Ask Jo: Pumpkin Patch Questions

After I showed my Pumpkin Patch quilt makings I’ve had lots of questions….  This is from Quiltmaker magazine and is a Bonnie Hunter design.


From ShirlR:
I love Bonnie’s pumpkin quilt and was pleased to get the block in Quiltmaker magazine, but I, too, thought Bonnie, on Quilt Cam, was sewing them on regular paper and adding the corners by stitch and flip, using the the Simple Folded Corners ruler,. By measuring the template in the magazine, I now know the dimensions of the pumpkins, so will probably use the Quilt Cam method to make at least one block now but I have to fulfill some promises I made some time ago that I am much too late in fulfilling, so that comes first. I really, really like your idea of brown as the background for the pumpkins, because after all, pumpkins do grow in the pumpkin patch (smiles)! Thanks for your post on this! Can’t wait to see more more of your blocks!

From Catholic Bibliophagist:
The brown background is a great choice, though I like the gray too. When I got that issue of Quiltmaker, I was surprised to see that the pumpkins were paper pieced with a printed foundation sheet found in the pattern section in the middle of the magazine. Am I getting senile? I thought that on Quilt-cam Bonnie did those on on ordinary paper, and that she added the corners using the Simple Folded Corners ruler. Or am I getting this mixed up with a different Quilt-cam project?

From Marilyn:
Love the brown background choice. I have my strings done but haven’t been able to figure the size for the corners . First one was too big reread instructions and still draw a blank.

From  Cindy F:
The brown looks great! I have all the fabric I need for the quilt and I’ve been itching to get to it but I have several other quilts I’m working on. But….I may just sneak a block in to get that itch scratched! Wonder if they’re like chips…once you start you can’t quit!

I’m going to try to tackle the questions….

I’ll start with Cindy’s comment first.  “Wonder if they’re like chips…once you start you can’t quit!”  The little pumpkin blocks completely and totally are like chips.  If you make one…you’ll want to make dozens.  I made the 49 needed for the quilt, found that I had actually made a few extra pumpkin parts and finished them as I couldn’t bare from them to go to waste!!  I love the blocks.


Now I’ll try to answer all the other comments at once.

When a designer sends a quilt to a magazine, in this case Quiltmaker, they send only the quilt.  They do not send pattern instructions.  The magazine writes the pattern instructions….SO….Quiltmaker wrote the instructions saying the blocks were paper pieced.  Bonnie did not.

So if you are a Bonnie fan.  You know that Bonnie would not paper piece this.  She would STRING piece this.  So use the technique you prefer.  When I did mine, I measured the foundation piece that was in the magazine.  I cut phone book papers that size and used a string piecing method.

There are no cutting instructions for the corner sized to cut for the “pumpkins” because the magazine is writing the instructions as paper pieced.  When I cut mine, I experimented and cut mine at 1 3/4″.  I did not watch Quiltcam and see the instructions for the Simple Folded Corners ruler but I am certain Bonnie likely did demo that there.  I used the flip corner method.  I’m old fashion and that method works for me.

For those of you lamenting that you don’t have many orange scraps.  Honestly, all you would is about a gallon Ziplock bag full.  There are only 49 blocks and they are small.  Add in a few yellows too and you’ll have enough in no time.  My blocks don’t have near the variety that my typical string blocks do but that’s okay.

If you like Bonnie’s written directions and you feel more comfortable with that, you can wait until the new book comes out…last I heard was summer of next year or so.  The pattern is said to be in there and Bonnie I am sure will write the directions we all are used to following.  People often comment that I often make only Bonnie quilts.  It’s kind of true.  I love her directions.  They fit the way my brain thinks…and the way I use my fabric.  It works for me and in the end that’s all that matters….do what works for you even if you string piece and the Quiltmaker pattern says paper piece.

Bottom line is when you see something in a quilt magazine…think of it this way, the quilt you see is the maker’s DESIGN.  It is not their PATTERN.  The DESIGN is the DESGNER’S.  The PATTERN INSTRUCTIONS are the magazines.

8 thoughts on “Ask Jo: Pumpkin Patch Questions”

  1. I think your pumpkins are turning out smashing with the brown backgrounds. I did not know that a designer did not do the directions for quilts that they submitted to magazines. Thanks for sharing that with us all. I have plenty of oranges in my scrap bin so a few of these will be made, thanks for sharing your measurement for the corners to stich and flip, that helps me.

  2. Thank you SO much for telling us that the instructions in a magazine are the magazine’s and not the designer’s! Wow, that really, really helps me, as at this senior age, I am a beginning quilter. I have been so enthused when seeing beautiful quilts in magazines, and then when seeing that the cutting instructions use all those eighth-inch measurements, I just know that these are quilts I won’t be attempting to make; 8th-inch cutting is just not something I want to do! That’s why I like Bonnie’s instructions; they are so easy to understand and do and also why I like your book so much, Country Girl Modern, which I ordered immediately from you when it first came out. I used to make a lot of my clothing as a teenager and young woman, (when it actually WAS more economical to make your clothes than buy them ready made); and the 5/8th-inch seam allowances never bothered me at all, because the patterns included them, and the 5/8th seam is even marked on our sewing machines, but cutting eighth-inch measurements for quilting with a rotary cutter to begin with is just not my forte’, there’s too great a margin for error, at least for me. Thanks again for your explanation and answering our questions!

  3. Maybe those who have never string pieced or foundation pieced before need the paper-piece paper to get them started.

  4. Whoa…. thanks for explaining that the magazine folks write the instructions and not the pattern designer (seems misleading to me). This is probably why another quilt pattern by Bonnie Hunter would not work for me. I tried and tried and it still did not come out the size in the magazine. After being totally frustrated, I gave it up to tackle another day. Mind you I am an experienced quilter but frustrated – ha.


    1. Happily Bonnie often puts these quilts into her books. If you’re patient, it will come out in the book and you can make it then.

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