Author Archives: Jo

Ask Jo: Cutting Up Scraps

A while ago I did a little blurb about how I was cutting up scraps.  It was just something simple in the middle of a post about my sewing room.  I was surprised when I got so many comments and questions about it.  Today I’m expanding and writing more.  Hopefully in the writing I will answer all the comments that came my way.

Before I get started I do want to say that I use Bonnie Hunter’s Scrap User’s System for keep my scraps.  You can learn more about that here.

Here is the tote that needs to get trimmed into usable pieces.


In no real order I garb pieces and I stack them like this.  The largest on the bottom, graduated smaller pieces on the tops.  I layer about 6-8 to a cut.
For the example above the longer bottom pieces aren’t folded, the top two are.

I’ve been wanting to add to my 2″ bucket.  For me, I use 2″ and 2 1/2″ strips most often.  Today when given a choice, I plan to cut more 2″ strips than any other size.

I do an edge cut to start so all the edges are even.
Next I made the 2″ cut….


I reposition my ruler and make another 2″ cut.

Now, the top purple fabric is used up.  I measure the top piece.  It’s not 4″ so I can’t make two 2″ cuts.  
I end up opting to take two 1 1/2″ cuts.  It was the best use of the fabric as I only had less than 3 1/2″ I was working with…because remember, I only cut according to the top piece of fabric.

Now the top piece of fabric is gone.  The best way to use up this last bit is to make a 2″ cut…and I do.
I’ll do another batch so you get the hang of it…

I have graduated layers ready to cut.


I square up the edge and start thinking about what the best cuts are.  I start by measuring the top piece.
It’s looks to be about 4 1/2″.  I take two 2″ cuts.  
I pull the leftover scrap off.
Lucky me…I can squeeze a 1 1/2″ stip off next.  
…and another 1 1/2″ cut.  That made the best use of the fabric.Now hmmm.  What do I want to do with this next cut.  The top fabric is 3 1/2″ wide.  I could make a 3 1/2″ cut or I could or I could make a 2″ cut and then an 1 1/2″ cut.  It doesn’t matter.

The top piece is gone and I’m left with this…I ended up stripping this into 2″ pieces but I could have done anything with it.  I opted for 2″ as remember, that was the size I was focusing on.
The next piece in the box was this… Continue reading

In My Mailbox…

This week I am trying to catch up with all the things that have come my way.  I really thought with Covid that packages would quit coming but they certainly haven’t.  It’s been great entertainment for me so thanks.

The first box had no note…just a quilt top.  It came from Fair Oakes, CA.  It’s a lovely top and the surprise is it is made from polyester fabric.  WOW!!  I am so impressed.


I’ve had a few blog readers say that their grandmas made double knit quilts and the fabric never wore.  I have a group that is finishing tops that I contacted and they are going to finish it up.  The colors go so nice together.  I so admire anyone who could work with the stretch and give of polyester.  Someone is really going to love snuggling under this!

The next box is from Mobile, AL.  The sender didn’t want acknowledgement on the blog….


The patterns are going to my bedroom.  I love reading patterns (weird I know) before bed.  Old quilt magazines are my favorite..but patterns are great too.

…and check out this… Continue reading

In My Mail…and on doorstep!

I had things in my mail since my last mailbox post…but I have had two things dropped off at my door.

The first came from a local family friend.  Sadly the mom passed away and the family sorted through things.  Initially a daughter took the fabric, kept some and then passed some to me for charity quilts.  When they contacted me and asked if I was interested, of course I said sure…little did I know it was all of this…  Three giant boxes.


Well, I quickly sorted through it all as the Cresco ladies were scheduled to come pick up fabric.  I didn’t get pictures as I wanted to be able to send some of this with them.  Happily, you all know how prolific the ladies are with quilting so you have to know you’ll see the fabric all soon, only then it will be quilt tops!!  HA!!

I did keep a pile…probably more than I should have.

Well remember the other weekend, I had put the boxes of fabric I originally had along with a box of the fabric from our family friends from the donation you just read about outside my garage door and ran a box of novelty prints to my friend….


I was hoping I wouldn’t miss the Cresco ladies when they came for these boxes of fabric, but I did…and what did they do??  They left two reusable grocery bags full of quilt tops!!  I tell you, those girls are so busy.

I took some tops out, not all, and decided to show a few to you…. Continue reading

What I’m Reading: The Shadows We Hid

I saw that Allen Eskens has a new book, The Shadows We Hid.  I have read another book of his and LOVED it.  I highly recommend it and suggest you read The Life We Bury first.

The Life We Bury

It’s the first book of the series and I adored that book.  This new book, The Shadows We Hid, is the sequel.

Both of these books take place in southern Minnesota.  The people live in Austin Minnesota and in the Twin Cities.  They go to college at Mankato State where I went…it’s all familiar and feels like home when I read the books.

The Shadows We Hide
The books are both written in first person.  I love first person.  I love it a lot.  If the writer is good, I can easily put myself in their position and completely imagine myself as the character.  I love that.

There is mystery to the story…and best of all, it’s believable mystery.  So often with a mystery either it’s obvious who the killer is or the killer is so not obvious that it doesn’t make sense.  This one is perfect.  I loved the book.

Often when I listen to audiobooks I listen at 1.5 speed.  This one I didn’t.  I listened at 1.25 and savored it.

Here’s what Amazon has to say:
Continue reading