Remember these pink and brown pinwheel blocks?

I posted about these blocks on March 12th, was excited about them.

Remember these?

Not so excited now as I can’t seem to make them work into anything, they may be headed for the bin for another day.

boring, maybe need more?

You can see that I used ‘Distress It’ on the ‘Toasty’ piece, checking to see if I like the un-distressed piece better.  Doesn’t seem to make a difference, neither is good.

made some more blocks

Making more blocks didn’t help much, just have more of them.  Still boring.

9 of them now, still boring or at least not exciting

This is not unusual on some of my quilts, play and play, put it away, then play again another day.  Does that happen to you?

Let's try a beautiful floral by Andover - Cadet Paisley line with Winterthur Museum.

Some days it would be best to not sew, go read a book?  Go to lunch?  What do you do when stumped?  Pull out another project?

another audition with a brown inner border - nope don't like it either.

One more try . . . .

On-point, but still not talking to me

This audition has the feel of a blended quilt, however some of the Pinwheels really disappear, not sure I like them disappearing that much.

I think it is time to put it away and work on something that I will make progress on.  Been playing with this one a bit too much and I didn’t even show you all the other possibilities that didn’t work either.  We tried fabric as alternate blocks, tried hourglass blocks, nothing worked.  Time for the bin or at least it needs a rest, or maybe it is me that needs the rest?

One more ‘or’ . . . these blocks could end up as something else or donated, always other options.

I look forward to hearing your solutions.  🙂

Happy Stitching!


Dulles Airport

I landed at Dulles Airport on Tuesday April 17th in the afternoon.  That morning the space shuttle had landed at Dulles, flown in from Cape Canaveral, FL.    When we landed I saw the airplane with the shuttle piggy-backed sitting at the end of the runway next to our runway.  Lucky for me my seat was on the left side of the plane and got to see.  I had napped and didn’t have my wits about me yet to get the camera out and take a snap.  Oh well.

Fast forward to Wednesday morning April 25th, heading home.  This time my seat was on the right side of the plane (I always get window seats).  We taxied for quite a while, seemed longer than usual,  I got to thinking about the shuttle and the one headed to the Air and Space Museum and the other one would go to NY.  I looked out my window as we were about to take off and saw the plane with the other shuttle, gabbed my purse and got my camera out and took six quick snaps in a row, here are a couple of them.  Pretty good for a moving plane taking off!

do you see what I see as we are taking off, bumping down the runway!


Cool - yes? Yes!!! I think this one is Enterprise waiting to fly to NY. I remember one was whiter than the other, when sitting nose to nose on the news video.


I also forgot to tell you I bought a couple of things at the DAR Museum gift shop.

Mary Mannakee Quilt pattern - so pretty. Will I ever make it? Probably not, may make a four block quilt, select the blocks I like best. Maybe make them smaller?

It really doesn’t matter, the proceeds to go the Museum and Museum’s are always in need of funds these days as other funding has dried up in our fragile economy.

I also bought this book in the gift shop, the book is filled with lovely pictures and history - no patterns.

This is the type of book to read and enjoy the pictures when too tired to stitch.

Hope you enjoyed my journey with me!

Happy Stitching!  Jo

Home from trip to DC area

Time to get caught up!   Want to share – this was a special and wonderful trip for me.  I had the opportunity to get caught up with an old friend from Omaha who moved 3 1/2 years ago to outside DC, she was my contact person and reason to come east and teach/lecture for three Quilt Guilds.

I was able to able to add a couple of fun events to my trip, an afternoon at the Eastern Shore Quilt Study Group and a morning program at the DAR Museum in DC with other ladies who enjoy antique quilts and quilt history.  I have to tell you these ladies study quilt history more than myself, but I have picked up a few things over the years to share.

When teaching I’m not the one taking pictures, I’ve seen my quilts and so have you.   🙂

I did take pictures of quilts/blocks etc. brought to the Quilt Study Group gathering, I was privileged to take pictures, and promised not to share or publish them.

