Ask Jo: Why Bonnie Hunter Quilts

Today is a day I am answering a question from a reader.

Elizabeth K writes, “I am amazed at how much you accomplish with child care, health issues and family and all beautiful. You obviously have a thing for Bonnie Hunter designs; however, I wonder why you don’t do more of your own.”

I get this type of questions ALL the time….All the time!  I’ve talked before about my work ethic and my lack of being able to watch television or sit still but I haven’t answered the last part of the comment….Why do I do so many Bonnie Hunter quilts?  Why don’t I do my own?

I’ll start on the first part of the question…Why Bonnie Hunter designs?  Several reasons.  I like the way she thinks and designs.  I love that most everything is based on quilt scraps that are 1 1/2″, 2″, 2 1/2″ and 3 1/2″.  I don’t have gobs of money and don’t buy big pieces of yardage.  The majority of the fabric I sew with was either donated to me, I purchase at thrift stores, or are left overs from other projects.  I rarely sew a project that used large yardage because I don’t typically like those designs AND I don’t want to afford bit pieces of fabrics.

Bonnie does “directions at a glance”.  I LOVE that feature.  It makes sewing a project so much easier for me to make.  I love it.


Typically I don’t even read the directions….I just start in with the pictures.  It’s my favorite.  I completely have immersed myself in the scrap users system.  It makes so much sense to me.  Being that’s ingrained in me, sewing her quilts is so natural.

I love simple designs coming together to make great quilts.  I love four patches.  I love half square triangles.  I love string piecing.  I love scraps.  What other designer does all of that so well?

Scrap quilts are my favorite-My VERY favorite.

I love quilts but the main reason I quilt is for therapy.  I am a person who squeals when I read the works make 1289 half square triangles.  I squeal when I see that a single block has 45 pieces in it.  I love this one.


or 104 pieces…

I love to sit and piece and piece and piece.  I listen to an audio book and all my troubles float away.  It’s brainless and endless piecing.  I LOVE it.  It’s an escape for me.  Few other designers do that.

One of the favorite things that happens around here is this….Kelli and I will go to the thrift store and buy a bag of clothes for a $1.  We wear about the same size.  We’ll throw the clothes across the bed and try them on.  Often we’re laughing at how goofy it looks..sometimes we find a treasure.  This all leads to the same thing every time.  We start in on looking at the fabrics on the quilt on on my bed.  Kelli has that fabric only in red…I have this fabric in green.  This fabric came in a box from the thrift store.  This is a fabric that never dies…it seems it makes it in every quilt.  We laugh and pet the finished quilt on my bed.  This is one of my most treasured moments with Kelli.  We love quilt petting….Our favorite quilts to pet are scrap quilts…very often Bonnie Hunter designed quilts.

I work a 10 hour days five days a week not counting the cleaning and shopping responsibilities I have for the childcare plus I write the blog.  I’m a busy girl.  I have enough to do…I don’t want to design quilts all the time.  I want to open a quilt book and simply start sewing.  I want my sewing to be relaxing….but sometimes we do design our own and that leads me to the next comment…

…So why don’t I do my own?  I do.  When Kelli and I are sewing our own, we rarely show pictures of those quilts on the blog.  Over the year we’ve done several projects….Right now, we have four quilts out that will be featured in upcoming quilt magazines.  We have one that is in process and we have SIX that are out for consideration.  We have one that was featured in a quilt magazine already this year and one that is featured in an upcoming 2017 calendar….I’d say we’re sewing our own designs.  We just don’t publicize what we’re doing.  We want you to be surprised when you see them in the magazine.

This summer I made this baby quilt.


It’s our design.  It will be featured in an upcoming magazine….

So that’s about it.
-I want to make the best use of my fabric.
-I like and want scrappy designs.
-I love a bizillion pieces.
-I want to relax and sew.
-I don’t want to buy lots of yardage.
-I want easy to read instructions.

Who does that all the best for me?  Bonnie Hunter designs….THANKS BONNIE…you’re WAY cheaper than a therapist.


23 thoughts on “Ask Jo: Why Bonnie Hunter Quilts”

  1. I think you are selling yourself short. Being influenced by one designer does influence your designs and not as appealing to others. Your patterns that you show are very nice, but I really would like to see more of creativity. I know it is in there someplace. Please don’t take offense. I think you have it. Think about it and challenge yourself.

  2. I’ve wondered this too but just chalked it up to your preference for her quilts! I absolutely love that baby quilt you designed, I hope you let us know which magazine we can find it in when its available.

