Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Blue Baskets 2.0

 From the minute I saw this top, I knew it was one that I just had to make.  Like RIGHT NOW, and I'm so glad that I did. 

This was created by Lori DeJarnatt of Humble Quilts and is featured on pg 53 in the June 2022  American Patchwork and Quilting.  I had the pleasure of quilting it for Lori and I couldn't resist tracing the basket for my own personal use (with her permission, of course)  I've kept my version under wraps until the magazine hit the news stands and now I want to share my vision of her pattern.

Blue Baskets 2.0

 Right now mine is only a top. I wanted to use up fabrics I had left over for another couple of projects and these baskets are perfect for that.  The finished block is only 6" and with using a fusible method, your basket fabrics may be able to come from your scrap basket.  

Most of my baskets came from left overs from this project.  They are not all "quilting" fabrics, but I loved them and I love the combo of red/navy/gold.  Not quite Americana, but certainly pieces that I will put out during the year.

Here is a BIG tip.  If you are using the sheets of fusible that come in a zip bag, you can get 3 baskets by splitting out the handle and making it a little longer.  I simply tucked the handle under the top edge of the basket when I fused it to my scrappy muslin squares and no one will notice.  

Some of my favorite fabrics shown here.  I chose to float the blocks and the corner posts along the outside edge and not add the 1/2 baskets.  Honestly, it's because I ran out of time for sewing.  I had a retreat coming up and wanted to keep this under wraps, and knew I was moving my studio immediately following my sew days.

Here is the back view so you can see how I quilted this.  The goal was to keep it simple, clean and traditional.  There is lots of sashing space for dense motifs if that's how you want to quilt yours.  I've decided I'll quilt mine a bit different, but also very traditional and about the same density.  These baskets just need an outline to let the fabrics shine.

So grab the magazine, start prepping your fusible and get busy.  You will not regret making this project. If 50 baskets seems too much, make it smaller.  13 would make a very sweet wall hanging or table topper.  Thank you Lori, for such a lovely pattern.

Keep stitching,


Friday, March 25, 2022

Back Basting Applique Basic Tutorial

I love applique.  The techniques I use vary from project to project, but I have a lot of tricks in my applique tool box.  For all the teachers and other quilters who have shared their methods and ideas, I thank you.  Just like there is no one way to quilt a top, there isn't a "right" way to applique.  Back basting is a method I first learned from Jo Morton and from there, I continued to learn more about this technique from other quilters.   One of my favorites is Jeana Kimball.  Go HERE to watch a video of her doing this type of applique.  Follow her on IG @jeanakimball

Here is my motif drawn out on the back side of the fabric.  Remember, if your pattern has an orientation, ie a teapot, you MUST FLIP/REVERSE YOUR IMAGE, just like when you draw out your designs for fusible applique.  A light box is very helpful for this step.

After tracing the pattern to the back of the foundation fabric, I  basted a full piece of the red print to the top, both pieces are Right Sides Up. **This particular block is using only one print** This holds the top fabric in place while I do the basting along my drawn lines from the back of the foundation fabric.

Here is the "back basting".  You are basting right on the drawn lines from the back of the background piece, hence the name.  Make your stitches on the front a bit bigger than on the back.  You will be pulling out these stitches as you do your needle turn applique.


Here you can see the top of my piece.  Those loops of thread and tails are there for me to grab on to when I start stitching.  I will pull the thread away from where I am doing the needle turn, releasing 3-4 basting stitches at a time.  The basting acts like pins, holding everything in place until it is stitched down.


Basted and trimmed Sarah's Revival block, ready for me to start doing the needle turn applique.  My perfect block to grab when heading out on a trip.  No pins, just my needle, a bobbin of thread and my little scissors to cut the threads.  The longer this piece "sits" like this, the easier it will turn under when I start to applique.  The basting will also give you a line on the background to see where your pattern is.

**Some Details**

Using a thicker weight thread to do your basting gives more definition to the final stitching line.  It's a great opportunity to use up some of those old threads that might be in your sewing basket. 


These duckbill scissors help to keep you from cutting your base fabric.  Be very careful when trimming your shapes.  Don't worry about getting 3/8" seam allowance, you can always trim back a few threads of the fabric once you start doing the needle turn.

Fully trimmed piece, all prepped and ready to stitch.

 I have basted down the bottom part of the flowers while doing the applique.  They will be covered with the stem section.  For this block the large center stem is covering the base of all the leaves and it hugs the center  flower bud, so it will be the last piece I back baste, and I won't add it until all the under pieces are appliqued.

