Ask Jo: The Seasons of Life

Every so often I get comments either in the comment section or in my email.  I think others might want the answer to those same questions so I answer them here on the blog. Today is one of those days.

First off I want to thank and commend all the wonderful response that I’ve gotten from blog readers wanting to help Tina and the others who are dealing with the aftermath of the California wildfires.  (Read about that in this post)

I still find it so heartening to know that Tina was someone who donated to charity..and now it’s Tina that needs help…but even in her own person tough time she’s still working to help others through the distribution of quilts.  What a wonderful lady!

I can’t imagine one day having this and the next…nothing.

Image result for paradise california before and after

I’ve had people email me wanting Tina’s address as they want to send quilts.  Some are taking Tina’s message to their guilds and the guilds are coming together to help.  Wow…I love you guys.

Quilters really are the best.

I got a letter with a check from blog reader Judy in Vermont.  Judy writes that she doesn’t have quilts to give but help Tina so she sent a check to me to help with postage and costs to get things to her.  This is a “it takes a village project”…I’m glad Judy jumped in.

If anyone else is interested in helping, drop me an email and I’ll pass on Tina’s information to you.

Both of the topics I’m tackling today in this “ask Jo” edition are very different but both have the theme of then and now…changing seasons of life.

Some of you heard that I was thinking of caving in and doing Bonnie Hunter’s mystery.

I got all sorts of comments from blog readers…most of them were “I caved too” comments.

I got a comment from Gretchen that had me thinking.  Let me first say that Gretchen is a long time blog reader and comments often.  I’m not for a minute bothered by what she said…she just had me thinking.  This is her comment…..
If you want to participate in the mystery quilt then go ahead, do what you want to sew. I did think you had a really good post last spring, or whenever it was, about why not to participate. You put into words what I’ve thought for years about not participating in mystery quilts. I suggest you reread what you wrote in that post and then really decide if you want to make this years mystery quilt. I’m not being snarky or rude, I just remember what you said about wanting to make quilts you really want to make.

I went back and read that post.  You can find it here.  You can read the post too.  I commented that I often get pulled into the hype and don’t end up making the quilts that are the “desire of my heart”.

Well I recently read a book about decluttering your home, Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White.  I’m reviewing the book coming up.  The book really had an impact on me.  One of the chapters is about decluttering your hobby or craft room.  Oh my if anyone ever needed that chapter it’s me.

I also recently talked to Mary from Country Threads about having so many quilts to sew and so little time to sew them all.  Mary said she still struggles with that even in retirement.

All of this got me thinking….Do I really want to do the mystery?  What quilts do I really want to be sewing?  Does it make sense to keep my embroidery supplies when I so rarely embroider?  Should I declutter my wool?  I never use it!  NEVER.

This is the conclusion I came to.

At this point in my life right now, I need things to be easy.  It’s hard for me to find the time to start a project with a different technique.  It’s hard for me to pull out “ALL OF MY WOOL” and work on a wool project.  It’s hard for me to pull out that wonderful art quilt Abilene that I bought.

Image result for abilene cow quilt

I love it.  I want to make it.  I have the kit but in order to make it I almost have to do it over a two day weekend when I have nothing else going on.  Those times are hard to come by…and that’s completely okay with me.  I treasure Hubby time and family time that cuts into my weekends…(Auctions too)

I have bought other books and magazines with the hope that I’ll make a quilt.  I don’t.  The quilt will call for pieces that 1 1/4″…I don’t have that size in my scrap users system so in order to make a quilt that is 1 1/4″ based, I’d have to pull out ALL OF THE FABRIC for it.  Cut it all and then put all of the fabric back.  I don’t have the time for that.

This is the season of my life….I have to do things that don’t take up too much time and energy as I’m still juggling so many different parts of my life.

May I also say this:
I LOVE BONNIE HUNTER’S DIRECTIONS AT A GLANCE.  They make quilting so much easier for me.  They make my life so much simpler.

When I saw that the first clue was red and white four patches.  It so tempted me as I knew I could easily do that.  I had the first 140 done without cutting a single piece of fabric….I just pulled from my scrap users.

It was easy to grab a hand full of reds and whites to cut over naptime to finish the rest of them.

Best yet…while I pulled pieces for that, I ended up cutting up the entire fat quarters as I decided to make Bonnie Hunter’s new Hunter’s Star quilt.


I could cut the pieces I needed for clue one and I could cut the rest into strips for Hunter’s Star.  This way I didn’t have to put the fat quarters away and I almost have the quilt cut out.  Perfect.

Little mess…little extra time or effort added.  PERFECT.  This is exactly what I need in order to be able to craft.

Was making Hunter’s Star a whim…yes.  But it’s a quilt I’ll enjoy making and most of all, in my busy life, it was easy to cut out.  It was easy to get going on…and best of all, I love the quilt.  I love red and white.  I call that a win.

Will I get to those other quilts?….some yes…some no.

With my recent health issues, I’ve taken a little more time to think this all through- likely more than most people do.  If this cancer ends up getting me prematurely, would I be happy with the quilts that I’ve sewn.  Is there one I really wish I’d have made?  I couldn’t think of a single one.

