Jingle Bell Square Quilt

I showed you that I caved in and made a Jingle Bell Square Quilt block.  It was featured in Quiltmaker.  If you missed it, you can find it here.  It’s a Bonnie Hunter pattern.

If you are like me, when you find a quilt designer that you like, one of the reasons you like them is because of the way they write directions.  That’s one of the many reasons I like Bonnie Hunter quilts….the directions.  If you have taken the time to think it through you know that Bonnie writes quilt patterns by units rather than by blocks.  She tells you how many units to make of each portion of the block and then tells you how to put those units together to make the blocks.  I love that.  I only have to concentrate on one thing at a time.  I don’t have to concentrate on the whole block.  That allows for a lot of relaxing sewing time.

Designers submit quilts to Quiltmaker magazine all the designer does is make the quilt.  Quiltmaker has in house writers that write the patterns.  They do this to keep the patterns in the magazine consistent.  They also do this so that they can keep better tabs on how many pages the pattern will take up…then they know how many ads can fit in and such.  I’m not for one second criticizing how magazines do it, I’m just saying I love Bonnie’s style of writing so much better.  It fits the way I store my fabric and fits my lifestyle better.

All of you know I am really busy.  It’s much easier for me to read that I need to sew a 19″ strip of red and 19″strip of green together.


Press and then cut them into 4 ~ 4 1/2″ segments keeping them in sets of four.

That is likely closer to how Bonnie would write it.

Instead the magazine tells me to cut 4 ~ 4 1/2″ pieces of green and 4 ~ 4 1/2″ pieces of red and then sew them together.  This way, it’s just more for me to keep track of…and I’m already not so good at that.  I like just using the 19″ strip and cutting it into segments method.

When it comes to the center of the blocks, Quiltmaker has their directions that involves cutting out squares and them cutting them twice on the diagonal then sewing them together.  I don’t like that method.  I like using my companion angle ruler.  To make the large hour glass centers I instead used 2 1/2″ strips.  I put a red with a neutral strip right sides together and cut two triangle sets.

My pieces are now already matched and ready to go through the machine.   I already have 2 1/2″ strips in a bucket because I use Bonnie Hunter’s Scrap Users System.  Many of the strips I can simply grab from the bin of strips.  This is quicker than cutting on the diagonal and then matching the triangles together before they can feed into the machine.


Press…then put the two pieces together matching the seam and feed through again.


It’s a simple hour glass block.


To make the smaller hour glass blocks for the outside I am using 1 1/2″ strips and my companion ruler.  I am making sets of four of these.

When I first read the instructions as they are in the magazine, I was almost over whelmed.  Now days, I only make Bonnie quilts or things we’ve designed.  I’ve gotten in a habit of liking directions written in Bonnie’s style.  Not seeing this pattern written in Bonnie’s form had me pause.  I chatted with Kelli about it and she said…Mom, just skip their directions and make it with the companion angle ruler like you are used to.  After that, it was smooth sailing.

I’m working along.  It won’t be finished for this Christmas…but next Christmas.  Of course, I’ll have to make it bigger.  Bigger means more blocks.  When you sleep with a blanket hog like my husband, it’s the only way to get some covers.  Besides, I like the quilts to drape a big over the edge.

I think I am going to steal a day over Christmas break to really work on this.  I’d to see how far I can get before the new year.  In the mean time, you’ll like see me working on this quilt and the mystery too.

9 thoughts on “Jingle Bell Square Quilt”

  1. I’m right there with you Jo. I convert all my quilt instructions to Bonnie style. :) I want to use my strips and bits and I’m thrilled when I have a bunch already to use. Your quilt is going to be great.

  2. Thanks Jo, for giving us these directions, as I’m slowly learning how to covert patterns to Bonnie’s way of doing things. It’s just a lot easier .Were you surprised with my gift blocks for your Birthday. I had so much fun making them. Jean in Marion, Ia.

  3. Jo–You hit the nail on the head with Bonnie’s way of quilting. I love how she explains how to make each step of her patterns. I down loaded her older mystery pattern Old Tobacco Road and learned another step. Press the pinwheels to the light and press the four patch to the dark. The seams lay nice for a change. Thanks to you Jo for all of your help and blog messages. With the house building, childcare, audio books and sewing it is interesting and very people friendly, Thank You for all of your time.

  4. I’m not an expert quilter so I definitely like simple/easy. I, too, will sometimes dissect instructions to suit my thinking. Thank you for giving me the OK to do so! =) And thank you for your wonderful blog. I enjoy it very much.

  5. I wish magazines would just show me a picture of the unit they want me to make along with the finished size in the quilt. It is so much easier for me to make a flying geese unit of a certain size than to try and figure out what they want me to do with all the squares and rectangles they want cut.

  6. Thanks so much for this. I had been wanting to make this but like the others, don’t like the directions of cutting squares in half etc. So I have a stack of Christmas fabric I will be using to make this for next Christmas also. I will be sewing along with you!

  7. I agree with you 100 percent. Bonnie has the best directions. I have learned to translate the ones in the magazines to her way too…wish they would let her do it her way!
    I see you are having another Bonnie gathering in Aug. next year. Can you tell me if there are spots available in it, and what it costs and any details if there are spots. Meeting you is on my bucket list and of course any time I can see Bonnie I try! I live all the way in AZ but could make it my vacation maybe!

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