Friday, January 14, 2022

Rhododendron Trail Mystery Part Eight - The Big Reveal!

It's Rhododendron Trail Reveal Day!

The time has come to put it all together - 

We've got just about EVERYTHING ready to lay out, with just some surprise setting triangles to assemble from pieces you've already cut.

And most of all - this is where you get to see that aqua come into play!

Rhododendron Trail has so much going on, it's so fun to look at!

We've got diagonals.  We've got verticals and horizontals. We've got rotation. We've got mirror image.

It's a delight for the eyes!

I really wanted to do something a bit different this year - something with a more open "contemporary" feel that would also turn out gorgeous with traditional or Civil War type fabrics, and be really exciting for those who chose a darker background, or switched up their colors.

There are some things you are going to watch for when you layout your blocks, so please refer to the assembly diagrams and my own assembly photos and take note of how those "B" blocks rotate to frame each of the "A" blocks.

Likewise, our setting triangles are ALSO going to be made with the hourglass "butterflies" taking flight in different directions to complete the hourglass chains at the edge of the quilt.

We'll be making the setting triangles in two different layouts to have this happen.

Click HERE for Printer-Friendly PDF version.

There are 15 pages in the PDF, including full page assembly diagrams, images and paper piecing templates to help you complete the quilt.  My suggestion is that you save the PDF to your device where you can find it, and only print off the pages that you need if you want to save ink/paper.
Setting Triangles!

Make 9 of Triangle A
Make 9 of Triangle B

The top and side will measure 10 1/2'' and finish at 10'' in the quilt.

You have already cut all of the pieces for these.  We are using the remaining 2 1/2'' neutral and garnet squares and the 2 1/2'' X 6 1/2'' neutral rectangles as well as the garnet/neutral hourglass units.

The pieced setting triangles are assembled from the CENTER OUT.

Join an hourglass unit to a neutral square as shown in the center of the first image above, pressing seam toward the neutral square..  

Join the neutral and garnet squares just below them, pressing seam also toward the neutral.

Join these two rows together as a four-patch, pressing seam toward the neutral/garnet squares.

Add a garnet square to the two neutral squares in the four-patch, pressing seams toward the garnet squares.

Adding the outer sides: Join an hourglass unit to the left end of top rectangle, pressing seam toward the top rectangle.

Join left side rectangle to the setting triangle center, pressing seam toward the side rectangle.

Add hourglass/top rectangle unit to setting triangle top, pressing seam toward the top rectangle.

Add the two remaining garnet squares to each end of the top/side rectangles. Press seams toward the garnet squares. We do it this way so that extra seam bulk is not doubled back against itself during the quilty assembly and trimming process.

Make 9 of Setting Triangle A, and 9 of Setting Triangle B, rotating the hourglass units in Setting Triangle B as shown.

The diagonal edges of setting triangles will be trimmed AFTER quilt assembly.

Corner Setting Triangles.

Make 4.

Bottom row will measure 10 1/2'' and finish at 10'' in the quilt.

Start with the center row, joining a garnet square to each end of a neutral square. Press seams toward the garnet squares.

Center a garnet square at the top of the center unit.  Seam allowances will extend 1/4'' beyond the seams in the center unit. Join to center unit, pressing seam toward the garnet square.

Add the bottom neutral rectangle to the center unit, pressing seam toward the rectangle.

Add a garnet square to either end of the bottom rectangle, pressing seams toward the garnet squares.

Units are assembled this way to avoid excess seam bulk during assembly and trimming.  Make 4.
Center Assembly Diagram

Aqua sashing time!  And oh, that sashing is a skinny little thing!  Yes it is - and that is what makes it so fantastic.

Cut 120 sashing strips 1'' X 10 1/2''.  Sashing will finish at 1/2'' x 10'' in the quilt.

To make the most of your fabric with the least amount of waste, first cut 10 1/2'' sections across the fabric from selvage to selvage, and then cutting 1'' sections, as many as you can from each section.  If your fabric is 40'' wide, you may get 38 sashings per section after trimming selvages.

From garnet fabrics cut 71 cornerstones 1''.

Laying out blocks -

To lay out the quilt, take it one thing at a time.  First, position all of the A blocks, moving them around until you are satisfied with the arrangement and leaving room between the blocks for where the sashings will go.

Then position the B blocks, rotating every other one as shown in the assembly diagram and photos. Add in the setting triangles and corner triangles, double checking the placement.

Finally add in the sashings and cornerstones.

Ready for assembly.

Pay no attention to the scrap trash on the floor!

