Category Archives: Ask Jo

Ask Jo: Helping Bloggers

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…

Jeanine asked:
I have asked you this question some time ago, but I don’t think it has ever been answered. I was wondering if it helps you financially if we click on ads on your blog. I know Mary from Country Threads gets some help financially if we click on the ads on her blog. I have been clicking on your ads when I see them, but am just curious if it helps you at all. Thanks.”

Blog readers get money from the companies that place ads on their blogs.  There are two different ways they are compensated.  One is through the ad being there and you seeing it.  The other is if the ads are clicked and there is interaction with the reader.  This obviously pays more.  There are catches to this though.  If a reader comes in and clicks all the ads, the counter notices that the clicks are not organic, and all the clicks are then negated and there is no compensation.

So, as far as ads go, the best thing for you to do is click on something if it is something that interests you.  Click if you want to learn more about whatever it is.  Click how you would naturally click ads….don’t wildly click every ad.  In the end, it is not helpful.

For me, I was on Zenni looking for glasses.  A couple of days later the ad came up when I was checking the blog and I remembered that I forgot to order the glasses.  I ended up hitting the ad and ordered my glasses.  This is a great way to use an ad and is super helpful.  If you haven’t tried, Zenni for glasses, they are awesome.  More coming up about that in another post.

As far as closing ads, close them if that makes reading the blog post more convenient to you.  I know the ads are annoying.  I totally get it but as I’ve explained before, they are necessary so I get some type of compensation for all I put into the blog, and trust me, it’s not a lot!

So, I’m sure you’re wondering how you can really help bloggers then.  Well here are some suggestions…
Continue reading

Ask Jo: This and That

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…

The first question came from several different blog readers each asking the same question.  If I was working to donate all the quilts to school kids, why did I not think it appropriate to give lap quilts?


Well…I had Kalissa dig through pictures for me and she found this gem from when my kids were all in school.  Take a look.  There are five kids ranging in age of typical school-aged kids.

At the time of this photo, three of the kids were about as tall as me.  Me personally, if I wanted a quilt to sleep with and keep me warm, I’d want something at least 60 x 80.

Lap-sized quilts are not a specific size.  Check out the chart I found online for defining the size of a “lap quilt”.

Lap Quilt Size Width Length
Small 36 inches 45 inches
Small 36 inches 48 inches
Medium 36 inches 60 inches
Large 45 inches 60 inches
Large / Long 54 inches 72 inches

Because of that, I like to be really careful when I tell someone lap-sized quilts will work.  Everyone has a different size in their head as their personal definition of a lap-sized quilt.

If a child was truly in need and needed warmth, I believe every one of my kids in the picture I showed would have needed a bare minimum of a large/long lap-sized quilt.

Remember we live in Iowa.  It gets very cold.  When my kids were growing up, we didn’t have heat in the upstairs of the farmhouse beside the little that came up through the one vent in the hallway.  It was COLD upstairs.  My kids often slept in sweat pants with sweatshirts and still had three quilts on them.  They need a big quilt to truly be warm so they could tuck a blanket around them.

We will send a couple of quilts that are somewhere in leaning towards the large/long category as a few of the quilts will go to young elementary kids…but other than that, I really think to best honor the kids these are being gifted to, the quilts need to fall in the largest lap-sized category and head towards twin sized.

After seeing my latest progress in my sewing room redo, Whitney asked if I would put a link to the Facebook page of the gals who hosted the sale where I got the goodies for my sewing room from.

Their business name is The Twisted Sisters.  You can find them HERE on Facebook.  The address of their sale is in Sumner Iowa.  A couple of comments were made about my “can shelf”.    If someone wants, I can take some close up pictures and provide measurements.  Making the shelf would be pretty easy for someone who is handy with power tools.

The next question came from the comment section and was in reference to this quilt, Pumpkin Patch by Bonnie Hunter.
You can find my original post about the quilt HERE.

A Reader wrote:
I have started making this quilt and I have some questions for you since yours is done. When you make the flying geese border, what are the measurements of the main orange rectangles? The squares on each side? The finished piece should measure?? For the small squares, how much do they measure before sewing?
Lastly, what size are the pieces to make the stem?

I found the pattern to be very challenging without specifics in inches for the pieces. I am making the blocks with orange strips 6 1/2 by 4 1/2 and I will use the squares on all corners to create the body pumpkin.

Thank you in advance for your help!

As much as I would like to be a help to this reader, I won’t and can’t.  There are two reasons why.  First off, I made this quilt a couple of years ago, and frankly, I don’t have the time to find the quilt and the pattern and answer the questions.  I love people and I love to help, but that is too much of a request.  I would basically be writing out the whole pattern.

BUT mainly, telling that information is a complete copyright infringement.  If I am answering that many questions, the person likely has not either purchased the magazine it was originally printed in or Bonnie Hunter’s book String Frenzy that it was later printed in.  They are likely putting some quilting knowledge together and making a guess at the pattern.

For me to tell her all these measurements and instructions are not only illegal but it also just plain wrong.  The author of the pattern has worked long and hard to design this pattern and put it out for print and purchase.  This is her livelihood.  This is how she makes a living.  By sharing this, I hurt her and her business.  In reality, it is shoplifting.  I won’t do that.

Many quilt pattern writers offer free patterns and patterns for sale, just like Kelli and I do here.  We have a long list of free patterns on the sidebar of this post and we offer paid patterns in our shop.  (Find our shop HERE)  We love quilters and are giving people so want to offer some free patterns but we also need to make some money….for me more than ever since I am not doing childcare, so we do offer some for purchase.  It’s a nice balance.  It’s more than fair.  Bonnie Hunter does the same.  She offers free patterns and patterns for purchase.  Please honor designers by not giving away their paid-for patterns.  If you want to give a free pattern away, that is okay.  BUT, instead of printing it and handing if over, please direct the person to the blog or website where it is posted.   Give the designer credit.

