What I’m Working On…

I didn’t have tons of sewing time this week.  We had big family supper here because Carver turned FIVE one night.  We had a bridal shower for a family friend on Saturday and Kalissa and I ended up using up the whole morning and much of the afternoon.  I still managed to get a few things done.

First up, a of couple weeks ago, I told you about a project of Kelli’s I got.  This one…

Kelli sewed all these hourglass blocks back when she first started quilting.  She didn’t do the best job on them and didn’t do any trimming on them.  When I was at her house after the boys were born, we were cleaning and she handed me the project and said she didn’t want it.  I thought I’d take it home and finish it up.

I sewed about four together and thought NO WAY.  This will never make a decent quilt if I keep going at it the way it is.  So…I ripped all the blocks apart.  I ironed them…and I trimmed them.

The project has been sitting on my kitchen island since the end of August.  I did a few each day until Monday of last week over naptime, I had enough of the mess of it being out and just finished it.  I trim while I talk on the phone, while supper is cooking, while I’m waiting for parents to drop in the morning, over naptime…anytime I have a couple of minutes.

I love this little ruler of mine.  It has trimmed up so many blocks.  I love that it has the circle at the inch markers.  I just line up and 2″ and cut…first the right and top, then flip the block and do the new right and top.


Kalissa can watch some videos and say “Mom, they are so satisfying to watch”.  To me, trimming blocks is satisfying!

They are finally all done.  I’m not sure what I’m going to make with them now…I need to count them and come up with a plan.


Any ideas?  These are going to sit for a bit until I come up with an idea.

I had left my American Quilter’s Stitch Along lag a bit.  I was five blocks behind.  Oh my.

I thought I got caught up but am behind again.  I am eager for this one to wrap up.  I love it but it’s time.

I ended up doing last week’s block too.  I am one behind now.

For my Garlic Knots quilt, I started working sewing the border strips together.  My goal for the week is to move the quilt one step forward.  I am losing steam on this one but refuse to put it away again as a UFO so I’m taking any progress I can get on this one.


I only managed to get one set of border sewn on Garlic Knots.

I had time over last weekend and I should have worked on longarming my Bitcoin quilt.  I didn’t.  I got stuck on what quilting motif to use.  I picked the thread colors.  I filled bobbins.  I just can’t decide on a motif.  I was super tempted to do straight lines but that didn’t seem right.  So it sat.

I talked to Kelli and she said maybe just a stipple.  I’m considering that.  Hmm.  She said to make it a smaller stipple.  Hmm.  Any suggestions??

Remember my goal is to make a little bit of progress on all of my projects.  I did cut and make the binding for the Bitcoin quilt.

I worked more on my Scrap Vortex quilt.  This project is the one that made the… HUGE leap forward over the week.

I had a little unexpected time so I made the best use of it that I could.


When I last left you I had to get 12 more 12 1/2″ blocks made and six 6 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ blocks made.   I ended up getting all of the needed blocks made by Thursday and then on Saturday afternoon after the bridal shower I decided to try to get the quilt top together.  Here it is…


It is a massive amount of bitty pieces sewn together into blocks and then the blocks are sewn together.

This didn’t even make a dent in my scraps.  I could likely make three more before I see a dent!  This needs to be ironed.  I’ll save that for naptime this week.


I’m trying to decide if I should add a border or if this is where I will leave this quilt.  Right now it is 84″ x 96″.  Maybe I should add another row so it’s 96″ x 96″.  I don’t know.  Opinions, please??

I worked on my Two-Step quilt…this one.


The quilt is in this book. You can find the book HERE on Amazon.

I have all my twosies now sewn into fourzies.  I am opting to sew this quilt together in columns vs rows.  I think I’ll have better luck nesting seams that way.  I’ll let you know how that idea turns out.


I’ve been using my Cutting Gizmo to cut the pieces apart.  If you don’t have a Cutting Gizmo, I highly recommend them.  I got mine years ago and they have updated them now.


They look like this now…


HERE is an Amazon link for them.

Here is a Youtube video showing how it works.

