I love blogging and reading others' blogs too and this is a very inspiring site for me. Some of you already know me - I'm Kathleen Tracy from A Sentimental Quilter and Madame Samm has kindly asked me to blog for all of you again.
It's Spring here in the Midwest where I'm from and if there's one quilty thing that always reminds me of Spring it's basket quilts. I think everybody loves basket quilts, and in my opinion every quilter should have a basket quilt or two in her collection, don't you agree?
I have an easy technique to tell you about today that I hope will get you started making a basket quilt soon.
My front garden last year. This year, nothing green yet.
I've made several small basket quilts (see a brand new one on my blog) and I especially had fun using some of my reproduction fabric scraps making this one that's in Remembering Adelia, my third book.
It's called Civil War Baskets and if you're inclined to use '30s fabrics or brights or batiks instead of reproduction prints like I did, guess what? It will turn out great. The nice thing about traditional patterns from long ago, like basket blocks, is that they are time-tested. They've been around for a very long time and are still being used today in contemporary quilts. So don't feel you have to be limited by my fabric choices. Make it your own way with your own lovely fabrics.
Some of you already have this book with the Civil War Baskets pattern and have e-mailed me asking for a tutorial. So, if you're hesitant about making those handles for your baskets, either for this quilt or another (especially if you're just beginning to make quilts) never fear - here's an easy method that takes away a lot of the stress. It's very simple once you get the hang of it and you can use the same technique for vines and stems on other applique projects.
Here's how I made the curved handles for my baskets quilt.
The first step is to cut your strip on the bias--which means that it's cut on the diagonal of the grain.
I also like to use pressing bars, which are 12" long, heat-resistant plastic bars for making applique vines and stems. They come in a package with several bars of varying widths.
Cut your strip the correct width--for the basket handles in Remembering Adelia it's 1 1/4". Fold the strip in half WRONG sides together, press and sew a 1/4" seam along the raw edge to make a tube.
Cut the ends of the strip to the correct length--for my quilt it's 1 1/4" x 6". Trim the seam allowance a little to about 1/8".
Slide the rounded end of the pressing bar into the tube and press as you roll the seam to the middle of the tube. Press the seam in one direction. When you turn it over, the seam will be hidden on the back. Remove the bar CAREFULLY as it gets very hot and finish pressing the tube flat.
Now you're ready to shape the handle into the curved shape and pin it to the background fabric. Since the fabric was cut on the bias it will stretch easily into a curve. Find the center and pin that first, gently stretching the rest of the strip into shape. Using a blind stitch, sew in place. Voila! Easy bias-strip basket handles.
Piece the rest of the basket according to directions in whatever pattern you're using and sew the two units together, catching the ends of the handles in the seam allowance.
Thanks so much for dropping by and if you feel like leaving a comment, I'll be happy to give away a copy of my book Remembering Adelia to one lucky person. The book gives a glimpse into the world of a young woman living in a small town in Illinois in 1861 at the beginning of the Civil War through the diary she kept. It contains 14 quilts and projects to inspire you and make the past almost seem to come alive. I had a lot of fun writing it and doing some research on the Civil War too. Adelia lived in a town that is not too far from where I live now and visiting the site where she wrote in her diary 150 years ago was a thrilling experience for me. I knew her story had to be told.
Visit me and check out my other books and patterns at Country Lane Quilts (including some free patterns for doll quilts) or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Thanks for sharing time with me today!
congrats to Sandi.#8...she won this book...
she has been notified and she is sewwwwwwwwwwwww excited...
Book is on its way....
to everyone else...well we will have to Kathy back....x