What I’m Working On…

I had a bit of time off during the week…Since I quit doing regular childcare, I’ve not really had a week that the star aligned and I had more than one extra day off.  This week, I had a couple of days off.  It was a treat.

I showed this picture on a previous “What I’m Working On” post and a blog reader commented that I need and deserve a new cutting mat.  It’s not the first time I heard that.  Blog readers often tell me that.  I’m super frugal about some things and cutting mats is one of them.  This one still works perfectly.  I’d rather spend my money on cross stitch charts or quilt books.


I think we all prioritize what is important for us to spend our crafty money on and some, like me, but cutting mats lower on the list of priorities.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I use this one for another year.

I don’t feel deprived or like I can’t afford one.  I just have chosen not to buy one.  To be frankly honest, I didn’t even notice it looked bad until a blog reader mentioned it to me.  I just use it.

The funny thing is that the one upstairs in the sewing room looks equally as bad.  I didn’t notice that one until someone said something about that one either.

It’s just my nature…

Now onto what I was sewing.

After everyone left last Sunday, I went to the sewing room and decided to squeeze in some sewing time.  I had this already loaded on the quilting frame and decided to finish it.


I bound it right away.  I already showed it to you on the Saturday post.  Find it HERE.  There’s a FREE tutorial for the block there too.

Mine is only decorative size but someday, I’d love to make a large bed-sized version.


From there I put together another row on my Garlic Knots quilt.  Then Monday morning was a no school day.  I had my two school-aged girls here but they didn’t come until later.  That gave me time to get another row of the quilt finished.

I swear, assembling this quilt isn’t for the faint of heart.  It’s not hard but SUPER time-consuming.  There is a lot of getting up, grabbing a few pieces, sitting down, sewing a few pieces, and then back up again.  It’s okay but definitely not my favorite way to put a quilt top together.  In the end, I think it was worth it though.  Here is the center of the top altogether. 


From there it was time to put on the border.  I already had much of it pieced…well I had enough to make the original size but I made mine bigger meaning I needed to extend the borders.


Putting on the borders was not for the faint of heart either.  In the picture below, you can see the corner blocks.  They are pretty and really compliment the quilt…BUT, I had to do some revamping to make them work for my quilt.

In the picture above you can see that the border is made up of two units.  One is half neutral and half colored.  The other is colored with a dark purply blue square.  Those purply blue makes it look like there is a checkerboard going all the way around the quilt.

I went about adding the borders like we typically do.  I put the top and bottom border on.  Then I went to put the sides borders on.  UGH.  The purply blue squares were off.  I ended up having to take the bottom border off.
The original pattern says that the border needs to start and end with a unit that is the colored print with purply blue but being I made mine bigger, the math no longer worked for that.  It was all okay…it did require some patience though.

If you’re making yours larger, as in 10 x 11 layout, note that two of the corner blocks need a purply blue square in the corner and two need a white square in the corner.

I persevered and got the top finished.  Here it is…

Scroll up and look at the picture with no border and then back at the quilt with the border.  Oh my.  Doesn’t that border make the quilt??

From there I picked up a new project.  Remember I was wanting to tackle my 2 1/2″ strip bucket.  Well, if I don’t actually sew a quilt and focus on using the strips, I will never get the bucket tackled.  I ended up picking this quilt to make.  The quilt is called Train Tracks.

It is in the book Start with Strips by Susan Ache.  You can find the book HERE.


There are LOTS of great quilts in the book.  I plan on making a few more.

I am going to write a separate blog post later this week with more info on this quilt and how I am tackling it.

I’m not pushing to get this one done…I am just casually working on it if there isn’t something else that needs more attention.

I am still on a push to get my longarming caught up.  In an effort to do that, I loaded a quilt on the frame.  This is my mistake quilt.  I had made this when I was in chemo brain fog and it just wasn’t what it needed to be for the magazine.  I ended up remaking the quilt and it will be in the fall issue of Quilts and More.

In the meantime, Russia invaded Ukraine, they are warring and the people of Ukraine need quilts…so, what does a quiltmaker do.  They quickly finish some quilts.  This one will totally fit the bill for this.

I took about 20 minutes trying to figure out what to do for a backing on this.  I pulled and look and pulled and looked.  Nothing seemed right.  I ended up pulling this sheet and decided to use it.  In the end, I’m liking it.


I have the quilt about halfway done on the long arm.  I’m only doing a quick loopy design so I can hurry and get it finished and sent off to The Quilted Twins so it can make the deadline for the end of the month.

I am so pleased with all that I got done in the sewing room this week.  Fingers crossed I have another productive week.

28 thoughts on “What I’m Working On…

  1. Marie

    Seriously Jo?! I’m so interested (and impressed) by “how” you cut your strings/blocks etc. that I never noticed your cutting mat. To those persnickety people I say – get a life. You are such an inspiration in all you do – you’re super productive, sharing, caring & giving, a champion in my book!!! Keep being YOU! XO

    Reply
  2. Samantha M

    Love the Garlic Knots quilt! And, like Marie, I too never noticed your cutting mat, I just look at whatever you’re cutting! Some things are just more important

    Reply
  3. Edna Gerrans

    Jo,
    I am always so busy admiring your quilts that I never saw the mats! I just recently replaced one I had used at least 15 years. In a fog one day I set a hot pan on it and it got warped. So I cut it down and kept using it. I did get a new one and it is two sided! My husband grabbed the old one for his leather working. We use things up.
    Keep being you! You inspire and encourage us!

