Ask Jo: Kelli’s Cheddar Bow Tie

Every so often questions and comments come from readers that I think others would like to hear my response to.? That’s when I feature them on the blog.? This is one of those days.

Last week I showed you Kelli’s Cheddar Bow Tie quilt.

Following that I got several people wondering about the layout and more about the quilt.? I thought I’d write a little more about it.

First off, this quilt started as a Bonnie Hunter Challenge quilt.? Each year Bonnie does a challenge quilt starting in the summer and ending the next summer.? She encourages people to construct a quilt as a leader and ender project.? You can read more about leaders and enders here.

In 2011 her challenge was the bow tie block.? You can read more about the challenge and get the instructions on how to make the bow time block HERE.

Kelli and I both jumped on board to make the cute little bow tie blocks.? Kelli opted to use many different cheddar colored fabrics to make her quilt.? Me, I used all the same cheddar color.

To make this quilt, she made 1024 cheddar bow tie blocks.? Oh my.

After Kelli got the individual bow ties made she sewed them into blocks like the one you see below.? You would need 256 of the blocks below.


From there, she sewed them into a larger block.? This is the setting she used….


Here is the block all sewn together.? She made 16 of these.


The block should be 24 1/2″ x 24 1/2″ when it gets to this point.

From there she sewed them into a 4 x 4 layout.? The quilt ends up being 96″ x 96″.


In my computerized generation I used a limited amount of color in the blocks so the quilt ended up in a totally different look..a little more planned than simply scrappy.? I left it that way hoping you might be able to more easily see how the large blocks come together to make a secondary pattern.

If you wanted smaller you could cut the number of large blocks like the one above to only 9 thus a 3 x 3 setting which would make the quilt finish at 72″ x 72″. The you would only need to make 576 bow tie blocks.

You can see in Kelli’s quilt that there seems to be a lot of movement.? That is partially because of the wide variety of colors she used.? I want to make sure that I especially point out that she had a lot of neutral or cream colored blocks in the mix.


When she was originally making them and adding them in, I’ll admit, I thought she was going to mess up the quilt by doing that, but she didn’t.? I ended up loving it!!

Kelli and I both really love super scrappy quilts like this.? We love to lay on them and say, “oh I had this fabric”….or “remember when we went to this quilt shop?? I bought this fabric that day”.? We always think scrappy quilts are a museum of our fabric stash.? We both really love them.

Another thing I want to point out is the pops of yellow.? Kelli was running low on cheddar colored fabric and decided to throw in the yellowish color.? The yellow did have cheddar accents on the fabric.? Again, I thought she was a little crazy.? The purist in me didn’t like it.? In the end, I think it’s makes the quilt.? Between the yellow and the neutral blocks, both things I wouldn’t have done, the quilt sparkles.

I hope that answers your questions about this quilt.? I’m going to put a link in the free pattern section.? I know technically this isn’t our pattern as Bonnie put the pattern out for the block but this way you will have a reference to how Kelli laid it out with a little more details.

If you’re looking to finish the quilt the way Bonnie wrote the directions for …and I did…


You can find the pattern in her More Adventures with Leader and Enders book.

15 thoughts on “Ask Jo: Kelli’s Cheddar Bow Tie

  1. Donna

    I love the look of both your quilts! They almost seem like two completely different patterns!
    Great work ladies!
    Love and prayers

  2. Hedy

    Both quilts are very pretty, however Kelli made a spectacular quilt with her choice of fabrics. Thank you Jo for this blog today, her quilt sparked a tremendous interest in me and you’ve given all of us some answers.

  3. Anita B

    Kelli’s quilt is a work of art. I enjoy looking at it. You are right-it has such movement in it. Has Bonnie Hunter seen it??

  4. Joanne

    This is not one of my favorite blocks, but Kelli’s quilt is lovely and my favorite of any I’ve seen. The movement makes it exciting. Thanks for showing the steps.

  5. Lisa W

    I like both quilts, they are so nice. I am not a cheddar fan but these quilts could change my mind! I love the way Kelli’s sparkles. I also love the more traditional feel of your version, Jo. There is something appealing about both of them. Thanks for sharing!!

  6. Deneka Guyette

    Oh thank you so much taking the time to send us all the details for Kelly’s bow tie quilt. Bow tie quilts never caught my eye but I really like Kelly’s version. Thank you again

  7. Margaret

    Thanks for the information on both quilts. You are so correct to point out about the neutrals and white color that Kelli used to make the other colors sparkle. It’s the same when planting flowers –you always need some white ones to make the other colors come alive.

  8. Judith Fairchild

    I have never made a bowtie quilt but Kelli’s quilt is in my favorite color range with the splash of other colors really has me interested I don’t think I would make the squares so small though but to each their own. Which is the fun of quilting. Thanks for sharing and explaining.

  9. Sue in Westminster, MD

    I love how different colorways and/or different layouts make such a different quilt!
    Did you use rulers to do the Baptist fans on the longarm?
    Thank you so much for all you share with us!

  10. Jo Post author

    I don’t use rulers to do the baptist fans. I do them on the longarm in a free motion style.

  11. Angie in SoCal

    Those two quilts are really amazing. Hard to believe they have the same block. Oh, if only I had time to make so many beautiful quilts that you show.

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