A Bonnie Hunter Finish


This has been one of my favorite projects to work on in the past few months.  I shopped the thrift stores for blue and orange mens’ shirts and came up with enough of them to make a king size quilt….but I settled on a twin size instead.  I get bored easily.  Every single piece of fabric including the backing and binding was cut from a shirt – one of my shirts is in this quilt and I have saved it for years just waiting for the perfect quilt.  

The fabric with the stars was a shirt from years ago and I couldn’t remember much about it except that I remembered it as a favorite.  Then one day last week as I was marking stuff for the sale, I came across a copy of the very first Quilt Sampler and there was the shirt.  I was wearing it with a denim jumper in the picture taken of Connie and me for the cover.  Ha!  I knew there was a reason I kept that shirt.

This pattern came from Bonnie Hunter’s book, “Scraps and Shirttails II”, and is called Oregon or Bust!  Bonnie always has a quick and easy way to piece a block and this was no exception.  It was so easy and it called for 3 strips, 1-1/2″ x 20″, 2 of which were blue in my quilt and 1 was orange.  The block was completed with 4 – 3-1/2″ squares of light.  So fun to combine those shirt fabrics – each combination was one block.

And here is the back of the quilt which was pieced from the remainder of the shirts.

And of course it’s quilted with straight lines.


I took the picture is a couple different places on different beds.  Isn’t that the fun of finishing a quilt – laying it on the bed and admiring it?

So that’s what I’ve been doing since all the dogs went home.  It has been a rainy week here in North Iowa and I am catching my breath before the next big group of dogs comes over Memorial Day.  Bentley is coming next week for 3 weeks while his mom and dad go to Europe but he’s kind of like one of the family.  This weekend Libby is coming for a few days and next weekend Connie and I will be at Quilt Market in Minneapolis.  In the meantime I am mowing lawn, picking up sticks (a constant chore in windy North Iowa), planting flowers, marking stuff for the sale June 4-5-6, and relaxing on the porch.  Hope all is well with you guys!

47 thoughts on “A Bonnie Hunter Finish

  1. Rose Mikulski

    I love this quilt, especially just coming home from Oregon this week. I also like that you were able to use one of your shirts for this quilt. You definitely picked the right pattern to use for your collection of shirts and love the color combination. Keep on straight-line quilting! When am I going to see a photo of Colton?

  2. Maryjane

    What a great quilt! What fun it must be searching for shirts. I may have to try this. Love the straight-line quilting, too. And, being in southern CA, how wonderful to see the green grass!!! We got directions yesterday to let our lawns die. Don’t think I can do that. Got to get creative about my water use.
    Maryjane, Tustin CA

  3. Susan Peters

    Love this quilt too. What a great idea! Mary, you are awesome with your quilts!
    I need some ideas. I have 3 sons who all wore those little Oshkosh overalls. Am sure some of you remember those baby clothes. I couldn’t bear to part with them, just like Mary and her shirt! Someone suggested I make a quilt. Any pattern ideas? No baby grandkids yet so maybe someday? Remember the size of fabric pieces will be small. Most of the fabrics are solid, some with very narrow stripes. It needs to be a crib size as I don’t have that many of these as I used them with all 3 sons, now ages 16-28.
    Only the 80s out here in Phoenix. It’s warming up. Will take 80s over 90s! Thanks, in advance, for everyone’s ideas!

  4. Phyllis

    Love the quilt, looks so soft and cozy. Rain, rain and more rain here in Colorado and we will take every drop. No yard work but the plants and flowers look so pretty. Have a wonderful day.

  5. Nikki Mahaffey

    Love he quilt..and ideas running thru my head..thanks for the inspiration.

  6. Louise

    I do really like that quilt. Seeing the quilt shop sampler reminds me of the year we took a road trip with our grand daughter. That trip was originally supposed to be to visit a car show in Minneapolis but it included many quilt shops..i think my husband of 50+ years is a definite keeper! Gee what fun we all had. Among quilt shops yours ranked the highest. Mary I have a photo of you with our little grand daughter enjoying the baby chick you were holding. Thanks for the memory.

