Saturday, October 30, 2021

Rhododendron Trail - A Quiltville Mystery (Introduction!)


It's that time of year we've all be anxiously waiting for -

No, not Halloween! (though I admit I have stashed a bit of Halloween Candy in the QPO studio for times when I need a sugar rush -) 

Our yearly Quiltville Winter Mystery begins in earnest with Part One going live on Black Friday, 11/26/21.

This post has all of the info you need to be ready.

If you’ve followed along with our many past Quiltville Mysteries, you’ll already have a good handle of what happens.  I’m glad to have you back sewing with me again!

If you are one of the many, many new ones who are joining in from the land of Instagram
Facebook and beyond, I want to welcome you.

Our theme?  As we are still NOT traveling due to the ongoing Covid 19 Pandemic, I'm capturing the colors of many of the gorgeous spring and summer flowers that grow in my corner of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwestern Virginia.

Click HERE for Printer Friendly PDF.

Rhododendron Trail is where we hike to see the Wild Ponies as well as the flowers up at Grayson Highlands State Park.  Rhododendron Trail crosses the Appalachian Trail in this section of the Virginia Highlands, and if you have followed me for any length of time, you know how near and dear this area is to my heart.

This post will contain the colors, examples of the fabrics used in my own Rhododendron Trail quilt, and yardage requirements. And some other tools that you might find helpful in the construction process.

You are NOT required to sew with these colors, and you can change them to whatever color palette you would like, but please remember value and contrast when switching things up.

Our stunning quilt finishes at approximately 83'' x 98".  It's a good full/queen  size.

If you want a smaller size, start with 1/2 the units.  You can always go back and make more units once you decide on your own layout.  If you want it bigger, you can add more blocks and/or borders.

As always - you are free to wait UNTIL THE REVEAL to see what the quilt is, if you want to make it, and what size you would like to make for yourself and in what colors. I am unable to provide directions for multiple sizes through this free mystery. Thank you for understanding.

I view our mysteries not just as “A Pattern” but as a vehicle to teach methods, tips, tricks, helps and hints while working with each unit.  I will provide a printer-friendly PDF for each clue, and for those wanting to save paper, just save the PDF to your computer or tablet and look at it there without printing it out.  Be sure you know where you tablet or phone SAVES PDFs so you know where to retrieve them. (A cloud service can also be helpful here.)

Clues and links to corresponding PDFs will only be available until the quilt becomes a digital pattern download for purchase in the Quiltville Store.

You can choose to print certain pages but not others from within your own printer settings.  

You can also copy/paste the blog post into a word document and delete extra photos, extra text that you don’t need. Just save the nitty-gritty. You can choose how to save paper/ink yourself.  My job is to teach, however many pages it takes.

PAINT CHIPS:  These are NOT required, but they are helpful when choosing many fabrics that have to work together from your stash.  These are guidelines only, and I have even pushed the boundaries of those color families a bit in all directions so I have a quilt with more life that doesn’t look so flat. 

Our paint chips this year come from the Valspar line at Lowes.  I have also SCANNED these chips for your viewing pleasure!

Paint Chip PDF HERE. Save it to your device, or print it out.

Just know that colors on your own screen may vary from what the chips actually are.

Paint chips are only for personal reference, and fabrics do not have to be EXACT! 

Yardage amounts are for scraps and/or planned yardage.  If you want one piece of yardage for each color, you are fine there too!

Those who wish to explore shades and tints within our chosen color families or in choosing a completely different color scheme may also find the Ultimate 3-in-1 Color Tool helpful.  It’s found in the Quiltville Store for those who want guidance.

No specific pages on the 3-in-1 color tool are given as there are so many varying shades.  We go for variety in color families, so open up your 3-in-1 color tool to the desired color page, comparing it to paint chip images and your fabrics.

Our colors come with intriguing names this year, and I always look forward to seeing what colors have been labeled.

With winter pushing in upon us in this northern hemisphere, we are setting our sights ahead to SPRING!

Rhododendrons, Laurels and Thistles, oh my!

Think PINK!

1001-1A Cosmic Pink
1001-1B Raspberry Sorbet
1001-1C Pink Plunge

2 1/2 yards

A smattering of the pinks I used.

And a Facets of Pink sample from Cotton to Quilts!

Yes, fabric rolls are available for stash enhancement!  Go check them out!

I say GO FOR VARIETY here. Push your boundaries pulling in your favorite pinks. - just don't make your pinks so light that they disappear against the neutrals or the yellows.  Contrast is important.  

