Turkey Tracks: Bonnie Hunter’s Annual Mystery Quilt

Turkey Tracks:  October 15, 2014

Bonnie Hunter’s Annual Mystery Quilt

It’s started!

The first posting has come for Bonnie Hunter’s annual mystery Quilt.

This first posting describes what inspired Bonnie.  This year it was her stay at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan, where she has taught for several years now.  The quilt’s name is “Grand Illusion.”   Bonnie gives, in this initial posting, detailed instructions about fabric choices–and provides numbers to paint chips available at Loews.

Quiltvilles Quips & Snips!!: Grand Illusion Mystery!.

The first clue will come the day after Thanksgiving.  And every Friday morning thereafter, Bonnie will post the next clue–or what to do next.  Bonnie makes her quilts in units that combine to make a quilt.  There will be from 6 to 8 weeks of clues.  Bonnie will reveal the quilt sometime between Christmas and New Year’s.

I have been rounding up fabrics and pawing through my stash since this post came in, and I’m assembling some really nice fabric choices.  I’m excited!


I’m going to keep my neutrals to the white end of the neutral scale, which will pop the other colors out.  Bonnie says the yellow fabric will be the constant in this quilt.

Last year, you may recall, I did this annual mystery quilt, “Celtic Solstice.”  And I learned so much from reading Bonnie’s detailed instructions and from interacting with other folks around the world making this quilt.  (There is a Facebook group you can join.)



“Grand Illusions,” said Bonnie, will be less intense than “Celtic Solstice.”

The information on “Grand Illusions” will come off Bonnie’s web site sometime in June, I think.  And the quilt will go into an upcoming book.


Turkey Tracks: Quilting Celtic Solstice and UNBROKEN

Turkey Tracks:  July 26, 2014

Quilting “Celtic Solstice” and Unbroken

I spent most of Friday and Saturday quilting “Celtic Solstice.”

On Friday I had a perfect storm of problems with thread breaking and tired and discouraged, I walked away and wrote to the long-arm quilters on the Facebook site dedicated to quilters making this 2013 mystery quilt designed by Bonnie Hunter.  (See earlier posts on this whole process.  Bonnie releases a mystery quilt design every year the day after Thanksgiving, and I’ve had such fun making this quilt that I suspect I’ll make this quilting with Bonnie every year.)

Anyway, the long-arm quilters came back with a host of suggestions–some I knew, some were new and very helpful.  And, on Saturday, with renewed energy, rested, and ready to go, I started again.  I did not have one bit of trouble and finished the quilt, trimmed it up, sewed on the binding, and cheered.

Here I am starting out–before the perfect storm.  I listen to music while quilting as I can’t always hear words over the noise of the long arm

Here are a few blocks quilted–with a medium green.  I didn’t want a thread color that took away from the quilt itself.


Above you can see the two blocks that make up the quilt.  Bonnie designed the one on the left, and it’s in a book of 100 blocks published, I think, by Quiltmaker magazine.


While piecing or cutting, I am now listening to Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken.  It’s the story of an Olympic runner (1938 in Germany) who is a bombardier on a B24 (flying coffin) in the Pacific theater.  I’ve learned so much about this plane and about running in the 1930s in the opening chapters.  And about Pacific sharks and the men’s terror of being captured by the Japanese.  I’m pretty sure both of these “guns on the wall” are going to make their appearance shortly.

My father–Jammie Mendall Philpott– flew B17s over Germany and was a decorated pilot.  These men were so brave…  And, often, such sitting ducks against enemy fighter planes or ground fire.  The crew loss in the Pacific–just to accidents or plane failure, not the enemy–was a shock.  And unlike Europe, the vast stretches of open ocean and little tiny islands made finding a downed crew a miracle.

Turkey Tracks: Clue 5 of “Celtic Solstice”

Turkey Tracks:  January 1, 2014

Clue 5 of Celtic Solstice

I’ve finished Clue 5 of Bonnie Hunter’s 2013 Mystery Quilt “Celtic Solstice.”

It’s very cute:


And the pile of “Clues,” or units that will go into the quilt is growing:

This quilt will finish, if I’m recalling right, at about 75 by 75, so I think there will be a few more “clues.”

I’m ready for next Friday’s Clue 6.








Turkey Tracks: Coping with Ice and Quilting Clue No. 4

Turkey Tracks:  December 22, 2013

Coping with Ice


Quilting Clue No. Four

My sister Susan, down in Virginia Beach, Virginia, loves to follow the weather.  But, like me, she grew up with ice storms and has a healthy respect for them.

She called today to make sure I was carrying my cell phone when I went outside in the ice.  (I hadn’t been, and that was perhaps foolish).  Friend Giovanna McCarthy just wrote me to urge me to carry it when going out to the chickens, too.  So I promise to from now on.

