Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Indigo Way Mystery Introduction!

How many years have we been doing mysteries?

They started around 2008 when I was moving from South Carolina to North Carolina with Carolina Crossroads which is now included in my first book Scraps & Shirttails.

Mysteries continued - some being published after the fact in later publications, and there are several that still live down at the bottom of the Free Patterns tab.

The most recent mysteries (including this one eventually) were retired and then offered as PDF patterns in the digital pattern section of the Quiltville Store.

This year, as many others before it (except for during the non-traveling time of Covid) gets its inspiration from somewhere I've been in the past year - Vietnam!

This post contains the back story, colors, yardage requirements, and recommended tools.

Our yearly Quiltville Winter Mystery begins in earnest with Part One going live on Black Friday, 11/24/23.

All of the posts for our Indigo Way mystery will be linked under the Indigo Way tab at the top of the blog for easy reference.

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.

The most important thing I can mention is to PRINT YOUR PDF COPIES (or save them to your  device, cloud, whatever) as they are released.

When the mystery retires, likely some time in February - all of these mystery posts will go away and I will not be providing missing parts. You'll be directed to the Quiltville Store and the Quiltville Etsy Pattern Shop to purchase the pattern. SAVE YOUR CLUES.

Why do we do a mystery quilt during the holidays?  It's simple.

No matter how busy you may be during the holidays, there are people who are not. They could be alone, or caring for aging parents, their children may be across country or on the other side of the world. 

We have folks dealing with devastating illnesses - newly widowed or divorced. Maybe there was a loss of a job, or a move across country and away from family and friends.

The holidays are NOT joyful for everyone - so we do this during this time to bring a little joy into their lives.  Sewing in community can heal.  It's a gift I can give.  

If you are too busy to participate because your holidays are bustling and joyful - that's wonderful.  Just save the clues so you can jump in later as your own schedule allows.

Okay!  Now that all of that is out of the way - let's get on with it!

Click HERE for Indigo Way Introduction PDF.

Indigo is life in the mountains of Vietnam.

Many of Vietnam's various ethnic groups continue to practice traditional methods of transforming indigofera plants into a deep blue dye, in order to tint their clothing and household fabrics. For some tribes, the shade of indigo is extremely important - the deeper the tone, the finer the cloth.

Batiked indigo panels with red/white/navy square in a square appliques.

While I loved our traveling in Vietnam, my life was so enriched by the beautiful Hmong women we met while in the Sapa region.

These small ethnic groups keep their customs alive through their traditional costumes and the handcrafts they pass down from mother-to-daughter-to-granddaughter.

"Do you have children?" The lady I was closely watching asked me.  "Oh yes! I have 2 sons, and one grandson."

"Oh! I have 8 children and 18 grandchildren!" She exclaimed.

I know wherein her treasure lies.

While we admired the costumes - we came to learn that even the cloth was handwoven on looms from hemp died in indigo.  All of the embroidery is done by hand with hand-dyed silk.

From Grandmother to daughter to granddaughter - and on to us.

And if you need a place for your needle - just stick it in your hat!

We learned that the deeper the indigo dye - nearly blue-black - the finer the fabric.

Years of working with dyed cloth - it's evident in the hands.

And in the feet.

(Here she is twisting the silk threads into plys for embroidery.)

I loved my time with these ladies!

(That's Craftours guide Deb in the middle!)

And I'll be sharing more through the parts of this mystery.

Hemp loom for weaving cloth with newly washed batiked and dyed hangings.

This is the one that came home with me.

This piece equals maybe 1/2 yard or so - maybe a bit less.  But I used it as a focal fabric in Indigo Way along with some other indigo/navy blues to round out my mix.  If you have a particular navy fabric that you'd like to use as a focal - there will be a good place for it. It is accounted for in the total yardage for indigo blues.

If you wish to just use random navy blues, that will work fine too.

Paint Chips from Lowe's!

Paint Chips are NOT required to participate.  I really don't think you need them.  Just save this photo to your phone and voila.

Just think Indigo (Navy) Light Blue, Red and Neutral.

Back side of the chips if you need them.

A PDF of the paint chips is included in the PDF for this introductory post.

Fabric Requirements:

Indigo Way finishes at 87'' X 87''.  If you wish a smaller quilt, make half the units. You can figure out your own layout once the reveal is posted.

Indigo fabrics: 3 yards total

Light blues: 2 yards total

Solid Red (Because - the hats!) 2 1/2 yards.

Your reds do not have to be solid.  You can use as many as you want.  I am expressing my full Vietnam experience in this quilt.  You do you.

