Another year, another fabulous Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt! Believe it or not, just three short years ago, I really didn't even know who Bonnie Hunter was! Well, that's not quite accurate. I had seen her scrap-busting block designs in magazines, but, since I had never been a fan of scrap quilts, I glanced over the pattern, thought, "that might be cute, if it wasn't so scrappy" and moved on to the next quilt. Boy was I missing out! I had no idea how much fun making scrappy quilts could be!
Let me explain. I learned to quilt back in 1991. I started the way some quilters start, with a beginning quilting class at a local quilt shop. Our assignment each week was a block that used a different technique, and at the end of the class we had sampler. We began with choosing fabrics. I had no stash. I didn't know what a stash was. I went through the shop, chose a white on white for the background, a mauve, a country blue, and a dusty purple. When that quilt was finished, I did not like it! I sold it to my aunt for my cousin for her birthday, because my aunt was sure she would love it! So, enter the next 25 years of my quilting journey. Very few quilts were made because I was working full time and raising two kids. Finally, in 2007, I quit teaching, my kids were mostly grown, and I had time to pursue quilting. I picked up where I had left off. When I wanted to make a quilt, I chose a pattern, bought the exact right amount of fabrics, and made the quilt. There was very little fabric left over. I didn't care. I couldn't imagine what I would do with scraps! In fact, if I did accumulate more than one container of leftover fabrics, I donated them. Why would I need scraps???
Enter, new friends. Guess who they loved? Bonnie Hunter of @quiltville_bonnie. They were lucky enough to get into a quilt retreat in Sioux City with Bonnie Hunter, and they invited me! I didn't know much about Bonnie, so I googled her, bought a couple of her books, and began my journey into using scraps. That retreat was so much fun! Bonnie was a wonderful teacher. She is a giving, open, humorous woman. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of her trunk show and the two days of classes with her. I also began to notice that, unlike me, the other ladies were using fabrics of all kinds in their quilts. My fabrics were yardage that I bought for the class. The other quilts were interesting, while mine seemed a bit lackluster. Hmmmm....I was learning something about using fabrics of similar color and value in order to add interest to my quilts!
The next year was the year Allietare came out. I wasn't sure. I didn't have scraps. I saved the patterns but didn't make the quilt. When the reveal happened, I was so sorry that I hadn't made the quilt! So, when En Provence began, I was ready! I had slowly accumulated more of a stash and more scraps. I quickly realized that I don't buy enough lights for my stash (a problem I have since corrected!). I followed along, and made the half size. My quilt turned out beautifully!
This year, Bonnie has treated us to On Ringo Lake. When the colors came out, I loved them. But, I determined to use as much fabric from my stash as possible. I wanted to use my scraps. I wanted to do what Bonnie does and create from the discarded and unused pieces in my containers. So, I switched the salmon to pink because that's what I had. I did use a line of fabric that I had in my stash with lots of yardage, so it isn't as scrappy as it could have been. I discovered that I could pull browns and pinks from my bins and mix them in with the yardage that I already had. That discovery is a long way from my old formula of one single fabric for each element in the block...and, for me, that is a great discovery!