I did take pictures at the DAR Museum, again we were privileged to take snaps but not to share or publish them.

However I do have a few snaps to share!

Walking away form the DAR Museum, almost forgot to take a snap!


We parked in a parking garage about three blocks from the DAR Museum, enjoyed a Starbucks before joining the group at the Museum.  We walked along the back side of the White House on our jaunt to the Museum.

backyard of the White House - pretty nice I'd say


I noticed people and the kitchen garden and Bo! I used the zoom on my camera so you could see.


We also walked past - the Old Executive Office Building, pretty impressive!


After the DAR Museum, we walked to lunch, there were six of us that had the time, the others moved on to other errands.  We ate here on the recommendation of one of the ladies who used to work downtown DC.

lovely and delicious lunch here: Old Ebbitt Grill


It was raining after lunch and we needed to walk back to the Parking Garage.  We stopped at the Renwick Gallery and did a quick walk through, then up went the umbrellas and continued walking.

This time we walked past the front of the White House. It is magnificent!


Zoom image - stately and beautiful. It has been years since Russ and I were in DC, so it was impressive all over again.


I will remember this trip for quite some time for many reasons.  Friends, quilts old and new, teaching and sharing, seeing accomplishments of delight, delicious food, and also some time to watch three movies with my hostess in the comfort of their home while stitching (hand quilting) the memories into my small quilt.

As always good to be home and will be sharing a few more snaps in the next post – stay tuned.



Last of basket quilts for now . . .

I have just a few more to share for now.

The first one is a small basket quilt that was in my JLW Club 8, I really like the setting on this small quilt and always planned to make another one in different colors as I saw so many posted to the Stitchers Group the year that Club 8 ran.  I loved so many of them and wanted another one, well that hasn’t happened yet, hopefully one of these days.

Meg's Baskets - JLW Club 8


This next quilt is interesting in that it started out to be just the 25 Patch blocks.  I didn’t’ like them when I got them sewed.  Appliqué always makes things better, so designed and stitched the center block in a size to fit, then added figured out and added the outer border.  This quilt ended up JLW Club #1 !!

Prairie Basket, JLW Club #1


The next picture shows the small version of the appliqué baskets from the book by Blackbird Designs, ‘When the Cold Wind Blows’.  I like it over the back of the windsor bench in our dining room.

my small version of a quilt in Blackbird Designs book 'When the Cold Wind Blows', I enjoyed stitching it two or three years ago during the winter, and now enjoy it over the back of the windsor bench in the Spring of the year.


This next to the last quilt was a gift from a nice lady when I went to Winfield, Illinois to teach a few years ago at the Quilt Merchant.  I was surprised and pleased to take this treasure home with me.  Here it is shown over a vintage windsor chair in the den before we bought furniture for the den and after our kitchen remodel.    I like how it looks here and also use it over the arm of the love seat in our living room.

Wonderful basket quilt gift from a few years ago.


And finally here is the sweet little basket quilt I made from the exchange blocks from a hand pieced block exchange on the Stitchers Group.

The blocks were made using Cindy Blackberg’s stamps so the blocks would be the same size in the exchange.  This is a precious memory quilt for me with blocks from internet friends, some I’ve been lucky enough to meet in person.  You can see the entire assortment of stamps that Cindy offers on her website:

Sweet little basket blocks from a hand pieced block exchange on the Stitchers Group, now quilted and bound

The Basket Quilt saga continues . . .

A few more to share today . . . . first three are made using the same block.

1st version made in 2001, with Harriet Hargrave's fabric line

Indigo, cadet, clarets and reds with assorted shirtings, a turn of the century appeal.

The next quilt is the double handle basket in pinks and browns, it was in the book ‘Small Quilts with Vintage Charm’ that I did with C&T Publishing in 2005.  Some of the basket blocks were hand pieced, some were machine pieced, the quilt was hand quilted by me.

pink/brown version of Rebecca's Baskets in 'Vintage Charm' book with C&T Publishing


Then I decided I needed that same setting in Jo fabrics, so we made the next one with pieces from Fredericksburg (2005), it was machine quilted.