Please prewash at least your reds to make sure they don't bleed.

Neutrals - a good variety (You know me!)

4 1/2 yards

White to cream, but not too dark. They need to contrast against your lightest blues. The two neutral paint chips are roughly the range I went with.  

Of course it goes without saying - your fabrics don't have to be a perfect match to the paint chips and your quilt will have more life and movement if you push the boundaries of your color families.

Enhance your Indigo Way stash at Cotton to Quilts!

Our friends at Cotton to Quilts have pulled together some wonderful blue and neutral bundles to round out your stash - and yes, the two blue bundles, Indigo 1 and Indigo 2 are different with no fabrics repeating so if you purchase one of each, you get 40 different fabrics.

The rolls contain 20 cuts 8'' X 22'' equaling 2 1/3 yards per roll.

The solid red comes in a 3 yard cut. (remember to pre-wash!)

Recommended Tools:

This year we are using my Essential Triangle Tool along with the Tri Recs ruler set.

Peaky & Spike will also do the same unit as the Tri Recs and is also available.

Use coupon code NOTIONS to save 15% on all items in the Rulers, Notions & Tools category of the Quiltville Store. Code must be used for discount to apply.

I will not be giving Accuquilt die information as it reveals too much too soon.  As each clue comes out with each given finished unit size, you can easily find the corresponding die you need.

I will also provide traditional rotary cutting measurements for those who wish to work that way. 

Our first clue goes live 11/24/23 with additional clues being added each Friday until we reach completion, usually sometime in January.

I hope you are as excited as I am!

Our Craftours group watching how batiking is done with bees wax over hemp fabric - later to be overdyed with the indigo.  What a great workshop day!

(And yes, this is the same day that I fell when photographing the water buffalo and ended up making Silk Path in the aftermath.)

And of course, your Silk-Path PDF Pattern Gift-Away is still going strong HERE.  Enter to win!

Introductory Special: I have placed Silk Path at 25 % off in both the digital pattern section of the Quiltville Store and in the Quiltville Etsy Pattern Shop

Full color photos, step-by-step instructions included.

Quilt Size: 84’’ X 84’’

Sale price good through 11/15/23.  Hurry now and save - no coupon needed!

And yes - I'll be drawing for 2 winners who will each receive a Silk Path PDF pattern from me, and a Facets of Brown Color Roll from Cotton to Quilts.

Enter to win on the Gift-Away Post!

Tomorrow I'll be drawing for our winners in the Summit St Box Gift-Away. Get your entry in!

Oh, and one more thing -

I think I've covered all of the bases.  Go pull fabric!

We've all got something that pushes our buttons. We struggle for various reasons. Maybe it's health issues, financial issues, or after-effects of nature's wrath.

Anger may yank your chain, but don't let it hang on. 

Much love -


©2023 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. I have been collecting indigo fabric for years. Right up my alley.

  2. Anonymous8:42 AM EDT

    What great fun lies ahead, colours are stunning !

  3. What great fun lies ahead, stunning colours !

  4. It's nearly midnight here in Queensland, Australia and I stayed up to see the colour reveal because I'm so excited and I love love love them, thank you Bonnie, I'm looking forward to making this mystery ๐Ÿ˜Š

    1. Lynn in Australia12:28 PM EDT

      I'm in Qld too, I am considering making this quilt too, I will prob wait to see if my skill set is up to it. I am finding it hard to think of quilts with the weather heating up already but I love the colours

  5. What a great color combination! Can't wait for this one to start, thank you Bonnie!

  6. Anonymous9:03 AM EDT

    Bonnie, this is the most loving post! Thank you for all your hugs and smiles ❤ Linda Foss

  7. Indigo Way is going to be lucious! Thanks so much for the additional pictures from your Viet Nam adventure, too. I can't wait to see how this progresses!

  8. Laurie Reissler9:56 AM EDT

    Thank you so much for explaining such an interesting culture. I'm really looking forward to this mystery.

  9. Anonymous10:11 AM EDT

    Beautiful colors, can't wait to dig into this mystery!!! Thank you so much for all your generosity and hard work!

  10. Thank you for this Mystery.... the only thing I couldn't find was the dimensions of the quilt. Beautiful colors, thanks again ๐Ÿ’“

    1. Anonymous11:08 AM EDT

      That's part of the mystery. We'll find out later.

