Basket Block Tutorial • February 2018 • (Gridster Bee Month for Me!)

gridsters-250-buttonx

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. 

Basket_8

I chose a basket block.

Basket_food fabrics

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:

Basket_low volumes YES
They are a range of creamy-toned fabrics, without strong secondary designs.

Avoid these types:

Basket_low volumes NO

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.

Basket Tutorial

Basket Block_ESE

Not to size, for reference only–please use the PDF link below.

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

Basket_1

All my basket pieces laid out.

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. ]Basket_2
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.

Basket_4b

I moved mine apart to demo this; leave yours close together.

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.

Basket_3
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″.

Basket_5
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.

Basket_5a

I made two blocks at once; one had a light center, and one had a dark center.

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.

Basket_5b
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.

Basket_5c
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.

Basket_6
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.

Basket_7
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.

Basket_9
And you are done!

There are lots of fun ways I can finish this basket quilt:

Basket Setting

from here

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.

Gridster Bee Begins 2018

Carol kicked off the Gridsters this year, doing a little throwback to fall, for she said she wanted to make herself a quilt for autumn.  She asked us to use this tutorial from The Cloth Parcel. I had fun finding orange fabrics that would work, and picked up some bold orange Grunge dots to work into the pumpkins.  She had mailed us the navy Grunge for the background, and after I finished my first pumpkin, I found I had enough for another, so I sent two.  These come together quick and easy, so if you are thinking ahead…or behind…it would be a fun quilt for fall.

Bee Blocks for Gridsters • December 2017

Four of us got together to do the last block of 2017 for Afton, of Quilting Mod.

She’d asked that we do a cake from Patty Sloniger’s pattern (for Michael Miller Fabrics), and Afton mapped out our plan of which stand for which cake.  I had a different cake from Lisa, Leisa and Simone, but our stands were all the same.  Luckily.

 

The quilter who made the cake on the left was the first to finish, but whoops…she had to redo the cake stand.

One of us had to leave early to pick up kids, so I don’t have that quilter’s block, but here are three of the cake blocks finished.  In all the fun, I never took a photo of my block by itself, but I’m the stacked layer cake on the lower right.  The pattern went together without too much drama, and we shipped them off to Afton.  That’s the end of the Gridster Bee for 2017, but we’re gearing up and are all ready to go for 2018.

This is the last sew day for all of us together, as Lisa (in blue sweater) has moved away to another state.  She and I started our little quilt group of twenty years, and it is odd not to see her around, or to be able to pop up and borrow some fabric (she lived close to me).  I wish her all the best in her new home, and hope she finds lots of quilters to hang out with!

July’s Gridster Bee Block

July 2017_Gridster_Carol

Here’s the block I made for the July Gridster Bee, for Carol.  It was a fun make, made easy by this tutorial from Sara Noda.  (She also has a blog post on her completed flag quilt.)

Rosette 7

I also dragged out my hexagon quilt, and got started again.  Here is Rosette #7, isolated (above), and below as it looks sewn into the quilt.  I took the blocks and quilt rosettes with me on our recent family trip — since we had a lot of driving time — and was able to get the rosettes sewn together and one more completed.Millefiore Rosette #7I’ve totally revamped Rosette #8, because frankly, everyone on the Facebook page was having real troubles with it, so I thought I would have a go at creating my own hexie arrangement.  I’m choosing fabrics for it now.

Road to California 2018 classes

I also picked my classes for Road to California 2018 (above)…

QuiltCon 2018 ESE Classes

…and my classes for QuiltCon 2018, too.  Anyone else going?  Are we in the same classes?

Film Quilt1And in case you think you only need fabric to create quilt patters, Sabrina Gschwandertner acquired a collection of old instructional films on the textile arts and has been creating quilt works of art.  I will spare you the mumbo-jumbo about quilting from the LA Times, but here’s the article if you want to read it.

Film Quilt2

(PS Ignore the random “A” up on the right side)

Film Quilt3

I actually wanted to see the movies, after reading about her and seeing images of her work.  Now it is lost forever.  Will we feel that way about the millions of YouTube videos?  I doubt it.  There is something about the tangible presence of film being cut up, the scarcity of that resource being destroyed to begin again.  But I do like looking at her works.  If you are in LA, the article has info about how to see this in the gallery, but the show closes soon.

And today is six months since my shoulder surgery.  I’ve seen the surgeon for the last time, finished my formal PT.  Now just the challenge of walking, getting back into some semblance of shape after sitting around, and doing the PT exercises on my own.

