Ask Jo: Behind the Scenes Truth

Last week I did a blog post about a couple of the projects I had going on.  In that post I showed that I was drawing out and designing one project.  I had one on the quilt frame and I had just cut out two quilts.  In the comment section Betty in Canada asked, “How many quilts do have on the go at one time?”

Hmm…that’s an ever changing number but on the day I am writing this, here is what I can show you but first let me explain that my real life time and blog time (when you see things) isn’t always completely in sync.  I might have started or finished something sooner than you hear about in on the blog.  My life is so disjointed and at times hard to keep up with so I streamline it a big for you so it’s not so hard to keep track of.

For example….I skipped ahead and made three Virginia Bound blocks.  I’ve been auditioning to see if this is the next UFO I want to start on…At this point, I think it might be.  I’ll trim these up during nap time one day.


I got a bag of scraps on a garage sale that I’ll be telling you about soon.  I had and idea to put them together as a girl baby quilt and already have the blocks half sewn.


My long term nap time project that I don’t work on often is this pile.  I’ll eventually be making the quilt Moth in the Window.  The quilt needs 1 1/2″ strips and 2 1/2″ strips so while I was cutting out the Ohio Star blocks for Rectangle Wrangle I cut out these as well.  I only work on this if there is absolutely nothing else to do at nap time.


This quilt just got finished….at the time of my writing, it needed to be photographed and blog post written.


This is the start of the quilt for Hubby’s great niece.  I have all of these pieces cut that I need…some is even sewn together.  It’s going to be done in neutral taupe fabrics.
While this was out, I also cut out a baby quilt for my niece.  The quilt I designed for that will include her name so I can’t really finish it until the baby is born and I learn her name.  In the meantime, it’s started.

I saw a fun idea from Becky at Quilted Twins.  She was making a crumb quilt and using these adding machine tape rolls to do it.  These were gathered and put by the sewing machine as I”m going to try this out soon.  I bought all of these and about this much more on a garage sale for $1.  The childcare kids use it regularly but they will never use up all this so I might as well give the crumb quilt a try….Here’s a link in case you want to read about that.


Rectangle Wrangle is soon to be finished so I pulled a backing for it and that will soon be seamed up so it’s ready to go.


I have the two Zuckerwatte quilts that are now tops.  I needed backing for them and will be soon piecing that together.


I also got a fabric to make a spider web quilt….One day when I have a little extra time, I’ll be doing a test block to make sure I like what I’m planning.

This is all pretty typical of me.  Having this many things mulling around in my mind and in my hands is always what I have going on.  There is never a lull.  I actually like it that way….I know for some, it would be a crazy mess.  This is why sometimes it seems like I am getting a lot done at once…all of the little by little time, all of the picking a project so I have something to work on in a specific scenario really works for me.

For example, I always have a project to grab if I know we are going on a road trip-even if it’s only 30 minutes away.  Hubby drives.  I work on the project.  Ripping string papers off string blocks is ideal for this.  I’ll often sew some up and not touch them for three weeks until we go somewhere.

All of this makes me REALLY laugh.  When I was in first grade I had a teacher Mrs. Westing.  I had all good grades on my report card except for one thing, “Uses time wisely” in that area I got the worst grade.  Well now days I don’t know if I should laugh at her as that’s not the case anymore or if I should thank her for encouraging me to work hard and plan properly.

So Betty….here’s your answer, I more or less have 10 projects that I am trying to make progress on.  The wedding quilt is moving to the front burner soon and then it will be full speed ahead on that.  I don’t want to be pushing that date to closely.  I have time over 4th of July so I plan to get as much done as I can then.

10 thoughts on “Ask Jo: Behind the Scenes Truth”

  1. Yes I need less projects to work on at one time but if it works for you Jo than that’s all that matters!!! I do have three quilts I am working on now and that is two more than I usually have! So far it is working for me so maybe someday I will have 10 quilts going at once!!!!

  2. Love the adding machine tape roll idea! I have a box of them as well as loads of crumbs. A great idea for mindless machine stitching in the evenings. Now all I need is the time.

  3. I have a bunch of projects that I’m working on too. None of them are really UFOs, though, and I have plans for a lot of them. Having more time to sew would certainly help!

  4. I tend to operate this way as well-cutting binges, then piecing binges and okay, well, honestly, the quilting always slows me down. I hate deciding quilting design and thread color and so, I have a LOT of tops that need quilted. I am trying to be better about it, but so far, not much improvement. I could also use more time, but I do try to utilize waiting time at dr, dentist, etc. I am jealous you can work in the car-if I try, I get carsick. I have to be looking out and even frequent landscape checks don’t prevent the motion sickness. But, I have time to sew now, so off I go!

  5. My dad was a believer in efficiency, and he passed that on to me. I don’t always have hours to work on a project, so I have a few (4 or 5) going at once: Need a mindless day? String blocks. Only got 20 minutes? Trim blocks for something. Need a finish? Choose the project almost done. Can’t pull the table out behind my machine for quilting (very small, shared space)? Cut for a project.

    I do get to the point once in a while when I need to “clear the decks.” I finish everything in progress–then…start again! :)

  6. Since I have read your blog for years I knew this was the way you worked. But actually reading it, well, it makes my brain hurt! I’m so impressed with all you get done. I usually only have two or three projects I’m working on at a time. Any more than that I feel cluttered and don’t accomplish anything. Or something gets shoved aside and forgotten for years. Then I have no interest in finishing it, or can’t remember how to use the speciality ruler.

  7. Having that many projects going at one time would drive me insane. I have two cut out and working on at the moment and it’s bugging me nit to have them done. I two that needs binding and I want them done now. I have one that needs to be blanket stitched the applique down and two needing quilting. As you can tell I am a little OCD, I want everything done now and onto next project.
    I admire anyone that can juggle that many projects at once.

  8. Cheryl in Dallas

    I am in the “Too many projects at one time would make me crazy” camp. But, then I look around my quilting room, and see way too many projects pulled out at the same time. Ha! Like most quilters, I love starting projects but lose interest before I get around to doing the binding. If you can keep track of all those projects and complete them, you are a Wonder Woman! Go, Jo, go!

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