New Quilt in the Making ~ Hobo Quilt

My husband has been wanting one of my quilts for some time, so I decided I’d finish up the Underground Railroad quilt for him. “Cool…I love railroads”…”It’s not really a railroad, it’s a Civil War slavery story quilt about escaping from the South to Canada”…”I want a railroad quilt”. Boys…they sap the energy right out of me.

Enter Hobo Quilts: 55+ Original Blocks Based on the Secret Language of Riding the Rails by Debra G. Henninger.

I must admit that book is something else! Besides the quilt patterns it is loaded with stories from around the country about riding the rails, being a hobo, the families that fed them, the ones that did not, pictures…lots of pictures…an extremely interesting book! I’m having a hard time getting the book away from my husband so I can make the blocks!

I was able to wrestle the book away for a few minutes last night to jot down the measurements of four blocks:





I took all of my fabric out of my hutch and re-organized it all…taking out of my stash what I thought would look good for the Hobo Quilt. The blocks are 6.5″ unfinished for a 6″ finished block. The four that I did, pieced right quick!

14 thoughts on “New Quilt in the Making ~ Hobo Quilt

  1. Nice masculine tones in your colour choices.

    Do you know anything about how historically accurate your new book is? I ask because I recently read a review about a similar book (possibly the one you have, my memory is hazy on that) in which the reviewer suggested that there was little historical fact to support the narrative. Just curious. I haven’t seen the book myself.

    • Sorry I haven’t responded until now…work has been crazy and our weather here in Reno has kicked my arse! The last snow storm (and the next system) has my head pounding with no relief in sight.

      As for the Hobo Signs…they are pretty spot on. There are many historical references to the signs.

      I’m thinking you’re talking about other quilt I mentioned…The Underground Railroad. Although they did use signs, there is no historical fact to back up the blocks she used in that quilt. It’s a nice story, but not really true.

      • Thanks for your response. I think you’re exactly right that I was recalling a review if the other book.

        Thanks also for the link to the hobo signs. “Jail good but prisoners starve.” Interesting concept.

        Hope you feel better soon. Spring is right around the corner, right?

  2. I’ve just recently started on a “hobo” quilt. My BFF and I are making this a monthly project where we will get together once a month for a sewing day and work on nothing but this quilt. We’ve been using thrift store shirts as well as a small amount of new fabric. We are having a blast. I’m having as much fun reading as well as working on the quilt.


    • I’m having a very hard time getting the book away from my husband so I can make the blocks! I sneak it away and scribble measurements and a quick drawing of what it should look like. 🙂

  3. I am very interested in the Hobo quilt book. I read somewhere that the measurements were not correctly written and would like your opinion. Is the picture that is shown for each block the correct size and you measure from there? I made the Dear Jane quilt and the Amish Circle quilt by measureing the pictured blocks and that worked really well. Do you need a CD to go with this book or can I make this Hobo quilt with just the book.

    Sorry for so many questions but I am really interested in this quilt and appreciate knowing if there is any problems with this book.
    My husband and I both read the Amish Circle letters and I am sure we would enjoy the Hobo info also.

    Thanks for your help, Nancy in PA

    • Good Evening, Nancy.

      No problem with all the questions! 🙂 Wow…you finished your Dear Jane?! Am very impressed…still very very very slowly working on mine!

      The Hobo quilt is a lot like the Dear Jane in yes, you can just add a 1/4″ to the pattern in the book. So far I’ve only come across 3 blocks that have wrong measurements, and I could just see by the block that they were wrong before cutting them. Only one block got me where I had to recut three pieces. All in all, not bad. I had more problems with The Underground Railroad. I have made all but 9 of the blocks so far and have not used a cd (actually, didn’t even know they had one). I’ll write up a post soon and let you know which blocks I had the problems with.

      Both my husband and I loved reading the book…she took a lot of the stories from Riding the Rails. Will have to look at the Amish Circle book!


  4. I just started this quilt last night after monopolizing the library’s copy of the book. 🙂 I started with the first block, which was also not only the first quilt block I’ve ever made, but also my first attempt at paper piecing, and it turned out so great I really have to go out and buy my own copy so that I can do the rest of them. I’m glad to see someone else’s photos, and to hear that the rest of the blocks go together relatively easily. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

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