  7. Kathy Roloff

    Wonderful! I love getting your Chicken Scratch Newsletter now that you are “retired”. I’m so glad to have had your shop when I came to visit family in Garner. I will miss it on this years trip.
    ( I had the speeding ticket show and tell)

  8. Lori Gust

    looks wonderful on the bed…please show us sometime how you do your straight line quilting….have many farmers around you have there crops in yet?

  9. Holly Deam

    What a beautiful quilt! Love the quilt pattern and the colors of the “upcycled” shirts you used. Ythe creative juices start flowing here!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Teri – we are going to do a book signing at Martingale and also at United Notions but I’m not sure of the times. Maybe 11 and 2 – ?

  10. Launa

    My husband favored oxford cloth dress shirts for work and I’ve used many in scrap quilts. Your Oregon Or Bust quilt is wonderful; front and back and in both locations. Thanks for the eye candy!
    A little cooling starting today and a few rain drops are possible tomorrow.

  11. Mareen

    Love the quilt and think it is one of my favorites that I’ve seen too Mary……….you still amaze me with your talents and writing skills……..

  12. Mary C.

    I love this quilt! A great pattern but your color choices really kick it up a notch, and the border is great. It must feel soft and comfortable, being made out of all those previously loved shirts. I’m not much of a thrift shopper but you may have just inspired me to check out the local Goodwill store for what it has to offer!

  13. Dianne H.

    Love the quilt and those colors together – so pretty. What a great idea to go to thrift shops to find the shirts. It just gave me an idea for a quilt that I never would have thought of on my own. Many years ago my sister-in-law and I used to exchange our children’s clothes, between her two boys and one girl, and my three girls and one boy. Last year, as she was cleaning out her basement, she found three boxes of boys clothes, in varying sizes, that I had loaned her ages ago. I had been saving several boxes of girls clothes, too. I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with all of these kid’s clothes. I didn’t want to give them away, because I had made many of them. Now I know exactly what I will do – use them to make quilts. I doubt that all of the fabrics are 100% cotton, though. Were all of the shirts that you used in your quilt 100% cotton or a cotton/poly blend? Does it matter, especially since the clothes have been washed so many times?

    I always enjoy your posts and pictures. Thank you, Mary, for sharing your life with your many e-mail friends.

  14. Linda E

    You girls look so cute on the cover of Quilter’s Sampler. How wonderful to have such a great friendship over all the years! Love the quilts!

  15. Carol in Florida

    Love your new quilt. The orange really pops. I buy used shirts at thrift shops too. They make great quilts for young boys.

  16. Jo Schmitz

    I love that quilt! I still have a copy of the Quilt Sampler with you and Connie and that great shirt with the stars. Such an inspiration as I have been saving shirts for a someday quilt!

  17. Lauren

    Love this quilt!! You always amaze me with your colors and patterns. I don’t own this book but after seeing yours done I think I need it — no make that want it!! Have a great time at market!!

  18. Melody Lenart

    Your quilt is perfect and looks great on the bed, especially with the kitty who posed on it. A cozy spot up above the trees. Beautiful room.

    1. Maxine

      So glad someone finally acknowledged the kitty. They make great accompaniments for any quilt.

  19. Fiona at Ice Bear Quilts

    Hi Mary, I love the quilt! Good for any bed! And how cool to still have the first edition of Quilt Sampler and to be featured! I keep all my Quilt Sampler magazines, but my collection dosen’t go back all the way to issue no. 1. It is nice and green here for spring in Holland, but this week we are having some very violent rain storms with high winds: in the village down the road a tornado ripped a couple of roofs off. But with the roof still on, it is good quilting weather.
    Kind regards, Fiona.

  20. Linda

    You have been amazing (and productive) since you retired! So happy for you, that you are finally able to do your “thing”! Isn’t retirement wonderful? Always look forward to your daily news & projects!

  21. Katie

    Enjoyed this article re your shirt,I have this magazine, every time , I go thru my ole quilting magazines, I tell myself this One is a keeper…When I read this magazine ,I knew someday I would visit your shop, and I did once..Katie in Gilbert,Az.

