I've been reading a few blogs lately and there's been much talk about mystery quilts, and why do we do them?
It seems to be split down the middle. There are those of us who love them, and those of us who would never do one.
I've changed a lot in my twenty or so years of quilting. I started doing mystery quilts when I first began quilting. Back then, I had very little confidence. I didn't know enough about colour choices and I knew that it would teach me a little bit. I did a few then, I loved some, I loathed others. One came out looking like a quilt covered in swastikis. Not my cup of tea at all.
Over the years my whole design 'thing' has changed. I gave up making large quilts. How many large quilts does one person need? We opened a quilt shop and my days of making quilts purely for fun, or for no financial gain were long gone. The only thing I quilted was samples, or or own designs. I loved every minute of it but there was no time for anything 'fun' or purely for me.
And now that I am officially retired from the quilt shop, I find myself surfing a lot online. One of my favourite sites is Bonnie from Quiltville.com. I love her whole quilting 'thing'. I love the scrap quilts. I've always been a lover of the scrap quilts.
So yes, now I do her mysteries. I've only done two, but I've learned so much from them. They force me to push my limits and piece quilts in ways that I have been too cowardly to do in the past. They force me to use colours that don't settle well with me. I'm not disappointed with the two that I have done. I love them. I have loads of scraps, it didn't cost me anything - it was totally worth the risk.
I think it's made me a better quilter. (At least marginally).
My advice is, if you're going to do a mystery, do your research on designers. Some of the mystery quilts out there are pretty dodgy. Don't even get me started on the one I began about ten years ago - I'm still waiting for her to post her next set of instructions. Or the one where you had to make a million blocks, and then was told to 'stitch together in a manner that pleases you'. I ended up throwing that one in the bin, and I *never* throw anything out.
I'd thoroughly recommend Bonnie's though. Neat, precise instructions, always a winning quilt. It's just fun, that's all. Just a little bit of fun.
All the best,