Remember this beautiful Bee Balm that was so luscious this past summer?

1011-5 Royal Garnet
2 yards

I had quite a few of these that I considered "Cranberry" before I found the Garnet paint chip name. I tended to lean more toward the darker cranberries, leaving things that read true red for another day.  We did red last year.  This year, think burgundy to cranberry.

Luscious Garnet rolls from Cotton to Quilts.

Everything looks better with yellow!

3006-1A Dijon
3006-1B Dandelion Chain
3006-1C Golden Haze

1 1/4 yards

Keep in mind that your yellows need to be dark enough to contrast with your neutrals and your pinks.  Don't go too light on these!

Delicious yellow rolls from Cotton to Quilts!


No Paint Chip Needed!

I pulled from my burgeoning stash -

6 1/4 yards.


Really fun neutral rolls from Cotton to Quilts!

If you remember last year's Grassy Creek mystery - it was autumn themed with very little neutral.

This year we are thinking SPRING/SUMMER - and things are a bit lighter and brighter.  Go wild with your neutrals, just remember to keep them light enough to contrast with your yellows and pinks. I stayed within the white to barely cream range.

And there is one more color left:

6001-9A Sea Lily
6001-9B Ocean Whisper
6001-90C Mermaid's Song

2 1/4 yards.

And I'm going to call this one a "variable".  I used one 2 1/4 yard piece of tone-on-tone constant yardage so it was the same throughout the quilt. 

That's right - all of my other colors were scrappy, but this one.

I want you to be happy with your quilt, so I will tell you to please consider a tone-on-tone for this constant as scale of print can be a problem. Think things like Grunge and other textures with no real discernable pattern to them. 

Some good sample choices would be:

A couple of these are more turquoise than aqua, but any would work.

If you wish, you can wait to see how things are progressing before you decide what to use here. I won't be posting where this goes until we are quite far along and you can make a choice then.

Some may even want to change colors here - The sky is the limit color-wise so I'm keeping that in mind as I plan on what units will be each week to allow you to get your feet under you.  Do I have your interest piqued?

One hint on ALL FABRICS - Scale matters - if you have sewn my mysteries before, you know there may be small, medium, and large pieces within the same colors.  Big prints don't work well in small pieces, so keep that in mind when choosing fabrics.

And once units and sizes are given - feel free to attack your Scrap User's System strip drawers to see what you can pull in there as well.  It feels good to clean out.

So there you have it -  And here is the short run down:

Pinks: 2 1/2 yards
Garnets: 2 yards
Yellows: 1 1/4 yards
Neutrals: 6 1/4 yards
And that interesting Aqua: 2 1/4 yards of ONE FABRIC.

Clues will start posting on Black Friday 11/26/21.  There will be one clue each Friday until our completion some time in January.  Just WHEN that reveal happens is also part of the mystery!

Christmas Eve falls on Friday with Christmas on Saturday this year, so be looking for your Christmas week clue to drop on Boxing Day, 12/26/21.

Other optional things that may be helpful to you:

As with previous mysteries, I will be giving unit sizes in finished and unfinished dimensions so you can choose your own favorite method to make them. 

There will NOT be any Accuquilt die information as it gives away too much on units and unit sizes. Remember, this is a mystery. We need to keep it that way all the way to the end. Unit shapes and sizes will be given with each step. Not ahead of time.

I am placing a Rhododendron Trail tab at the top of the blog and all of these posts will be linked there for easy reference.

Please share this Quiltville Winter Mystery info with all of your quilting friends and online groups and social media and more. 

The more folks we can get to jump in, the more fun it will be! 

Oh yeah - and one more thing:

There will be many pieces.  Some smaller, some larger, some in between. My best suggestion as the holidays get to bustling - SAVE the clues each week to your computer, device, or cloud service.  Save them where you know you can find them.

Make SOME of each unit each week, even if you can't finish all that each step entails.  That makes it easy to go back to that step when you can - because you've got some memory of what to do there.

Always check your unit size.  The numbers on the ruler don't lie.  More on that to come -

And if you've made it this far - there are some other things going on you'll want to know about!

It's October Quilty Box Gift-Away time!

Our October Quilty Box Gift-Away started yesterday!  Head over to THAT POST to enter. You are going to want this box!

Time is running out!

You'll find Boxy Bow Ties in the digital pattern section of the Quiltville Store! And to kick this excitement into gear, I've placed it at 25% off through TOMORROW 10/31/21 at only $9.00, No coupon required!

