Cow and Baskets

A blogging friend, Nancy Near Philadelphia, is collecting blocks for a COW quilt. I live in Wisconsin, the Dairy State, Cheesehead Central, so of course I had to participate. She asked what I wanted in return, and at first I was going to say nothing, but then I remembered that she’d participated in the Basket Block of the Month, and had even created an extra, thirteenth basket. What could be more perfect than a Nancy Basket block from Nancy herself? She sent this beautiful block made from French General fabrics. I love the subtlety of the small basket within the larger one.

Nancy's Basket Block

I knew right away that I wanted to foundation piece the block, so I looked for patterns. Unfortunately the only one I found wasn’t quite what I was looking for. Next step – find a photo to copy! I saved several photos and finally chose this one. I opened it in EQ7 as a tracing image and then started drawing straight lines to divide it up into paper-pieceable sections. While I love the way the cow looks, if I make it again I’ll try to refine the sections a bit so it isn’t as choppy. Here’s the finished block:

Blue Cow

Actually, that’s not quite what I sent to Nancy. See, I trimmed it after I took this photo and accidentally chopped too much off one side. In order to make it 12 1/2″ I had to sew a strip of white on three sides. Believe me, there was much forehead-smacking. I also forgot to sign it, which she clearly requested and I clearly knew, as evidenced by the post it note on my computer. More forehead-smacking.

I love this guy’s face! In fact, I’m planning on making four more in various colors (and slightly larger) and turning it into an Andy Warhol-inspired wall quilt. Something like this:

Cow Quilt

Thanks, Nancy, for the inspiration!

If anyone is interested in making this block, you can download it from my Patterns page.

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July 2010 Stitch & Bitch

I love our Stitch & Bitch days! Sometimes I get some actual sewing done, but more often than not I just jump from one thing to another – answer a question here, design a quilt there, give opinions of fabric choices, and, of course, TALK. I got a tiny bit accomplished last Saturday, once I figured out what I wanted to work on. I always get more done if I decide what to work on BEFORE people arrive. Because Mickey is leaving at the end of the month, I decided to finish the “baby” quilts for two of her grandchildren, since she’ll be driving out there. (Baby is in quotations because her granddaughter is five or so.) One top is already done, and just needs to be quilted. I hadn’t even started the other; in fact, I hadn’t even decided what to make. Mickey said her granddaughter liked purple, pink and bright colors. I pulled some fabrics, then decided to do a simple nine patch and snowball quilt. Although I didn’t accomplish a lot on Saturday, mostly just cutting fabric, and a few long strips sewn together, last night I finished the blocks, laid out the quilt, and started sewing the blocks together. I should finish it tonight or tomorrow, then I “just” need to get it on the frame and quilted.

Here’s a goal: I will quilt those two baby quilts before Mickey leaves at the end of the month. (If it means that Mom is hand stitching the binding while she drives out to Washington state with Mickey, so be it!)

And since Pat is going to visit her new grandson in California, I’d better add those two baby quilts to the goal list, too. Yes, I said two, because I have a finished top for their five year old daughter, too. Deadline: First week in August.

While I’m at it, I might as well quilt the top for Jean’s oldest granddaughter, and start making quilts for the two that are on the way – both of her daughters are expecting.

Hmm… I’d better get it in gear.

Okay, on to the original purpose of this post – photos from our Stitch & Bitch! Lisa and Jean couldn’t make it, but the rest of us had fun (and pizza) in spite of their absence. (Thanks to the neighbors for baking the second pizza for us – our stove is dying!)

Here are photos from our show and tell:

Becky's Flower Garden
Becky’s Flower Garden Mini Quilt – isn’t it adorable? She’s pointing out that she tried Karrie’s straight line quilting technique – you can see it if you look veryclose.

Becky's Table Set
Becky’s Table Runner and Placemats (Pat’s being a smart ass behind her, but that’s nothing new.)

Becky's Windmill Quilt
Becky’s GORGEOUS Windmill Quilt. She started by sewing squares together, then used a template to cut them apart, then sewed them all back together.