LASTLY, thanks to all who entered the OPQuilt Summer Book Giveaway (snazzy title, don’t you think?).

 Giveaway Banner

Here’s another:

Intentional Piecing_Book Giveaway

Amy Friend’s Intentional Piecing, a look at using fussy-cutting to make spectacular quilts.  She has a range of stellar projects, plus some fun paper-piecing designs to sew into various quilts and hand-mades.  It’s signed by the author.

Again–leave a comment letting me know if you are interested in receiving this book in the giveaway.  I’ll notify the winner by email.

Update: Roxanne was our winner from the last giveaway. Thanks again for all who entered!

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Piggies! (and other stuff)

Thanks to all who entered the Paintbrush Studios giveaway for the Painter’s Palette Solids.  I used the Husband Random Number Generator, and he picked Lisa J. for the scraps and Susan H. for the Paint Chips.  It was fun reading all your comments!

Piggies_front

I’m sure you’ve seen piggies flying across my screen on Instagram…piggies and more piggies.  It’s because I was Queen Bee for this month’s Gridster Bee, and all my beemates were quick and sent them right out.  So I honored them by sewing them all up into rows and getting the quilt top done.  (Don’t you hate it when you make blocks for bees and they all seem to go into someone’s bottom drawer, never to be seen again?  That happens, even to the best of us.)Piggies_2

I made a few more piggies, but imitated the heart in this curlicue pigtail from Carol.Piggies_1

I started to run into troubles because some piggies were facing left and some were facing right, and some were going uphill and some were going down, so my advice is have fun making them go left and right, but keep count, so you know how many you need of each. My husband made the suggestion to have the half-rows facing each other, so I did that in the middle of the quilt.

Another suggestion, from Mary, is to sew the grass on last, instead of first (like I wrote it in the tutorial).  She’s right.  I thought it wouldn’t matter much after the trimming, but it does.  So that’s why I added the scrappy strips of green underneath the rows of pigs.

And last, arrange your piglets up on the wall, decide on the balance/color,etc. THEN start tilting them uphill or down.  I also alternated the uphill/downhill at the start of the rows. It wasn’t that hard, if I just worked sequentially.
Piggies-signature blocks

I started sewing the back together, then realized I was missing a beemate’s signature block.  It’s come to a halt while I wait for it to arrive, but it will be great to have them all.Flowers2017

These white flowers (smallish, about 1 1/2″ across) are all over my bushes out front, and the whole yard is blooming.  We’ve had a lovely rainy winter, so everything in the yard is very happy.  So am I, to see these!fabrics spring 2017

And I did a little spring shopping at our local brick and mortar quilt shop, finding some backing for the En Provence mystery quilt (still in process) on the sale shelves.April Gridster Bee 2017b

April Gridster Bee 2017a

For April’s Gridster Bee block, Nancy of Patchwork Breeze drew up her own design, and asked us to make it up in some bold large-scale prints.  This was a paper-pieced block in some places, and just plain pieced, in other places, and I think they turned out great.
new york beauties book

This book will open your eyes up to color and piecing possibilities for New York Beauties, coupled with Flying Geese.  I love it.  You can find the author, Carl Hentsch on Instagram.  I’m in love with another one of his quilts:

Hentsch_Color Block

It’s slightly fuzzy because I screen-shotted it from Instagram.  What talent!

funny text

from *here*

And that’s all.  Happy Spring!!

Queen Bee for Gridsters: Piggies!

Queen Bee

I am the Queen Bee this month for the Gridsters Bee, and thought and thought and thought of what I could do.  I happened on this design while surfing the blogs, and something about it just made me smile.  Since I am one month post-op on my interminable rotator cuff repair recovery, I realize that it’s probably because I just needed some happy-cheery-goofy-fun in my life.

gridsters-250-buttonx

IG: #gridsterbee

Yes, I made the tutorial and wrote it all up before I went in to surgery, perhaps anticipating the need for something happy-cheery-goofy-fun. To start us off, here’s something to get you in the mood for making my block this month (stop it about 3:00):

babe-the-gallant-pig

For those of you who can’t see the link, it’s from the movie Babe, The Gallant Pig, completing his “sheep” trials. (Go to the blog if you want to see it.)