    Reply
  4. Donna

    Your Garlic Knot quilt turned out beautifully! Love all those colors.
    I’m sitting here looking at the gray quilt, turning my head from side to side and dh says I have a funny look on my face – I told him I’m trying to figure out how Jo put that gray quilt together. I have a habit of doing that to see if it’ something I can do in the RV. Guess I’ll just have to wait for the fall issue of Quilts and More to come out. ;-)
    Love and prayers

    Reply
  5. Kate

    I really like your Garlic Knots quilt, especially the border. Good tip about finishing the border. What a great way to use scraps. Need any more? haha!

    Reply
  6. Kim from TN

    The quilt looks way better with the border on and those corners look tricky, not sure I would have enough patience. I never noticed your cutting mat, but I think I should give mine a good looking at, lol. I like the new quilt, Train Tracks.

    Reply
  7. Pamela

    Always enjoy your inspiring posts. My artistic brain is wired to think about quilting everyday and applying my thoughts. Glad to know I am among good people. I also enjoy working with scraps and repurposing

    Reply
  8. Ellie

    Your Garlic Knots is amazing! I m not sure I would have the patience to piece those corners after the fussiness of putting the center together! But I’m so glad you did because it “finishes “ the quilt. I never noticed your cutting mat either.

    Reply
  9. Peggy Weichel

    Just turn your cutting mat over, use the other side. You paid for both sides, you know…! hahaha
    That’s what I did until I ended up buying a new one.

    Reply
  10. Lilac Joan

    Well, I love the ‘mistake quilt’. I may have to buy the book. But I am trying not to buy anymore books right now and am trying to use what I have: my library and my stash. I always enjoy your blog posts. And if a tool works why buy a new one.

    Reply
  11. Elle

    Love the Garlic Knots! Absolutely your border MAKES it :-) I see so much useable space on that cutting mat. When mine get bad, I break them in 4 pieces. I then use all the spaces without ‘ruts’ for trimming up and get years out of those spaces :-) That way I’m not using my “good mat” for trimming.

    Wishing you another terrific week Jo :-)

    Reply
  12. Beryl BC

    I love all your quilts today. Your cutting mat looks a lot like mine. I was thinking about the nicks in the mat the other day, wondering how long until I might have to replace it. As long as it works, I’ll keep on using it. And the nicks just prove I have used it.

    Reply
  13. Jane R

    Your Garlic Knots quilt is beautiful. I looked for patterns but didn’t find one with your border which made your quilt stand out. Love you post. First thing I read in my mail every morning with my coffee.

    Reply
  14. Gail L Piper

    LOVE the garlic knots top – those corners are GREAT!
    Yep, I noticed the mat – I’m “frugal” like that too – I have priorities for spending. (My husband says “frugal” is a much nicer word than “cheap”, which is usually how I refer to my spending habits… LOL!) I’d make that mat last as long as possible and watch for sales and coupons to replace it! :)

    Reply
  15. Sally

    I always love to see what you are working on. If you were to make a bed size quilt of the small one (first one you talked about here), would you still use the 2 1/2” and 1 1/2” strips or do you think you would go larger?

    I have a question regarding the stitch along: I am using 40 stitch linen and weeks floss. I am not sure if what I am calling “one strand” of thread is the same things you are calling “one strand”. I separated a thread from the rest and as I was stitching (under my magnifying glass!) I realized it was actually two very very thin strands twisted together. I don’t think you would separate those, do you? I pulled it out (it was just two stitches, lol) and will wait your reply.
    It looks like one strand with my glasses on, but under the magnifying glass it’s actually two very very thin pieces twisted together like a thread.

    Reply
  16. Quilter Laney

    The garlic knots quilt with borders is just dynamite!!!! I almost want to make one myself, but I know how much work goes into Bonnie Hunter patterns – I have made several, which I love. Also, the quilt coming up in Quilts and More is great – the pattern is adaptable; I can see it in many iterations. Let us know when it’s available for purchase, please.
    I know everyone has her own priorities and can spend her $ as she wishes, but I have a couple of comments re the cutting mats … after several years of quilt shop cutting, we found it is possible to cut thru a mat – so keep an eye on that to protect your surface. Also, I don’t know if it’s an issue for you, but rotary blades dull faster on damaged mats, since often they aren’t working on that self-healing area.

    Reply
  17. Betty Woodlee

    Love the border on garlic knots quilt. You can clean your mat with an asbestos spatula and scrap the mat while holding the spatula at a 90 degree angle. The spatula will remove the threads that are imbedded in the mat so it can self heal again.

    Reply
  18. Judith Fairchild

    My old cutting mat looked like yours or worse. It had gotten so bad my fabric would snag on it. I also couldn’t cut a proper size. I broke down and bought a new one, it took a long time to get used to.
    I enjoy seeing whatever you do, even if it’s one I wouldn’t attempt ever. I.e a double wedding ring. Have fun.

    Reply
  19. Susie Q

    my thought on the cutting mat is …….. what is it doing to the blade??? and blades are expensive……

    Reply
  20. Marlene Bescos

    Hi. Jo. You are wonderful. Please keep being such an inspiration to all, and us quilters. I am new to quilting but already love it, And your quilt ideas. Great tips and instructions for making beautiful quilts. Thank you.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.