Ask Jo: The Comment Section

Every so often questions and comments come from readers that I think others would like to hear my response to.  That’s when I feature them on the blog.  This is one of those days. Today’s questions touch on a bunch of different topics. They do have on thing in common though. All of the questions or comments have come from the comment section here on the blog.

After seeing the beautiful Veteran’s quilt presentation from Ray, Carol asked:
“Would love to participate. What size is appropriate?”

I believe the best sizes are larger lap sized up to twin sized. Ray can correct me if I’m wrong.

Meodye also commented saying:
Many local communities have Quilts of Valor sewing groups that meet to make quilts and then present them at various times of the year. They also would appreciate donations of money, fabric, batting, long arming, quilts/quilt tops, and sewing time.”

She is totally right. There are. I encourage you to find one if you are interested. Please investigate the group to see if you are a good fit. If it is an “official” Quilt of Valor group, there are guidelines that need to be followed so some quilt tops might not be accepted.

I also know from my own personal experience, that some people just like to sew in non-group settings but still like to help from the sidelines. I also know living rurally and driving to find a group can be taxing as well. Donating quilts to Ray’s for finishing is a great way for them to help but not have to join a group.

I’m so thankful that there are many ways to help.

Dorothy asked:
“What kind and size are the plastic bins you recommended for storing your fabric? I couldn’t find them in your recommended list.”

They are clear Letter Legal File Totes.  They are a nice size.  18 x 14 x 11-ish.  I keep my bright fabrics that are all the same color in a tote.  So I have one for each of the most used colors…Primaries plus pink, gray, and teal. You can find them HERE on Amazon.

Here is how they look in my sewing room. It’s nice easy to see clean and organized storage. I’m so thankful I spent the money for the tots and organized it this way. It has made USING fabric so much easier. Before I felt more like I was just storing fabric and not using it so much!! Yes. I have plenty of fabric to last a lifetime!! HA!

I do have a rule…one I can’t keep anymore in the tote, I either need to use it or donate it. I do both.

From Pat C in Michigan:
“I was wondering if you still use the wool pressing mat and what your experience has been with it. Do you use a wood clapper?”

YES…I do still use and love my wool mats. I used the Nido brand. You can find them HERE. I love the portability, the way they work, space-saving, and convenience.

I have three of them. This larger size I have two of -one upstairs and one on the main floor. I also have a small one that fits on a TV tray by my sewing machine.

The second part of your question on clappers. If you’ve not heard of wood clappers, quilters use them for pressing. In theory, you press your seam and then lay this clapper on the seam and it is supposed to keep the heat in place thus setting your seam better.

I do not use these…I’m not even remotely tempted by them. Remember I’m the girl that already thinks pressing is highly overrated and typically doesn’t use an iron until it’s completely necessary. Plus, I want to get things done and these seem like they would take up even more time at the iron. I know Lori Holt totally endorses them. She also has and wants pretty much perfect seams. Me, I don’t care so much.

Admittedly, this little notion has me intrigued. It can be used as a clapper but it all can be used for pressing on the top. The seam gets draped over the wool and then you iron. I can see how the draping might help open the seam and help with not burning your fingers with the tip of the iron when trying to get a seam open to press it. You can find these HERE. I have been tempted to buy on of these.

I got this message from Miriam:

Hello, Jo!

This is Miriam Barbee the artist who sketched the portrait of Rosie!

Thanks for posting it on your blog, it was such a fun project and I enjoyed spending time on capturing the beauty and personality of Rosie.

If anyone wants to find me, my website is:
My email address is:
And I am also on Instagram: @painting_in_frames
I also have an Etsy shop: PaintingInFrames

Again, thank you so much for posting the portrait on your blog!

This is the amazing drawing of Rosie that Miriam did. At them time of writing the post, I had lost Miriam’s contact info. If anyone would like a drawing of their dog, please contact Miriam.

Linnea asked:
“Hey Jo! How long of a blade do these scissors have on them? I know the listing on Amazon says the scissors themselves are 7.5” long but no info on blade length specifically, thank you!”

Linnea is referring to these scissors. A wonderful blog reader sent these to me. I love them. By far, my favorite scissors ever.

Here is a picture to answer your question. The blade length is only this long…

The entire scissors is 7.5″.

Sharon asked:
“Love this quilt? About how many of each color shirt did it take? I’m thinking about making one but maybe with blue and yellow?”

Sharon is asking about my Oregon or Bust quilt.

I have no idea how many of each color. I like lots of variety and traded with a blog reader so I ended up using a lot of different shirts. I used more blue as the border is primarily blue and the setting triangles are all blue. That’s a good thing because blue shirts are much easier to find. I think I would have a minimum of 8 orange and 12 blue…oh, likely six white. I am guessing I likely had closer to 15 different oranges, 20 different blues, and 12 different whites. All of that is guessing though. I had been collecting shirts for about 4 years for the project and only buy shirts when they were $2 or less.

This is also hard to say because I keep a scrap users system for my shirt fabrics too. When it came to doing the checkerboard border, I grabbed strips from there first. So there might only be a few 1 1/2″ squares of some of the fabrics.

WHEW…that was a lot of different questions. Sadly some of the questions have been in the comments section for a bit waiting for me to answer. It feels good to have these all cleared out. Feel free to ask questions anytime.

5 thoughts on “Ask Jo: The Comment Section”

  1. Thanks for the interest in red/white/blue quilts for the veterans. I fully understand why the official QOV program must have set sizes. However, as with everything else, I am not at all picky about the size. Vets come in all sizes and they all appreciate the recognition they receive by being given a quilt. Most have never been recognized for their service until now. It is very rewarding to be able to make their day a bit brighter. This year there were handouts on the tables so they could see who and where the quilts came from. They could not believe that they came from all across the US from people they did not even who. Send any questions you may have to my email: Yes, plans are already in process.

  2. Thank you, Jo! I always enjoy these posts with answers to others’ questions. Sometimes I may have the same questions, but never bothered to ask – lol.

  3. great information. thank you.
    Just wanted to add a bit of info that I recently learned of. Our HOA has a quilting club (among many other interesting ones) They recently received a donation for their Quilts of Valor program. A church had sold a piece f property they were not going to be using and their board o directors elected to divide the proceeds among 5 differnt organizations. I only mention this because they estimate that their quilts with just the materials considered are between 200; and 300 dollars. their processing including longarmer is donated.. I only mention this put the idea in folks minds who might wish to help with financing. Thanks for reading.

  4. I just looked up the sizes for the Quilt of Valor as I was not sure. This is what the “official” website said, I am sure every donation site is bite different, “Ideal Size is 60 inches X 80 inches with Recommendation of 55 inches X 65 inches to
    72 inches X 90 inches.” It helped me this year to donate to Ray as I did not have to finish a quilt. I was slowed down because of foot surgery for several months. I sent him a top and maybe the binding. I know others send everything needed to finish the quilt. You can help him in any way you can. Happy Quilting.

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