Random Sampler QAL – Baskets

September 10, 2012 § 16 Comments

Are you ready to start the Random Sampler Quilt-Along?  I’m calling it Random because this is a laid-back-make-it-up-as-you-go-along sampler.  AND.. because I found this quilt exhibit at the OnlineQuiltExhibit.com web site and they are also calling these types of samplers “random”.  Go check it out if you have a few minutes.  If nothing else, it’s inspiring to look at all of the different blocks that can be made and the interesting ways they all get sewn together.

Also… you can choose to make these blocks by any method you want. I’ll provide traditional construction methods and precise cutting measurements. You can choose to follow along with me  OR  you can choose to make them liberated or wonky.   If you hate matching seams, then you might choose to make the blocks in a liberated method of construction.

If you have the book Collaborative Quilting by Freddy Moran & Gwen Marston, they talk about the “parts department” method of making quilts.  Essentially, you make a bunch of parts – whatever they may be – blocks, strips, squares, etc. and then arrange them into a quilt top.  We will approach the assembling of the sampler from a liberated perspective. But I’m leaving it up to you if you want precise piecing or liberated piecing. Make it in what ever method suits you!  Does that sound good?

Okay. Let’s go. Someone mentioned baskets or stars for the first block  when I brought up the idea of a quilt-along, so I chose to make a basket. This basket should measure 8 1/2″ square when you are done sewing. That includes seam allowances.  If you decide to make a liberated basket block instead, you can roughly trim it down to 8 1/2″ if you like.

1. Choose 3 fabrics that work together.  One is for the basket, one is for the handle and one is for the background.

2. To make use of all of the large triangles, I chose to make 2 baskets. So the following cutting directions are for 2 baskets.  You can make as many baskets as you like… 1, 2, 10 or 20… it’s your choice.

From the basket fabric cut:

  • 1 – 6  7/8″ square. Then cut it in half diagonally once to yield 2 triangles.
  • 2 – 2  7/8″ squares. Cut them each in half diagonally once to yield 4 total triangles.

From the background fabric cut:

  • 1 – 6  7/8″ square. Then cut it in half diagonally once to yield 2 triangles.
  • 2 – 2  7/8″ squares. Cut them each in half diagonally once to yield 4 total triangles.
  • 4 – 2  1/2″ x 4  1/2″ rectangles.
  • 2 – 2  1/2″ squares.

3. With the 4 – 2  7/8″ triangles, place a basket fabric & a background fabric with right sides together and sew a seam on the diagonal edge. Make 4 half-square triangles. I always like to press my seams open on half-square triangles to reduce the bulk.

4. Sew a half-square triangle to one end of a 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangle.  If you are chain piecing they will look like this.

5.  I like to lay out the blocks on my table so that I am sure that I am sewing  the correct edges to each other.  It’s so easy to get confused. And this block, the half-square triangles do not get sewn on the same edge, but the right side mirrors the left side.

6. Now we are ready for the basket handle. I chose to make a bias strip to create the handle. You could also just cut out the handle shape and press the edges under, or even use fusible web like Steam-a-Seam and raw-edge applique the handle to the background. Again… you choose which method works best for you!

Have you ever noticed all the lines on your cutting mat?  Two of them slant at a 45 degree angle. These are great guidelines for cutting bias strips.  You will need about a 10″  long bias strip to make one handle so position your fabric so that you get at least 10″ in length when you cut.  Line up your ruler to the 45 degree line and make a cut.  Set aside the corner piece for another project.

7. Now you can use your ruler to cut 2 – 1″ bias strips from the bias edge. I decided to make 1/2″ bias tape, therefore I cut 1″ strips. Whatever width of bias tape you want to make, cut the strips twice as wide as the finished width.

8. This handy tool is a bias tape maker.  Slide the bias strip into the opening on the wide end. You will probably need a pin to help it through to the skinny end.

9. When you see the fabric coming through the narrow end it will be folding over.  Get your hot iron out and start pressing it as you pull the bias tape maker over the fabric. If it doesn’t seem to be staying, try some steam and/ or some spray starch.  The starch will definitely give you a nice crisp edge.

10. Now that your bias strip is ready to use, start in the middle and pin the hand to the 6  7/8″ backing triangle.  Keep adding pins until you have the shape you want. If you want it symmetrical, use a ruler to position each side. If you want it wonky & liberated, then place it where ever you like.

I added a small dab of Roxanne’s Glue-Baste-It underneath the handle fabric to make it stick to the background triangle.  You could also use a glue stick.  Just be careful when using Roxanne’s glue if you want to hand sew the bias tape. Too much glue and it’s hard to get the needle through the fabric. Ask me how I know this?  Yup. I have made the mistake of using too much glue in the past.

You can hand or machine stitch the handle to the background fabric. Trim of the excess bias tape when you are done.

11. Before you start exclaiming that you can’t see any of my stitches…. I haven’t stitched it down yet. For the sake of time, I’m going to let the glue hold the handle down and finish the block. Then I’ll go back and hand stitch the handle down with some orange thread. Please… feel free to finish the handle in any way that works for you!  I’m just giving you one way to do it.

I’m probably sounding like a broken record at this point. Sorry!  I just don’t want anyone feeling intimidated if this isn’t a method you enjoy.  Quilting is supposed to be fun! So choose a method that helps you have fun!  (I’ll step down from my soap box now.)

12. Next, sew the basket triangle and the handle triangle together an press towards the basket. Then sew the left  half-square triangle unit to the left side of the basket. Press the seam towards the basket.  Then sew the 2 1/2″ background square to the bottom half-square triangle unit and press the seam towards the background square.  Then sew the top portion of the basket block to the bottom portion of the basket block.

13. Tada!  You are finished!  I made 2 blocks, but you can make as many as you like. I think I might make a couple more because I have a little bit more fabric that can be used. It’s up to you.

And before you go… If there is a particular block you would  like to make, leave me a comment and I will try to work it into the quilt-along. Okay? Thanks!

§ 16 Responses to Random Sampler QAL – Baskets

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