    2. Anonymous12:07 PM EDT

      Generally Bonnie's quilts are bed size, at least full size. However, like the other anonymous poster said, it is part of the mystery. Some quilters make all the units 1/2 size if they want a wall hanging size quilt. With 12 yards of fabric needed for the quilt top, I think this quilt will be in the full to queen bed size. Since I can't figure out why I can't sign in to be my name and not anonymous, I'm Susan the Farm Quilter.

    3. Anonymous12:37 PM EDT

      Right above the pics of her fabrics, she says it will finish 87 x 87. Now off to pick fabrics. Alice

    4. Anonymous12:50 PM EDT

      Right under Fabric Requirements: Finishes at 87" x 87". Pat Scully, Greenbelt, Maryland

    5. Early in the post Bonnie says it is 87x87

    6. Anonymous1:31 PM EDT

      It says that it will finish at 87 by 87

    7. Anonymous1:57 PM EDT

      87x87 given in description

    8. I think she said 87 x 87

    9. Anonymous3:14 PM EDT

      In Bonnie's text, right after she shows paint chips, she notes the quilt will finish at 87 x 87. Sharon

    10. thanks for that size info. I'll add a border to make it a larger queen

  11. Bonnie, I can't count the number of mysteries I have done of yours. I can only imagine the struggle in deciding which part of your travels this year to include in it. But, YAY!! What lovely colors and inspiration! I don't think I will be changing the colors on this one! HA! Definitely a treat for the day. Happy Halloween, everyone!

  12. It's mystery season, the most happy time of the year :0)

  13. pRINTING this out to manifest improvement in vision so i can join all y'all.. xo Cats in Carlsbad CA

  14. beautiful memories. thanks for the mystery. it's alot of work for you

  15. Love it! I'm in! (I really thought there would be just a touch of mud brown! LOL!)

  16. Would a jelly roll work for some of the indigo fabric? I have a roll of imported indigo batik that I bought years ago at a quilt show that I have been waiting to use!

    1. Anonymous12:09 PM EDT

      Deborah, since Bonnie likes to work with smaller pieces, I'm sure you could work at least some of it in the quilt! I'd put it in the mix with larger pieces of indigo and have a back-up plan if necessary. Susan the Farm Quilter

    2. Just before the photos of the fabric for Indigo Way it says it finishes at 87" x 87"

  17. Hi Bonnie, thanks again for doing this every year! Is the finished size mentioned anywhere? If it is less than queen size I'll pull some extra fabric.

    1. Anonymous12:10 PM EDT

      12 yards of fabric for the top makes me believe it will be full to queen size. Bonnie rarely makes a pattern that is larger than queen size. Susan the Farm Quilter

    2. Anonymous12:25 PM EDT

      It says 87 x 87 in the description.


    3. Anonymous3:16 PM EDT

      Bonnie indicates finished size at 87x 87

    4. Thanks for the update!

  18. Thank you, Bonnie! I'm one of those people who are so grateful for your mystery clues to help me through the holidays. You are so very good at what you do! Your bright light shows us the way! ❤

  19. Bonnie, unrelated but I received my Outdoor Kitty House. It's perfect! It is exactly perfect for my needs. Thank you for sharing that information and link!

  20. Anonymous11:27 AM EDT

    This was a trip of a lifetime, filled with amazing people, sights, food, history & culture. I will never forget our days in the Mountains, can’t wait to make this quilt! I wondered if a quilt would be born from our trip, now I know! Thank you, Bonnie! Beth in SC

  21. Anonymous11:36 AM EDT

    If I prewash the red and the other scraps are not pre-washed, as smallscraps dont do well in the wash, wont this then shrink in funny ways after it is made nd used ? Do I pre-wash all the fabric if red is included ? ( Newbie here, I have made one quilt before, Good Luck, finish this July photos on the facebook. ) thanks --- Debi Baker

    1. Anonymous7:57 AM EST

      I hand wash my small pieces; just get them wet and swirling them around then squeeze extra water and dry. I put starch in the water because I like my fabric with some body for sewing.

  22. Debbie Myers12:27 PM EDT

    I’ve been making scrub hats for my son (trauma surgeon) for years out of the indigo shwe shwe fabric from South Africa. I have quite a few leftovers, so I’m thinking I might just have to jump in on this mystery! Thank you, Bonnie!

  23. Anonymous1:51 PM EDT

    Wow!! Looking forward to this
    Had planned on black red and sand (background) Was waiting for reveal for rest. May have to rethink black
    Cynthia from Oak Park CA

  24. This looks interesting and in my colors, too! I am in awe of people who can develop and publish patterns. I will be saving all the clues for a future project.

