Book Reviews

Simple Friendships II

By Kim Diehl and Jo Morton


From Connie:

Mary knows how much I LOVE Kim Diehl and Jo Morton so she gave me this book to review. Did you notice how many pages I flagged with Post-it notes?

Those are the quilts I want to make!!! Seriously!!!

The concept for this book was genius. Jo and Kim chose 6 different traditional blocks such as Ohio Star, Churn Dash and Courthouse Steps. Then they both made a different quilt based on each block, putting their own “spin” on it.

The results are stunning. The last two quilts in the book are sampler quilts using the 6 blocks re-imagined in a variety of sizes. Each quilt reflects the unique style of Kim Diehl and Jo Morton.

I loved this book!

The Big Book or Lap Quilts

By Mary

The cover quilt is by Country Threads called Remember Me and it is one of 4 Country Threads quilts included this BIG BOOK of 51 quilts! That’s a real value, isn’t it? This Ohio Star Crossing is one of my very top favorites that Connie has made.

It’s been on my “want to make” list for a long time.

You know how much I love red and white quilts – blue is nice, too, but I see this in red and white. This is Opening Day by Carrie Nelson (you know, the Pincushion gal).

And then there’s this one, Winding Down, by Jill Findlay which is shown here in red and white. Love it!

And I’ve talked about Susan Ache’s Quilts in previous posts. This is Four-Patch Log Cabin. Who doesn’t just love to make log cabin quilts? My friend Sherry makes a new one every winter! Yup, no kidding!

You get a lot for your money with this book as you do with all their BIG BOOKS.


Just a note about yesterday’s post. I think with your help we have narrowed down the jellyroll quilt that Bridget was looking for to two. We can talk about this in another post when we finish Bullseye because I’d love to make either one or both of them again and we could do it together.

Our temps tonight are going to dip into the 15-20 degrees below zero with wind chills 30-40 below. We’ll all be fine unless the power goes off.

Back to my shirt quilt and Bullseye blocks. It’s too cold to do anything else! Yay!

24 thoughts on “Book Reviews

  1. Lora Jans

    Beautiful quilts in these new books!! I wish there were more hours in each day to quilt!!

    I just discovered a new website with very reasonably priced books that I want to pass on to you . Thrift I just purchased some used quilt books for $3.47 each!!! Great condition and well loved by their previous owner.

  2. Janine

    What a great post! Thanks for the book reviews! Connie, I laughed so much at your book photo. Did you put a Post It on every quilt? I just purchased both books. After telling myself not to buy anything else… I have no willpower. Between your new book on the way, and these two, I’ll have more projects to add to my 2019 Wish List. Stay warm, everyone!

  3. Carolyn Rector from western Ohio

    Love how the bullseye quilt day to me, you don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful! Love all your pictures. Would love to see results. That’s a lot of bullseye quilts.

  4. Pat Smith

    I’m enjoying making this bullseye quilt that is so far out of my comfort zone. Is it any wonder—we are taught early on about the exactness of quilting. In truth, some of my 4 in. circles look sort of rectangular with rounded corners. Still, I’m using fabric up that I thought would be in the estate sale my daughters might have to have after I’m gone—some really ugly pieces. But it is relaxing to make this inexact quilt, and I’m glad I’m learning this new to me process. Can’t wait for the cutting up and reassembling process.

  5. Diane

    I had to LOL at Connie. I think she marked every page😃😃. I get it. Sometimes I have almost every page in a book marked, too. I hope all of you stay safe and warm. We’re getting it after you. PS. I may be the only one who is affected this way, but I can’t see me making the Bullseye quilt because if I do, i’d have to make all of the circles the same size. Must be the OCD in me🤪🤪. I think I’d love it in Christmas with everything measured out, I know, pitiful, but I am ok with it😃😃

      1. Kathy in western NY

        Oh Diane -I have to chime in that this was just so hard for me to sew together not being all matchy matchy and raw edges. I would never make a “rag quilt” for that reason of having raw edges so this was a totally new experience for me and then to use my flannels that I have stored and never have done anything with!! So there were many firsts for me in this quilt and I can honestly say I felt free from rules. I looked so forward to seeing this completed and feel it will be a representation of how You can teach an old bird a new trick and embrace it too. Give it a try with your stash and let it go!

          1. Diane

            HI Mary and Kathy, I definitely will give it a try. Kathy, when you mentioned using flannels in a post wayyyy back, I did think I could do that. I just finished one of those raggedy quilts and didn’t have trouble sooo OK, Mary and Kathy, I will start cutting my flannels and get moving. Thanks for the push:) Diane PS Kathy, maybe it’s a Western NY thing–I’m from Cuba, NY down in the South Western part of the state.