Blogger was not my friend while setting up this post, but I hope you have enough info to get started on a project using this method.  And check out Jeana, she's a master at this method.

Keep stitching,


Thursday, February 3, 2022

Travel Stitching aka Camelot Update

Third time is the charm.  We have cancelled this vacation twice and we finally got to Maui last Sunday at 10 PM.  It was a long day as our first leg of the trip started with us being fogged in at our local airport when we arrived at 4:30 a.m.  After several attempts to fly out from home,  we drove to Seattle, got our pre-clearance wristbands for Maui, and headed to the Alaska lounge for a snack and a relaxing glass of wine.

We spent a few hours out on the ocean on this beautiful sailboat.  A terrific crew, great company and lots of whales entertained us as they played in the warm waters of the Hawaiian Islands.


Our friends papaya tree was loaded but alas, not ripe. 

We had blue skies and wonderful breezes.

My favorite spot is Big Beach out at Makena.  Crashing waves and the clearest waters.  Once I get out past the breaking waves, I could float for hours!


My friend has an addiction to succulents.  This is a small selection of her wall of plants.  Definitely the right place for these plants.

 And since it's a 6 hour (approx) flight each way, I got a bit more stitching on my Camelot.  The top block is now pressed to it's 16.5"

And this block is about 1/2 ways together.  This one was a bit tricky to figure out the pathway to stitching it together.  There are lots of seams that will sit against the center circle so I'm sewing sections onto the center, rather than trying to set the center into the star.  So far it's working well. 

Now that we're home,  I will give this block a bit of evening stitching time to finish it up so it won't make my next trip, whenever that may be.  This will make 6 of 16 and I'm loving every stitch of this.  It's my 60th year and I am committing to having this as a completed top in 2022.  We might have to take a few road trips to make this happen.

Keep stitching,


Friday, January 21, 2022

Zagged Instead of Zigged

Outback Wife fabrics were quite a rage back when life was different.  I had seen several makes from the first collection and when the second grouping was released, I jumped on a 1/2 yard stack of all the prints.  I knew I wanted a very scrappy top made with everything combined and I started making 1/2 sq triangles out of each print. 
This has been "in the works" for a long time.  It's languished on my design wall at my second studio, (that I have rarely gone to in the past year) but I decided it was time to start sewing the blocks together.  My colors were organized and then, due to neglect, most blocks fell to the floor.  Upon re-engaging with this project, I twisted the blocks for row 3.  So now it's going to be row 4.  The plan is to make 4 sections 5 x 5 and that will make a good sized quilt.
My inspiration is from this book.  I love so many pieces in here, but the zig zag really sung to me with the Outback collection.
Notice how the 4th row switches direction?  It's very subtle and I think it adds interest.  There *might* be some zags instead of zigs further along, it depends on how closely I pay attention to things.

and for something different, here are the four Camelot blocks that I got pieced over Christmas.  I have several more blocks prepped for future travel.

Enjoy your weekend, and keep stitching!


Sunday, December 26, 2021

Journey to Camelot

This pattern was featured in Quiltmania 111 - 114 in 2016.  Yes, I'm late to the party, but since there is no schedule on starting a new quilt, I'm OK with this.  The pattern caught my eye after I saw it finished. My friend gave me a private bed turning at her home full of quilts and antiques, and I knew I had to make this pattern.

This is block A, stitched but not pressed.  It is also missing the corners that consist of 2 triangles on each side.  I've been cutting them as I go along and will add them once my blocks are on the design wall. Petra's PinDot in Lighthouse was chosen for the background so I ordered a bolt from Reproduction Fabrics and HERE is the page with all the available colors.

Having a cell phone to snap pictures is the  best way to keep things organized.  I have created a folder in my phone and now I have a color road map when I start stitching these blocks. This block as 60(?) pieces that needed to be picked, traced, and cut out....whew!


The other advantage of having a phone handy is that you can revisit your choices before they are stitched together. (sort of)  I did stitch the little triangle to my fussy cut Margo Krager gorgeous ombre floral and have since replaced it with a different fabric.  She also has solids in ombre and they are beautiful.  I love the Betsy Chutchian print from Elinore's Endeavor collection for the background pieces.  With a quick search, I could only find the brown or pink colorway, but I'm sure if you searched a bit more the blue might still be available.  This whole line is gorgeous.


Being scrappy, it takes a lot of time to pull, audition, press, draw, cut, layout, refold and put back each piece of fabric. I've spent over an hour just prepping each block, but this is the time consuming part.