Rebecca's Baskets in black/gold/red - still sweet!


I’ve also made more than one quilt using the sweet 4″ Cake Stand block, one was shown a day or two ago as ‘Betsy’s Baskets’.  Then we decided to make lots of this block, for a total of 80 and set them with brown – also inspired by my friend Betsy in TX.

Check back, there are still a few more to share!  Thanks!       Jo

Here it is 'over the cupboard door' - a favorite displace space in our home

Betsy's Baskets - love quilts made with lots of small blocks, don't you?

More on Basket Quilts . . .

I’m surprised how many basket quilts I have!  And I’m thinking I could use a new one, would need to find a basket, figure out a setting, color palette and . . . or maybe finish some other starts first?  Constant dilemma.

In the meantime, I’ll begin with an out of print BOM called Anna’s Blue Baskets, was from around 2000 I think.

Chloe approves of this one - 'Anna's Blue Baskets' a BOM offered around 2000 or 2001, out of print, but still pretty! Maybe it needs to be redone and republished? What do you think?


Next are a couple more basket quilts from my Collecting Baskets (out of print) book.  The first one is Elegant Baskets, seems we had leftovers from Anna’s Blue Baskets – seriously!  Lack of planning?  Just kind of happened actually, on the other hand leftovers can be a good thing in quiltmaking or in the kitchen.

Elegant Basket, was in 'Collecting Baskets' 2001 - out of print

And the next one is called ‘Anna’s Extras’ – I think you can figure out why.   🙂

Anna's Extras - you know the reason for the name . . .

I think a lot of you know me due to pieced quilts in my books and JLW Club.  I also love appliqué and surprised myself at these larger block quilts I made in the past.  Still very pretty, no big wall to hang them to enjoy is my problem, but notice it is ‘my’ problem no one else’s.   These quilts were obviously made before signing on with Andover fabrics.  The beautiful teal floral border on ‘Anna’s Extras’ was a Brackman/Thompson gorgeous piece from over 10 years ago, gee time flies when having fun!

Below is a link to my friend’s Blog with more info about her beautiful basket quilt in pinks and browns, designed by my friend Betsy Chutchian (Texas), and made with her fabric line ‘Hot for Chocolate II’ with Blue Hill Fabrics.  This quilt is in the new issue of American Patchwork & Quilting, issue #116, June 2012, page 48.              April 6th post.

Enjoy!  Stay tuned for more beautiful baskets and inspiration . . .




A few more basket quilts for Spring or . . . for whenever

I like basket quilts year round, not just during the spring.  But since I don’t have much seasonal decor (other than Christmas), changing quilts is the way I change seasons or Holidays.

This first quilt today I named Hattie’s Baskets, this small quilt, approx 24″ x 24″, was entirely hand pieced, hand quilted and the binding attached by hand also.  I made it in 1986 – yes 26 years ago, in my learning to quilt years, it was year 6.  Interesting to look back for a while.  I also made it into a pattern when I began my pattern business in 1995.  Do you remember it?  For newbies – out of print.

Hattie's Baskets, made in 1985

The next quilt – Aunt Hattie’s Basket quilt was made in 1986-1987.  l986 was my chemo year (actually March 1986 to March 1987), I was asked to design the opportunity (aka raffle) quilt for the 1988 Symposium hosted by the Nebraska State Quilt Guild.  I was actually very pleased to be asked to design the quilt, because I then knew that other people knew I would be OK!

