What I’m Working On…

The kids were home a lot this last week so I haven’t had much time to sew.  In fact, I don’t think I really sewed much at all.  When I did get to the sewing room, I mostly organized.

I did finish up cutting up the box of scraps I had….


The Dumbo print was my very last one to cut.  The other fabric went into another spot.  I hope to make some pot holders with it.

Look at my overflowing garbage can with all the slivers of fabric that was left over.


Oh my.  Isn’t that the way it goes?  One mess gets cleaned and in the cleaning we make another mess.

I worked on this cabinet….YEP..not the best use of space happening here, that’s for sure.  UGH, what a task.


It’s looking better now but I’ll save the big reveal for once I get the sewing room all finished.

As I was working on the cabinet, I found lots of UFOs.  I have plenty to be able to participate in a UFO challenge.  I’m hoping Mary from Country Thread will be doing one.  I think June is the last of the one she hosted last year.  If she does it again, I really need to join.  I don’t really care that I have UFOs.  All of the ones I have are timeless to me so I don’t worry about that, I just want to feel free.  More free space, less projects to delay me from the projects I desire to do.  So it’s time to start tackling them.  Mary, if you’re reading this, please host another UFO challenge.  I need one.  Do any of you need one too??

The next thing I needed to start figuring out is my book and magazine storage.  I have tried many different ways of storing them….Not a single way has been successful so I took two of totes and decided this is something new I’m going to try.  I am allowed one tote of current-ish books…(I am going to try to not to buy many more)…


…and one tote of books I use more as reference of inspiration.
I am making this rule for myself.  I am allowed to get more books….BUT I can only have as many as will fit in these two totes.  That’s enough.

Here are two of my VERY favorites.


It’s Okay If You Sit On My Quilt Book by Mary Ellen Hopkins should be in everyone’s quilt library.  The book is old and looks a little dated but the info in there is timeless.  Mary Ellen does an AMAZING job of teaching the math through grid work, that quilters need to know if you really want to understand how to design and put quilts together.  The book is so good that it’s still in print.  That’s a real testament as I got mine back in the early 90s.  You can find it on Amazon HERE.

Around the Block with Judy Hopkins is one of my favorite books for inspiration on picking blocks to make in a quilt.  This classic is also still in print.  You can find it HERE on Amazon.

Of the books in my collection there are likely the most used ones.  Do you have a classic quilt design book you hold onto?

Anymore I prefer books like these and doing my own thing making my own designs.  That doesn’t mean I’m giving up on making quilts others design, I’m just feeling a little more freedom.

I still have a stack of magazines to tackle…but it’s all getting better and will be an ongoing project for me to get them in control.

My quilt machine got a little overhaul.  A local gal who has an APQS machine was getting new carpet in her basement.  She had an APQS tech come and move her machine…the carpet got laid and then he put her machine back.  Well while the carpet was being laid, the service man had nothing to do so I had him come and service my machine.  Carla, my longarming friend, had her machine serviced too.

I had a new take up bar canvas put in while he was here…


Mine had gotten two cuts in it and I felt like it was bowing a little bit.

So…no longarming was done this week either.

I am finally feeling like the sewing room is coming together.  Day by day and week by week I’m getting there.  It serious feels lighter and nicer every time I go in the room.  It’s be a heck of a lot of work but it’s paying off.

That’s the latest from the sewing room….

As far as cross stitch goes, check this out…


I now have 4 of 6 pages stitched.  I’m so happy with how it’s looking.  I’m going to try to push on and see if I can get a finish with this before to long.  I getting so excited to see it finished.  This is a Scarlett House chart called Seeking Refuge.

I hope you all have a had a few productive days and have been able to accomplish a thing or two.

17 thoughts on “What I’m Working On…

  1. Tina in NJ

    Jo, I have to agree with you about the books. Mary Ellen Hopkins’ book was my first quilt book. It broke thie design process down into unit, an approach I still use over 30 years later. Judy Hopkins’ books were some of my go-to books back when I did the block of the month for my guild, which I did for about 15 years.

  2. Carla

    I’ve never participated in any kind of online thing. No quilt-a-long, or block of the month, or anything like that. A UFO challenge sounds motivating so I would give it a try!

  3. Karen

    I can’t wait to see you tidied up sewing room! I finally had time to clear of the top of my cutting table this weekend-all scraps put away, all mending done and put away etc. I can’t sew when I don’t have my table clear-it clutters my brain somehow. I was able to get working on the Saturday sampler blocks I’m behind on (finished March and cut out April!).

  4. Lori

    Hi Jo,

    I also have Mary Ellen Hopkins book. I got to see Mary Ellen in person and hear her lecture, what fun! I can still see her in my mind.

