Can These Bones Live?

I had the lovely opportunity to preach today at Paxton Church of the Brethren and wanted to share the text with anyone interested

7.21.19 These Bones Can Live

Kaleidoscope Quilt: From Pieces to Present

I think one of the most common questions I get asked as a quilter is “How long did that take you to make?” which is not the easiest question to answer.  I nearly never sit down and make a project from start to finish in one go or even few days or weeks.  But here’s one timeline for a very special quilt that just went home.

January 2017: 1,080 triangles cut and pieced

July 2017: Completed quilt top


July 2017: Sandwiching and Framing

July 2017-July 2018: Hand quilting approximately 62,000 stitches


July 2018: Liv (my cat) is tired of quilting


August 2018: Binding


August 30, 2018: Finished


and the back


September 2018: Award Winning!


October 2018: Adding the label

October 27, 2018: My brother, Ryan, married my new sister, Danielle!


October 28, 2018: The Kaleidoscope Quilt goes to home


For all that timeline, I still couldn’t really tell you how long it took.  Hours upon uncountable hours.  And hours upon uncountable hours over my 25 years of quilting to develop the skills.  Quilts, particularly hand quilted ones, make little sense in 2018.  We can much more efficiently keep ourselves warm.  And there are numerous art forms that more easily lend themselves to speed and reproduction and therefore profitability.  But this quilt isn’t about any of that.  I do hope it will keep them warm and I hope they will enjoy it as art for many years to come.  But above all, I hope they will know that all of the uncountable time and each and every one of those impracticle 62,000 hand stitches represent my love for them and my hope for the life they will share together.

Special Blocks for Special Folks


In a recent success, the scrappy quilt top for my bed is finally together after eight years of (off and on) work.  It was pretty late in the game, just a few months ago, that I decided to add some special blocks to the top.


It started with this simple cross.  I’ve been looking for a good place for some fabric that my friend and pastor Susan brought me in the hospital, greens for a sign of new life and hope.  I’m so happy to have a reminder of her love and support and our wonderful church.

From there came family-

Mom's Blocks

For mother, fabrics from Switzerland, Germany, and the Czech Republic

reminders of a wonderful trip we took together last year.


A music note for my father, a talented pianist

Ryan's Block

A piece of my brother’s shirt, bought with our grandfather


A swan for my sister with good memories of the Living Waters Swans


A white birch for Pa, my maternal grandfather

who had a lovely white birch in his front yard


Ma, my maternal grandmother, who taught me to sew


And a tiny scrap left over from this photo album cover Ma made for me as a baby


A bit of a handkerchief from Gram, my paternal grandmother

Papa's Block

Mickey Mouse for Papa, my paternal grandfather,

an avid collector of Mickey Mouse watches


And of course, the love of my life, Liv

A few friends-


Sunflower yellows for my F&M roommate, Megan


A bit of the shirt my dearest friend, Chris, wore to his ordination

Chris is a pastor, camper, and tender of chickens

And last, but in no way least, my church and my denomination


The Mennonite Dove

Of course there are a hundred more little reminders that only I can see.  This fabric left from a cousin’s wedding quilt, another from a baby quilt for a friend, on and on.  A literal scrap book of my quilting life to date.  It certainly isn’t perfect, my seams don’t always match and the thickness of the tiny piecing make ironing flat nearly impossible.  But I expect I will always love this quilt in a way that no other quilt will ever quite match.

Rainbow Orange Peels: Finished

I absolutely love how the this quilt turned out.


After I machine appliqued the petals, I was dying to get back to hand work, so it is hand quilted.


The orange peel design pops great on the back from the quilting.


And now it’s off to it’s new home in North Carolina.

Until next time!  Jill

European Fabric Shopping

Just back from a fabulous two week trip to Europe.  In case there was any doubt that I’m a total fabric junky…

Switzerland- cool modern prints


Germany- Novelty Fabrics


Czech Republic- Bold print and charming flower needle books

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Now laundry to do and recovering from jet lag.


Improv One Block Wonder

One simple Improv block- a square with a scrappy triangle.

Teal Block

All sorts of layouts

Teal Layouts

Butterflies, diamonds, lines, mountains, totally random, star of david with just one block.  Add a second triangle to another side and it gives you a whole new set of layouts!


More Abandoned Quilt Tops

Continuing to clean out the quilting closets and knot old tops.

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Always a good feeling to cross things off the done list.  Now I’m busy with some tote bags, a black and white half square quilt, a scrap quilt for myself…the project list never ends.

Until next time, Jill

Rainbow Orange Peel, in progress

Trying a new machine appliqué technique on this quilt. It’s a bit slow compared to regular machine piecing, but certainly faster than hand appliqué. 

Not that I mind hand work, it’s just not for this project. So I’m glad I found a suitable replacement with light interfacing and a glue stick. Working like a charm to turn those edges. 

Eight on, forty one more to go. 



This was a stretch for me color-wise because reds and oranges aren’t my go to’s, but I’m glad that I stretched because I LOVE it.


I’m also in love with the print on the back and so glad I finally found a place for it.

Cornered with Back 2

Until next time.  Jill

Bib Making Craze

Sewing for babies is too much fun, especially when it’s for someone you really love.   I set out to make a few bibs for the six month “birthday” of my best friend’s son but I just couldn’t stop.  Now I’m stocked for a few baby showers, which is never a bad thing.

Bib Mosaic

The patchwork were fun, but I loved the monsters the most.

Bibs Monsters

I didn’t follow a pattern, but I was inspired by this picture.  If you need a pattern this looks like a good resource.

Happy 6 Months Alyosha!