My good friends in Omaha suggested that I create kits for the blocks, they would send them out to be pieced, so I would have help making the quilt, they even had the blocks sent back to them.  I did sew the top together, then the quilting bees began.  These same friends helped set up the bees and asked for hand quilting help.  (side note – today it would be sent out and machine quilted wouldn’t it)

Russ really liked that quilt and I had given it away.  I decided I should remake that quilt for Russ.  So in 2000 (OK it took me 12 years to decide I should do that) I began pulling some of those same fabrics from my ‘fabric collection’, luckily I had most of the same fabrics and enough for the border too!  I wanted this quilt hand quilted and it wasn’t happening, I finally asked a friend who hand quilts for hire if she would be interested, she took on the big job and it took some time, but so worth it.  I published the pattern in my second book ‘Collecting Baskets’ in 2001.  FYI – book has been out of print for years.

Aunt Hattie's Baskets - 2001

This next quilt I call Rebecca’s Baskets (aka Double Handle Basket in a different setting).  This setting is the one I used for teaching the double handle basket block.  It was published in American Patchwork and Quilting, Issue 65, December 2003, page 28.

Rebecca's Baskets

Here is a picture of my book ‘Collecting Baskets’ published in 2001 – out of print.

cover of 'Collecting Baskets'


That is it for today, more to come, stay tuned!

May all your baskets be full with blessings.


Spring and basket quilts


I’m not a fancy decorator, so when Spring arrives I bring out basket quilts to enjoy.  I looked around the house and found some I’d forgotten about (how can that happen?), found pictures of more!  I’ve decided to share some basket quilt pictures to welcome Spring!

From the JMStitchers group hand pieced block exchange, almost done! I like this setting for them, sweet friends.

Do you love a certain block and find you use it over and over or look for variations?

Double Handle Baskets in Coming Home book

I’ve made several variations using the Double Handle Basket block, this is one of them.

Emily's Hand Pieced Baskets is in Coming Home book, currently on exhibit in PA

I stitched on Emily while I had a broken toe.   🙂

Beth's Baskets was in JLW Club 3 and in Vintage Journey book


Betsy's Baskets, JLW Club 6 and Vintage Journey book

Betsy's Basket's colors are perfect for the Holidays too!


Star Flowers & Berries, JLW Club 4 and Vintage Journey book

I’ll look around and post some more basket quilt pictures in a day or two.  Enjoy!


follow up to Texas Trip

The blue bonnets were the most beautiful I’ve seen in the six years I’ve been going in the Spring to teach for my friends Betsy and Mary, at the Retreat Center near Milford, Texas.

Up close, out side the Retreat center - so full and beautiful!

fields of blue bonnets along the road side

The Retreat was based on the square in a square block  that I called the Double Square to confuse them a bit.  I took along several variations and settings using this block so the girls could make what they wanted.  It was so inspiring to me to see them change up colors and settings and have fun.  We sewed our brains out, well not quiet, but they made great headway on their projects.

the ladies made some or a lot of these

I also got to sew, I started or worked on 5 or 6 different projects I took along.  One was a pattern I bought last year during Retreat and finally took the time to start it, have 4 of the 16 blocks sewn, two more partially cut out.  Got up most mornings between 6 and 7, went to bed at midnight or so.  I don’t do that at home, I go to bed usually by 10pm.  Of course when one is fed and can walk to the sewing room, no bills to pay, no laundry to do, no errands, well the sewing time was precious and fun.  Mostly it was wonderful to spend time with my Texas friends.  However, when I returned home guess what I’m doing this week?  Yep, laundry, paying bills, running errands, need to work on directions too.

I took my laptop along just in case, and I did need to email orders back home to my friend Cindy to see that they were filled and shipped.

Since I had my laptop, and there was WiFi, I kept an eye on the Eagle Cam in Decorah, Iowa, the 3 eggs hatched while I was in Texas, missed seeing the eggs open, but was fun to watch the mom and dad caring and bringing food, and the baby eaglets begin their life.  I check it during the day while working at the computer at home too.

I do love the food in Texas, we went to a Mexican Restaurant (a tradition), I ordered fajita nachos – really big yum.

Fajita Nachos - big yum

Hope you all got in lots of sewing time too!   Happy Stitching!        Jo back home in Nebraska