  22. Claire

    thank you for sharing your quilts with us!! this shirt quilt is beautiful, and I don’t like orange!!!

  23. netajane

    So many things I love about this post! The beautiful quilt, all the details about it, the fact that you used thrifted shirts in it, and the many photographs! Thanks for sharing!

  24. Carol

    Hi there, I follow you and comment every blog. I may have missed one this week- my little tuxedo LuluBelle (who answers to Kitty) slipped last her Grandma as she was locking up our house for the night on May 2nd. I am heartbroken. We have done all that is expected…stuffing mailboxes, litter box and a piece of my clothing and her bed and blankets at doors to the house. Face booked her, listed her at area rescue sites, ads in paper, humane trap. A few neighbors have called with a siting. Last night we had rain, and I called Kitty from my upstairs window and she responded. We tried to find her in the dark in the rain in our pajamas, but she stopped responding and we couldn’t find her with our flashlights. We rescued her, she was a declaw no one wanted. So she has little defense and has been living a spa like existence here with us. I know compared to the serious business of the world, like war and cancer, one little kitty isn’t worth a hill of beans to most, but to me she was a jewel. She enriched our lives daily, so much entertainment and love…my heart is breaking. If you think kitties are prayer worthy, I’d love some love from you and your readers. Do you believe a kitty’s cry is recognizable to her keepers? I am sure it was her last night…my husband less so. I think because getting our hopes up May lead to a big letdown.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Oh, CArol – if a lost kitty isn’t prayer-worthy, who is? Do not give up – I think you’ll find her. And yes, I think you can recognize her cry. Please keep me posted and I will add my prayer to yours for her safe return. This is so sad – I know the world has serious business but my business is my animals and I can imagine you are heartbroken but do not give up. Go out again tonight and call her and stay outside awhile until she gets her nerve up to come back to you.

  25. Barbara Russell

    Love the quilt and your straight line quilting is beautiful!

  26. Dorothy Sheldrake

    Love your shirt quilt. Looks great on both beds. Wish I could come and sleep under one of your beautiful quilts. Your animal borders are blesst.
    Need to purchase Scraps and Shirttrails

  27. Vicki Shipp

    Hi from Georgia. Quick question, in the first picture, are those Campfire beads hanging from the tieback on the right side of the picture? Love the quilt.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      I guess I don’t know what campfire beads are! They are wooden beads that I had as a kid. Please tell me about campfire beads.

      1. Vicki Shipp

        The Campfire Organization is very similar to Girl Scouts. Instead of badges, you earned beads of different types. The ones hanging in your picture are very similar to the ones my sister earned. We grew up in upstate New York and Campfire was predominate in the rural areas. Fond memories for me as a camp counselor during school. Thanks for replying to my question, I hope I answered your question.

  28. Elizabeth Rickert

    I just don’t see how you have time to do all that you do. I love looking at your pictures and seeing all of the many antique items also. I am a huge pyrex collector. I look every day for your post. I lived in Iowa for 34 years and now live in beautiful Santa Fe, NM. We have a wonderful and active quilt guild here, but I will never forget my quilt friends and the many quilt stores in Iowa. I do hate to see your store closing. Wish I could be there for the garage sale.

  29. Julie

    Oh Mary I am so inspired by this quilt!! Who would’ve thought that men’s shirts could make such a beautiful quilt! Hardly any cost at all. I am going to start searching for shirts right now and when I am done with school this spring I’m getting that book and starting on it! I just love it!!!!!

  30. Bernadette Jackson

    Mary, what is the quilt block for the quilt you have draped over a rack near your bed?
    Also, can you post your e-mail again. My send to you failed. Bernadette

  31. Patricia G Hayes

    Love it Mary. Know you have so many positives but just had to add one more. Of course being a fan of your gal I too love shirttails. Kudos to you!!

  32. Holly Christian

    Love this quilt and had saved the email for this blog because I loved it so much! AND NOW I got to see it in person at Ironwood Springs on Saturday!! Thank you so much Mary for bringing it and sharing all your ideas!! I now know I need to be visiting the goodwill stores more often for “inspirational fabrics”.

  33. Pingback: And Then There Were Shirts… | Jo's Country Junction

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