    So glad you are getting your sewing room organized. What a great feeling.
    That little Georgie is a real cutie.

  5. Judy

    My accomplishment was making curtains for a friend. I have had the fabric for ages. Done is good!

  6. Hefy

    I have many of the same books as you and definitely have Mary Ellen Hopkins book on the end table now. I have over 100 books and magazines in a book case now but originally had over 1000. They are being given to thrift stores and libraries everywhere as soon as they open. I love to read and have enjoyed them immensely. My cleaning up has resulted in finding that I have way too much stuff and I need to find homes for the extras.my rooms look good now but hopefully by the end of the year, more will be donated.

  7. Andi

    Hi Jo!
    Around the Block is my single favorite quilt book. I have its 2 companion books as well, but Around the Block is my favorite. I used to teach basic quilt classes at my shop and this was my “go to” book. I just had it out the other day looking through it for an idea I needed. Its a timeless classic!

  8. Ruth

    Jo, Mary at Country-Threads-Chicken-Scratch plans to start the next “Dirty Dozen” UFO challenge in one month, starting July 1. So count out 12 UFO projects, label them with a number from 1 – 12, and wait to see which number she draws and posts at the start of the month. Then sew up that UFO number and send her a picture with your name on it in big letters. She will post all the pictures as they come in.
    Do I do this challenge? No! But I did finish my farm quilt Saturday night that’s been hanging around in pieces for about 20 years. Reading about other people’s UFOs helped me move forward on one I really wanted to finish.
    P.S. First Rule at our house: Never throw away a piece of paper without First looking at it! Even if it’s in a pile you think is all trash. Check one more time before throwing out!

  9. Janet R

    With all that has been happening, that cross stitch seems perfect. I’m so thankful for crafting. During Covid, during the months I was laid up with my foot, there were still things I could do to stay occupied.

    Perfect time to get your longarm serviced. Smart to take advantage of it, too.

    You’re doing a great job with organization! I need to get your resolve. You’re the best!

  10. The Joyful Quilter

    Love, love, LOVE Mary Ellen Hopkins!! Looking forward to see how you organized that cabinet, Jo. About the books, though… There is NO WAY that I could EVER pare my quilt library down to only TWO totes!!! You will be happy to know that I have followed your lead and found several sections of my sewing table. Thanks for the inspiration!

  11. Annie

    Hope you come up with a creative way to deal with your magazines. I have a complete run of Martha Stewart Living and a complete run of Threads. No one wants them and yet I can’t throw them out. :(

  12. pam

    I went to the Amazon book for the Mary Ellen book. LOL Someone is selling theirs for over 900 dollars! What the what? Good grief. I remember watching Mary Ellen on Simply Quilts with Alex Anderson. What a hoot she was. Of course , this was back when HGTV was worth watching. Now too many rehab shows. Remember Carol Duvall? I loved watching her. Well, anyway, you all have a great day! pam

  13. Judith Fairchild

    I really like how you’re prioritiziing your tasks. How on earth did you pare your magazine/ book stash down. I don’t have that many but it would be hard to give up any of them. They are my go to place when I need ideas, or yardages calculating etc. The joy of planning is exploring what we have then getting the calculating, drafting, and materials chosen done. Your sewing stash and room or going to look and be amazing when you get finished.

  14. Linda White

    I am good on books, but I cringed when you said you are throwing away all those scraps in the trash bin. I love using those little pieces for random piecing into blocks. One of my favorite ways to sew is stitching those bits and pieces together into quilt blocks.

  15. Jo Post author

    Linda the scraps were really tiny. None more than 3/4″ wide. I save the small stuff.

  16. Anita

    Jo – based on your recommendation I just ordered Mary Ellen’s book. Thank you. I am starting to make your Candy Wishes quilt. I want to up-size it for a Queen sized bed. I thought maybe this book would help me. Have you – or maybe one of your readers – ever done the calculations to upsize Candy Wishes? I am a bit of a novice here, so am looking for help to be sure I am measuring and buying fabric accurately.

  17. Angie in SoCal

    Mary Ellen Hopkins books were my companions when I first started quilting. My mathematical mind loved her system. Once I had them squared away in my head, I stumbled across Judy Hopkins (I wonder if they’re related?). Her one of kind book intrigued me. Made a couple and then I discovered the internet and the plethora of ideas there drifted me away from books and magazines. Now my bucket list is exponential. BYW – I think I have enough books to fill 6 of those bins – hehe. I, too, have to start on cleaning out my sewing area. Your cross-stitch is amazing. May I share your photo?

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