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.

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!

Let’s Get Crackin’: Finish This! • June 2017

Okay, so I used up my old list with crossing stuff off and writing stuff on.  It’s a bit dispiriting to see some quilts that never seem to launch, but I’ll give it a go.  Again.

I had fun at this web site, making these titles in a “text generator.”  Scroll down to where you type in your text (on the left), choose the kind of font you want (scroll up on the right to see the categories), add color, effects and then generate it.  As a Mac owner, I hold down the Shift+Command+4 and it turns the cursor into a crosshairs pointer so I can capture images.  I wadded them all up into one document and printed it off.  I hope soon to get to crossing off things.

I finished Mary’s star block for June’s Gridster Bee blocks. She blogs at NeedledMom and always has a lot of fun gardening things to see, besides all her stellar quilting.   The free download for her choice can be found here.  And here is our signature blocks, which we send to each other:

I use a cardboard template behind my block to help me remember what to sign (and I also back the signing place with a piece of ironed-on freezer paper and use a .08 Micron pen).  Seems to work okay.

City Summer_NinaMata

City Summer, by Nina Mata

Hope you get your summer launched off to a great start!

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!!