I couldn't resist fussy cutting this block with this paisley.  Having all the photos in one folder allows me to see how the blocks will play together without having to transfer all the pieces of each block to the design wall.  This one will get along quite nicely with all the other blocks.  Oh, how I love a good paisley!

This center fabric has been waiting in the wings for it's place in this quilt, and the center of this block is exactly the right spot! Yellow, navy, pink paisley! Small pieces of these types of fabrics make big impacts.


The fabrics in both rings have also been pulled and set aside, waiting for the right block.  I'm super excited to start the stitching.

There is a border of 1/2 square triangles and each block has 2 triangles to complete the square. I've been cutting these as I create each block.  Great tip from my friend.  Since this pattern was published as a 4 part series, these are some details that are good to know before you put all those fabrics away.


Along with my photo of each block, I have enclosed a line drawing road map in each block that is bagged up for easy stitching.


Yes, this is a messy project.  Believe it or not, I've cleaned up this area several times and it continues to look like a bomb went off.  Oh but it's a glorious mess, one that will result in a beautiful quilt.


I hope this post gives you a peek behind the curtain, so when you start to see my finished blocks posted on my IG #grassrootsquilting you won't be thinking "oh my, look how fast she works" These types of projects have a lot of "behind the scenes" work. The slogging through parts, the process parts. The fun part is having pieces of fabric ready to stitch together in the evenings, the early mornings when you are the first one up, the few minutes waiting in your car for your appointment time. This is how these glorious quilts become a reality. 

 From my messy to studio to your home, I am wishing everyone good health, time with family and friends, getting fresh air and activity, and, of course the very best of the Christmas season. Keep stitching, Sharon

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Playing with Hexagons

 This first pattern is from Brigette Giblin and you can purchase it as a download HERE.  I would put it in the catagory of Advanced Beginner.  Her pattern writing could have been a bit better, but if you take it slow, pin and double check before sewing, it will come out lovely. 

I've also had this Giraffe print from Christopher Wilson-Tate that has been pulled out and put away many times in the past few months.  Too many hand projects on the go at one time results in some just getting second fiddle to my stitch time. 

None of these blocks are set in stone, layout wise, but the gist will be motifs surrounded by a variety of hexagons. 


This little container is now busting with hexi's, as this is a great "take along" project and building up the design tools is simply a matter of working in production mode. 

The fun part is when the designing begins.  Nope, when using the giraffe as a center, only one round of hexi's will work!


Much better.  I have also switched gears on a fabric that will be used to join on the hexi medallions.  At least today I have a "final answer"  Who knows what that answer will be in 2022 when I get back to this.

In the meantime, I will be spending Christmas at our "new to us" vacation home. No, I'm not retired yet, we have rented it out for Jan - March, but this will be our last trip to finalize all the little details for our guests.
I see a "Turqouise Door" quilt in my future.

Merry Christmas and I hope you find a few minutes to stitch during this busy time of year. Keep Stitching, Sharon

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Sarah's Revival Update

It's been quite some time since I've updated this long term project.  Sarahs Revival by the late Sue Garmon.  Her patterns are all available at Come Quilt  and this pattern can be found HERE.  The good news is that I'm still working on this. It's slow going but I continue to move the blocks forward.  Here are two more and since this photo was taken, the bottom block has been completed.
Putting the finished blocks up on the design wall every so often is a good motivator.  When you can see how far into a project you are, it may keep your mojo going.  I know it works for me.  Also posting on IG has kept me engaged with this project, you can follow along at #grassrootsquilting   I've used this as a traveling project so it's been important to have blocks prepped in advance. 
My method of applique is back basting and the longer the block sits prepped, the easier it is to do the needle turn.  With some of the areas being less than a 1/4" in width, it really does make things a bit easier for me and helps with getting smooth edges on those outside curves.  26 blocks have now been completed.  They are all reproduction reds, but a nice variety.  My background choice was RJR Supreme French Vanilla.  The blocks will all get trimmed at the same time. 

 And in non quilting news, my dad turned 87 in mid November.  We got to celebrate with him in Casa Grande, AZ 

This year has been extremely busy with longarm quilting for customers as well as moving.  I've moved my studio, my condo, my guys condo, cleaned out my dad's house in AZ and moved him into a new space that also needed cleaned out and most of the contents moved.  Oh and we've also renovated this year.  We have done this as well as make 5 trips to AZ (that's how I've got so many blocks completed) to make sure my Dad had a place to be a snow bird for a few more years.  The upside of this was that we also bought a vacation place in AZ; too bad I'm not retired yet!

Keep stitching,