It’s so awesome for chain piecing.  Here are part of my pieces all organized and ready for the next step.  I have the rest of them sewn but cutting and organizing them will wait until naptime over the upcoming week.


I know someone is going to ask about the wooden box I’m using to organize my pieces in.  It’s from a childcare toy, Wooden Farm and Tractor Playset from Melissa and Doug.  It is the PERFECT size for my quilting projects.  I happen to have two of them.


That’s it for on the sewing front this week.  I’m happy with my progress and am hoping I can make equally as good progress over the next week.  Please leave a comment on any idea you have on for:
-what do with the hourglass blocks
-what quilting motif to use for Bitcoin
-to add borders or leave Scrap Vortex as is

I love reading your feedback!!

51 thoughts on “What I’m Working On…

  1. Maureen Toole

    I’m not a quilter. But I do love stitching & to me it looks like you got a lot done☺ I’d ask to put on a border on the one you unsure about if I were the receiver but I’m not. Regardless it’s a beautiful quilt. Thanks for sharing

    Reply
  2. Christina

    Wow Jo you have inspired me to to use my free time in a more constructive way, many thanks. I seem to spend to much time thinking where to start instead of starting. I have my T-shirt on with the sewing machine motif, so I’m in a sewing mood and it lets my neighbours know its a Do Not Disturb Day!
    So no excuse , I:m off to my sewing room. As for your questions I find it difficult as I find them all amazing, but if pushed i would agree and put a border on the one quilt , use a spiral motif, and the hour glass blocks I would have to throw them down and see how they land!

    Reply
    1. Shelly

      The idea of wearing a sewing motif tshirt for the neighbors/and others to not disturb because you’re sewing is genius! I want one!

      Reply
  3. Susan Smeltzer

    How about using hour glass blocks as an alternate with a nine patch? Nine patch could be a bit darker and unify the colors with the chains.

    Reply
  4. Cheryl Harts

    Jo you never cease to amaze me! You are a dynamo! I love all of the quilts you make. I’m not sure what to do with the hourglass blocks, but I’m sure you will get inspired. One of these lovely quilters will come up with something that will be perfect for them. As for the bitcoin quilt motif, I remember you recently did a wave design on one of your quilts. I think that would work well for this one as well. It would give a softness to the design without making it too “busy” looking. I know whatever you come up with will look great. The scrap vortex looks amazing! I could see it working either way. It could be finished as is, or add a narrow solid inner border to give the eye a resting place followed by a pieced border that mimics the quilt blocks. I can’t wait to see what the finished projects look like. Thank you for sharing it all with us!

    Reply
  5. Sally

    I like the Scrap Vortex quilt as it is, size-wise and without border. Any idea how you will quilt that one? Didn’t Amanda Jean quilt hers with a big spiral? Is that something you can do on your long arm? (She has a sit down long arm, so her quilt is not attached to the quilt frame. Thus, she can manipulate the quilt as she quilts it.) I am curious if that can be done on a long arm like yours because I am seriously considering buying one and want to consider everything (of course, sigh). What a job, but glad you took the hour glass blocks apart. Do you feel like making more of them? So much you can do with them. If you made more of the same size as Kelli’s and then some of a larger size, you could combine them into one quilt. I think a large stipple for the bit coin would be good. I think a small stipple in addition to all the seams on the quilt would make it kind of stiff. Giving out all these opinions about your projects makes me feel like an armchair quarterback! You are so productive and so inspire me!

    Reply
    1. Li

      A spiral motif is very appealing 5/8″ apart. On a longarm like Jo’s a machine depth of 26″ allows an initial spiral of about 21″. I have done this quickly and then basted the rest to finish one full spiral on another machine. I have also sewed nine+ 20″ spirals all around a 45″x65″ space overlapping here and there. On a longarm the first spiral sews up very quickly. Clockwise direction if you are sewing on another machine later. On mine I had to place the motif and reverse it so that it would go in the correct direction.

      Reply
      1. Sally

        Thank you for taking the time to explain this, Li. It helps me to realize what a difference the throat space makes. The spiral quilting and diagonal straight line quilting are two I am trying to imagine on the (standup) longarm. I can imagine doing a small spiral, advancing the quilt a little and doing another spiral to the right or left of the first one, etc.