I’ve decided more important to me than “what I sew” is simply “that I sew”.  I love the finished product but more so I love the time at the machine.

This is the season of my sewing life right now….Maybe someday I’ll tackle those “other projects”.  Maybe my Hawaiian Sunset quilt will get finished.  Maybe I’ll actually do a wool project.  Who knows??  For now, I’m taking the easiest route to get me to the sewing machine…and I’m going to do some decluttering along the way.

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13 thoughts on “Ask Jo: The Seasons of Life

  1. Paula S.

    Your comments are great Jo! I think as quilters, we think we need to have a dozen or so projects going but then don’t finish but a portion of them. I’ve decided to sit this mystery of Bonnie’s out for now. However, if I LOVE what I see at the reveal, I will consider making it. I have a handful of projects I will finish first.

  2. Conniec

    I love a good mystery, maybe not all of the endings. I have been known to do my own ending. When I saw the Red and White four patches I thought of Jo, immediately. Then, on Bonnie’s first Monday Link up, I saw David’s fabric colors and was mesmerized with his color choices. I knew I could pull similar Bright colors from my stash. So, here I am doing the mystery. Clue one, is done, you saw the bright yellow and white 4 patches. Clue 2 is Aqua and whites all cut out and ready to go to the machine. I may keep it or I may donate it, time will tell!

  3. Colleen

    Amen. I had stage 4 cancer 13 years ago. I had stopped quilting for about 5 years before. I decided when I got well I was going for those dreams ( I am Lucky Duck Dreams). Four years one kayak and a masters in Library science later I got rid of the bed in the spare room and set up a sewing craft studio. It’s like I got a missing limb back. I sew what I want. I don’t stress up unfinished projects or my collection of fabric. They are someekses future treasures. I try to sew/ create everyday. I too do the mystery the fall, Project Wuiltong in the winter, and Row by Riw in the summer. It’s practice, challenge, easy , fun, and what is meaningful in my life. Sew on!

  4. Carla

    How refreshing to read that you were not offended by a reader’s comment. You took it the way she meant it and listened. It’s nice to see. This whole group is simply lovely! And you, Jo, are the linchpin. I feel like I declutter constantly. I’m looking forward to the book review. I’m a sucker for books that might help me get a grip on my surroundings. I’m a tidy person that lives with….well, untidy people, lol

  5. Carolyn

    I too struggle in retirement to make what I want to make. Right now I’m not doing the Mystery Quilt, I probably will at some point, but I have too many UFO’s So that is what I am concentrating on, and saying each and everyone of the clues….

  6. Carol Lorraine Stearns

    I had Breast Cancer surgery 3 weeks. The results were good but still having a radiology consult on thursday to see if I need it or not. HOping not. But in the meantime, I am having me time. All of my decorating jobs finished up 3 weeks ago. I have no appointments on the books and that is a good thing. For once, I dont have to scramble in the month of December to decorate the house, shop for gifts and finish up clients projects prior to Christmas. December is for me! And I’m going to enjoy it. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Kim LeMere

    I may or may not make all of the quilts that are in my desire list. I just know that I enjoy my fabrics and the joy of quilting. When we were working folks, I bought books and fabrics with the thoughts of “one day”. Well that day did arrive and now I’m so grateful that I have the stash to do what I love to do, quilt with very little cost. Follow your heart and you hands will follow, whether its fabric, needlework or wool.

  8. Rhonda in NC

    Jo, if you want to make the art quilt Abilene, may I make a suggestion? You have 2 1/2″ strips in your scrap user system. Simply cut them in half lengthwise and you will have (2) 1 1/4″ strips. This may solve the cutting problem. The sewing problem still remains.
    Good luck.

  9. Kathleen S., Normal, IL

    I’ve got stressors at work where I need to focus and be precise (I pay people for a living). My hobby / creative outlet is the one place I choose not to be so rigid. “That I sew” may very well be my new motto for this. All that being said, it’s good to be reminded about making sure that we enjoy what we sew, no matter at what pace we do it at. Love this group!

    PS 8 quilts going to Tina once I can find boxes….

  10. Dianna

    You have helped me so much, you’re inspiring in your accomplishments. I retired and then subbed as needed but now I’m thinking, “why?” I much rather give back to the nursing home that took such good care of my parents, or quilting with my church or guild. My stash has been built over 30+ years and now I want to put it together to give to others.

    The need is so great and you are leading the way with connecting us to the places to help.
    Thanks to all who that give.

  11. Lisa

    Thank you for addressing Gretchen’s comment and not being offended by it. I love how you include not only WHAT you are doing but the THOUGHT PROCESS on your decisions. I sometimes think my quilting decisions are crazy and you make me realize that they are normal. :) You explain what you hope for in the quilt and the comprises you make and the quilt still turns out beautiful. I need to pull out some of my UFOs that didn’t go as I planned and figure out a Plan B for finishing them. Praying for you and Jodi. And…another author I love is Francine Rivers. I just finished “the Masterpiece” and it was excellent! I’ve read her three book series “the Mark of the Lion” 3 times, Redeeming Love, and many others.

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