Don't forget that my Punkin Patch Runner is also marked 50% off at only $5.00 through 10/31/21 as well!

If this is your first time downloading digital patterns from my store to a computer click HERE.

If you intend to download to an iPhone/iPad click HERE.

Quiltville Quote of the Day

Vintage ocean waves quilt found in North Carolina 

As wonderful as these words are, I think it's also important to add "yourself" after these words:

Trust yourself, believe in yourself, forgive yourself, and never give up!


This mystery is given for personal use only.  No part may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying for sharing, scanning or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.

Please no uploading and saving of this file with intent to share, email or distribute, either digitally or in hard copy. NOT FOR RESALE.

Please send your friends to my blog to print their clues. Thank you!


  1. Awesome theme! Great colors!

  2. Fun, fun ,fun!!!! Looking forward to this years Mystery Quilt! Sendin a big THANK YOU !

  3. Beautiful colors, and I have all of them in my stash for a win!!! I’m super excited about this years mystery!,

  4. Hooray for the color reveal! Love love love the colors! Thank you, Bonnie, for doing the mystery quilt for us! So appreciate your kindness & compassion to create & share freely a wonderful project that helps so many thru the sometimes difficult holiday season.

  5. BEAUTIFUL job on the format of this post!! The color pages are beautifully set up, and the writing is as clear as it can be! I already have the aqua/minty beauty, and I was just waiting for a reason to use it. Let's have fun together!

  6. Excited to see join in! Bless you!

  7. Thank you for yet another wonderful mystery this year.

  8. Turquoise is my color this year. And as I was looking at the pinks and thinking I would change them to turquoise…..I get to Turquoise!!! Did you know my color already?!? Now to go see if I have the right one and enough yardage of it! Thank you for all you do!!

  9. Oh Goody, here I go again! This year, I have been extra, extra busy, and wasn't for the first time in a while going to do this mystery. Looking at my favorite color scheme for the last year now, was my undoing! Here I go again! Thank you, Bonnie!

  10. Oh Bonnie! I am so excited! I LOVE pink!!! Can’t wait to get started! Thank you for all your hard work on this. 💕💕💕💕

  11. Love, love, love the colors already! Your mystery quilts are always so much fun! And I learn so much from them, even though I've been making quilts for a VERY long time. Thank you so much, Bonnie!

  12. Gorgeous colors - thank you for another fun mystery quilt!

  13. My color this year is turquoise. As I was reading about the pinks, I imagined changing them to turquoise….then I see the Turquoise !! Yeah! Did you read my mind!?! Now I need to see if I have the right turquoise and if I have enough. Thank you for all you do!!

  14. Love these colors!! I may have to shop for those burgundies/cranberries. My stash leans toward brighter reds. Thank you so much for doing this mystery every year. So many of us have so much fun! Happy sewing. :)

  15. Love the colors! Can't wait to start!

  16. I'm SEW excited to see these beautiful Spring colors!! Making this will bring me great joy! I've already learned very many things, tips, ideas, etc. from you. This will be my third BHMQ! I made Good Fortune and Frolic (I'm from Texas). I kept the clues but skipped making last year's. I will Not skip this one!! I'll be watching your blog daily. But especially on the day after Thanksgiving for Clue 1! God bless you for all you do for your followers! You are an amazing woman! I don't know how you do it all.

  17. Thanks! Love these colours. first timer here, very excited.

  18. So so excited! It’s only my second mystery…Celtic Solstice was my first. Love the colors and can’t wait to get started!

  19. Thank you, Bonnie!! Love the color palette and the story behind the quilt name.

  20. Wow earlier than expected, thank you Bonnie

    1. I believe she does it at this time every year.

    2. yes, Halloween week-end... can't come soon enough, LOL... and thank you, BH!!!

  21. The colors are scrumptious! Can’t wait! Thanks you for all of the quilting knowledge and tips you so freely share. Each year I participate I improve my skills.

  22. Gorgeous colors, Bonnie! I still haven't finished Grassy Creek, so was not going to do this one, but the colors are tempting me! And, just FYI, Christmas Day is a Saturday this year... :-)

  23. thanks for this mystery always look forward to the fun. great colors.

  24. Thank you Bonnie! Its a joy to wake up to COLORS! Let the stash diving begin!

  25. These colors just sing out Spring! Thank you Bonnie, it’s so much work to do this for us.

  26. Love the colors, will have to set fabric aside so I don't use it before the mystery begins, as it has been known to happen. So looking forward to Black Friday.

