Quilts From the Pen of Bisa Butler

Wangari Maathai quilt by Bisa Butler


A native of Orange, NJ, Bisa Butler is an American fiber artist known for her quilted portraits and designs celebrating the lives and culture of African Americans.  As a child, she spent her free time first watching her mother and grandmother sew, then being taught by them. She majored in Fine Art at Howard University, where she studied the work of Romare Bearden and attended lectures by prominent black artists such as Lois Mailou Jones. While pursuing a master’s degree, she took a Fiber Art class that inspired her choice of quilting as an artistic medium. After that class, she made her first quilt, a portrait created in homage to her grandmother upon her deathbed.  From that point on she turned to quilting full time, and the rest is HERstory.

Quilting With Calico


Originally produced in Calicut on the southwestern side of India by traditional weavers  called Chaliyans before becoming popular in Europe during the 1700’s, calico fabric is one of the most popular fabrics for quilt projects and hand crafted creations. Made from unbleached cotton, calico consists of a plain-woven textile featuring miniature prints in an assortment of  delightful designs, patterns and colors making it a great accent or base for many quilting projects as well as dresses, blouses, skirts, purses, bed sheets and more.
Also known as Chintz, calico is truly a fabric rich in history, pride and legend. Because of it’s natural fibers, calico offers a harmonious union between fiber and flesh, is washable, durable, and eco-friendly (if non-gmo based). Quilting with calico has never been so much fun, and at J&O Fabrics we carry a selection of both vintage and modern day calico to suit almost every creative nitch.
jando fabrics
Check out some of our selected calico:
j&o fabrics


J&O Crafty Customer: Pearl Hinz’s Nebraska Huskers Quilt




Every now and again one of our crafty customers shoots us an email sharing a pic or two of projects they’ve completed with the help of our wide range of fabrics. One such lady is Pearl Hinz.

Mrs. Hinz sent us a Nebraska Corn Huskers themed quilt she created for her nephew using our collegiate cotton material featuring the popular team logo and mascot in a red, black and white color theme.  Using several square cuts, she overlaid black framed Husky prints quilted in a similar fashion creating a beautiful heirloom for her sister’s son to have for many years to come. Workmanship like this is truly a labor of love.

Spring Has Sprung!

Spring Flowers by Promaneximage by promanex

I don’t know about you but, I am so excited that spring has sprung! The daffodils are blooming and tulips are blowing in the breeze! There are robins hopping along the lawn and the grass is starting to turn my favorite shade of spring green. After a winter of browns and greys there is nothing like seeing everything spring to life around you again.

Let’s Go Camping! Fabric Featuring the Great Outdoors

Camp Little Dewey Cruiznbye Flickrimage by cruiznbye

As the days start to lengthen I enjoy spending more and more of my evenings in the great outdoors. There is nothing like spending the evening hours in the fresh air to give you a good night’s rest. This year my family and I are planning a camping trip. We love to go kayaking, fishing and hiking. So, this summer we are especially excited about our trip and all the memories to be had. There is nothing like a meal cooked from scratch over a campfire or telling stories while the embers slowly fade into the night.

J&O Crafty Customer: Lorna Holley ‘Relay For Life Quilt’

jando fabrics, jo fabrics, lorna holley, relay-for-lifeAs our J&O Fabrics Facebook fan page keeps growing, more and more of our crafty customers are showing off their cool creations for our J&O family and community to view, share and comment on. One such fan is fellow Facebook page holder Lorna Holley.

When Life Gives You Scraps, Make a Quilt!

Over the years, I have had the pleasure of not only being inspired by a myriad of crafty customers from around the world who have purchased fabrics from us to start, complete, and add-on to various quilts they are creating, but educated on the numerous methods of creating such masterpieces. From politically inspired designs that emerged after Barack Obama made history by becoming our nations first African-American president, to charitable quilts created by individuals and organizations whose hearts are as wide as the sea, the creativity abounds and continues to inspire. And though I never thought much about learning how to quilt in the more conventional sense, seeing just how unique and creative some of the projects turn out that have been shared with us via email, have certainly made me more excited about trying my hand at creating something close to one in my own way.
I especially love both the memory and rag quilts that utilize various prints, colors, patterns and even photographs to form the final work of art destined to become a memorable gift to be cherished and maybe even-handed down for generations to come. I can just see it now, for my dad, I can use fabric scraps saved from the numerous textile crafts I made for him in the past to create a quilt that brings back memories of family, nature, and fabric reflecting some of his favorite pastime activities like fishing and hunting. For my son who is a BIG extreme sports fan, I would combine camo, denim, an assortment of biker and skater themed novelty prints, and some solid blue and red broadcloths (his favorite colors…today) to make a quilt he throw on his bed.  As for myself, African prints and eclectic retro fabrics would suite me well.

So, in recognition of quilters everywhere, and for the road that will finally bring me to the starting point of my own quilting project, here are a few really cool quilts I came across that can offer inspiration and even some visual instruction for any novice along their journey. From crazy and rag quilts, to strip and tied quilts, there is a technique for everyone; even those of us who may not necessarily want to sew. Sew ENJOY!