The Mystery of the Holiday Quilt: Introduction & Clue 1

mystery quilt holiday clue

It’s simply amazing that here we are with another holiday season approaching, far too quickly. But, we are! And, at The Quilting Company we decided we have time to fit in one more mystery quilt this year. Now, you may be asking, “Why should I start a mystery quilt so close to the holidays?”  For one, with all of the activity approaching, you need to make sure you take time out for you. Another reason is you don’t have to make this quilt for your own special holiday heirloom; you can finish it to give as a gift.

5 Clue bags filled with cut fabric


Welcome to the Mystery of the Holiday Quilt!

My name is Abigail Dolinger. You may have seen some of my designs on the pages of Quilters Newsletter, Quilting Quickly, McCall’s Quilting, and Quiltmaker magazines. The Black Forest Christmas Quilt, Chain of Hearts, and Nocturne are just a few of my designs.

Black Forest Christmas Quilt Quilters Newsletter

Black Forest Christmas Quilt
Quilters Newsletter


Chain of Hearts McCall’s Quilting

Chain of Hearts
McCall’s Quilting


Nocturne Quilting Quickly

Quilting Quickly

The editorial staff of The Quilting Company asked me to design a quilt for the Mystery of the Holiday Quilt, one that would remind quilters of the comfort of spending special time with family and friends and the warmth of coming home for the holidays.

I’ve designed a six-part mystery series. I’ll share clue #1 with this blog and post one clue a week, with the final BIG REVEAL in clue #6.

About the Holiday Mystery Quilt Designer

I’m a native of Culpeper, Virginia. I learned various needle crafts from my mother, grandmothers, and Sewing 4-H club leaders. As a young girl, I remember sitting on my grandmother’s shady back steps hand piecing Four-Patches in the summertime. In 1976 when the U.S. celebrated its bicentennial, there was a resurgence of interest in colonial crafts. That’s when the quilting bug bit me! Bed quilts, baby quilts, and wall quilts–all are of interest. I find inspiration from traditional quilt blocks and settings, but I applaud the Modern Quilt Movement as well. I enjoy the challenge of designing with parameters: challenge blocks/quilts, Jelly Roll and Layer Cake quilts, stash quilts, and block swaps with friends.

Abigail Dolinger Visit my website at

Abigail Dolinger
Visit my website at

After graduating from seminary, my husband Ran joined the Army as a chaplain. Thus began a 30-year trek across the U.S. and even to Germany for three tours. I’ve always formed rich friendships with quilting friends along the way and have found inspiration for my quilts from the sites I’ve seen, the emotions stirred from my experiences, and the people I’ve met. Quilting friends are the best! Learn more about me and see more of my quilt designs at

Let’s Begin the Holiday Mystery Quilt. Here’s Clue #1!

Part 1: Gather Materials

The finished size of the Mystery of the Holiday Quilt design is 70” x 70”, a nice throw-size for cuddling on the sofa with some hot-chocolate. I always love the combination of Red and Green – it makes me think of Christmas. I chose the Poinsettia and Pine fabrics from Maywood Studio to make my quilt. The black and white fabrics of the collection bring depth when combined with red and green fabrics.

Poinsettia and Pine fabric collection from Maywood Studio

Poinsettia and Pine fabric collection from Maywood Studio

Of course, you can choose non-holiday fabrics for this mystery. Select a border fabric that includes two colors that are opposite on the color wheel. Then choose tone-on-tone fabrics of those two colors. And finally, choose a dark (accent) and a light (background) that accent or blend with those colors.

Multicolor Poinsettia Print – 2-1/2 yards
White Tone-on-Tone – 2-1/2 yards
Red Tone-on-Tone – 2 yards
Black Holly Print – 1-1/2 yards
Green Plaid – 1-1/2 yards
Binding: 3/4 yard
Backing: 4-3/4 yards

5-gallon-size zip-close plastic bags (optional; See Tips)


Using the fabrics you selected for this project, make a swatch card by attaching a sliver of the selvage of each fabric next to the description above. Referring to the swatch card will help you easily identify fabrics as you cut and sew them.

Fabric cutting instructions to make the whole quilt are provided in this clue. I think you’ll find it very helpful to organize the patches in gallon-size zip-close plastic bags. I’ve included directions for placing the cut fabrics in the correct bag for each clue.

Label each of the gallon-size zip-close plastic bags Clue #2, Clue #3, Clue #4, Clue #5, and Clue #6.

Label bags for Clues #2-#6

Part 2: Head Start Fabric Cutting

Cut the following patches and strips from the fabric and place them in the labeled plastic bags.

Multicolor Poinsettia Print

  • 4 strips 5-1/2” x 72”, cut parallel to the selvage (Bag: Clue #6)
  • 1 square 9-1/4” x 9-1/4” (Bag: Clue #4)
  • 16 squares 4” x 4” (Bag: Clue #4)
  • 1 square 4-1/2” x 4-1/2”, fussy cut by centering a motif of the print within a square ruler as shown below. (Bag: Clue #4)
Fussy cut 4-1/2” square

Fussy cut 4-1/2” square

White Tone-on-Tone

  • 7 strips 2-1/2” x Width of Fabric (WOF) (Bag: Clue #3)
  • 1 square 10” x 10” (Bag: Clue #5)
  • 9 squares 8” x 8” (Bag: Clue #2)
  • 8 squares 4-7/8” x 4-7/8” (Bag: Clue #4)
  • 16 rectangles 4” x 7-1/2” (Bag: Clue #4)
  • 4 squares 4” x 4” (Bag: Clue #4)
  • 4 squares 3-1/2” x 3-1/2” (Bag: Clue #2)

Red Tone-on-Tone

  • 5 strips 2-1/2” x WOF (Bag: 4 strips Clue #3; 1 strip Clue #5)
  • 9 squares 8” x 8” (Bag: Clue #2)
  • 1 square 9-1/4” x 9-1/4” (Bag: Clue #4)
  • 1 square 5-1/4” x 5-1/4” (Bag: Clue #5)
  • 16 squares 4” x 4” (Bag: Clue #4)
  • 4 squares 2-1/2” x 2-1/2” (Bag: Clue #5)

Black Print

  • 10 strips 2-1/2” x WOF (Bag: 9 strips Clue #3; 1 strip Clue #5)
  • 1 square 10” x 10” (Bag: Clue #5)

Green Print

  • 4 squares 2-7/8” x 2-7/8” (Bag: Clue #5)
  • Place the remainder of the fabric in the bag labeled Clue #6. You will use it for borders.
5 Clue bags filled with cut fabric

5 Clue bags filled with cut fabric

Join Us on Social Media with #TQCMysteryQuilt!

As with all of the other Quilting Company mystery quilts, I hope you will GET SOCIAL! Join me on Instagram using the hashtag #TQCMysteryQuilt. Also, join me on the #TQCMysteryQuilt group on Facebook to share your progress, ask me questions, and chat with others making the quilt along the way. You’ll also see the results of our other mysteries, the Mystery of Halloween and the most recent, Mystery of the Thanksgiving Table Runner.

You’ve completed the first clue of the Mystery of the Holiday Quilt. Thank you for joining me. I’m looking forward to sharing the second clue with you next week! Until then . . .

Seasons Greetings!


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