        Reply
        1. li

          You’re welcome Sally. I favor an overall spiral and did the extra work on several smaller quilts. Baptist Fans are extra pleasing to me as well. As the quilting proceeds it is a challenge to keep everything aligned. So I ended up basting baptist fans on a 60″x80″ quilt. Then hand quilted to manage alignnment. The only down side is removing the basting thread. Love that quilt. i envy expert longarmers. Their talents are minimally appreciated.

          Reply
  6. Judith Fairchild

    For the bit on quilt how about diamonds, or your hook and bump pattern. The scrap vortex quilt i took one look and got a little dizzy. A border might calm it down to a small tornado.the combinations are wild. Not complaining.

    Reply
  7. Patt weimer

    #1 if hours are 2 different sizes, can you do 4 patch with smaller ones/ narrow border to match larger 4 patch ones. But squares & proceed. Add 1 narrow & 1 med border…done. #2 bitcoin med stipple , showcase q, not quiliting, # 3. Narrow/med border to rein it all in. Dark solid or dk., pieced. Good job this week.

    Reply
  8. Angie

    Not sure what to do with the hour glass blocks. I would do a simple stipple on the bit com quilt since you have so many seams and I think a motif would get lost. As to the vortex quilt, add a small sold border just to hold the edges still and straight to keep from stretching. Just my thoughts because whatever you do it will come out wonderful.

    Reply
  9. Roxanne

    So many good questions to ponder…
    A narrow border on Scrap Vortex, if any. So many seams on the edges might be nice to finish off.
    Your Bitcoin is so pretty. I like Cheryl’s reminder of a simple wave design and Sally’s thought on a large meander—the piecing should shine.
    Lastly, the hourglass blocks. They would be pretty just sewn together and I love them as a frame around a central block, medallion style. Do you have a suitable orphan block?
    Happy sewing

    Reply
  10. Linda In UK

    Personally I don’t think Scrap Vortex needs a border and it’s already a large quilt. But if you want to use up some more scraps then perhaps an extra row of blocks would be perfect.

    Reply
  11. Pamela Dempsey

    The wavy quilting you did recently would look good on the bitcoin and I LOVE your scrap vortex. I vote no border, it’s awesomeness :)

    Reply
  12. Ellie

    You have gotten so much accomplished! I like the idea of a stipple for Bit Coin. I would soften the vertical lines. I vote no border on Scrap Vortex. I like Susan’s suggestion of nine patches as a alternate to the hour glass blocks. If you don’t want to invest that much time, scrappy single alternate blocks would work if you can find enough similar fabrics. I’ll look forward to seeing what you decide to do with all your projects!

    Reply
  13. Diana in Des Moines

    I had my grandchildren all week last week, ALL week, days and nights, so was happy when Saturday came and I could sew all alone!!

    What is the name of the quilts behind your long arm? I really like that one, and have a ton of pre-cut squares to use. Thanks in advance!!

    Reply
  14. Gloria from CC

    I agree with Susan on the hour glass blocks – alternating medium tone 9 patch blocks.
    On the Bitcoin quilt I would use the Bernina #4 stitch which is a wavy line.
    The Scrap Vortex quilt – add a dark, solid, narrow border and then add a 6-1/2” piano key border using the the same scraps as in the quilt. The 6-1/2” cornerstones could mimic the block in the quilt.
    You are amazing! I’m slowly getting my two sewing rooms combined – what a job.

    Reply
  15. Bernadette Dixon

    I agree with the Lady that suggested wavy lines for the Bitcom quilt. Why not use the hourglass blocks to do a quilt like the blocks Bonnie Hunter was working on in her blog this past week. It would be a low volume color from those pieces but it still would make a beautiful quilt.

    Reply
  16. Hedy

    No border on the scrap vortex, it is so amazing it just needs to be looked at. The Bitcoin I would use something not too busy like Kelli said and thread that blends in rather than standing out. Those hourglass blocks are small and I have no clue what to do with them. What was the original pattern?

