Every year, Bonnie Hunter does a mystery quilt pattern between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. This year, the mystery quilt was entitled Celtic Solstice, because she designed it during the summer solstice while she was in Ireland, and we’d be working on it during the winter solstice. I have been getting stash builder packs from Pink Castle Fabrics for the past 6 months, so I decided to use four colors plus the “low volume” fabrics as my neutrals, instead of the colors that Bonnie Hunter used — mostly because I don’t have very many greens, yellows, or blues in my modern fabric stash yet and Bonnie’s mysteries are always much more successful when they’re super scrappy.
Mom had the Tri-Recs ruler set, and I didn’t, so I waited until week 2 to start. Chevrons! These took a while to do. Jerry was watching a lot of Dr. Who that weekend so I sat with him and marked and pinned and cut and pinned chevrons while watching Dr. Who.
I love how they came out, and started daydreaming about a whole quilt made this way, with different color chevrons down the length of the quilt.
After I finished the chevrons, I borrowed the Tri-Recs rulers from Mom and got to work on the Week 1 clue.
I even took a box of supplies to school and pinned while students took exams at the end of the semester. It was a mindless activity that I could do that allowed me to look around the room frequently, and be instantly available if a student had a question.
The Week 1 units required a pretty significant amount of precision so I ended up having to rip and re-sew a few of these so that they’d end up the correct size and not have chopped off points.
Week 3 was half-square triangle units with half of them made into pinwheels, so that was a pretty easy week to do. Week 4 was Christmas, and she kindly let us do simple four-patch units for that week. So I was caught up before Christmas, which was fantastic. Here are all of my units from weeks 1-4, anxiously waiting for week 5’s clue:
Even the cuttings during each step were pretty — I loved collecting them in a pile and just admiring the salad I had just created.
The Week 5 clue came the Friday after Christmas, and then the reveal was posted at midnight on New Year’s so I didn’t get a chance to post progress photos of week 5 before the reveal went up. As soon as I had a few of the Week 5 units, I grabbed other parts and assembled the quilt blocks on my cutting table according to the reveal.
I’m in love! This is so extraordinarily girly for me — Helen even came into my sewing room and squealed with glee when she saw it on the table like this. I rarely work with pink, so to have pink be the driving color in the quilt is quite a change for me. She thinks this is for her. It’s not, but I don’t really have a specific plan for it at this point. It just makes me really happy.
Once I knew what it was going to look like, I started assembling blocks. This requires lots of pinning so that I don’t chop off points.
and still more pinning:
And here are the first 7 blocks up on the wall.
I’m so excited to see this one come together, partly because it’s been a whirlwind and partly because it’s so outside my usual comfort zone for colors. I’m very glad that I broke into my stash of modern fabrics, because that’s something I had been reticent to do before now. I guess I didn’t want to deplete it while it was in its infancy? But I’ve had a blast working with these bright, clear colors… I did bring in some pink batiks for the four-patch units because I was afraid I was going to run out of pink otherwise — we still had more than one week to go in the mystery and if another step had pink in it I was going to be down to the dregs and possibly run out. Turns out I didn’t need to do that, but I had no way of knowing.
I will probably have the quilt top assembled in the next week or so. This was a really fun project! I don’t know that I’ll dive in so fully to the mystery next year, since I was too determined to stay “caught up,” whatever that means. It did drive Jerry nuts because he’d ask, “which quilt is THIS one?” when I came into the room with my little box of parts and pins, and when I told him he’d roll his eyes at me. But I did exercise my piecing precision and get inspired by the process of making something so very scrappy. I have already designed another quilt that is similar in construction but will be totally different in appearance. I’m not sure when/if I’ll get to making it, but it’s fun to dream anyway!
If you want to see how different this quilt looks when done in different color schemes, go to the Week 6 Link-Up and take a look! It’s pretty inspiring to me to see how color choices and placement can completely change the overall appearance of identical blocks.