What I’m Reading: The Life She Was Given


I just finished up the audio book The Life She Was Given by Ellen Marie Wiseman.  I picked up this book as I have read other books by Wiseman and LOVED them all.  What She Left Behindand The Plum Tree were both awesome.  I had high hopes for this book but sometimes, with books, high hopes leave me with a book I didn’t like.

Image result for the life she was given
That was not true with this book.  I really liked it.  It was sad and at times what happened in the story made me want to scream at the parents but it was what it was and believable so I went with it…and really did like the book.  The story has a big circus elephant pull to it and I enjoyed that.  It was a bit reminiscent of “Water for Elephants”.

Here’s what Amazon had to say: [Read more...]

Pumpkin Patch


Some of you might remember I took the leap and started working on Bonnie Hunter’s quilt Pumpkin Patch that was featured in Quiltmaker magazine.

It’s been rainy here so I haven’t been able to get out and walk Ruby at night and I haven’t been able to do any outside work.  That has left me with extra time in the evening to sew.  I’ve been taking advantage of that time!

The center is together but UGH.  I have two blocks with the same background touching!!!


So do I rip it out….YES!


All better.  Normally I’d probably have left it but this quilt is small and the blocks were on the edge so it was an easy fix.

Here’s the center laying out of the floor. [Read more...]

Ask Jo: Pumpkin Patch Questions


After I showed my Pumpkin Patch quilt makings I’ve had lots of questions….  This is from Quiltmaker magazine and is a Bonnie Hunter design.


From ShirlR:
I love Bonnie’s pumpkin quilt and was pleased to get the block in Quiltmaker magazine, but I, too, thought Bonnie, on Quilt Cam, was sewing them on regular paper and adding the corners by stitch and flip, using the the Simple Folded Corners ruler,. By measuring the template in the magazine, I now know the dimensions of the pumpkins, so will probably use the Quilt Cam method to make at least one block now but I have to fulfill some promises I made some time ago that I am much too late in fulfilling, so that comes first. I really, really like your idea of brown as the background for the pumpkins, because after all, pumpkins do grow in the pumpkin patch (smiles)! Thanks for your post on this! Can’t wait to see more more of your blocks!

From Catholic Bibliophagist:
The brown background is a great choice, though I like the gray too. When I got that issue of Quiltmaker, I was surprised to see that the pumpkins were paper pieced with a printed foundation sheet found in the pattern section in the middle of the magazine. Am I getting senile? I thought that on Quilt-cam Bonnie did those on on ordinary paper, and that she added the corners using the Simple Folded Corners ruler. Or am I getting this mixed up with a different Quilt-cam project?

From Marilyn:
Love the brown background choice. I have my strings done but haven’t been able to figure the size for the corners . First one was too big reread instructions and still draw a blank.

From  Cindy F:
The brown looks great! I have all the fabric I need for the quilt and I’ve been itching to get to it but I have several other quilts I’m working on. But….I may just sneak a block in to get that itch scratched! Wonder if they’re like chips…once you start you can’t quit!

I’m going to try to tackle the questions….

I’ll start with Cindy’s comment first.  “Wonder if they’re like chips…once you start you can’t quit!”  The little pumpkin blocks completely and totally are like chips.  If you make one…you’ll want to make dozens.  I made the 49 needed for the quilt, found that I had actually made a few extra pumpkin parts and finished them as I couldn’t bare from them to go to waste!!  I love the blocks.


Now I’ll try to answer all the other comments at once.

When a designer sends a quilt to a magazine, in this case Quiltmaker, they send only the quilt.  They do not send pattern instructions.  The magazine writes the pattern instructions….SO….Quiltmaker wrote the instructions saying the blocks were paper pieced.  Bonnie did not.

So if you are a Bonnie fan.  You know that Bonnie would not paper piece this.  She would STRING piece this.  So use the technique you prefer.  When I did mine, I measured the foundation piece that was in the magazine.  I cut phone book papers that size and used a string piecing method.

There are no cutting instructions for the corner sized to cut for the “pumpkins” because the magazine is writing the instructions as paper pieced.  When I cut mine, I experimented and cut mine at 1 3/4″.  I did not watch Quiltcam and see the instructions for the Simple Folded Corners ruler but I am certain Bonnie likely did demo that there.  I used the flip corner method.  I’m old fashion and that method works for me.

For those of you lamenting that you don’t have many orange scraps.  Honestly, all you would is about a gallon Ziplock bag full.  There are only 49 blocks and they are small.  Add in a few yellows too and you’ll have enough in no time.  My blocks don’t have near the variety that my typical string blocks do but that’s okay.

If you like Bonnie’s written directions and you feel more comfortable with that, you can wait until the new book comes out…last I heard was summer of next year or so.  The pattern is said to be in there and Bonnie I am sure will write the directions we all are used to following.  People often comment that I often make only Bonnie quilts.  It’s kind of true.  I love her directions.  They fit the way my brain thinks…and the way I use my fabric.  It works for me and in the end that’s all that matters….do what works for you even if you string piece and the Quiltmaker pattern says paper piece.

Bottom line is when you see something in a quilt magazine…think of it this way, the quilt you see is the maker’s DESIGN.  It is not their PATTERN.  The DESIGN is the DESGNER’S.  The PATTERN INSTRUCTIONS are the magazines.

What I’m Working On…..


Last week I told you that I had a sick day…well the next day wasn’t a lot better.  I managed to get a few things done around the house but then sent myself back to “rest” in the sewing room.  ”Rest” for me means doing nothing that I can’t do slowly…nothing that I don’t want to be doing.  I simply cannot lay on the couch and do nothing.  Sometimes I truly wish I could….but this day not so much as I accomplished this!!!  The center of the quilt top is together.  I’m so happy.  I like it.


I showed it to Hubby…he’s not a fan.  His comment was “I like other quilts you’re done a whole lot better.”  That didn’t bother me as at times, I feel the same way about some quilts.

I made this quilt so it would be in an 8 x 8 setting.  The original is smaller and then has an inner solid border-then a scrappy border-and then solid again.  I liked that look and hoped to replicate it.  I didn’t do the math to figure it all out once I made the inner quilt bigger.  So now I am in a predicament.  The top is really close to 90″ x 90″.  The biggest my quilt frame can handle is 100″ x 100″.  I already sewed the scrappy border…see? [Read more...]