    Reply
  17. Jeanine

    I, too, like the vortex as is, adding no border and leaving it the size it is. I made one, and loved it. I, too, could probably make two or three more from my scraps.

    Reply
  18. The Joyful Quilter

    LAYOUT for Hourglass blocks: I have NO IDEA, Jo!!
    QUILTING for Bitcoin: My recommendation is something curvy, roundish, or swirly.
    BORDER for Scrap Vortex: I think I would just make another row and let the binding be the border.

    Reply
  19. Judy

    I enjoy seeing how much you get done. I agree with Katy’s suggestion to make the hour glass blocks into Ohio stars. I love quilts with stars. I think I would put a narrow border and then a wider plain border on the scrap vortex to frame it and hold all those seams together. I think a simple stipple would be good on the Bitcoin. I am going to make that one too. I have binding to make for one small quilt and a red, white and blue one to get done before I can start Bitcoin. I’m sure whatever you decide will be lovely.

    Reply
  20. Lorraine

    Love the Scrap Vortex! The blacks, reds and lights just sparkle! I would stipple it.
    For the hourglass blocks, how about a baby quilt? Add borders to make it the size you want

    Reply
  21. Norma

    My 2 cents:

    1. Hourglass blocks
    A. Sew 4 HG blocks together, measure, make HG blocks that size. Alternate large HG blocks
    with the smaller HG blocks.
    B. Sew 4 HG blocks together, measure, make 4 patch blocks that size. Alternate large HG blocks
    with the 4 patch blocks.
    2. Bitcoin
    A. Medium large stipple.
    3. Scrap Vortex
    A. I prefer a rectangular quilt. 4″ border all around.
    B. Double border, first one 1 1/2 – 2 inches, second one 4-5 inches

    Reply
  22. Sherrill

    WHOA!!! I am TOTALLY impressed with your vortex quilt!! I started one when they first became the ‘rage’ and got a few blocks done. I think of it from time to time (usually when I run across the blocks) but that’s about as far as it gets. It would be nice to finish, just not sure that will ever happen. I LOVE yours!S

    Reply
  23. Barb

    I like the idea of something curvy for the quilting for the Bitcoin quilt, such as stippling or the wavy lines that others have suggested. Just think curves in the quilting contrasts nicely with the straight lines of the blocks. I like the “no border” option for the scrap vortex. It’s such a celebration of all different sizes of scraps that putting a border on it would somehow diminish that. Just my thoughts.

    Reply
  24. Elle

    For me, I quilt with geometry of only squares or rectangles calls for quilting with curves so a stipple or loops or bubbles comes to mind.

    The hourglasses: do 4 patches and then sash with 1″ sashing and a great cornerstone is the first that comes to mind. My guess is you’ll have a decent size center medallion for future growth as a round robin or a smaller child quilt with a simple border.

    Wishing you a terrific week!

    Reply
  25. Sandy Bouta-Kill

    I love your Bitcoin quilt and would do some type of circular quilting pattern on it, since it’s so linear. I would add a border to Scrap Vortex, but I love a nice border on any quilt. Bonnie Hunter is using hourglass blocks in a new project she started last week. Maybe check that out. Thanks for being an inspiration to us all.

    Reply
  26. Kristi V.E.

    I always enjoy your blogs! You inspire me to be more productive with my time. I love scrappy quilts. On the scrap vortex, I would leave it that size and make a wide binding of a dark color, probably dark blue, solid or a small print. I have an antique quilt my grandmother made and the binding was at least an inch wide. I think that would be good for your quilt.

    Reply
  27. Kristi V.E.

    I always enjoy your blogs! You inspire me to be more productive with my time. I love scrappy quilts. For your scrap vortex quilt, I would leave it the size it is and add a wide binding of a dark color, probably blue. I have an antique quilt my grandmother made and the binding was at least an inch wide. I think that would look good on your quilt.

    Reply
  28. Julie

    I think a large sweeping motif would look gorgeous on Bitcoin!! I am a newbie-ish though – does it have to be a small motif for smaller pieces like that? It seeams like more thread would make it ‘heavier’? This is how i learn stuff,LOL!! Your quilts are all GORGEOUS and your progress is AMAZING! I am so infocused….