Notice how setting triangles also alternate!

"B" blocks rotated every other one.

Begin in one corner!

On-point quilts are assembled in diagonal rows.  Some rows have blocks and sashings, other rows have sashings and cornerstones.

Construct each row separately, pressing seams toward the sashings and away from the cornerstones.

Don't let the narrowness of these sashings scare you - it's the same seam allowance you've been using all along.

Why sashings?  Simple!  There were too many seams that were impossible to nest throughout the quilt, and I thought it needed something to break up the "so much neutral" that would be joined together without it. Ha!

Corner unit joined to sashing/cornerstone row below.

The next  setting triangle/sashing/block/sashing/setting triangle row is also assembled and ready to add to the corner unit above it.

I build each row one at a time and add the rows to the "Mothership" as I go.  Press all seams toward the sashing rows.

See the arrow?

Sashing row seams will extend 1/4'' out like this - cornerstones will be trimmed with the edges of the setting triangles when the center is assembled.

I tend to build on-point quilts in two diagonal "halves" and then finish the quilt center by joining the halves together.  This keeps things from becoming too large, too heavy and unwieldy.

When quilt center is together, press well.

Trimming the edges.

If you are wondering about the white thread on my pieces - I was chain piecing these units and just running off the edge of one onto the next. Nothing strategic about it.

Use a large surface such as your dining room table or kitchen island along with a large mat and a ruler with an easy-read 1/4'' line. I use the table side of my longarm for trimming quilts.

Place the 1/4'' line on the ruler at the outside corners of the sashings, and trim leaving 1/4'' seam allowance at the edge of the quilt. (I consider these scraps too small to save!)

Nice straight edge!

Stay stitching.

The edges are now straight but they are also on the bias.  To minimize stretch and stabilize the bias, set sewing machine stitch length at a bit larger stitch than normal, and sew around the outside edge of the quilt top slightly less than 1/4'' from the edge.  The stay stitching will be hidden in the next inner border seam and will also keep seams from popping open as borders are added.

Quilt center ready for borders!

Let's talk more about on-point quilts!  Especially RECTANGULAR on-point quilts.

Did you know that when we turn a 10'' finished block on point, it is no longer a 10'' block?  On-point blocks are measured across the diagonal.  To figure that measurement, the finished size of the block is multiplied by 1.414 (which is the closest rounded off measurement, because it can go farther out than that, kind of like Pi.) giving us a block measurement of 14.14 as our finished block size.

Square on-point quilts have an advantage in that they are the same measurement around all four sides. You can adjust the width of your inner border to bring the quilt center up to whatever measurement you need it to be so that your straight set pieced border will fit.

But take an on-point rectangular quilt, and you are going to have to do some fudging when it comes to straight-set borders. If I wanted to be mathematically correct it would mean that my long side borders would have to be a different width than the shorter top and bottom borders to make them equally divisible. Which I think just looks weird.  

The first thing we are going to do is minimize the weird math as best as we can with an inner border that rounds things off a bit better.

From aqua fabric, cut 9 strips 1 1/4'' from selvage to selvage across the width of the fabric.  Join strips end to end on the diagonal into one long length.  Trim excess 1/4'' beyond seams, leaving 1/4'' seam allowance.  Press seams open.

Measure the length of the quilt from top to bottom through the center (never along the edge!) and cut 2 side inner borders this length.

Add side inner borders to quilt center, pinning to match centers, ends and in between.  Ease where necessary to fit.  We do this so the quilt has the same measurement along the sides as it does in the center.  Side/center/side should all be the same length.  Press seams toward the inner border.

Repeat the process, measuring across the quilt from side to side through the center, including the side borders just added in this measurement. Cut top and bottom inner borders this length.

Add top and bottom inner borders to quilt in the same manner.  Press seams toward inner border.

Adding Flying Geese border!

(Including the fudge units!)

Things to love about pieced borders:  They are easy to fudge!  They give, they ease - all of those seams allow your border to behave much like an accordion. 

I get the math as close as I can (remember this is a straight set border =normal math= on an on-point rectangular quilt =stupid math= LOL) and then use a fudge unit as a turning point in the center of the border to make the math work out. Can you see it in this photo above?

Or how about here?

What do you notice about these?

The side fudge units (left) are wider than the top/bottom fudge units (right) even though they are the same height as the flying geese, as a different width is needed for the side fudge unit to make the math work as closely as possible.

The printable PDF paper piecing templates are found in the printer-friendly version of this part - click the link toward the top of this post. Save the file to your computer. Find and click to open the saved file from your computer to print PDF files.

