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

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!