    Reply
  29. Janine Baker

    I am no good at designing quilts, so I have no clue what to do with the hourglass blocks. I have made them before for other quilts, but they are almost always “star legs”. I like the idea of just a plain and simple stipple on your Bitcoin-maybe using a funky thread color you don’t normally like/use. For the scrap vortex, I guess I’d add to it so it’s a little bigger, then how about a larger size binding. I think Kim Diehl does them sometimes. In maybe like your favorite Red? Whatever you decide will be lovely, I’m sure! Hugs,

    Reply
  30. susie Q

    my only thoughts are for scrap vortex….. no border…. it is great the way it is. Now about the size…. if you think 96 X 96 would make it more useful them make it that size. You seem to have the “scraps”.

    Reply
  31. Lori

    Hi Jo,

    With the hourglass blocks, sew together into a 9 patch, then I would use narrow sashing and cornerstones.

    Yes, to small meander on the bitcoin.

    And I would add a small plain border on the scrap vortex, to secure all the seams. Maybe a 2″ border, to sort of fade into the background, brown?

    Aren’t we all so helpful?! ;-)

    Reply
  32. Dale

    You are amazing, Jo! What a super strong quilter you are. So many large quilts made with so many tiny pieces. Great job! What do you do with your quilts when they are done? Family and friends?

    Reply
  33. Carol Nelson

    I, too, like to work on several projects at a time. I wonder how you store the projects you are working on; I can never find the one I want.

    Reply
  34. Deb E

    Love the scrap vortex!! But I’d do a simple border, solid color – maybe navy? It would ‘contain’ the quilt and calm down the chaos a bit — but then that’s one of the things I love about your quilt, too! I am SO amazed at everything you get done!

    Reply
  35. Sharon F

    You had quite a productive week! I agree with Susan and the other posters to alternate the hourglass blocks with nine patch blocks. If you alternate the orientation of the hourglass blocks from one row to the next, they will make diamond shaped frames around the nine patches. By alternate, I mean in one row turn the hourglass blocks so the darker pieces are on the sides, next row turn them so the darker pieces are top and bottom. For the quilting motif for your Bitcoin quilt – what about a Baptist fan? Choosing a quilting motif is one of the hardest parts of the process for me. I’m sure it will look great whatever you decide.

    Reply
  36. Ginny Andersen

    If it was me, because if the busy-ness of the Vortex, I would put a single color outer border to secure all of the seams and to frame it.
    I would do a Baptist Fan on Bitcoin for a consistent look of curves to compliment all of the squares.
    Not knowing how many you have, the hourglass blocks could be done in something like Bonnie’s L&E design and be very pretty.

    Reply
  37. Carol Andrews

    Hi Jo. You have managed to get an insane amount done in your few minutes here and there. I think your bitcoins quilt needs a curvy motif. A stipple would be nice but a spiral or wavy line with circles would be a great compliment to the sharp lines of the quilt top. Your vortex is awesomely colourful. I think a solid or blender fabric might give your eyes a resting space. Call me crazy, but I can imagine those cute bow ties as the centre of stars with alternating 9 patches to frame the stars (picture it in lovely shirt fabrics?). That’s my two cents worth!

    Reply
  38. Patricia Kendel

    Goodness gracious, Jo, with all these suggestions, the last thing you need is more! However, 96″ is a big quilt, so I would probably make it square and forget the border. 2. For the quilting, if you trust the seams, I think a medium size wandering circle loop might provide nice contrast. I liked some of the girls’ suggestions for the hourglass blocks.. However, you know your own mind and will make the right decisions for you. But I love how everyone (including me) loves you and is ready to help. You’re a terrific example of a wonderful and brave woman who gets more done than 3 ordinary people. I don’t know why, but I no longer get your posts. I’ve signed up again at least 5 times, however it doesn’t work. Your news was truly the highlight of my day every day. Any ideas? My email is 2kendels@gmail.com. With love to a special lady who lives what Christ preached, Pat Kendel

    Reply

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