Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bits and Pieces {A Basket Tutorial}

*warning photo heavy

Everyone has batting scraps lying around, stuck under the bed or shoved in a closet. I have needed to trim down my scrap batting collection for quite some time. Can you call it a collection? I once heard that if you have more than 5 of something then it's called a 'collection', what you think?

I can't seem to throw any away, and it's growing!

The Batting Blob

I started making fabric baskets with the 'Blob', and there are tons of tutorials on the web for fabric baskets but I thought I'd share how I make them. I love how useful these baskets are around the house and are great gifts to make (you know Christmas is just around the corner, check out the count down clock). This is also a quilt as you go style basket, which sews up quickly so you could whip one up in an afternoon.

The finished sizes are approximate: small - 8" wide x 6" tall x 5" deep, medium - 10" wide x 6" tall x 6" deep, and large - 12" wide x 6" tall x 7" deep. You can make one, two or all three baskets - that's up to you.

You will need basic sewing skills, basic sewing supplies (you know - a sewing machine, thread, pins, etc) and a glue stick.

I did not list the yardage needed for them, but the size of each piece needed to assemble each basket is listed. Each basket is made from 2 of each piece, one set for each side and a set of handles. All seams are 1/4" unless other wise noted.

Fabric Cutting Measurements

These lovely fabrics I received in a fat quarter swap at ECMGQ 

(I made the small basket using 3 fat quarters)
  • 2 - 3" x 14.5" fabric A
  • 2 - 8" x 14.5" fabric B
  • 2 - 10" x 14" lining fabric
  • 2 - 3" x 10" handle fabric
  • 2 - 3" x 17.5" fabric A
  • 2 - 8" x 17.5" fabric B
  • 2 - 10" x 17" lining fabric
  • 2 - 3" x 10" handle fabric
  • 2 - 3" x 20.5" fabric A
  • 2 - 8" x 20.5" outside B
  • 2 - 10" x 20" lining fabric
  • 2 - 3" x 10" handle fabric
Depending on which size you choose to make you will need 2 pieces of batting that measure 11.5" x 15" for the small, 11.5" x 18" for the medium and 11.5" x 21" for the large (after quilting they will be trimmed to size). For the handles you need 2 pieces that measure 2" x 10" (a set for each basket).

*Tip I pieced smaller pieces of batting together to make these pieces by using the video by GourmetQuilter.

Instructions are good for all sizes, unless noted.

Creating the Quilted Outside
Repeat these instructions for your 2 outside pieces.

Place fabric B on the batting, close to the bottom edge leaving a 1/4" of batting showing with right side up and pin. (can you tell I had fun drawing examples in MS Paint :)

Quilt fabric B with straight lines going from the bottom up or you could mark quilting lines diagonally and create a cross hatched effect (both examples in drawing above), but this would be a great time to practice free-motion quilting.

After fabric B has been quilted to the batting, place fabric A on top of fabric B with right sides together and line up edges.

Stitch  1/4" seam (the red line in example) and then press open.

Next quilt fabric A, starting close to the seam where you joined A to B using straight lines running the length of fabric A.

Trim using the seam line where A and B are joined to help square up to - 10" x 14" for the small basket, 10" x 17" for the medium or 10" x 20" for the large.
Let's make some handles

Place the handle fabric pieces with the right side down.

Use a glue stick and lightly place a few glue spots down the center of the wrong side of the handle fabric, then position the 3" x 10" batting and center it down the middle. Fold the fabric edges over and onto the batting using the glue stick and iron to hold it in place.

*Tip: It doesn't take much, go lightly with the glue stick.

Next fold the handle in half lengthwise enclosing the edges inside (the side view example above shows the batting in red and fabric is black). Press and pin well.

Top stitch closely down each edge and once in the center. Set these aside for now.

Assembling the Basket

With the outside pieces right sides together match the seam line and pin down each side and across the bottom. Sew down the side seam pivot at the corner, sew across the bottom, pivot again and sew up the side.


Next with the lining pieces right sides together, pin down the sides and bottom. Mark on the bottom edge for the small 5" (6" for the medium and 7" for the large) away from the side and again from the other edge at bottom. This will be the opening for turning the basket right side out later on. Stitch down each side and across bottom stopping at the mark, repeat for other side.

This is the opening you will use later to turn everything out.

Here comes the tricky part, but it's not as hard as it looks take your time and it will be just fine.
Take the outside and fold matching up the side seam to the bottom seam.

** Important!! Depending on the size basket you are making you will use these centering measurements to create the boxed bottom -  small 2.5", medium 3", and large 3.5 " (you will also do this for the lining as well)

Take your quilting ruler and use the center measurement to line up to the side seam line, slide the ruler until the edge of the basket is lined up.

As in this example the small basket center is 2.5" on the seam line and the ruler is lined up and measures across 5" (medium is 6" across and large is 7" across). Mark your sewing line.

Sew across this marked line making sure to back-stitch at the beginning and end for strength.

Trim away the excess corner and repeat on the other side. Then do these same steps for the corners of the lining.

Now that wasn't so bad after all was it?   :) See how nice and boxy the bottom is, just right!

Handle Placement

On the small I measured 1" from the side seam and pinned the handles. (for medium 1.5" and large 2" from side seam) Pin and baste in place.

With the right sides together and the handles tucked inside, pin all around the top like so.

Sew the outside to the lining by stitching all around the top. Take your time over the thicker parts like the side seams and where the handles are. Next turn the bag right side out, and tuck the lining into the bag.

It doesn't look so good at this point, but no worries the trusty iron is here to save the day.