Pat's Basket Quilt
Pat’s Basket Quilt – This woman just sews and sews and sews – every month she has multiple tops to share. She’s always making us laugh, but this month I got her back. She was bragging about how many things she had for show and tell: “Ask me how many things I have. Go ahead, ask me.” So I asked. “THREE,” she said, holding up three fingers. “Well I have THIS,” I replied, holding up just one finger. Guess which finger! She roared. We’re a very casual group.

Pat's French Braid Quilt
This is Pat’s French Braid Quilt. Last month Lisa was working on a French Braid, and Pat asked about the project. Pat is a sponge – show her a new technique, and next month she shows up with a completed project.

Pat learned about String Quilts from Jeanne the month before, and this is what she brought on Saturday:

Pat's String Quilt

Gorgeous, isn’t it? She’s going to quilt it on our frame next month (assuming it will fit – the thing is HUGE!)

Mom's Baby Mother Goose Quilt
Mom’s Mother Goose Quilt – Mom’s been working on this embroidery project for a month or so, and she finally finished all of the blocks. You can’t see it well, but the thread is variegated, and it’s really pretty.

Mickey's Doll Quilt
Mickey’s Patriotic Doll Quilt – Isn’t this the cutest thing?!

Pat's Saggy Baggy Elephant Softy Block
Pat’s Saggy Baggy Elephant Softie Block – She found a pattern for making blocks, and the Saggy Baggy Elephant panels were the perfect fit. (I love the Saggy Baggy Elephant!)

Karrie's Random Reflections Quilt - Fandango
Karrie is our newest member – she’s the recipient of my Flying by the Seat of My Pants mini quilt from the Modify Tradition Swap. She is our quilting “rock star” – this is her first Moda Bake Shop project. It’s called Random Reflections, and is made from Kate Spain’s Fandango line. Check out her tutorial on the Moda Bake Shop blog. She also made the quilt using Eva fabrics from Basic Gray:

Karrie's Random Reflections Quilt - Eva

Karrie's Swap Quilt
Karrie also showed off a beautiful little mini pinwheel quilt that she’s sending off to a very lucky swap partner.

Be sure to check out Karrie’s blog, Freckled Whimsy. She will have another Bake Shop announcement soon, I’m sure. We got to see it, but it’s super secret for now. (Here’s a hint – we all loved it!)

Finally, here’s our first finished Basket BOM top, from Jeanne:

Jeanne's Family Basket BOM

Isn’t this wonderful?! I love the color selection – black and red and white is classic, but that little pop of acid green makes it extra special. Jeanne posted on her blog, Grey Cat Quilts, the morning of our Stitch & Bitch (or was it the night before? She was up sewing Very Late), but she didn’t post photos because she knew I’d be checking her blog. I think that was very mean of her, but I’m glad I got to see it in person. She has a couple of projects in the works that I’m anxious to see, including her Japanese Disco Ball Quilt.

Before you think that I didn’t have anything to show, Mom and I were able to retrieve the Framing Squares quilt from the neighbor in time for the show and tell portion of the day.

And that’s it! I’m already looking forward to our next group. I always walk away so inspired and motivated to quilt. That’s the best part of quilting with friends.

If at first you don’t succeed

Block 12 was a challenge for me, because the handle was pieced in a way that can be tricky. My mom did a quilt that had similar piecing and she fought with it for days before deciding it was “good enough.” This from a woman who has been known to pick out quilting stitches for three HOURS because the back was a little loopy. I finally settled on paper piecing it because I knew that it would be accurate and relatively straightforward.

However, not everyone has experience with paper (or foundation) piecing. I encouraged people to download the tutorial I had posted, but it isn’t a technique that is easy to learn “hands off.” (In fact, on Saturday Jeanne of Grey Cat Quilts and I are co-teaching the technique at our Milwaukee-Madison Modern Quilt Guilt meeting.)

