Directions or suggestions?
Directions or suggestions?

If you have been reading this blog for the past ten months, you know that I was doing the mystery quilt by Bonnie Hunter. The title is Rhododendron Trail. I ended up following My Own Rhododendron Trail, but the top is done. I love how it looks.

Remember that now the pattern is for sale on Bonnie Hunter’s website. It is a copywrited pattern, and I am going to be diligent not to give away the part counts and/or measurements. Please buy her pattern if you want to make this quilt.

Bonnie does these yearly starting in late Nov. and running approximately 6 – 8 weeks. If you are interested in doing it as a mystery quilt, go to her site and sign up for it. Each week a new “installment” comes out. If you want to do along that gives you a week for each part.

The mystery begins:

On Black Friday 2021, the introduction for the mystery came out. Choose the fabrics. This year the suggested colors were pinks, garnet, yellow, neutral, and teal/aqua. I love the color suggestions.

Since the point of these mystery quilts is to use scraps, I dug through my scrap bins and found everything but the garnet. However, I had a burgundy solid in my stash that I used for the garnet color. So far so good. I have more than enough fabric available. No purchases necessary. Yippee!

Mystery Quilt – Part 1 & 3:

The directions are for HST (half square triangles) of pink and neutral. The below photo has the pink and neutral HST as a section of part 3.

Part 1 as a section of Part 3

For part 3, “wings” are added to the HST.

Mystery Quilt – Part 2:

This installment was to make flying geese. The “goose” is pink. The sky is yellow on one side and the other side neutral.

Flying Geese blocks

Mystery Quilt – Part 4:

Make lots of hourglass blocks from garnet and neutrals. I thought I was never going to get these done. And I lost count and ended up with extra…

My Own Rhododendron Trail
The hourglass blocks

Mystery Quilt – Part 5:

These blocks consisted of the Part 1 & 3 pieces and a pink triangle.

At this point, I still had no idea how the quilt would look when finished. Truthfully, I really try not to do a lot of thought about what it will look like finished. My goal is just to enjoy the process and complete each step.

My Own Rhododendron Trail

Mystery Quilt – Part 6:

This installment completed one of the two blocks used in the center of the quilt.

The steps were easy, and this part went quickly.

Completed blocks
Completed blocks

Mystery Quilt – Part 7:

If you were keeping up with me via my posts at this point, you know I said no to doing this block. It involves a lot of neutral strips and the neutral and garnet hourglass blocks.

I pieced one block and said there is no way I am going to do (x amount) of those. Time to head off in my own direction. Or I like to think of it as being an independent quilter.

I decided to utilize the teal/aqua as sashing around the blocks from part 6. The hourglass blocks would be used as posts with the sashing.

Adding sashing to the blocks
Adding the sashing and posts.
Sewn sashing and ready for ironing.

Mystery Quilt – Part 8:

The directions were for making setting pieces and putting the top together with narrow teal/aqua (blue) strips and alternating blocks from parts 6 & 7.

I continued with my idea. The blocks from part 6 with sashing and posts. Then a 2.25″ blue border to completely frame the blocks. After that a beautiful multi-colored flower print on a black background. It set off the colors in the blocks to perfection. Then another 2.25″ blue border.

My Own Rhododendron Trail
Border print
Border print

Mystery Quilt – Part 9 (The big reveal!):

Here is the mystery quilt as it is intended to be made. It is beautiful.

I did not have the patience or interest in making the second set of blocks.

The mystery quilt if the directions are followed.

My Own Rhododendron Trail:

Using basically the same parts, but very different results. It is beautiful too. This is a great example of taking a pattern and making it your own.

I used the flying geese parts as one of the borders. The directions called for a certain amount, and that is what I made. Sure, I could have made enough to fill in for the blank white places in the border, but why?

My Own Rhododendron Trail top complete.

The top is finished. There is enough of the floral border print to do the binding.

I have a small print black backing fabric that will go great with this quilt. Hopefully I can get it in for machine quilting in the next few weeks. In the meantime, I need to think about how I would like the quilting done.

Finished size is 88″ x 100″.

Moral to the story of My Own Rhododendron Trail:

Please enjoy your quilt making journey. Change it up. It is perfectly ok to use parts of the quilt directions. Do what you want and leave out what you want. Utilize basic geometry to change the sizes of various pieces. Make each quilt your own.

Happy Quilting.

Choose Joy
Source: Bing clip art


FB 08-23-22 / P 09-05-22 /I 08-23-22


  1. Love how you made this mystery quilt your own. Great way to solve a problem. You have taught me several things, but one is to use quilt patterns as ideas not rules to be followed.

    1. I am all for quilt patterns. But it is fun to veer off the pattern and just do what makes you happy. However, this might mean doing your own math:) Happy quilting.

  2. I have so many UFOs that I either didn’t like part of the pattern, got frustrated with it, or just was bored. Thank you for making me realize that the pattern or design is a suggestion. I need to follow my heart and make the quilts mine. I love your blog. I subscribed and can’t wait to see what your next projects are.

    1. I am glad you are enjoying this quilt blog. You are right, I see the directions as a suggestion instead of a set-in stone kind of thing. Quilting should be fun and relaxing. If it stresses you then it is time to do the quilt a different way instead of putting it somewhere never to be completed. Have fun and happy quilting.

  3. Love it! Great way to finish a quilt in a way that you are happy with. Another wonderful idea from this quilt blog. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Quilting is supposed to be fun. I just don’t see a reason to make quilt blocks I don’t like making. So, I basically took the already cut pieces and put them together differently. I like the way it looks and enjoyed making it. No quilt pattern is set in stone, so make each quilt your own. Enjoy the process. Happy quilting.

  4. I love how you resolved making the quilt, but not making the block you did not want to. Great idea. I have several UFOs that are that way because something in the pattern turned out to be a part I did not want to make after all. With this post, I am inspired to make my own adjustments to the pattern and get them finished.

    1. In my opinion, quilts should please the maker. And patterns are only guiding ideas – not set in stone. Enjoy the journey you and your quilt project are on. You will be happier with the finished project if you enjoy making it. Happy quilting.

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