Jo in Texas

I’m in Texas this week teaching at Retreats for my friend Betsy.  I flew into DFW on Sunday afternoon.  We had a restful day Monday, did a little shopping and grabbed some snacks for late sewing.

Tuesday morning we drove to Milford, TX to Our Home Retreat Center.  We eat, sleep and sew here.  We can stay up late, or get up early and go sew.

This is the 6th year (I think).  It is fun to come annually and hang out with my Texas friends, I teach and drum roll please . . . I get to sew!  In past years, during my playing and sewing, I’ve usually come up with something for a future JLW Club project or get started on a new quilt.  I totally get why you all love Retreating!

I plan to post some pictures next week (if I forget, feel free to remind me), as the camera cord to the computer is at home in Nebraska.  But I didn’t forget anything else!

Life is good.

Happy sewing!     Jo

P.S.  If you are looking for shops that run the JLW Club, there is a link (or a ‘click here’) on the JLW Club page that will pull up a pdf file with the shops sorted by State, see if there is one near you.


March Retreat is over

A good time was had by all!

This Retreat focused on machine piecing the Log Cabin block, Courthouse Steps block and Pineapple block.  Also talked about vintage and fabric choices.  Here is a picture of a stack of ‘small’ quilts for inspiration.  There were various sizes of inspiration quilts, from crib, medium and a couple of large ones and even a couple antique quilts.

small stack of precious small quilts - all made and hand quilted by Jo


What excited me most is that the ladies got busy sewing and created their own looks and a number of the ladies sewed several small projects – all inspiring!  We would take little breaks and walk around to see what was being created, then they hurried to finish and begin the next one!  It was so much fun and happy to see so much creativity.

Cool to watch new friendships bloom.

I invited TJ Lane ( to come to Nebraska City Saturday morning for the ladies to be able to shop, and have a thimble personally fitted.  TJ’s offerings are so beautiful and feel so good when used while stitching.  She even has necklaces where you can hang your thimble cage, needle case, small seam ripper (just in case) and other  beautiful accessories.

Phyllis and Amy making the hard decisions


One more event during Retreat truly warmed my heart.  My friends cut kits to make pillowcases for our service men and women in Afghanistan.  24 were sewn during the weekend.  Here is a picture of our attendees and the pillowcases – awesome job girls!

The attendees, my worker-bee friends and pillowcases!! Thank you very much for your time.


One little bit of behind the scenes, shall I say drama?  You decide.  We (my friends the worker-bees) finished setting up Thursday evening, the room was ready and the store was ready to open Friday morning.  Russ and I had taken all my stuff out Thursday evening also, we went home, basketball was on, decided a little glass of wine would be nice before heading to bed.  Poured two glasses and before getting a sip the phone rang at 9:26PM, it was my niece Steph who stays with mother, Steph was almost hysterical, mother had fallen in the kitchen and stopped breathing for a minute, then gurgled and began breathing again, of course she called the rescues squad, then me.  We pulled in right behind the rescue squad, they began taking vitals, mother was answering questions, nothing hurt, no pain, etc.  They did an ekg and sent it to the hospital, they were ready for her at the hospital when the unit pulled in.  Mother’s heart rate was 20.   It would bounce around 17, 20, 22, 17, 20, 20, 21, 22 for quite a while.  Hard to get blood pressure reading, but she would continue to answer questions, just seemed really tired and a little confused.  She fell because her heart rate was so low was the conclusion.

The ER doc called the heart hospital in Lincoln and talked to a cardiac surgeon, then he talked to us.

Remember mother had a heart attack 2 1/2 years ago with many complications including damage and blockages.  She seems to be a bit like the energizer bunny, she just keeps going.  Yea mom!

While visiting with mother in the ER, in a blink mothers heart rate was 65 and she perked up, was interesting to watch the change, then it fell back down to the low 30’s and back into the 20’s.  Then they added dopamine to her IV drip and her heart rate slowly improved for the ride in the unit to Lincoln.  We got home about 12:45, went to bed and I had a hard time getting to sleep, last time I looked at the clock was 1:30am.

Friday morning the alarm went off at 6am, I didn’t want to get up (would you?) but did of course.  Went to the retreat center by 8am, let the ladies know that mother would hopefully get a pacemaker that morning.  I got the phone call around 10am that it was installed and she was doing fine.  My sister Carol (who lives in Lincoln) and Steph were there with her.  The electrician said it was a ‘go’.  Loved the terminology, as it helped make a smile during the wait.  Mother was released Saturday before noon (again the electrician said it was OK), Carol brought her back to her home in Nebraska City.  Steph continues to stay with mother (or grandma) so she can stay in her own home.  Mother will turn 90 the end of May.  So is it drama?  Or what would you call it?

I’m grateful for the answered prayers.  One of the attendees is a nurse who happens to work in a hospital, in the heart unit – they do these pacemakers all the time – mom will be fine.  I was so grateful she was here to reassure me.  The next two nights sleep were about 6 hours each, my mind kept racing going over everything, and what did I need to do at Retreat, things to take back home and bring the next batch of quilts.  I think the racing mind is normal.  I was exhausted after Retreat.  It was Tuesday before I felt a little like Jo again.

Now I’m getting ready to fly to Texas Sunday to teach next week, this is an annual event (this is the 6th trip) of back to back Retreats, the bonus is that I get to hang out with my Texas friends and I get to sew too!  Trying to figure out what to take along to work on, sound familiar?   🙂

Happy Stitching!



Saturday – is International Quilt Day

In August 2010, Russ and I drove to Boulder, CO and I taped a show with Alex and Ricky for ‘The Quilt Show’   ( ).