Iron the top of the bag, this helps a lot, pin if needed and take it back to the sewing machine.

Top stitch around the top about a 1/4" away from the edge.

Grab the iron again and press the sides to make it all pretty.

Now step back and admire your basket.

If you make a basket please show it off on the LaBellaColori flickr group, I would love to see them.

Linked up to Sew it Cute Tuesday, Brag Bag Tuesday

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Always a Work in Progress

As you see I have been playing around with the blog colors and layout. I still haven't got it right just yet and I do need to create a new banner photo also. So much on the blog 'to do' list is still not checked off.

The last guild meeting was great, not only did I learn something new about personal growth but I finally grasp the whole modern quilt movement thanks to Kelly (from Sew Kelly Sews). She did a wonderful presentation explaining the concepts and ideas behind the modern quilt aesthetics. From the roots - Gees Bend quilts to what makes fabric have the modern feel.

A Light Bulb Moment

When she got to this part a light bulb went off! Now if I can just get the whole Modern vs Traditional fabric thing figured out.

 My beloved Rowena has bit the dust and my husband got me a present yesterday...

It has the whole retro vibe going on, and my husband knew I would think it was cute as a button. Yea, it's a cheap Black and Decker 'Classic' iron but it so cute. If it gets hot and stays hot while piecing that's all I need. All the fancy-schmancy stuff my Rowena had I don't think I'll miss (I never iron clothes anymore now that the hubby is retired).

I am working on a new design for a quilt along, which will be very relaxed but fun and educational. If I get everything ironed out  (shameless pun, sorry)  will be able to share around the first of August.

Happy sewing!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Like Ripples in the Water...

Kindness - like waves on the surface of water after the effect of something other than itself.

A sweet lady named Faye in our local guild wanted to ask me a question at the meeting Saturday. I was hesitant but yet happy to see if I could be of help, thinking that she wanted advice on fabric choices or design layout being that is usually what we all chat about during these meetings. Instead she told me of the quilt she was making for a woman that is having medical complications, how she is always cold and Faye wants to send her this quilt out of kindness. 

She went on to tell me how her sewing machine was giving her problems and did I know about free-motion quilting on a her model machine. I wanted to have an answer, but did not know the first thing about her machine. The meeting began and we sat quiet listening to the presentation. All the while I kept thinking "how can I help her?". 

Faye's quilt on the frame
The thought of her selfless act, of the work she had put into the quilt top and how all she wanted to do was to make someone feel some comfort and love during a hard time in life. When the presentation was over, without even thinking I leaned over to her and said "Give me the quilt, I can quilt it tomorrow and that way it will be finished and you can send it to her".  

Faye's beautiful quilt for her friend
Well, Sunday morning I woke very early (I love to sleep in just ask my husband) eager to start. I put the quilt on the frame and set about quilting. There were a few set backs, but they didn't seem to get me down as this was a joy to do. With every moment I spent quilting I felt the love and compassion that had been put into this quilt top. When I finished the last few stitches, I realized just how much one small kind deed can enrich so many lives. You see what she did by piecing this quilt - this little thing, this thoughtful gesture, it's selfless.
Once the quilt was removed from the frame and folded ready to go back, I felt a sadness come over me. I am a selfish person, I thought. Why do I not do more for others. The whole time I was quilting I was happy, a different type for happy. I want that back!

closer look

Reaching out with kindness is a new type of growth that I had been missing out on. Now don't get me wrong, I am not selling off everything and getting fanatical about it. But just one little act of kindness even simple ones equal growth whether you want to call it spiritual or personal. 

So how does one cultivate a spirit of charity? How do we become more grateful, loving, compassionate, forgiving? As humans we are born - I believe with charitable hearts as children. As we grow and life fills us with so many emotions, our thoughts are usually towards ourselves and close family. I am a kind person, but I know I haven't been a very charitable person outside of my small circle of family and friends. I see now how much I have been missing.

I have met so many wonderful people in the quilting world and learned so much from them, but this was a lesson that was well past due!

To grow and become what ever it is I am to be ~ I need to cultivate a spirit of charity within me. 

Are you a charitable soul, and how do you cultivate that in yourself?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Summer Tomato Harvest

This year with all the rain we have an abundance of heirloom tomatoes in our little garden. We planted pickling cucumbers, bell peppers, jalapenos, and two types of heirloom tomatoes. Our bell peppers are not doing so well, but the tomato plants have taken over and are growing furiously. 

Cream of Tomato Soup
Last year I made tomato sauce which we have used all but one quart and I know we are going to have enough tomatoes to produce the same amount as last year and plenty of salsa and so much more. I hunted for other ways to use our abundance of tomatoes and found Susy's Home Canned Tomato Soup recipe at Chiot's Run. I do believe I have found the most heavenly tomato soup recipe!!! Silky, creamy, taste of sunshine and all the fresh tomato goodness with no added chemicals and no metallic taste, just delicious heavenly creamy tomatoes!

Canned Tomato Soup
I canned in half pints and pint sizes as there are only the two of us at the house now and you mix 1-to-1 with milk or chicken stock when using. The half pint size is just right for the two of us to have with grilled cheese sandwiches and the pint size is good for those times we just want a little more.

My not so Modern Maples quilt top

The Modern Maples quilt is pieced together and on the frame. I still don't know if I like the busy loud floral prints but at this point I am committed to finish it.

Victor, isn't he so handsome!
This past weekend was somewhat productive, and here again is Monday and back to work I go.
I hope you had a productive weekend too! Here's to a productive week, even if it's sitting behind a desk in the 9 to 5 world!!

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