Yep.  Somehow little piggies have gotten in my heart and under my skin and I want a whole quilt of them, although I may add a barn or tree to break things up.  I first found them on Gayle’s blog, Mangofeet, where it says she is a bonafide farmer.  She found them on Sally’s blog, The Object of Design, which is where I found a tutorial for littler guys.  And I found Gayle, by following a link from Bonnie Hunter’s Quiltville’s Linky Party for her En Provence mystery quilt.  Connections everywhere!

Before I leave all the attributions, please visit Sally’s tutorial page, where she has other tutorials for bunnies and fish and all sorts of creatures.

piglet-b_opquilt

But mine are slightly different, both in size and in style, so I wrote up atutorial for what I want.  Since they are small, I’d like you to make me two, if you wouldn’t mind.  I used Gayle’s post for inspiration (also look *here.*). To make it easier on yourself, make them both the same, but if you get adventurous, it’s okay to flip the orientation of the piglets, or make one going up and one coming down.  But really, keep it simple so you aren’t calling me names in the middle of this process.

Again, while Sally has a tutorial (linked above) and she is the designer of this block, I changed up a few things (like the dimensions), so please follow along and make my piglet according to my tutorial.  The piggies are all scrappy, but I do need:

  • sky–a consistent low-volume or “background–no need to make them the same fabric, but the do need to be the same lightness: pale blue, cream, white, tan, low-volume with grey/tan/etc. prints.  Avoid prints with too dark of  text or design so that it throws it to a muddy tonality.  Some background prints are fun and will make the quilt more sparkly.  It’s okay to mix up the borders, but I’d probably stick to the same fabric around the piglet.
  • body–a medium value fabric: small print or geometric, floral, Kaffe, but avoid fabrics that look “splotchy” when cut this small (such as cutting a giant polka dot in half)–generally anything in your stash.  Have fun.  Make me some colorful piglets.
  • ears, feet, snout–a darker-toned fabric that stands out from the body fabric
  • tail–embroidery floss/Perle cotton to match your piglet, to embroider the tail. Pattern is not given for this, but below are some piglet tail ideas. Please use a back stitch.  More info in the tutorial.

piggy-tails-composite

piglet-a_opquilt

Gayle showed hers on a tilting grassy hill, which I like quite well, so that’s what I’m asking you to make for me.  Copious amounts of photography and images and text follow, but really it isn’t too hard.  The following directions yield one piggie, so cut everything out double, out of two different piles of scrappiness.

Lastly, I follow standard print journalism standards: the caption in UNDERNEATH the image (MQG had theirs backwards on their award-winners page and I was so confused!)

piglet-tutorial_opquilt_1

Cut the background (sky).piglet-tutorial_opquilt_2

Cut the body fabric.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_3

Cut the accent pieces of snout, ear and feet.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_4

Step one is to snowball body fabric onto the background fabric, using the 2- 1/2″ square pieces of background and the 1 -1/2″ square pieces of body fabric.  Then the last snowball is a double: use one 2- 1/2″ square of accent fabric and snowball on one 1 -1/2″ square of background and one 1- 1/2″ square of body fabric.  Press the snowball corners to the dark side, and trim after pressing.  With the double-snowball, you’ll press one square’s seam allowance toward the accent fabric and the other toward the body fabric.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_5

Step two is to gather the other pieces together:  Line up the 1 -1/2″ x 4″ pieces in body and background, AND the 1- 1/2″ x 3″ pieces in body and accent.  Place on the front accent piece (snout) and the back background piece on the large body piece (lowest piece).piglet-tutorial_opquilt_6

Step three: sew the strips together and then press to the dark side on the top one.  I don’t care which way you press the bottom one, but I went towards the dark as well.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_7

Now cut those strips in half.  Exactly.  The top strip set (A) will yield two with body and background fabric that will measure 2″ across.  The bottom set (B) will yield body and accent fabric that will measure 1 1/2″ across.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_8

Step Five is to lay them all out.  If you were going to make a reverse-direction pig, you’d need to fiddle with that ear (double-snowball) piece to sew that up differently, otherwise, everything else is the same/can be moved around.  (See second pig at the end.)piglet-tutorial_opquilt_9

Sew the top row together, then the middle and yes…sew the bottom row of pieces together.  Pressing instructions are in a minute, but generally press towards the dark.  PLEASE DO NOT PRESS THE SEAMS OPEN. piglet-tutorial_opquilt_10

Babe!!! Babe!!piglet-tutorial_opquilt_11

This is how I pressed the seams.  I just realized I pressed the legs the wrong way.  Oh well.  Either way is fine, but just not open. [NOTE: I show it correctly in the second pig, at the end.]piglet-tutorial_opquilt_12

Time to tilt this little guy.  Start by sewing on a 2- 1/2″ strip of ground–can be green for grass, or flowery for a meadow, or brown for forest floor or purple for Outer Space.  It just has to have contrast to the background and side strips.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_13

Sew on three side strips, by FIRST sewing on the top, then the two sides, all 2 -1/2″ wide strips.

piglet-tutorial_opquilt_13a

UPDATE FOR MY BEE MEMBERS:
Please do not trim.  After sewing on borders, just send untrimmed, untilted.  

