About the Process

I was reading through the comments and saw a comment from Maggie at Making a Lather.  She had added a link to her blog sharing her challenge project.  She happened to be making her Roll, Roll Cotton Boll quilt.

That got me thinking back to when I made mine.  I gotta say, it is hands down my favorite quilt as far as “making it” goes.  It’s my favorite mystery quilt for sure.  I’ve been doing them since Carolina Christmas.


I am a process girl.  I LOVE the process of making a quilt even more than I love the finished quilt.  Kelli and I both are process girls.  I think that’s one of the reasons we so freely give quilt away.  We got our main enjoyment from the quilts…now someone else can enjoy them.

So what did I enjoy about it so much??THE STRINGS!


Previous to this quilt, I had not made a string quilt.  I made mine as it was being released by Bonnie Hunter as a the “mystery quilt” back in 2010.  I vividly remember her releasing this clue.  I remember being frustrated with the clue.  I even documented my frustration way back here in this blog post.  I read that now and I laugh right out loud.  I’ve grown so much.  To be honest, string quilts are some of my favorite.  They can hide some really hideous fabrics, they can give a quilt “motion”, they use up small pieces…ah, now I think what is not to love about the string process.  It’s so easy…no thought…no twisting or turning a piece.  It’s the process I love and have now to even come to love making them on the treadle.

I do love the colors of the quilt…

One day Kelli and were in my sewing room.  I was going through piles of quilts…I was making a stack of quilts I thought I would give away.  Kelli picked up Roll Roll Cotton Boll and I quickly and immediately said NO.  No way was that one going in the giveaway pile.  I think this quilt for me was part of the turning point.

From here I started choosing harder quilts.  From here I opened myself to trying new things…like a pieced border or the strings.  From here I learned that neutrals weren’t boring.

I also learned that all of you are great group of people to ask advice from.  I learned that you guys are FULL of knowledge and willing to share your experiences.


See how I lost my point in my quilt?  I asked readers for help with that and you all gave the BEST advice.  I don’t do this anymore.


I LOVE this quilt….I like the design but more than that I love the quilt for it’s large part of growing me into the quilter I am today.  Do you have a quilt that you feel this way about?  Are you a process girl or an end product girl?  I’d love to read your thoughts on this.

20 thoughts on “About the Process”

  1. I managed to get a last minute entry into a Bonnie class and went to a 3 day retreat in AL. The class was Smith Mountain Morning and I absolutely loved making that quilt! From Scraps and Shirtails II. I grabbed two bins of old red and green fabrics I inherited, grabbed 2 neutrals to audition and grabbed a friend and we went on our way. I added a row of triangles to make it larger and yes, I cut off all the points. But I love this quilt and it comes out in the file through CHristmas!

  2. I’m a process person, too, Jo, and your pattern Points of Interest really challenged me to accept that sometimes the border will take you longer than the quilt because it’s going to add so much if you do it right. Thanks…..

  3. Pack Rat With a Plan

    I also got a last minute spot in a Bonnie Hunter class. I drove 4 hours one way through 3 states to get there. It was also Smith Mountain Morning. I learned so much from that class and recognize that my quilting definitely improved after that – more challenge, less ho hum.

    Jo, I am very much inspired by you on a daily basis. Quilting, family, childcare, thrifting!, real life.

  4. Most assuredly, I’m a process gal. And I love the piecing more than any other part of quilting. Hence the reason I have so many tops waiting to be quilted.

  5. Roll, Roll Cotton Boll was the first mystery I did, as I had just discovered Bonnie that fall. I also had never made a string quilt and LOVED piecing that part of quilt. I didn’t mind the others, but I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the strings. I do not currently have a string quilt in the works, but I am itching to set aside some time and get one going.
    I am also a process quilter, I like to have the whole thing cut out, then sew one step at a time and move on to the next set of directions. Right now, I get to finish a binding on Fun with Bricks-one of my go to patterns for a graduation gift! Oh! A UFO done-does that mean I can start a new one????

  6. I am definitely a process person. It was such a revelation for me when probably 20 years ago when I went to a mini class/meeting for work and the discussion was about process vs. product. I had always loved learning HOW to do things – and the end product didn’t seem as important – nice to have, but not my focus. Once I learned any particular process(crochet, knit, plants, it didn’t matter), I was off to learn something new. The result – lots of partly finished projects i.e. UFOs. Now that I know this I don’t get so frustrated with myself, remind myself that finishing IS part of the process. I still have lots of UFOs, but I keep working on them, because I still remember vividly that meeting, learning something very important about myself – and my moment of ‘OOOHHHHHHH’.

  7. Jo, Roll, Roll Cotton Boll was also my first mystery, my first Bonnie quilt and the first bed-sized quilt I ever made. It is my favorite mystery so far. I can’t say I am crazy about string quilting, but it is perfect in this quilt.

  8. I’m with you. It’s about the making of the quilt. Once it’s done, I rarely have trouble giving them away. I wants to see them used and loved, and I know I could never do that with a lot of quilts sitting around my home. I have a stash waiting for homes, but many I make have a destination before I even begin. One of the advantages to this is that I try designs and fabrics that I like, but that don’t match my decorating style. It’s a great way to experiment too.

  9. I am definitely a process girl. I love making the quilt and love to share them with my family. Lucky for me all of my kids love getting quilts, too! I think when I started making Bonnie Hunter quilts is when I really started trying harder quilts. My favorite so far was En Provence which I recently finished. Now to finish up On Ringo Lake :-)

  10. I want to make Roll Roll Cotton Bowl some day too. A friend made it and she told me about mystery quilts and Bonnie. I took a Bonnie class last summer and started Garden Party. Don’t have it done. I learned how to web from Bonnie. Seeing it done made it click. I made En Provence last year and loved making it. It is my favorite so far. I am working on On Ringo Lake…not loving the process on it. I”ll like it when it is done.

  11. I love piecing the blocks and hand sewing the binding. I don’t even mind sewing the blocks together, but I have a bunch of flimsies waiting to be quilted.

  12. Susan the Farm Quilter

    Honestly, I think about the quilting I will do on a quilt while I am piecing it. I will choose a pattern to piece based on the quilting I want to do on it! I don’t think I’m a process girl!

  13. Orca Bay was that quilt for me. I printed out Roll Roll Cotton Bowl but never started it as I was overwhelmed. Now I would love to make it. Hope it turns out half as pretty as yours!

  14. Melanie Winters

    For me it’s totally the end product, I sew so I can own or gift beautiful things. I love to buy gorgeous fabric and coordinate it with a specific pattern then I get a quick thrill out of seeing the first few blocks come together and after that it’s all work lol. I get bored cutting, procrastinate on wrangling borders and hate dealing with binding but I know that the end product is so worth it!

  15. Roll Roll Cotton Boll is my favorite quilt as well. I keep her on my guest bed where the dog won’t lie on it! My other favorite quilt is Bonnie’s Carolina Crossroads. I think it was my first Bonnie Mystery Quilt and I wouldn’t part with it for anything. In RRCB, I leaned about pieced borders and in CC I learned to have patience with making a gazzillion tiny 9-patches. If you haven’t made that one yet, check it out – it’s nice and big for you!!

  16. I’m a process person too. Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll was my first BH mystery, and I’ve done them all since then. I lost my points too on that one, but I still love it!

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