  27. This is beautiful! Thank you so much Bonnie. I can't wait to go pull fabrics. I am an empty nester this year so I am extra thankful for this project to get me threw the holidays.

  28. Thank you once again! I learn so much and so enjoy sewing along with everyone. There is a great sense of community in working on the mystery quilt every year with so many fellow quilters.

  29. Thank you once again. I always learn something new and so enjoy the time sewing on each quilt. There is a great sense of community during the creation/sewing of the mystery quilt that makes these coming weeks an event to look forward to.

  30. Dear Bonnie, I'm so excited for Rhododendron Trail! the colors are fabulous! Grassy Creek was my first mystery quilt and I enjoyed the process so much. Gotta get busy choosing fabrics! Thank you for all that you do for the quilting community! Mary

  31. Good morning Bonnie. I did your Good Fortune mystery a couple of years ago and it took me most of a year to finish. I said never again. But, you have hooked me with these colors. I am in the process of moving back to North Carolina from California right now, so I will have to read along and down load each part until I get settled with my stash once again. I LOVE these colors and look forward to the mystery. Thanks for all your hard work.

  32. Thank you thank you from SW Missouri. Loving this year's color palette!

  33. So excited to wake up this morning to a Bonnie Hunter mystery. This will be my third mystery and love the colors. Thank you Bonnie for all your hard work to make this happen. Bless you

  34. Love the colors and inspiration! Looking forward to the fun of this mystery quilt! This will be my 8th mystery quilt! Thank you Bonnie!!

  35. I'm going to refer to you as THE HAPPINESS LADY because you are. I felt so bad for you that you couldn't go up to see the ponies, but you brought Rhododendron Trail home. I love everything about the colors and the promise it brings such joy. Thank you.

  36. I just love that "No Whining" sign.

  37. Love your colors and thanks for all that you do! I'm just trying to help when I say: Christmas is on Saturday this year, not Thursday.

  38. I was waffling about participating this year because my work schedule is crazy BUT pink!!!!!! How can I say no? When I was little my dad painted my bedroom pink with yellow polka dots. I'm thinking a nice nap size will do the trick! THANK YOU BONNIE for all you do.

  39. I am so freakin excited about this year's Mystery Quilt! I love all the colors you've selected and I know, like every year, this is going to be a wonderful experience. Thanks Bonnie!

  40. Bonnie, I have been around since your first mystery, and I love them because they are so educational. I learn so much even in the years when I cannot actually sew them. Thank you for providing what is essentially a free master class every year.

  41. Gorgeous! I'm getting my Grassy Creek finished now, just in time!

  42. Before I saw your fabric samples I clicked on the link to the paint chips. I wasn’t too thrilled. But then I saw your fabric samples and WOW! I love the colors. I like your tip about making half the units if it gets too overwhelming.
    You are so amazingly generous of your time and talents Bonnie. Thanks so much.
    I especially like the NO WHINING sign. People need to put on their big girl panties and take it or leave it!
    Fran in PA

  43. Such cheerful colors!

  44. Thank you, Bonnie, for your yearly mysteries. I may not make all of them (I have to finish my On Ringo Lake before I start another!) but I love reading about them and seeing other's progress.

  45. Happy, Happy Colors!!! I love Rhododendrons, They grow beautifully in our yard on the East side of the house. It's our Washington State Flower. Lushious colors and what a variety we can use. THANK YOU SEW MUCH!!!

  46. I laughed out loud with delight when I saw the Theme! I was just in Rhododendron,Oregon finishing up 2 mysteries, Grassy Creek and Frolic!

  47. Thank you for another amazing mystery!! Love the colors and can't wait to make it!

  48. Your “no whining” sign always makes me laugh. But does it work?

  49. I am so looking forward to this mystery quilt, I just love the colors you have chosen, I will follow the same, love it!

  50. Beautiful colors this year. My main stash is in Iowa, we winter in Arizona and I never guess the correct colors to bring! Love the colors so will commence the online shopping. Thanks, Bonnie.

  51. Wow, I love the theme. Spring colors are my very favorite ones. I don't have a Lowes by me but have found that Sherwin Williams & the farm store that has Valspar are a pretty good source of paint chips. Thanks ever so much, this helps with my SADD.