Now back to our regular programming.

Now to cut.  Please check the areas in those red circles to make sure you are leaving 1/4″ seam allowances (one above the line, one below the line).  Lay your ruler with the edge along the black line, above.  Cut.

piglet-tutorial_opquilt_13b

Now lay a square ruler at the bottom (newly cut) edge.  Now play with the adjacent side it a bit, making sure to leave that 1/4″ in the circled area.  Cut.

Now think about it as a beginning rectangle.  Turn the piglet 1/4 turn clockwise so that the newly cut green line is at the bottom of the mat and the black line is to your left.  Measure over 7 3/4″ from the black line; cut.

Measure 9 1/4″ up from the green line; cut.

Tilt the pig back to a proper vertical and it should look like this:

piglet-tutorial_opquilt_15

The piglet’s rectangle will measure as shown above: 7-3/4″ high by 9-1/4″ wide..

piglet-tutorial_opquilt_14

Again, this is the most important corner when you cut for the tilt.  It’s so the ground will look merged together when seamed.
piglet-tutorial_opquilt_14a

I made you an overlay, if you are nervous.  Download the PDF file: piglet-tilt-overlay1 and print it out on vellum paper, or make a template out of this (too much trouble, I think).  It will help you get the right angles.

screen-printing-settingsPlease print it at 100% or you will again find yourself cursing.

If you are really truly too nervous to cut this pig, send it back to me untrimmed and when I get better, I’ll be happy to trim it up.

piglet-tutorial_opquilt_16a

Now let’s add the pigtail.  Draw on a squiggle, originating from the pig’s backside edge.  My drawn line is really faint, above because I don’t want to have to figure out how to get the pencil off.  Sometimes I’ve just eyeballed it.  Sometimes I’ve just scratched it in.  See the picture at the top of the post for pigtail ideas.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_16b

Tie a knot in your perle cotton (I used size 8, but 5 or 12 is fine, too) and bring it out at the fold, at the beginning of your drawn line, hiding the knot in the seam.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_16c

Take one stitch (#1) and then skip a stitch, coming out as shown in the photo on the left.  Now put your needle in the same hole as where you came out on your starting stitch (#2) and backtrack and stitch that empty place, which will put you on the road to backstitching the piglet’s tail on.  piglet-tutorial_opquilt_16d

Insert the needle in the last stitch and pull it to the wrong side.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_16e

On the wrong side, weave your thread down from the top , then make a knot (below) by making a loop and drawing your needle through it.  Continue weaving your thread for one or two more stitches, then cut it off.piglet-tutorial_opquilt_16f

Okay, let’s do it again, but with the pig flipped to the other side.

piggy_opquilt_1

You can see how the ear needs the double-snowballed corners switched.piggy_opquilt_2

And the back, showing the pressing, this time with the correct pressing for the legs.piggy-trimming_opquilt_1

You have to think on this step: do you want your piggie going uphill? Or downhill? piggy-trimming_opquilt_2

I voted for downhill since I already have an uphill.
Here’s how I laid my ruler, keeping an eye on those 1/4-inch seam allowances.piggy-trimming_opquilt_3

Now you can see how I use my square ruler to find the next edge.  piggy-trimming_opquilt_4

It’s really straight, even though the photo doesn’t look like it.piggy-trimming_opquilt_5

I put the ruler on as I described above, and worked it until I had the correct measurements of 7-3/4″ by 9-1/4.”  I ended up trimming off a slice of a previous cut to get those dimensions.  Then I do the tail. piggies

Here they are together, but not sewn together.

piglet-c_opquilt

That’ll do, Pig.

Thank you everyone!  I look forward to a whole farmyard of little piggies, running around my design wall.  While I attribute all these ideas to two very fine quilters: Gayle, of Mangofeet (she is hilarious to read) and Sally of The Objects of Design (who has made a stunner of an En Provence Mystery Quilt), all the photographs and instructions above are my own.  Please do visit their blogs to see all the fun piglets that are running around there.