My next email came from Carol, a long time blog reader.  Carol writes:
Kayla helped me with my blog and I am so enjoying it.  It’s nice to be able to just click and there it is and know how to use it.  Still working on pics but I’ll get there.  I wrote this blog after your visit to the Country Sampler shop.  I sent her a copy as well and she was thrilled.  I don’t have many readers so thought maybe a plug from you would be nice.  I was an interior designer for 35 years and wrote many design articles so I like to incorporate design with quilting.”

HERE is a link to what Carol wrote.  It was an interesting article and so sweet of her to write.

All of that got me thinking that maybe we should do a shout out for any blogs out there.  I’ve added a link button that I hope will work.  I haven’t done that for a long time!!  Please let us know about your own personal blog or a blog/site that you enjoy.  I think we’re all stuck at home and might enjoy finding a new site to check out.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

If you can’t get your link to work, please just leave a link in the comment section.

Feel free to also share anything else you feel is appropriate, a favorite Youtube channel, flosstuber, Instagramer, quilt forum, or the like.  I think we all would love to see something different than our “same old”.

I think that wraps things up for this edition of “Ask Jo”.  If you asked and I missed your question please ask again…

Ask Jo: Christmas

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…

I recently got a question from Donna.  She wrote:
I have an “Ask Jo” question. Hope I haven’t missed the answer on some past post…but why do you dislike holiday decorating?
Don’t get me wrong…I dislike it too, but if I ever mention that to someone, it’s like they can’t even believe it and like I must be dysfunctional.

I just resent the time it takes to set up and later pack away. I don’t enjoy doing it and as a mother of only sons (now adults) I have found they really don’t notice stuff like that very much.
Now a special meal and a seasonal dessert they do appreciate and I like planning and cooking.

I guess I am feeling g a bit guilty and maladjusted seeing everyone’s Halloween decorations.

How did you phase out seasonal decorating g and does your family mind?
You don’t even do a Christmas tree, right? I might give that up this year.”

Oh my…I’m sure you had no idea when you asked the question, Donna, what my response would be.  It will likely be a long one so grab a cup of coffee…here goes.

I’ve told you all that I’m the youngest of five siblings.  My sister is 16 years older than me and there are 3 boys in between.  When I was little, this was my Christmas….

It says Feb ’68 on the photo so that means this was taken when I was two.

I am dumping out my Christmas stocking.  Our family celebrated Christmas at that time.

Second grade was the last year our family celebrated a “regular” Christmas.  After that, my sister and her family joined a church group that didn’t acknowledge Christmas.  My parents ended “regular” Christmas for us all.

We didn’t have a tree.  We didn’t have a huge meal.  We didn’t have decorations.  We still had Christmas candies and treats and my Dad continued to candlelight church service but that’s about it as far as celebrating Christmas goes.

There never was Santa even when my parents allowed “regular” Christmas.  My parents believed Santa was a lie and they didn’t lie to us EVER!

So for me, Christmas became totally non-commercial.  On Christmas Eve I went to church with my Dad.  My brothers and their families often still came on Christmas day.  There weren’t any presents.  We ate food.  We played games including cards.  Christmas for me was the birth of Jesus.  It was a candlelight service.  It was family.  It’s was food and spending time together.

As a teen and early adult, I was resentful to my sister about this.  I wanted parts of the commercial Christmas I could see so many enjoying.  I blamed it on my sister and her family.  I felt like they stole it from me.  She got while she was growing up.  She ruined it for me.

As a twenty-some-year-old, I had a family and kids.  I could do what I wanted in regards to Christmas.  I talked to Kramer and he was on board to not do Santa.  I tried having a tree.  I tried some of the more commercial non-religious things people do for Christmas but it all seemed like a show that involved a lot of work and money.  After a few years, I told Kramer if he wanted to do a tree to do it- I wasn’t.  He said he didn’t have a tree growing up unless he brought the classroom Christmas tree home from school.  He agreed.  A tree and lots of decor wasn’t our thing.  A Christmas tree wasn’t meaningful to us.

When Kalissa was a teen she was insistent on a tree.  We had one a couple of years…but after she had to take all the decorations up and down, she quit too.

Christmas isn’t about decorations for me.  Christmas for me is about family.  It’s about a candlelight Christmas service.  It’s about special foods for the season…a couple of practical presents and that’s it.  The other stuff doesn’t bring me joy.  After living so many years without it, the other stuff seems frivolous and expensive.

Now that the kids are all adults… Continue reading

Ask Jo: Making Quilt Larger than the Pattern

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…

Donna asked:
Have you ever developed instructions for a queen size Bands of Color or Brick House?  I love your blog!!  Thanks.”

The short answer is, “No, I haven’t but I’m willing to give it a shot”.

This is our Bands of Color quilt…This is the original quilt has gone by two different names so don’t let the name trip you up.  It’s called Rainbow Connection as it appeared in our book.  (You can buy our book with the pattern HERE.)


The pattern is written for the throw size quilt.  To make it queen-sized would be no problem.  Just keep adding white and then another border of color until the top is to the size that you need.

I didn’t go and find the book but if I remember correctly, it’s 70″ x 70″.

I would continue adding the bands in the exact same order.  If you add an orange and yellow band then the quilt would be, 90″ x 90″.  If you added two more beyond that, green and teal, it would be 110″ x 110″.

For every band of color, 6″ is added to the quit.  For every white border, 4″ is added to the quilt.

Everyone has a different definition of what a queen-sized is so if someone would like to make it larger, they’ll need to do the calculations themselves.

On the Brick House quilt… Continue reading