Let’s Help Jo!

Our friend Jo lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming and every Tuesday she helps a group of inmates make quilts.


Here are their quilts from last year’s quilt show. I think they did a great job, don’t you?

Nancy wrote a comment asking what Jo needed and I think it’s a great idea. Here is Jo’s list of needs:

6×12 rulers

45 mm rotary blades for Olfa cutters

So 14 Universal needles

White thread – they like Star thread

Scissors, 2″ blades, Kai, Fiskars, or Gingher last the longest. The Gingher’s have a black handle and are the most inexpensive ones.

Two yard pieces of fleece for backing.

They can have books, NO hard covers or spiral bound, and they must be completely intact. No pages can be torn out. Same with magazines – no pages torn out . Beginner level books such as Eleanor Burns are good.

This was an eye opener for me…read on.

They can have rotary cutters but no chapstick. They can have pointed scissors but only 12 straight pins. No safety pins, no tape, no staples, no rubber bands, no tape measures.

Everything has to be counted and inspected when it comes in. Jo and her friend are the only volunteers that go to their pod (cell) where they eat, sleep, shower and do laundry.

Jo says they go every Tuesday which means she hasn’t been there for two weeks and she says she can’t wait to see what they’ve gotten done. They all love show and tell.

Here is Jo’s address:

Jo Sunderman

1810 Columbia Dr.

Cheyenne, Wyoming. 82009

We all have so much and quilting might really make a difference to these girls’ lives once they get out of prison.

Thanks for any help you can give Jo! She shops at Joann’s for supplies and Linda is sending her a gift card from Joann’s.

33 thoughts on “Let’s Help Jo!

  1. Sharon Ray

    Wow, what a great thing she is doing. It’s strange the things they can vs. cannot have! I’m guessing a gift card would be best so she can get what they need.

  2. Amy M

    This is great as I try to downsize my “inventory”. I would much rather ship it to Jo than take it to the donation center. As I get boxes together I will send them her way. Thanks so much for the great idea!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Amy M – make note that she doesn’t need fabric. Someone else asked, too, so I will clarify!

  3. Karen

    Does your friend need fabric? I don’t see it on the list, but I would send fabric.

  4. Sue in Oregon

    Their quilts are lovely. I think I made that one on the end where Jo (is that Jo?) is standing. It was a mystery quilt along from last year. My center blocks were chickens. I can see why she loves doing it because it looks like they take quilting very seriously.
    I will begin looking at my stash of tools and books. I will put this email in my Saves so that I can refer to it when I need to. Like Amy, I would much rather give to Jo and her girls than take things to thrift shops.

  5. Vickie

    Many years ago I worked at SoFro Fabrics and a man came in to purchase things for his brother who was in prison. He bought needles and scissors for a leatherworking program. Everything had to be put into a box with the receipt, he provided the shipping money and we mailed it for him. The prison did not allow packages from individuals, but would take them if they came from a business.

  6. Shirley

    Love what Jo is doing and the quilts are beautiful. I’m also in the process of downsizing and am quite happy to share part of my stash.

  7. Dorothy

    I have a friend that does that once a month at a men’s prison. She has about 20 guys that she teaches there, They all sew during the month and she is always amazed at what they get done and create. I periodically make up boxes of stuff for her to take to the prison. Last big donation was 6 boxes of books and patterns.

  8. Judy Linn

    Thanks for sharing this! I will send gift card! The quilts are GREAT!

    Judy in Texas

  9. Angie

    What a purposeful life. I am glad to send a gift card. These women need to know they have value.

  10. Susan Sundermeyer

    Mary, are you able to find out what stores are in her area if we would like to send a gift card?

  11. Carol

    Those quilts are beautiful. She’s doing a great and wonderful thing!

    On another note, Mary, I saw your new book advertised on Martingale today, looks beautiful. Love scrappy!

  12. Nancy Norris

    Mary, what a great idea and service. I saw the post on Martingale this morning and saw your new book.
    Looks exciting.

  13. Sue Bowles

    Mary, reading the comments above leads me to ask what is your new book’s title?

  14. Jan Behm

    I saw your new book, coming 2/1/19, on Martingale’s blog today. Looks great! Wish we could get autographed copies from you! Can’t wait to get my hands on one to add to my Country Threads book collection! Happy New Year to you & yours & Connie & her family too!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Jan Behm – tomorrow’s post is going to tell you how to do just that – autographed and all!

  15. Kathy Hanson

    I agree that sending the gift card would be the best plan – I will plan to do that. What great work Jo is doing!
    Looking forward to you new book!!

  16. jan VanDeWalle

    In the greater Portland, Oregon area There is a group called Coffee Creek Quilters that started a program in the Coffee Creek women’s prison to teach quilting. The ladies make 3 quilts 2 are donated to various groups and the third one they get to keep for themselves. Coffee Creek Quilters have a big sale of all things sewing every year to raise money to support the program.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Jan VanDeWalle – sounds like another great group doing important work in the prisons.

  17. Jo in Wyoming

    You all are making me cry! Your so very caring and generous. How can I possibly thank you all?
    The gift cards are a great idea, I can purchase supplies when needed.
    I’ll never turn down fabric. Quilters are the best.
    A quick story.
    A while ago I was explaining to one of the ladies why her seams need to be correct. She looked at me and said “you really care about us” …I could have taken her home. They are not allowed to touch us, but a reassuring pat on the shoulder, eye contact, and a great smile goes a long way.
    I have other heart songs, but I’ll save them for later.

    All of this because Mary started a sew a long with a great pattern. She is a doll.
    Save a book for me autographed with love and kisses.
    Again, I whole heartily THANK YOU ALL,

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Jo in Wyoming – didn’t you tell me you were overloaded with fabric? Will you accept fabric? I know you said storage is a problem. I told several people that if fabric wasn’t on the list, you didn’t need it. Can you clarify? Oh boy, look out!

      1. Jo in Wyoming

        Your correct, currently we don’t need fabric, other than fleece. If these wonderful quilters send cotton, I’ll find a place to keep it till we can use it.
        Gift cards from JoAnns. I can buy fleece there on sale.
        I sent Mary a list of local stores that help me a lot. I’m sure she will post them tomorrow or soon. Those will be gift certificates. I’ll call them tomorrow and give a heads up.

        I would encourage all of you to check with your county sheriff and see if you have a program like this. Check with the volunteer coordinator. The worst they can do is say no.
        Later, my friends.

  18. Beverly Lockmiller

    What a great Work Jo is doing. Will save this post For refrence to help later. Looking forward to your book.

  19. Jessica

    WOW!!! The quilts are gorgeous and Jo is an angel here on Earth! I wish more people would volunteer their time like she is and teach inmates their craft. I pray as you stated that it makes a difference when they are released. I will get a Joann’s gift card as soon as we get back home from vacation.

  20. Jessica

    Oops…I forgot to ask: what are the names of the patterns? My husband loves the middle one and I love all 3!

    1. Jo in Wyoming

      The first quilt is some left over half triangle squares, they add corners to make the blocks big enough. The middle is Carpenters Square, I think. Again some of those were not big enough and they added frames around the centers to make them big enough. The last one, ?
      The young lady is one of the inmates that has been released about a week earlier.
      These are the only pictures we have of the quilts. We are not allowed to take pictures in or out.

  21. Starrla Opferman

    What great work Jo is doing. The quilts they’ve completed are beautiful. Joann’s gift card sounds like a good way to go.

  22. Diane in Central Ohio

    Wow! Jo that is great! What a wonderful group of quilts. A gift card to Joann’s sounds like a good idea😃

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