Ask Jo: Lot of Miscellaneous

Hello, and welcome to another edition of “Ask Jo”.  I get many comments and questions from all sorts of places, the comment section here, Youtube, email, and from our Facebook group.  Sometimes I think others of you might want to know the answers as well so I answer them here on the blog.   Today I’m addressing a lot of miscellaneous comments and questions.

Shelley asked:  “Where can I find the pattern for your Hip to be Square quilt?”

Hip to be Square is this quilt…

HiptoBeSqurare-1The pattern is listed in the right-hand column of the blog.  I made this quilt years ago.  It was made entirely of recycled shirts except for the solid-colored fabric.  It was so fun to make.HiptoBeSqurare-3

The free printable pattern can be found HERE.

Susan asked:
“Hi, Jo… Love the layout and variety in Karl’s quilt. How did you determine block placement?  Did you lay it all out before you started sewing?”

I did not lay it out.  I rarely if ever lay blocks out.  I’ve tried it a couple of times and each time I did I carried the blocks to the sewing machine only to find that I had placed them the wrong way anyway so I gave up on laying quilt blocks out before I sew them together.  I don’t have a design wall and although I occasionally say I’d like one, I doubt I would use it even if I did have one.  I typically sew rows together and then lay the rows out.  I can handle that much without getting them mixed up.

Besides all of that, I’m LAZY when it comes to something like that.  I’ve studied so many quilts that are old scrappy antiques.  MANY of them have similar blocks side by side.  There isn’t that “perfect” balance of blocks that so many of us strive to get.

When I made our Moment of Zen quilt, I didn’t lay it out block by block

I sewed rows together and then draped them over the longarm quilting frame.  When I was ready to sew a row on, I would audition rows.  I tried to twist or turn the rows so that two of the same printed blocks weren’t side by side, but beyond that, that’s all I did.

I did have a bit of method to my madness when I planned Karl’s quilt.  I had more red than most other colors but I didn’t want it to look very planned.  I ended up sewing the charms together by twos.  I first sewed all of the red to a color that wasn’t red.  Then with whatever squares that weren’t teamed together with a red, I sewed them together in twos.

(this is so hard to explain so forgive me)  Then I started sewing the twosies together to make rows.  I always made sure every other square was red while I was doing it….BUT, occasionally I would put in a twosie set that wasn’t the red/color combo.  Then when I went to sew on the next twosie, I made sure to make sure the red/color combo was oriented the right way to keep the pattern acting as if the previously added color/color combo had a red.  Clear as mud, right.

Maybe some pictures will help.  Here is a partial picture of Karl’s quilt.  It’s too big to get it all laid out.

It is made of 6 1/2″ squares…all from recycled men’s shirts.  if you look at the pictures above you might think every other square is red..almost a checkerboard but not quite. Notice the middle row…there is a greenish bigger plaid with red in it.  Technically if I was doing a “real” checkerboard design, that would have been a red block.

Again, in the photo below, the two light-colored blocks in the middle “should have been red”…but I put the color/color twosie combo there but still maintained the pseudo checkerboard pattern.

Look at the top again…can you see the pseudo checkerboard pattern.  I did that to distribute the red out and to keep the reds from being side by side.
If you are still having trouble seeing what I’m trying to explain as words, in this case, are really hard to put together to explain this, visually look at the picture.  Say to yourself, “red-color-red-color”.  Eventually, you get to a point that it’s “color-color” but then the “red-color-red-color” pattern will pick up again.

I hope that explains it all…now onto some easy to answer comments.

A blog reader, Rosalie, sent a link to this cute free cross stitch chart.
HERE is the link to the free chart.

It’s designed to go with Moda’s fabric line A Blooming Bunch.  You might remember we made our Two Charming with the line.

You can find the pattern for our quilt HERE.  It’s so tempting to toss the cross stitch projects I have going and jump into this on!!  Thanks, Rosalie for sharing.

