A little more on Portland

Here is a picture of the ladies in the Hand pieced LeMoyne Stars class.

'Stars' group!

‘Stars’ group!

Judy who is also on the JoMortonStitchers Yahoo Group brought along her Leesburg – Scrap Basket Sew along to show and share.  Judy is the one that didn’t want another large quilt, instead of making the 6″ blocks she reduced them to 3″ – it is precious and very wonderful.  Here is a picture of her progress:

blocks downsized to 3" - so wonderful!

blocks downsized to 3″

Some more inspiration for you.


Opportunity to take a class with Jo


If you are interested (and near the west coast), Block Party has opened up A La Carte Registrations – check it out by clicking the link above.  It is an opportunity to take either a back-basting prep method for needleturn appliqué class, or a hand piecing class (either LeMoyne Stars, or sweet Baskets) with me.

Consider that I’m winding down my teaching travels, have three teaching trips this year, and two scheduled next year.  Still dealing with mother’s health issues, she will be 91 the end of May.

Russ is retired and wants to travel for fun, not have a vacation that is a tag along on my teaching trips, followed by stay and play a couple of days, he deserves real vacations with me.

Just a quick heads up as this is only two weeks away!  The link to the website is above, check your calendar, hope to see you there!


Sewing at the Orchard – November 2012

Retreat is over, first I want to thank my friends that continue to help me make it happen – Cindy, Sheri, Phyllis and Mary.  We are grateful for Chris the caterer and neighbors that will help us move the ‘store items’ to/from the Kimmel Center.  A wonderful time was had by all, other than the bug that bugged several of the ladies and my DH.

We practiced the back-basting prep method for needleturn appliqué, we hand pieced spool blocks, worked on hexagons, show and tell by Jo of new book quilts, new JLW Club, new patterns for 2013 and some pieces for inspiration, also discussions on techniques and a few demos.  Of course lots of chat and laughter, isn’t this is the bonus of handwork.

TJ Lane joined us Saturday morning with her beautiful and useful sterling silver thimbles and accessories, many silver objects found new homes in several states.

TJ is a little busy, Cindy is helping by writing up sales


Sunday morning we were joined by Stephanie Whitson (Nebraska author), she talked about sod houses and the lives of the ladies in the Great Plains, accompanied by antique quilts and tops from her personal collection.  I know you will enjoy reading her novels.

Stephanie with one of her antique quilt tops

Stephanie also co-authored with Kathleen Moore, published by Kansas City Star:   ‘Home on the Plains: Quilts and the Sod House Experience’.

‘Home on the Plains’ published by KC Star


Here are a few pictures from Retreat, enjoy!

Jill’s Hexagon project in reds, note the hexis are split!

Jill already had a spool block quilt, but stitched more blocks

Amy’s Red Variety quilt, so pretty!

Carolyn’s hexagon project

I ‘love’ Carolyn’s variation on ‘Yankee Doodle’, creative and so pretty

Donna shared a gorgeous quilt from a Lori Smith pattern.

Donna is making another Lori Smith pattern using ‘Crimson Bouquet’ fabrics, really love it, so cheery!

Sue H. has this one ready to quilt for the Holidays!

‘Sewing at the Orchard’ – November 2012

Lastly – a look at part of Jo’s store

Happy Stitching!







Here are two pictures of projects you may want need to make.  The patterns are by Pink Sand Beach Designs.   See and buy the pattern here:     www.pinksandbeachdesigns.com

new bag for my iPad!


New tote for my sewing project to grab and go, so pretty!


Perhaps you need yours in the ‘Leesburg’ blue color way or the black color way, or just like mine in the vintage color way, just love them both.  Of course you can use other fabrics.

Nancy (Pink Sand Beach Designs) will be happy to help you out with your pattern order!

Happy Stitching!

P.S. – This is our ‘Sewing At the Orchard’ Retreat weekend here in Nebraska City, the handwork retreat, besides sewing (back-basting prep method for needleturn appliqué, hand piecing, a surprise, a hand quilting demo and batting discussion, and last but not least quilts for show and tell, will be so much fun.


Welcome Home!

My friend and neighbor Sheri did this on the door to welcome us home from our trip to Spring Green, WI.

How cute is that!  All patiently waiting and waiting.  Sweet Tigger is inside waiting.  Funny that you can also see my reflections trying to take a picture before entering.

Made me smile and happy to be home, wanted to share with you.

Welcome Home Russ and 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.



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

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 (http://www.thimbles2fit.com/) 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!