    1. Diane Bauer

      Diane–I thought, too, that I wouldn’t be able to tolerate the ‘imperfections’ of doing Bullseye according to direction, but I absolutely LOVED it!!! It was so relaxing to not have to worry about matching anything! Try a block or two and see what you think! I love how mine has turned out and I’m already scheming about doing another one!

      1. Kathy

        Diane I too am contemplating my next bullseyes quilt as it sure can make good use of a stash. I want to use my polka dots now but need to figure out the neutral background yet. Do I want plain solid or a pale polka dot Or a blender? I honestly can’t wait to cut out another one out once I finish getting these blocks sewn back together. I am determined to see Mary’s quilting suggestions and cuddle with this quilt with very happy memories of making it.

  6. Sue

    I recently received my Simple Friendships II and I love it. Kim and Jo make gorgeous quilts and books. Besides Country Threads books, I collect theirs. I have The Big Book of Lap Quilts on my wish list.

    Sounds like you will need to sleep under lots of your quilts tonight. Keep warm and safe. Hoping this cold spell moves out quickly.

    Need to finish slicing my bullseyes.

  7. Claudia Sheets

    I’ve been working on Tuesdays at Mrs T’s Mercantile in Vincent for the past year and love love love it! My new Kim and Jo book looks just like yours! I want to make almost everything!
    My other new favorites are:
    Red and White Quilts by various designers (page 80 is first on my list!). Sew in Love by Edyta Sitar is wonderful! Loving French Farmhouse by Marie-Claude Picon. Hope’s Journey rates right up there! Yep. I almost never come home with cash but I’m having a good time!😊

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Claudia Sheets – tell me about Mrs. T’s – what is sold there? How long a drive for you?

      1. Claudia Sheets

        Mrs T’s is a quilt shop! She used to have a tea room open full time but now just takes reservations for lunches. She has some classes and some open sewing days. She’s one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet! Her fabrics are quilt shop quality and she carries a nice variety of a little bit of everything!
        Vincent is about 20 minutes from my house. West and south of Eagle Grove. South and east of Thor. The bar across the street is locally famous for its pizza!
        Maybe when you and Connie come to visit someday we can run down there! 😊 Let’s wait until the weather is above zero!😁

  8. Diane Bauer

    Hi Mary!
    Do you all have a generator for power outages? Most of our power lines are buried out here, so outages are relatively rare. I’m just wondering with all of your animals. We got about 3” of snow overnight, so I am just in from shoveling duty!
    Thank you for the book reviews. I expect I will be ordering both of these! I was perusing some of my favorite quilt books last night as I have some denim blocks cut from old blue jeans that I’ve been wanting to stitch into a picnic quilt. I’d seen an example on Pinterest that I liked, but there was no link to the pattern for measurements, so I was in search of a pattern. One favorite book, Fast, Fun & Fabulous Quilts has several Country Threads quilts in it!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Diane Bauer – yes, our lines are underground from the road to our property but lines around the countryside as well as poles can go down in storms. We do not have a generator – we talk about one every time we lose power. Then it comes back on and we forget about it again or think we don’t need it.

  9. Donna

    I see two books that I would love to add to my collection! Stay warm, and yes I’m quilting today.

  10. Launa

    MMMMMM such good eye candy shown from the books. A few stray snowflakes this morning, but now we are up to 32o outside. Hopefully your power doesn’t fail! Stay cozy like the critters in the barn are.
    Am so looking forward to the new book’s arrival!

  11. Sherry Whalen

    Hi Mary – hey that’s me!! I have this year’s log cabin ready to quilt. I have a ‘sit down’ quilter so last Saturday I pinned 6 quilts to get ready to quilt. Log cabin was one of them, plus Good Fortune and 4 UFOs. I wonder if it will take me all year to get these done? LOL probably, if I don’t get to the machine soon. Time to grab the Roku, headphones and get busy! It is certainly a good day to stay inside and sew, that wind is nasty. I got my bullseye blocks cut and put back together last night, time to lay them out. It is such a fun pattern. I really like both books – I am going to have to check because I think I might have bought Kim’s book last fall, or maybe it was the previous book. Time for a look around.

  12. Rhoda Ebersole

    Oh dear Mary
    Stay warm you and your animals and keep all your pipes from freezing.
    Your reviewed book looks too notch.
    I am sorting through ALL my quilt fabrics and scraps which are too numerous to mention. I am finding all my projects I forgot about or didn’t know where they were????


    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Rhoda – we quilters are alike – fabric and projects stacked up everywhere – you’re in good company!

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