  25. Trish b. here. Just love the colors of this Mystery. The size of this quilt is 87" by 87". It is listed at the beginning of fabric requirments .

  26. What an energetic post! Great for helping me come out of my post-procedure anesthesia. Must buy fabric! Thinking I will hit the Fleas this weekend to get a little more variety. Excited.

  27. I love the colors of this quilt. I will see if I get my quilting MOJO back or just enjoy the excitement of watching others. The holidays will be very hard this year for me. My 19 year old son died in a car accident in June. His birthday was also Christmas eve. I have to try to take each day one step at a time. Thank you so much Bonnie for doing the mystery quilts for those who need some extra enjoyment during the holidays.

    1. I'm so, so sorry for your loss, Cindy! Just an idea ... you said, "I love the colors." Perhaps working the fabric you select in those colors could help you find a bit of comfort and peace especially as his birthday approaches. Maybe even a way to honor his memory and all that his life means to you.

  28. Reena Kaplowitz5:23 PM EDT

    Thank You Bonnie! A lovely start. I enjoyed a trip to Vietnam in 2018- North to South- a treasured memory.

  29. Thank you so much Bonnie! I love indigo fabric, can't wait to start!!

  30. I must have commented in my sleep. I set my alarm and printed out the Intro. THANKS is never enough to say for all you do. Been housebound with Bronchitis for a week and a half. Stitching calms my heart! Getting Chilhowie finished while I wait for Black Friday. Hubby Picked up my Paint Chips except for the Indigo. I think I can find it on the 3 in 1 Color Tool! Happy Stitching, No Whining!

  31. Anonymous7:14 PM EDT

    I love the colors and so appreciate having this Indigo Way Mystery to look forward to over the coming holiday season as this year DH and I will be on our own without any family around for the first time in our lives. Holidays are better with others...
    Carolyn C.

  32. Anonymous7:31 PM EDT

    Thank you Bonnie! I am looking forward to digging through my stash for the beautiful colors you have suggested. I am so excited that the tri-rec rulers will be used again. It has been awhile.

  33. Bonnie L8:28 PM EDT

    Love the story about the generations of women. Any idea why "red" for the head dresses?

  34. Anonymous2:07 AM EDT

    Love love love the colors!! I am downloading the clues and will start the process of sorting scraps. Excited!! Thanks so much Bonnie!

  35. Linda Gysin7:13 AM EDT

    Whoo hoo! My husband went to Sapa in April and brought me some fabric. There is a wonderful red and navy. They are meant for this mystery!

  36. Anonymous11:24 AM EDT

    I was wondering if this design would work with a variety of secondary colors: for example, maybe instead of red, to use orange, green, and/or yellow?
    The reason I ask is that I’m making Chilhowie now, and I’m using red, blue, and green—mostly because those were the most numerous colors I had in my stash.

  37. Bonnie, Will we be cutting up the indigo pieces that we purchased in Viet Nam for this pattern? I am excited about being able to incorporate the fabric we bought from the ladies in Sapa, but will struggle to cut into it. Thanks! Roxanne

  38. This is my first mystery quilt, when collecting the fabrics, what is the smallest size for the blues, neutrals and lt blues that would be useful for the blocks..... or should I wait patiently until the first clue is released.

  39. Thank you, Bonnie! I absolutely love indigo and cannot wait to participate in my first mystery quilt project. Also, thank you for being so thoughtful to those that may need a little something to work on during this time.

  40. What a story and what a journey. I'm in on this one. My stash looks quite promissing even the red solid is there. Thanks for all you do for your community and for mentioning the prewashing.

  41. I have some fat quarters of South African fabric. This quilt would be fun in those fabrics if I have enough! (even for a smaller quilt).

  42. Amy Zahorian6:01 PM EST

    Bonnie - I have done your mysteries for several years now but this year I totally understand your comment about some are lonely. I have recently lost my husband and my kids have moved away to start their own lives. I am going to cherish this year's mystery just a little bit more. Thanks for all you do for the quilting community.

    1. So sorry about losing your husband and the kids having moved away. May you find wonderful gems of comfort in this year's mystery.

  43. Skipped a few years, this year I'm excited to join the journey ones more. I used to think that I couldn't do it, but proved myself wrong. I've got some beautiful quilts to show for. Thanks Bonnie for all the work you do and joy you spread with this mystery.

  44. Anonymous4:19 PM EST

    My indigo is Japanese obi and only 6 inches wide. Do you advise having some indigo that is wider? I bought it in 1987 and am excited to use it! Thanks. Susan


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