I belong to an online bee called the Gridsters, and February is my month to choose a block that my beemates make for me. You can find all our work on Instagram, using the hashtag #gridsterbee.
I chose a basket block.
I also have been saving food-themed fabrics forever for a basket block quilt with the baskets full of food beginning at least a couple of decades ago, and continuing as I picked up a food fabric here and there.
I was also inspired to make basket blocks by Barb, of Fun With Barb and Kelly of Pinkadot who decided to do it together; their tutorials are on each of the links, above. I upsized the basket block to 10 inches in size, so the making would go faster. (You’d think with all the quilts in this house, I would have enough twin-sized, but I don’t, so I’ve already decided that’s the size it will be.)
If you want to join in with me, or Barb and Kelly, in making baskets, I’d suggest we follow their request to tag our Instagram photos with #basketswu [Baskets Sew With Us]. (Gridsters please tag them also with #gridsterbee.)
For the Gridster Bee
I’ve sent you some food fabrics; please use those for the A section of your blocks. I don’t care what you use for the basket–it can match, it can contrast, it can coordinate, it can clash–choose what you think creates the look you want. You can use small scale prints, large prints, florals, novelties, checks, whatever.
For the low-volume background, use these types of fabrics:
They are a range of creamy-toned fabrics, without strong secondary designs.
Avoid these types:
Solid in creams is okay, but avoid white, grey, tan, beige, white-on-white (I really don’t like beige for this quilt, but understand the limitations of our stashes–just do your best). Many of the above fabrics have strong motifs and patterns, so reject those too. Basically, I want the background to recede without being dull or same-same.
Here’s my cutting sheet for this tutorial, in PDF form, but the usual requests apply here–don’t print off a million copies for your mother and your friends, but please send them here to get their own: Basket Block 10 inch_OPQuilt
First, make the Half Square Triangles.
[Background: One method is from Alyce, and she has a nice chart if you want to figure out your own eight-way Half-square Triangles. However, I also have a different chart on this post which came from Jeni Baker, who encourages the use of a bigger initial square. That means for us (and especially if you like to trim your HSTs) you would begin with a 6″ block, which is what I’ve specified on the cutting chart. BTW, her book on triangles is a good one to have in your library. ]
Place one 6″ background square and one 6″ basket square right sides together. Mark two diagonal lines, and sew 1/4″ on either side of the marked lines. On the left is the pieces with the sewn diagonals. Press it flat to settle down the wrinkles, which you see on the right.
Cut on marked lines. Now without moving your squares, cut on mid-lines, crossing the centers, as shown below. Press, with seam allowance to the dark side, trimming out dark fabric, if necessary, so it doesn’t show through. Trim to 2-1/2″ inches square.
Make center half-square triangle (piece A-1): Place a food fabric (measuring 6-7/8″ square) onto a basket square (same size), drawing a diagonal line, then stitching on either side of that line. Press, then cut on marked line, then press towards the basket. You’ll have an extra center to toss into your Random Patches Box. (You do have one of those, don’t you?)
Press seam allowance ALWAYS towards basket, to give that dimensional look that something is IN the basket. Now trim that center to 6-1/2″.
Here are all the pieces, laid out. I chose a stripe to demo, so you can see the direction the stripes go. If you use the eight-at-a-time half-square triangle method, you’ll have no problem getting the stripes in the small half-square triangles go the direction you want. Yes, I did cut the 6-7/8″ square (basket) on the bias, so I could have the stripes go across the unit.
Stitch together the three small half-square triangle pieces; press in the direction they want to go, which is usually toward the flat triangle piece.
Stitch one 2-1/2″ block onto one unit (shown in upper left corner). It helps to arrange your square as you go, so you get everything all sorted out right.
Sew the first three-unit “basket handle” to the center HST, as shown on the left. Press seams away from basket, even though they don’t want to go there, again to preserve the illusion that something is in your basket.
Sew the second three-unit “handle” with the C square to the center unit, as shown. I pressed the square C-block toward the three-triangle unit so that the seams would nest neatly when I arrived at this step.
Create basket stand by sewing one of your small HST to the D-rectangle. Pay attention to which direction the triangles are going. Stitch this first unit onto the basket.
Repeat with second HST and D-rectangle. Sew ONE of the C (2-1/2″ squares) to ONE of the basket stand units. Stitch this onto the existing basket.
And you are done!
There are lots of fun ways I can finish this basket quilt:
I like this setting, with all those energetic chevrons in between the baskets.
Looks like red is a pretty popular color for setting these blocks. I have more basket ideas on my Pinterest site, if you want to see more block settings. (I’ve been collecting these ideas for ages.)
Thanks to the Gridsters for making me baskets this month, and I hope you all have fun making a few for yourselves.
5 thoughts on “Basket Block Tutorial • February 2018 • (Gridster Bee Month for Me!)”
I’m glad to get the instructions as I have been eager to start with my fun food pieces.
It looks like a fun commitment for your group! Another twin-sized quilt, just right for snuggling under during TV-watching, is never a mistake.
Wow! You have gone into such detail for this block Elizabeth! These blocks will practically make themselves! There is something very appealing about basket blocks! And look at all the options you have! I look forward to seeing the blocks you receive and how you decide to set them! (I would have made you a block myself but I don’t even think I have a piece of food fabric in my stash…..!)
How fun. I have always wanted to do baskets filled with flowers. I have a large stash of flower fabrics and now I have a pattern!