Mary asked, “I love the quilt Gannon is sleeping on.  Where could I find the pattern?”

I am assuming she meant this picture.  This is Crisscross Applesauce.  It’s a Bonnie Hunter pattern in her book  Scraps & Shirttails II: Continuing the Art of Quilting Green.  You can read all about my quilt HERE.  This is the fought-over quilt at my house.  It’s made from shirts and so soft and cozy.

I got a question from Virginia.  She asked:  “I’m curious about the scoop you used to scoop out the dough. Is it all metal? We’ve been using an ice cream scoop but the cheap plastic part broke off some of its tines and now is useless.”

Virginia asked this question after she read my post about the cookies I was making. 
She saw my metal scoop in the picture.

HERE is a link to the scoops I use.  I have all three different sizes.  There are others that are cheaper but they don’t have the same construction as these.  They have springs not the same interlocking mechanism at the bottom.

I use the largest for ice cream and making monster cookies.  I use the middle size for most other cookies.  I use the smallest for waffle cookies.

I’ve had these all for years and have had no problem with them.  I remember the days as a first married gal making cookies and “dropping” them off two teaspoons.  This is such an improvement.  Occasionally, depending on the dough, the dough can stick to the sliding scoop that moves the dough out of the spoon.  If that happens I spray it with cooking spray and all is good.

The scoops are so good for controlling portion size.  In recipes that ask for me to roll the dough into balls, I typically just use the scoop when I can.

The last comment I’m addressing today…

Remember the library book orphan blocks??  I showed them to you in a recent Mailbox post.

Christel wrote, “The book blocks are Foundation Paper Pieced from a pattern available on Etsy from QuiltwithKate. Only $5 for three different patterns. And I believe the proceeds from sale of the patterns is donated to charity.

I checked it out.  Christel is correct and HERE is the link to the pattern.  The pattern is only for the book…not a complete quilt.  So fun.

That’s it from me today… If I missed your comment or question, please ask again or email me at

14 thoughts on “Ask Jo: Lot of Miscellaneous”

  1. Hi, you are so talented! I appreciate all of your quilts and ideas behind them. Your son is a kind soul and it seems all of your family are giving people and help any way they can. Thank you for all you do.

  2. Thanks for answering all those questions. It is so fun to hear what others are asking and then getting the questions answered. Thank you!

  3. In regards to the scoops used for the cookies, they can be found at any restaurant supply store. Amazon might have them. Oh, check King Arthur Baking (Flour) Happy Baking

  4. Cheryl in Dallas

    Well, this is embarrassing. For as long as I’ve read your blog and made your quilts, I’ve never even seen “Hip To Be Square.” It’s a lovely quilt! I am going to start cutting up my men’s shirts right now to make one of those beauties. Thanks for the tutorial.

  5. Sorry Jo, Christel told you the incorrect pattern Your book block is from Book Nerd by Angela Pingel. If you look at the two patterns you will see they are different.

    I have made the pattern by Angela and it is lovely – I just like to see the right person credited!

    Thanks Kathy

  6. Gayle Shumaker

    Your explanation of the reds in Karl’s quilt makes perfect sense, or at least it does to me. Lol if asked my family may say that my thinking is some what convoluted. Thanks for answering questions on your blog I usually learn something new each time.

  7. I believe this book block pattern is actually the Book Nerd pattern by Angela Pingel. the pattern has a layout for and entire quilt that finishes 54 X 66.

  8. Christina Coats

    Hi Jo
    Come across pressing from the front???? Never done that. Is there a reason for it? I have always pressed open, no quilt police around here. Just cannot get my head around why I am being told to press from the front. Like I say I press open and use my clapper. Help me understand it’s bugging me. Love waking up and there you are waiting for me to read. Always enjoy and have learnt a lot from you. How you hAve boundless love for all around you and patience. Love and God Bless.x

    1. Hi Christina. I have no idea what you are referencing when you asked your question. In general I often press from the front is I am simply pressing the seam one way or the other.

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