Paper:  Any kind of thin easy-to-tear paper may be used for printing the templates. You can use printer paper, newsprint or designated paper piecing paper.  You only need 2 of each unit, but the templates are set to print "as many as fit the page" so you'll get extras when you print. Side border units print as 4 per page, Top/Bottom units will have 6.  It's good to have extras in case you fudge on the piecing!

Printing PDF templates.

Please double check your page sizing and handling options.  Make sure you have checked ACTUAL SIZE (not fit) before printing. 

Printed units should be measured from the inside finished line on each unit as follows:  Top/Bottom 2'' X 4'', Side: 2 1/2'' X 4''. 

Should your own printing vary, use the custom scale percentage to enlarge or reduce the size to achieve the desired size. (This may take some monkeying.)  No printer?  Draw them out on graph paper. That still works too!

Side units shown, process is the same for all units.

For the wider border units I started with a pink rectangle the unfinished size of the unit: 3'' X 4 1/2''.

For each unit you will also need 2 neutral rectangles 2'' x 3 1/4 or so. I believe bigger is always a bit better with paper piecing.  These sizes will also be ample for the narrower top/bottom border units.

Assembly shown on top/bottom unit.

Pin (or use a dab of glue stick) the back side of a pink rectangle to cover the diamond shaped area on the back side of the paper template.

Position a neutral scrap (piece A 2) with right sides together to the pink diamond area, extending enough fabric into the seam allowance area. Set machine to a smaller stitch (1.5 on a digital machine.)

Stitch along the drawn seam line, extending seam a few stitches beyond the seam line into the seam allowance area into both seam allowances at each end.

Trim excess 1/4'' beyond stitching leaving 1/4'' seam allowance.  Press toward the neutral scrap just added.

Repeat the process adding first yellow scrap at the opposite corner.

Add the remaining neutral and yellow sections following the numbers and shading on the paper template. Trim seams and press toward the pieces just added.

Trim the border unit by placing the 1/4'' line on the ruler along the solid finished line on the template, trimming to leave 1/4'' seam allowance all the way around.  Remove paper.

Finished side border fudge units.

Make 2 for sides, 2 for top/bottom.

Adding Flying Geese Borders!

The yellow wing triangles in all of the geese units are up against the aqua inner border, with the neutral wing triangles on the outside of the quilt.

Top/Bottom borders:  Join 19 Flying Geese with yellow on the right, and 19 Flying geese with Yellow on the left. Press as desired. Add a skinny border fudge unit in between the two border sections.  Press as desired. (Seams will not nest - pin to match.) Make 2.

Side borders: Repeat as for top/bottom borders, using 22 geese for each border half, centering the wider border fudge unit in between the two border sections.  Press.  Make 2.

Join side borders to quilt sides, pinning to match centers and ends and in between to fit. Press seams toward the aqua inner border.

Join the remaining 4 block A quarter units to each end of the top/bottom borders rotating the units to turn corners as shown. Press seams toward the border corner units.

Add top and bottom borders to quilt, pinning to match centers and ends, and in between as needed to fit.

Press borders toward the aqua inner border.

Finishing -

Once borders are added, stay stitch around the outside edge of the border as you did with the quilt center to minimize stretch and to keep seams from popping open during the quilting process.

I quilted Rhododendron Trail using pastel pink thread in an edge to edge design called Lavish by Hermione Agee of LorienQuilting.com.

I finished the edge of Rhododendron Trail with an aqua/cream striped binding, fabric that had been in my stash for a good couple of decades at best.  

I love how it pulls in the aqua in the sashings and inner border but doesn't completely close in the outer edge of the quilt allowing the pink triangles in the border units to float.

And there you have it!

We've reached the end of yet another Quiltville Winter Mystery and I hope you had as much fun making Rhododendron Trail as I did.

I have really enjoyed the last couple of months working on all 8 parts (Plus the intro!) for you.

As in years' past, Rhododendron Trail is only free here on the blog for a limited amount of time.

You MUST print and save all parts pertaining to this mystery before the mystery retires on February 13th, 2022.  I will be unable to provide you with any parts or PDFs from that time forward.

From February 14th, 2022 Rhododendron Trail will ONLY be available as a printable PDF pattern booklet download from the digital pattern section of the Quiltville Store.

And the fun is not over - not by a long shot!  Some exciting new pattern releases and gift-away opportunities are kicking off tomorrow, 1/15/22 so be sure you pop back here to check it out.

Cherry Crunch is releasing tomorrow!

