Ask Jo: Bars, Shirts and Grand Quilters

Every so often I get questions from blog readers that I think other blog readers would like the answer to as well.  When that happens, I answer the questions here on the blog.  Today is one of those days.

Nancy Ritzman writes, “Jo, will you please share your Cheerio bar recipe with your fans?”  These are a huge family and childcare favorite.  I make these regularly.  Here is the link.  I made a batch last time my family was together and from the time I took the lid off the container to the time they were gone was likely 30 minutes.  The batch I made in this picture was from multi-grain Cheerios.


Debbie Burgess asked, “Can you please repost a link to when you explained how to take the shirts apart and what you use the pieces for? Thanks!!! Love your blog and updates on your family and life!”

Here is the link where I tell how I cut apart shirts.
  I absolutely love working with shirts.  It’s a very-very favorite of mine.  I’ve made several quilts with recycled shirts.  The inspiration for me was Bonnie Hunter.  I have both her books that feature quilts made with recycled shirts…Scraps and Shirttails I and Scraps and Shirttails II.  I love them both but if you are only buying one, I’d buy the second one.

Shirts in my area are cheap and plentiful.  I can find shirts on a regular basis for 50 cents or less each.  Cutting the shirts apart isn’t on my top ten list of favorite things to do but the fabric I end up with can’t be beat.  These quilts are the softest and most loved by my family.

Check out the ones I’ve made…   Cactus Patch
Hand Me Downs

Criss Cross Applesauce

Stars Over Shallotte

 Scrappy Mountain Majesties is shown below.

and Bargello in Plaid.

Recently I started Rectangle Wrangle and have the center done.  I need to get the pieced outer border done.  So far, I love it!!

As far as what pieces to keep…I am probably not the person to ask about that.  This quilt I made using free form technique.  You can read more about that here….


..and this baby quilt too.

This is Carver’s baby quilt.  Kalissa sent me a picture of Carver with it recently.

In these last two quilts, I saved the smallest of pieces.  Lots of these were made from collar pieces and cuff pieces.  It worked great for this…but was in necessary..not really.

I am not afraid to mix new fabric and recycled.  Some people are but I have had all good luck so far.

It takes a little getting used to as far as storage and use goes, but it’s well worth the effort.

Joanne Eggleston asked“Do you only buy 100% cotton shirts for use in quilts?”  YES.  I only buy 100% cotton.

I plan on making many more quilts with shirts.

Next up…
If you look in the archives of our blog, you’d find that the posts that get comments most often are ones about my Pfaff Grand Quilter and Next Generation frame.  All the time I get question about how to fix the machine and the like.  Most recently this came.  Celia asked, “I started quilting a very special quilt for my husband as an anniversary gift which has photos of his mother, who has since passed away. Anyway to get to the point. I have quilted other quilts on my Pfaff Grand Quilter with inspira frame and have learned through the grapevine that I must us the HLx5 needles, which I have but my problem now is that the top thread keeps getting bunched up underneath and it even gets tangled up down inside around the bobbin case. I have Superior thread in it. I have cleaned and oiled the machine and have rewound bobbins, changed needles, changed thread, tried adjusting the thread tension to no avail. HELP!!! At this point I am so frustrated. I would love to buy something else but financially speaking, it is just not going to happen.”

I answered this question before…You can find the full answer here.

I will say this…I don’t have the machine.  I would never recommend getting one.  I will forever and always say this:  If you want to buy a long arm machine but one from a company that specializes in long arms.  Don’t buy one from companies that specialize in domestic machines.  I love my APQS and have never had a stitch of problems with it.  I cried over the performance of my Grand Quilter on a regular basis.

I hope that answered all the questions.  As always, feel free to drop me a note at or leave a comment in the comment section.

2 thoughts on “Ask Jo: Bars, Shirts and Grand Quilters”

  1. I am TRYING to finish UFOS here, and you keep TEMPTING me with all of these amazing pictures. . .:) I LOVE ALL OF THE QUILTS YOU MADE WITH SHIRTS!!! I have completed Tumalo Trail with shirts and my son loves it. I have to get one done for my MIL out of her husband’s shirts. I know that she will love it. I did use some pieces from collars and cuffs in the Tumalo Trail, so my son has his grandpa’s shirts in his quilt, too. Back to the machine and should I make a want to make list? Can’t wait to make the Cheerio bars, too! Hugs from sunny and mild Nebraska (storm coming tomorrow night).

  2. I just read the section about taking shirts apart, and you mentioned putting some of the pieces in a grocery sack. What do you do with those pieces?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top