BUT, here’s the best protection of all:


With ice cleats on the boots, one doesn’t slide.  Or find oneself upside down on the ice.

I used the cleats and took along John’s cane for extra balance on a trip to the garage for chicken feed.  Not a single slip.  They are really great.  No wonder people use them for winter hiking.

I have two pairs of these really good kind with spikes on the bottom–so I put one pair on the LLBean boots and one pair on the chicken-muck-out-the-coop boots that live upstairs by the back door.

I finished Clue Four of the Bonnie Hunter 2013 Mystery Quilt–120 four-patches in orange and green:


So, the pile of finished units is growing.  And excitement about how the units will go into the quilt is also growing.

Now I will work on the other quilts  I have in progress and wait for next Friday’s Clue Number 5.


Turkey Tracks: Celtic Solstice Mystery Quilt: Clue Three Finished

Turkey Tracks:  December 20, 2014

Celtic Solstice Mystery Quilt

Clue Three Finished

Clue Three was to create these orange and yellow pinwheels and half-square triangles.

Aren’t the pinwheels cute?

I am still chuckling because each measures perfectly, but I did a lot of unsewing.  The seam ripper is still hot.

Based on wisdom from the Facebook web site for this quilt, I changed my needle, used the single hold needle plate, and tried to be more consistent with feeding the units through the needle.


So, now, these three sets of units are completed, and I am up-to-date and having fun.  AND, learning a lot.  Bonnie’s directions for each step are amazingly complete, and I am learning new rulers and basic things like “swirling” seams on the underside to mitigate bulk–a step I had forgotten completely lately.


Clue FOUR came out this morning.  Four-patches with orange and green.

That should be simple.  But I thought the other units would be simple, too!

Turkey Tracks: Celtic Solstice Quilt Update

Turkey Tracks:  December 7, 2013

Celtic Solstice Quilt Update

The first “clue” for Bonnie Hunter’s 2013 mystery quilt, Celtic Solstice, came out November 29th, the day after Thanksgiving.  Following “clues” will come out each Friday.

Bonnie Hunter is a scrappy quilter, so if, for instance, one needs “blue” for a task, one gets many shades out of one’s stash.

We were to make 188 (for the 75 x 75-inch quilt–there are many more units for the king-size quilt Bonnie made) block units that will form a star.  About half of the blue stars have a scrappy  orange background and half have a neutral background.  I put four together of each so you can see what will happen eventually.  We will obviously be making the center of the star at some point.

Celtic Solstice, first clue

I finished these 188 units Friday night.

The new clue came out early Friday morning–and the email traffic on the Facebook group dedicated to this project has been humming.  As have sewing machines.

The new block is a chevron of green, yellow, and neutrals.  One hundred of them.  My patches are almost cut out now…  And I’m going straight to the sewing machine after I’m done with the blog.

You should see some of the beautiful blocks, and also different color combos than Bonnie used, people are making.


If you’re interested in making this quilt, go to quiltville.com, click on the blog button, and in the masthead, click on “Celtic Solstice Mystery.”

Turkey Tracks: Mystery Quilt–Celtic Solstice!

Turkey Tracks:  November 22, 2013

Mystery Quilt:  “Celtic Solstice”

Well, I seem to have backed into doing Bonnie Hunter’s annual mystery quilt–named this year “Celtic Solstice.”

Bonnie’s mystery quilts are gorgeous.  I’ve admired them–and all the variations that people have done–for some time now.  Among them are “Easy Street,” “Orca Bay,” and one I truly love, “Roll Cotton Boll.”  The latter is on my wish list to make.  So many quilts, so little time…

Doing a mystery quilt is so far out of my comfort zone that of course I have to stretch myself in this quilting way.  And, especially, since you may recall that John was 100 percent Irish.  And, our one trip to Ireland, so many years ago now, was a wonderful experience.

And it’s especially a stretch yet again when you see the initial color choices.  Only, remember that Bonnie will choose all kinds of colors in a, say, blue range, from her stash.  You can see that in her instructions.

Take a look?

Quiltville’s Quips & Snips!!: 2013 Mystery Time! Introducing Celtic Solstice!.

This is fun, too.  Take a look at the map of people who signed up for the Facebook page set up for this mystery.  You can see my pin there on Mid-Coast Maine:


I’ve been picking up some extra neutrals that are more on the white side–as they can’t fight with the yellows–which means I won’t want to use neutrals that are too far over to the paper-bag tan side.

Of course I needed some of each of the bright versions of the green, blue, orange, and yellow.

I will have color variations in my stash–which I cut into strips all last summer.  But I have to wait until the first clue comes out on the 29th to see what strip sizes Bonnie will be using.

Oh my…

An adventure…