  52. Thank you Bonnie! I'm so happy!

  53. YAHOOOOOO... my family and my improving mood want to thank you! AND THESE COLORS!!! home run.!

  54. I love that you are always very detailed in your instructions. Beautiful color selections!

  55. Thank you!! Just had to replace the aqua with green as I didn't have 2 yds of aqua/turq.. I'm enjoying making My Blue Heaven blocks. Sometimes you just need a 2 color quilt!! Blessings.

  56. DEAR Bonnie:
    Wonderful, Beautiful Colors! I Love Rhododendrons, and bought one last spring for my new front flowerbeds. It is a Lavender. I will get another next spring. Them and peonies are my main focal points of my front flower beds. Two of my favorite flowers. Peonies from Minnesota, Rhododendrons from Oregon Willamette Valley!

    Thank You so much, and I can't wait for this mystery to start!

    Donna Endresen
    Kasilof, AK
    Where I am running on generator today, as the power went out more than an hour ago. Who knows what happened??

  57. I love the depth of the colors that you chose. This quilt will be sparkling!

  58. No green! That’s a surprise all by itself. Thi is going to be fun.

  59. So excited! Did last years mystery quilt. It makes my bedroom look so much brighter! Thank you Bonnie. :)

  60. Ok pulled my fabric except the Turquoise...but Im ready

  61. Dearest Bonnie, you are truly the master and once again you have presented a classy challenge! The colors are gorgeous (Thank you Mother Nature) and will provide a beautiful bright spot in so many sewing rooms across the
    universe. We so appreciate your talent and dedication in presenting these annual works of art! Thank you! Blessings.

  62. Thank you in advance for a fun trip along your trail. The real surprise for me about things this year is that YOU used ONE piece of fabric for ONE color :-) :-)
    Here in the PNW the colors will brighten up our gloomy gray (rainy) days. Again, thank you. Many hugs :-)

  63. Thank you for the new mystery, the colors are so great. I'm looking forward to the first part. I've been sewing the Mystery for a number of years.
    Warm greetings from Germany.

  64. Thank you Bonnnie, was up at 4 am in Montana. Northern lights were out last night. Waking to another view of great color choices.

  65. "Thou shalt not whine" is the eleventh commandment. Enough said.

  66. So excited! This is my first mystery quilt. I saw last years quilt at the studio of my long arm quilter and it was beautiful. She told me all about this mystery and how fun it was and then referred me to your website. I have been following your blog since June. I can't wait to see what this year's quilt will look like!

  67. Gathering fabrics for the fun! Thank you, Bonnie!

  68. Lovely colors! I've shied away from pink in the past but this year I'm going for it! Add in aqua, my favorite color, and yellow and I'm one happy quilter.

  69. This color combination sound so pretty!

  70. Love the colors, my first mystery quilt with you. Only made one other one with my best friend before her stroke. Rhododendrons were my mother-in-laws favorite flower and quickly became mine. I’ll think about her as I try to make this quilt. Thank you very much. Ratchell in AR.

  71. Beautiful color combos! Thank you for all you do in sharing your talent with us!

  72. Love the happy Spring colors, Bonnie! I may need some stash enhancement in the pinks. Oh my!

  73. Looking forward to another BH Black Friday. But I am already headed for a detour. Pinks are my least favorite color. But when I opened my October Sew Sampler box and saw the mini color wheel I got very excited. So, I will be replacing the pinks for oranges which will allow me to stay with the yellows and turquoise. Not sure about the garnet yet. Will wait and see.
    Thank you for another fun mystery.

  74. Oh, no! Last month I gave away my whole large box of pink fabrics - because, apart from the Cancer auction quilt I donated several years back, I never use pink. Well, I did save a few pieces and it is only 2-1/2 yards. I really like these colors, especially the pink and garnet, Guess I will have to invest in some more pink fabric.

  75. Question: If I need 2 1/2 yards of pinks, would I pull fabric by 1/2 yard cuts or can I use smaller pieces from stash? Thanks for answering.

  76. I'm excited to do this one! For the last three Mysteries, I've been out of my home studio, but I've managed to keep up. It really has become my holiday tradition! and I have a lot of rhodies on my property so yay!

  77. Loving these colors!!!! Bright, happy, clear and I have them all!!!!

  78. I'm going to join you on this journey. I'm looking forward to it.

  79. this is my first bonnie hunter mystery quilt. I spent the morning pulling fabric from my stash and apart from the Aqua, I am ready to go

  80. So if I was using FQs for the 6 1/4 yard of neutrals I'd use at least 25 FQs? I think I have that in my stash.....


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