  3. I think there are more people using patterns that others have designed then those that design – I’m surprised you were asked that question. Whatever is wrong with making a quilt from a designer that you love!

  4. I really understand this. I like almost all of Bonnie Hunter’s designs–I can’t say that about many designers. I, too, love the directions at a glance feature–so helpful. I have to admit, I don’t squeal at 1289 HSTs–I tend to groan, and then make them!

  5. Well said, Jo! Your reasons are mine exactly! I love, love, love the happy, colorful baby quilt! Oh, My, please let us know which magazine and issue when it’s time!

  6. I’m happiest when my quilts are scrappy and since I’ve recently discovered Bonnie and got the opportunity to see her trunk show and hear about the scrap savers method, I’m now cutting more sizes. It does make it easy to piece a top when the strips are ready and if I have box of bonus half square triangles to throw in. Love reading your blog and glad others can ask questions about “your method” and you give a heartfelt answer for us all.

  7. Yea Jo! I LOVE scrap quilts too! They have always been my favorites.
    And yes, Bonnie does such a great job, when today is long it’s good to take those scraps and sew! You do get a lot done. I like to sew and listen to audio books too. My daughter lives in Iowa. Someday I’m going to find your little town.

  8. I like easy to follow patterns too. I have found Bonnie Hunter’s , Jaybird Quilts and Swirly Girls all make quilt patterns with good directions.

  9. Jo, we must have some of the same blood in your veins as I have. Just joking

    But when you said you LOVE scrap quilts and listen to audio books I knew I found someone who thinks just like me. I don’t always read the whole blog but was thinking you are so creative by changing pattern with your own ideas. Thanks much for sharing.

  10. Well said Jo! I love Bonnie’s patterns, her Scrap User’s system and her Leader/Ender way of making quilts. I’ll still use some patterns by other designers but there is just a draw I feel towards the scrappy, scrappy quilts! Your’s and Kelli’s patterns included :-)

  11. This is really a comment for the children’s books post last week – you should get a copy of THE QUILTMAKER’S GIFT if you don’t have it already.

  12. I love the star baby quilt that you designed & would love to make it a little larger for me as a lap quilt so will be looking for it in the new quilting magazines. In fact there are quite a few quilts that you have designed that I love, love, love but “so many quilts so little time” but if I was efficient & skilled as you they would all be made! As to your explanation to “Why make Bonnie Hunter quilts?” makes good sense to me. You rock! You go girl!

  13. Catholic Bibliophagist

    And to Chris who thinks you should show more creativity, I would say that you have LOTS of creativity. I’m a long time reader of your blog, and I love the quilts you have designed. A lot of them are on my list of Quilts To Make. (And I love Bonnie’s quilts too for all the reasons you mention.)

  14. I have your book (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!!!) so I know you can do your own wonderful designs. I can too, when I want. But like you sometimes I just want to relax and sew and have the thinking done by someone else, you, Bonnie, Carrie, hehehe. I work full time and have two small children and a pretty long commute…and a husband who cleans up the supper dishes so I can sew. Just one request. Tell us BEFORE the magazine is gone from the rack when you have a quilt in it. I no longer spend the $$ on magazine subscriptions soooo :)

  15. Your reasons are wonderful and I’m working my way to making scrap quilts just have to finish a bunch of big projects first!!im almost ready for one happy dance… 5 out of 6 Halloween costumes done for my special goblins!!

  16. I just have to laugh – if I see a pattern that says to make 1289 half-square triangles, I go screaming into the night! But that’s what I love about quilting and the quilting community. Even if I don’t have a burning desire to make a block with 104 pieces, I totally respect and appreciate those that do, and marvel at the finished product. Although you don’t want to make a quilt with only one or two fabrics, I have no doubt that you appreciate the work that goes into it. How boring would the quilting world be if we all liked the same things?!?

  17. Jo – I completely agree with you about the directions at a glance. Bonnie Hunter has set the pattern standard for me. There are many other designers I love but I find myself passing on purchasing patterns because of this. When I do purchase one, I end up breaking it back down to just to be efficient.

  18. I’m currently sewing a little bit, cutting a little bit on your Stair Steps pattern. I have concentration issues and find yours and Bonnie’s instructions to be very helpful in how each quilt is broken into easy steps.

    I can’t always follow complicated patterns, but I can grab a pattern, my scrap basket and sew!

    It is a great sense of achievement for me, thank you

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