And there will be introductory pricing, and a gift-away you won't want to miss - yes, it includes fabric rolls from Cotton to Quilts!

And since it looks like we'll be snowed in over the weekend and into Monday - I just may throw some other whacky discounts in to keep things interesting.  You'll have to stop by and see!

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

Mind over matter as they say! 

In other words, what you think about matters. 

Take control of negative feelings and turn them around.  

Show negative thoughts who's boss! 

And when all else fails, go sew something! 

The finishing of Rhododendron Trail awaits!


©2021 Bonnie K Hunter. All Rights Reserved

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. Love the reveal! Can't wait to start putting it all together.

  2. Thank you again for a fabulous mystery quilt!! I really enjoyed your fabric colors and block designs. Plus seeing other quilter's fabric choices was really cool too.
    I know it will take me a while to finish since we are getting ready to relocate but that's ok. It will get finished! Thanks again!

  3. Wow! Just wow! Love it! Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication!! You are beyond awesome 😎💜 Thank you for the detailed instructions and for teaching us so much about, quilting, life and ourselves. Thank you for helping me grow as a quilter and a person.

  4. Best mystery yet! You are awesome Bonnie. Thank you!

  5. So excited to get this put together, it's beautiful. Just got the announcement of my 6th grand child's birth so have to work in some baby snuggles in between my sewing. Sounds like a perfect weekend to me! Thanks Bonnie for all your hard work and fabulous creations!

  6. Love how this mystery came together and can't wait to get it all assembled! Thank you!

  7. Thank you, Bonnie, for another enjoyable mystery. I enjoyed this one the most of all since Celtic Solstice. I really like the way you did the way you did the clues this year & I hope you continue this way in the future.

  8. Gorgeous! Gorgeous! Gorgeous! Love, love, love ... Thank you Bonnie for this wonderful Rhododendron Trail pattern.

  9. Wow Bonnie, you never disappoint! I love the reveal. Beautiful. Thanks for the wonderful quilt as well as the camaraderie making it.

  10. REALLY love the way you put it all together - and the more modern look! Great job, Bonnie on providing us challenges, fun, and a gorgeous quilt! THANK YOU. :)

  11. Thank you Bonnie! As a beginner+ quilter, this is my first MQ and I have learned so much. Now I understand why everyone is ‘hooked’ on your Mystery Quilts. I’m already looking forward to the next one!

  12. This is gorgeous! Love the color choices, the suspense, the blocks and the setting! So, everything!

  13. Thank you for sharing this quilt with us. It is one of your lovliest creations.

  14. *Clap, clap, clap!* I think this is one of your most beautiful mystery quilts! Take a bow and accept my gratitude for a wonderful ride! Thank you.

  15. All good things must come to an end, but what a prize! another great design Bonnie! thank you for helping me through the holidays. Happy Sewing :0)

  16. Thank you for another wonderful mystery, Bonnie! I truly appreciate your gift to us.

  17. Wow what a fabulous quilt. Just love how it all comes together. Thank you Bonnie!

  18. Oh, the Rhodo reveal is awesome! Such a pretty quilt - butterflies flitting among the flowers. Thanks, Bonnie, for all that you do for the quilters. Thanks so much for sharing your creative talents and inspiring us to make our own versions of your creations!

  19. Love this Mystery Quilt!! This is my first time using the Simple Folded Corner ruler and it was FANTASTIC! Can't wait to get to finishing mine. Thank you for all you teach and offer the quilting world.

  20. Brava, and a round of applause, for a quilting maestro!

  21. This is an amazing quilt pattern! I fell behind on the clues because "life happens." But I've saved all the clues and plan to finish. Your "fudge unit" in the middle of the pieced border is awesome. I would never have thought of something like that. And I'm so excited that Cherry Crunch is going to be released tomorrow! I've been waiting for that one. Thank you, Bonnie, for all the quilting joy and excitement that you have given us over the years.

  22. Rhododendron is b eautiful! Thank you for so generously sharing.

  23. This has to be my favorite mystery quilt so far! I haven't made it but I will download the pdf's and add it to my list to do! Thank you!!

  24. Bonnie, you did it again! Great job! Love the colors, the blocks and all you do. Thank you

  25. Cannot even think of a word to express how beautiful this quilt is! I have been following along and saving the clues, but have only finished week 2. Printing this in color as it is all the inspiration I need. Thank you so much, Bonnie. You have helped me over the worst thing. My husband of 52 years passed quickly on Nov. 12. (You might remember him from Mackinaw Island and the Grand Hotel as he would wonder in and out to see how we were progressing.) He was my love since high school, my cheer leader, and a terrific enabler. He’s cheering us on. Bless you, Bonnie!

