Sweet Basket Project

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When I was home for a visit last month, I hit the fabric shops and Jo-Ann’s for supplies.  I found a couple of new books full of promising projects.  I really don’t need new projects but, like any quilter, I have a couple quilt projects going at all times and about a million projects that I want to make!

One book I picked up is called “Civil War Remembered” by Mary Etherington and Connie Tesene.  The quilts in this book are mostly smaller, lap-sized or wall hanging projects that are a gorgeous use of reproduction fabrics on mostly traditional blocks.  They just look really homey and I fell in love.

IMG_1253 (2).JPGThis basket block is from the “Gather the Troops” quilt.  It’s made with reproduction pinks, blues, greens, yellows and browns.  It’s a very feminine quilt that I plan to make for a Christmas gift.

The only drawback of this quilt is the handle which has to be appliqued.  Maybe you’ve heard how I feel about applique?  It’s not my favorite thing.

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On this block, I hand appliqued the handle.  I machine appliqued the other blocks and some looked OK and some didn’t.  I wonder if it will be very noticeable if I do them all different?

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Surprisingly, the hand applique or needle-turned method wasn’t that much more effort than the machine applique method so I think I’m going to try to do the handles that way and probably go back and re-do these blocks.  The quilt has 20 baskets so I’ve gotten a good start.  Maybe if I can make 2 basket blocks a week I’ll have the quilt top done by the end of August and still have plenty of time to get it quilted and finished in time to ship for Christmas.  It sounds like a good plan.

 

Finished “Acorn’s Promise”

Well, I’ve finally finished this quilt for my Italian friend.  She asked me for it back in December and I had some setbacks along the way.  You might remember I made this quilt before but in a smaller wall-hanging size.  To make it larger, I just kept adding borders!  The original pattern used half trees along with the full-sized trees but I hate half quilt blocks so I modified it with some scrappy background blocks that add a little bit of depth to such large background pieces.

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I used left-over bits for the colorful border and it was quilted by a friend of a friend (thank you Janelle of E & J Quilts!) in Minnesota who did an awesome job with an all-over swirly wind pattern.

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Since the border was so large and there was so much brown; I thought I might add a piped binding to add just a little bit more color.  I couldn’t decide which color to go with though since there are so many colors in the trees.  My friend suggested I go with the scrappy theme I had already started.  I’ve never done a piped binding before so I had to figure out how to do this.

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Luckily, I still had some scraps left over so I put those together in strips using the same method I used to make the trees.

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This method is sewing the strips together and cutting them at a 45 degree angle.

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I found some tutorials online on how to make a faux piped binding and to get a 2 1/4 inch sized binding, you need 1 1/4 inch of your binding fabric and 1 1/2 inch of a contrast fabric.  I complicated things by having a pieced contrast fabric.  I found that all the seams made some waves and rough corners.  I’m not sure if I would do this again.

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You then sew these 2 pieces together.  Of course, it’s 10 miles long so it will take you forever!

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Then you fold and iron and you should have a nice little bit of your “faux piping” showing.  Like I said, I had a few lumps and bumps with all the seams.

I didn’t get many photos of this next part because it took me several days but getting the binding onto the quilt is a little different process than a usual binding.  You actually sew the binding to the BACK of the quilt with the binding fabric down and the contrast fabric facing up.  You miter your corners just like you would if you were sewing the binding to the top.

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Then you flip the binding over (ironing it helps) and then you’re supposed to basically, stitch-in-the-ditch to finish it.  Obviously, you would want a matching thread so that it’s not so visible.  This was one problem since I wasn’t sure what thread to use.  I tried a neutral but it was still too visible for me.  Luckily, our household goods came from storage in the states this week and I had my best invisible thread.

The invisible thread worked great although I didn’t like how it looked when I stitched in the ditch. I also found that when I did that, you could see my threads more on the back binding.  I ended up stitching closer to the edge of the colored piping which maybe defeats the whole “piping” thing but it just looked neater to me.  When I did this and used a neutral thread in my bobbin; my threads on the back blended in nicely with the backing fabric.

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I’m not sure for all the effort that it was worth it to do the piped binding.  I enjoyed trying something new and I’ll probably do it again although with just one contrasting fabric!

Long Time Gone update

I see that I’m a little behind on my blog posting.  But life has been crazy around here!  We’ve been traveling and had guests and our things came from the states so I’ve been unpacking.  Summer is great for being outdoors and I have to admit, my quilting has suffered.

I promise you I’ve been keeping up with my Long Time Gone block of the month even if I haven’t been posting them.

So this month I received the light grey fabric that the sashing is made from and I was able to put together some of the finished blocks.  This quilt is put together in sections since it’s basically a sampler quilt.  Then the grey fabric pulls everything together.

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This is section 1 which will be in the upper left hand corner.

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This is section 2 which will be right below Section 1, I believe.

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And here they are together.  There are five sections in this quilt as well as some checkerboard fillers so there’s still a lot to do.  I’m enjoying the block of the month as it’s not too much at one time.  I love the anticipation of waiting for my package to come in the mail so I can build my quilt a little bit more.  And believe me, there are tiny bits of fabric in these packages and I’m always sure they didn’t send me enough but it somehow it works out.