If you didn’t get a chance to watch it last summer, you have an opportunity to watch it this weekend as they have opened up their  web TV Show for the entire weekend of March 16 – 18.  This is FREE for these three days.

I appeared as the featured artist on TQS in show #808.  If you missed it, you now have an opportunity to see me in different glasses.   🙂

Alex, Jo and Ricky - taped August 2010

Guess what – I got another pair of new glasses last summer, red frames with tortoise that I’m wearing now.  The frameless ones don’t stay adjusted very well, so I got another new pair.  I mean glasses have to fit too, and not be annoying.

Back to getting ready for my Retreat this weekend, actually starts tomorrow (Friday) morning,  so I’ll be quiet for a few days, well maybe, we will see.

Happy Stitching this important weekend – lots going on – St. Patrick’s Day, International Quilting Day, Spring Break, and last but not least Jo’s Retreat – Sewing at the Orchard.

When I was looking at my calendar for dates for this years Retreats, I had this weekend ‘open’, didn’t realize it was also during Spring Break besides the other important things.  Geeze, what a busy time and seems I can be oblivious to other stuff going on until it all arrives.  Hummmm

I’m going with ‘great timing’!

Happy Stitching!!



Simple Charm

This small line will be arriving at your favorite/local quilt shop ‘soon’!

It is a companion group for ‘Bridgeport’ – one of my favs, how about you?    What are you sewing with Bridgeport?  I’ve been using Bridgeport with other Jo fabrics to complete some things in progress.

My Retreat is this weekend – can’t believe I picked the weekend that includes National Quilting Day!  We will be Sewing at the Orchard – pretty cool – and it feels like June instead of March – lucky us.

yummy black color way

Yummy brown color way - chocolate anyone?

yummy red colorway - red goes with everything!


Tuesday – oh my, two days in a row!

I want to share this, as an FYI.

If you watched the You Tube video from Schoolhouse presentation at Quilt Market in Houston last Fall, you saw my version of a quilt in the collection at the Folk Art Museum in NYC, it has a John Hewson panel in the center.  It was my inspiration to make the quilt.  I don’t know that I’ll be publishing my quilt, will have to get permission to use form the Folk Art Museum and I have lots on my plate right now.

Fabric lines are birthed (like that word?), months in advance of arriving in stores, sometimes almost one year.  I knew about the John Hewson group with Winterthur Museum, so when working on my ‘Alexandria’ line last summer, I wanted to have some pieces that could be used with the Hewson panel.

‘Alexandria’ ships (I believe) late April or May, I received my 5 yard pieces so I can now show what I had in mind.  I hope you have been able to find the John Hewson fabrics either at your favorite local quilt shop or on-line to make your own little piece of history.


We spent Sunday afternoon gathering items for Jo’s Store for my Retreat next weekend, there are piles at the studio waiting to be hauled Thursday afternoon to the Kimmel Center.  Can hardly wait!

In the meantime, on a recent Sewing Saturday, we cut and sewed some of these:

Inspired by this block in an antique quilt top I own.  You may recognize the large squares as one of the pieces in ‘Toasty’ but colored slightly different.

So, now I have five of these blocks below, and don’t know how to set them!  I’ve tried a few things and none of them talk to me.  Set them straight tried several alternate block fabrics, didn’t like or love any of them.  Set them on-point with a narrow sashing, was better, but didn’t like any of the setting triangle fabrics I auditioned.  Big sigh.

So these blocks will rest in a project bag for a while until I get inspired to try something else, or make more of them?  Any ideas to help me???

Have a great Monday – hope you find some sewing or stitching time.  I get office time today.

store is open!

Quick note, just want to let you all know that the ‘shop’ is open on my website.

What can you get there?

Starting out with items that have been popular at my Retreats.

Jo’s books that are ‘in print’.

The Presencia thread packs in Jo colors in 50wt 3 ply, and also offering 60wt 3 ply large spools in a couple of neutral colors for machine sewing.

I’m pleased to offer  soon – hand letterpress notecards (box of 6, 2 each of the three colors) with the bird toile design (with permission from Andover Fabrics of course.

The Scrap Lab Variety fabric Kit featured in Quilts and More.

As we (remember I have some part time evening help) get used to filling orders from the website, then will think about other offerings.  Be sure and check back.

Today’s sewing . . . . two bindings stitched to smaller quilts, two to go!

Have a Happy Stitching Day!

OK, time to get back into Blogging!

Office help, Chloe and Tigger today

I’m having a heck of a time getting caught up, office help isn’t much help.  Should I fire them?  Dock them?  After all they get board, room, cleaned litter box, petting time, all the naps they can take.  Pretty good digs for rescue kitties.

Tigger (yellow kitty), has his butt on the keyboard and a couple of new screens appeared atop my email program, he even opened the home page to my website.   Hummm.   He’s good isn’t he, new screens like magic.

For some reason Chloe has been hanging around my desk, taking naps on paperwork that needs done, she frowns at me when I move her and she talks back.

Went to NY the first week of February, so have been busy with a couple new fabric lines for Fall, I think you will find my Blogging absence worth while for ‘our’ future quilts.

Last week one day, I was headed to the studio, the neighbor across the street from the studio was cleaning out his joe boat with the duck blind, there was duck decoys in a row in front of his garage door.  As I was working, I got to thinking how cute it would be to walk over and take a picture, then tell you all that I’ve been busy “getting my ducks in a row”!

I went and looked out the window and the ducks were gone, a lost opportunity for my Blog.  Not sure the words are as good as the picture would have been.

Since I’ve broken the Blogging ice, let’s see how I do going forward.  Wish me luck!

Happy Stitching!