray paved roads. Good luck quilting projects…that’s what I’m doing.

  16. Judith Fairchild

    I love the colors of the mystery quilt but if I choose to do it it will be after it’s all over but the shouting. Do what you want and need to do. Don’t change tracks now.

  17. Elle

    I love that you are moving forward with what is in front of you. I’m not one for flimsies hanging out so love that you’re going to quilt them all up! I assure you, you will love not having any flimsies hanging over your head.

    I haven’t started Sunset so I love that you’re stepping into it next! next-ish?

    I can’t wait to see what’s next in your studio! If my memory is working, Buck is there this weekend to help you with next step :-) Super excited to see what you are doing.

    Happy Weekend!

  18. Michelle Griffiths

    Please Jo, what is the name of the big brown quilt in the photo?
    Is it one of your designs? Thanks,

  19. Lisa B

    For me the purpose of the Dirty Dozen is to list and acknowledge 12-15 UFOs and to finish something each month. When I’m busy with work or travel I may pick a project that needs borders and binding prep before going to my machine quilters. And months I’m going to be home I pick a project that needs more machine time. I don’t finish anything in December and 1-2 months in the spring so if I get 8-9 projects done or further along I congratulate myself. And usually an extra project like a baby quilt gets done during the year that is not on the list.

    I made one of Bonnie Hunter’s mystery quilts with a group of friends one year. I fell behind and didn’t like the finished quilt, made changes to mine and finally finished it. I no longer do mysteries until after the reveal.

    As I recall, you once asked if we would be interested in joining you in a Hawaiian Sunset sew along. Yes!

    Praying you and your family stay healthy.

  20. Candy

    I’ve done 3 of the annual mystery quilts. The first two I love, but last year’s mystery is still awaiting quilting … I just didn’t like it. At first I thought it was my color choices (I always change the colors), but after the reveal I realized the pattern was just too ‘busy’ for my taste. I’ll probably save this year’s steps as they come out, but wait for the reveal to see if it’s something I want to make. Good luck to your family as you muddle through the rest of 2020! We’re all in this together … separately!

  21. Linda in NE

    Don’t jump into the mystery if you’d be happier finishing up those UFOs. I’ll be honest here and admit I never do the mystery as it’s being released. I wait for the reveal to see if I really like it first. I’ve made several and have skipped some because they just didn’t grab me. With fabric the price it is I don’t want to make something I might end up not liking. We all have our own way of doing things. It’s good to go rogue sometimes!

  22. Stearns Carol

    I never finished Frolic because I had a tester quilt I needed to complete and it was a bear. Then when I got into Frolic, did not like the process as you described it. But I am in an online Quilt and Lose group on Sparkpeople and we have a one a month challenge to finish one thing. I finished my october in mid month so decided to work on Frolic for November. Going to finish a small lap quilt prior to the mystery. I have my paint chips and honestly, do not need to buy one piece of fabric. I also have large yardages of the colors so it will be more constant so aiming to do it. I enjoyed the Moda Stitch Pink which was a block a day and so enjoyed it!
    My husband came into my sewing room yesterday to empty the trash and tried to throw my Frolic bin away. Maybe I should have let him.

  23. Donna

    I considered doing it too but I think I will wait until the finish. With just one closet for storage, I have enough going! :-)
    Love and Prayers

  24. Miss Daisy

    You are so talented in making quilts , love the quilt. Glad your test was negative ! Some instructions are so confusing , give me simple , easy instructions every time.

  25. suzanne

    Hang in there! Gosh the struggle is real with these mysteries! I too have projects waiting to get going and tops to quilt. In January I started long arming for local shop. I have gotten very little of my own stuff done. I think I have 7 projects waiting, fabrics pulled for them even. Every time a quilting pal suggests something else I am so tempted. This mystery I had decided “Nope, not happening” (I said that with “unity” too but the colors were perfect for someone I admire who is going through a health struggle) That was a real push to get done. SO even though I said no way I went up to the stash just to see if I had what was needed. Yep, I do. SO its pulled but I am not committed.

  26. Beverly D

    It’s great to read other’s comments. I too struggled with Frolic, and had enough left over to make a second twin size quilt. I’m not starting this one until after the reveal, and then I will use different colors. If I like it at all. I followed the Dave Ramsey advice when I was paying off debts, and continue to apply the principle to every day projects. Do what makes you happy, and rest assured you are not the only one on the sidelines.

  27. Christa Barnhizer

    I love the idea of applying the Dave Ramsey approach to my two dozen UFOs… but now I’m laughing because I hate binding, and I have a queen size quilt that only needs that to be done, so it is the first thing I’d be doing. But once it was done, I have a bunch that just need quilting, and that is actually what I wanted to spend the winter practicing… and then I’d have less spring cleaning to do, if I got all those projects out of my sewing space in the basement… which would make finishing the basement so I actually have a sewing ROOM down there a little easier. Thanks for the great idea!

  28. Marybet

    Well, mystery is solved!! You came up with the right answer for you and it makes so much sense! I love the plan to work on the UFO closest to being done. That sets a plan in place for me….I think.

  29. Paula Hidalgo

    I’m not doing the mystery this year either, last year was too hard for me to keep up (I finally got it finished but it took way too long.) I have so many other things I want to get done and due to back issues I’m taking things a bit slower, so now just working on what I really want to. Will it be hard to resist, yep, but I can do it!!!

  30. Nancy

    I like your attitude. I always seemed to get bogged down with the mystery quilt and not get it down for a really long time. Usually because there are so many other quilts in the works. I need to focus on getting the WIP and UFO’s to done. That will not happen in a month. I hope it happens in a year.

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