  26. Bonnie... Wonderful job ! Thank you so much for all your time and effort into providing the instructions. I'm still working on Grassy Creek, but enjoyed following along. Did I miss it, or can we see the backing you used ?!

  27. OMG! Bonnie, you are such an enabler. I was sitting this one out, saving clues and watching the fun, because I have three of your previous mysteries that are still waiting for quilting.... along with another 30 UFO's. But now my heart tells me this is one I will regret putting together. Your designs are so well thought out, (even when you create on the fly)! I love the twisting little hourglass blocks that sparkle their way through. Thank you for another wonderful pattern. You have a heart of gold.

  28. Absolutely beautiful!! Havent started yet but have my fabric and plan to start soon!! Thanks Bonnie!!

  29. I love the reveal. I am a little intimidated by the pieced setting triangles and borders, though. I had planned to give this one away, but now I am rethinking that. It may be difficult to let it go.

  30. This was astonishing to follow. I learned so much. I appreciate your contributions to both my education and the quilting community at large. I hope you feel how much appreciation we have for you. This was so much fun and results are stunning.

  31. Bonnie, I LOVE this reveal!! I can't wait to make some progress today! I have to take some foster cats to an adoption center and then it's pajama time and sewing!! (Ordering take out for dinner, too) Thank you for another beautiful mystery!!!

  32. Oh Wow! Thanks for another beauty.

  33. Yay! It is beautiful! Thank you, Bonnie, for another great quilt. Always, especially during Covid, this makes for a great time of peace and community as we all work together and encourage each other towards a common goal.

  34. Gorgeous is all I can say. Well, I'll also THANK YOU for another beautiful mystery.

  35. Another beautiful mystery quilt and fine gift to the quilting community.

  36. Bonnie- this is my first Mystery Quilt and I’m having so much fun! Thank you for taking the time to give us this beautiful present! Your instructions and color choices are absolutely amazing! It’s been such a pleasure following along and watching my sewing skills improve with each and every step! Thanks fromthe bottom of my heart 💕

  37. Thank you so much, Bonnie K. Hunter, for another great mystery quilt. Beautiful!

  38. I cannot wait to finish this last step. I've been loving everything about this quilt. I found the perfect fabric for the backing; do you know how many yards I need to order? I don't really want to wait until I finish to order it. I've made all the blocks you told us to.

  39. Bonnie - Thank you for a beautiful quilt. Will need to get busy now.

  40. Thank you so very much Bonnie, for your time, effort and care.

    Love the reveal.


  41. This is as beautiful as I had hoped for. I am unable to make it right now, but I have downloaded all the clues and will start as soon as I am able. The colors sucked me in and they did not disappoint. Love the aqua touches! And now, Cherry Crush! That one speaks to me too! You are on fire this year lady!

  42. Beautiful quilt, Bonnie! Love the light airy feeling of it! Bravo!

  43. Tysm for leading us down this path every year Bonnue! It's so much fun to see everyone working on it together. The Quiltville community is great! Happy new year!

  44. Beautiful finish. Thank you so much for all the work you do on your mysteries every year. I don't know how you have time to do these with the precision cutting, sewing, writing explicit directions and the expert photography you do. Again thanks so much you are amazing - an energizer bunny who gets busier every year.

  45. I love how the block pattern appears to creates its own sashing. Beautiful quilt

  46. So beautiful! Thanks for another fun mystery adventure! I love my blocks!

  47. I did not understand your comment about the skinny sashing being fantastic...until I actually began the assembly process. I have to agree, fantastic is a great descriptor word.
    I also think the quilt looks much better in person. Thanks Bonnie for
    another mystery.
    I have two curious questions. First, do you ever start designing a mystery quilt and then decide you don't like the direction and so you change your mind, mid-way? Second, does the name, rhododendron trail, have to do with the colors on that trail, or the pattern in your blocks?
    Thanks in advance for your answers.

  48. Ha!I'm finishing up with clue 7 and I guess I was lulled into serenity! I was even thinking about what my next project should be. LOL! I do love the final reveal but it looks like plenty of more piecing days ahead! Thanks Bonnie!

  49. Love the design of this quilt. Colors, shapes, everything. Now I wish I had been along for the mystery fun too. A friend and I may join in the QuiltMaker mystery, not the same but should be fun too.Thanks for all your hard work on this. It's beautiful!


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