Some quilts take much longer to make than others. This was one of those quilts. I started working on it in 2012 when Bonnie Hunter was presenting it as her annual holiday mystery. I had only been quilting about six months at the time, and I was still plugging away at my first quilt.
I thought the mystery quilt would be a fun diversion, and she said it would be easy! It turns out that it was about equal parts thrilling and overwhelming. The idea of a mystery was fun, but I struggled to keep up. It was so many pieces, the units were challenging for a newbie, and they all had to come out the right size. I ended up falling behind, and after the reveal came out I was discouraged and put it away.
That quilt spent the next few years living in the closet while I attempted to forget about it. I'm not generally the type to start something without finishing it, so knowing it was there was a bit like having a pebble in my shoe - it refused to be ignored! I finally caved in October of 2015 and pulled it out to finish.
The first thing I did was spend some serious time thinking about the design. When I was working on it as a mystery, I went with the color scheme that Bonnie suggested. I was excited because it was all of my favorite colors. However, when the final design was revealed, it had too much of the bright green for my taste, so I needed to come up with something a bit different.
It's hard to tell by looking at it, but this quilt is actually made up of two different blocks set on point. I ended up deciding to swap the blue and green in the alternate blocks only. I'm really glad I did that, because I love the way it looks! Fortunately, it didn't require a huge amount of reworking units I had already made.
Finishing the quilt was a bit of a challenge, because the units I originally made in 2012 weren't consistently sized. Fortunately, I've gotten much better at piecing over the years. I made the rest of the units needed for the quilt, and those all came out the right size. As I assembled the quilt, I fudged the seam allowances wherever possible to make my old units match the size of my new units.
Once the top was finished, I decided to use the leftover fabric to piece the back. I love pieced quilt backs! Every time I make one, I think it's my favorite. This one was a ton of work and took me several weeks to finish. About halfway through, I decided I had lost my mind; but when it was finished, I was so glad that I stuck with it.
For the quilting, I wanted an overall design that would look great and be fairly forgiving. My beginning piecing skills meant that this quilt didn't lay as flat as I would prefer. Check and Chase was the perfect quilting choice. I love the combination of swirls and spikes, and the design is good for easing in a little bit of fullness in the quilt top.
It's easier to see the quilting on the back of the quilt since it's not quite so busy. This is one of my favorite quilting designs. If you're looking for something to put on a guy quilt, this may be just the thing. It has lots of movement with a bit of softness, yet it's not the least bit frilly.
Every quilt has a story, and the label is there to tell the tale. This one reads:
Mystery quilt designed by Bonnie Hunter in 2012.
I tweaked the design and pulled it out to finish at the end of October 2015.
I did the back improv style to have fun and use up the scraps.
Pieced and quilted by Bobbi Bridgeman.
Gallatin Gateway, Montana
Finished Jan 2016
I typically write the label before attaching it to the quilt, because I find it's easier when there isn't extra fabric under the label while I'm writing. Since I sew the label in with the binding, the date reflected is usually when I sew the binding down by machine. I often finish the quilt in the same month as I attach the binding, but not this time. In this case, it took about six more months for me to finally finish securing the binding to the back of the quilt by hand.
Even though it took me four years from start to finish, I'm so happy that I didn't give up on this quilt. It was great to see how far my piecing skills have come, and I love the final product. Since it's been finished, I have had it on my bed more often than not. I love this quilt!