I’ve been eagerly following Nancy, Near Philadelphia as she creates block after basket block using my patterns as well as several others. She’s doing a beautiful caramel and indigo (I like just saying those words!) basket quilt. Unfortunately, she’s never foundation pieced before and this pattern stumped her. She sent me a very nice email explaining why I wouldn’t be seeing her version of block 12, and I… well, I took it as a challenge. There had to be a way to piece this painlessly! The problem was figuring out exactly where to “line up” the triangles. The 1/4″ seam allowance is a little strange when lining up two triangles in different directions. About five minutes later, it occurred to me that if I just DREW the seam lines, the problem would disappear.

So I did! I made a test handle, photographing the steps along the way, and I put together a PDF with alternate piecing instructions for just the handles. You can download the PDF here if you prefer not to paper piece.

Thank you, Nancy, for making me think about this just a little bit more!

Ha! Double Ha! – Basket Setting PDF

I’m updating this old post to include a link to the Pattern page, where you can find instructions for all 13 blocks.

Bet you thought I wouldn’t get even one setting done for the basket blocks, even though I said I would have them both done this week. Go ahead, admit it – you thought I’d flake. It’s okay. I thought I’d flake, because, well, I do that. But I didn’t. I just finished the setting instructions for “Setting 6” – the most popular setting option based on my highly scientific voting method.

Remember setting 6? It’s the one with the nine patch and rail fence sashing.

Setting Option 6
(This photo links to the Flickr page – you can download the pattern below.)

Now, here’s a disclaimer: I haven’t tested this pattern. No one is far enough along in my quilting group to test it, although I expect several will be in a week or so. If you use this setting and find any errors, please let me know so I can correct them. I am certain that the fabric yardage I provide is enough for the occasional whoops (see the note about the width of fabric, though!), so all should be good.

To download the PDF, click here. You can also click on the small image of the quilt in the sidebar, by the basket blocks.

Thank you so much for playing along with us! I checked my stats today and nearly 200 people have downloaded block 12, with similar numbers for most of the other blocks. (Block 10 was especially popular, at 341 downloads). Because this has expanded beyond my small local group, I’ve created a Flickr group and would love for you to share your photos of your basket blocks and quilts.

I still have another setting option to put together. This is the one my mom wants to use, so it will get done sooner rather than later. It always helps to have someone physically present, nagging encouraging me to finish.

Basket Block 10

Ahem… well…
I…uh…got a little…

Off track.

It happens to me far too often.

Anyway, when I received a comment today from Sharon asking (very politely) when the next block was going to be posted, I took it as the kick in the backside that I needed. Thank you Sharon! I’ve posted the newest block in the sidebar, but because I can’t make WordPress do what I want, it is in the second position instead of the last position. I made it bigger, so it would stand out a bit, but I’ve also posted the link here (click on the block for the PDF):

Block 10

I would also like to thank those of you who voted for the setting options. Setting 6 was the clear winner, with 10 a not-too-distant second. I’ll be writing instructions for those, and if any of my family and friends quilting group wants to do one of the other settings, I’ll post that as well. Here are the settings:

Setting 6
Setting Option 6

Setting 10 (4 versions, depending on fabric placement)
Setting Option 10a

Setting Option 10b

Setting Option 10c

Setting Option 10d

Basket Block Settings – Please Vote!

I’m working on possible settings for the Basket Block Quilt Along and I’d like your help. Check out the setting options below and then vote in the poll at the bottom of this post. I’ll leave the poll open for a month, to give me time to write up the instructions before we get to the last block. If more than one option gets a strong vote, I may write instructions for two or even three. If you have another suggestion, feel free to leave it in the comments.

I exported all of these from EQ6 WITHOUT patch or block lines. I think this makes it easier to see the overall look better, especially on some that I had to futz a little to make it look the way I wanted. By the way, the fabric line I used for all of these is from Moda – it’s called Berry Delicious, by Sew Treasured.

Setting Option 1
Setting Option 1

Setting Option 2
Setting Option 2

Setting Option 3
Setting Option 3

Setting Option 4
Setting Option 4

Setting Option 5
Setting Option 5

Setting Option 6
Setting Option 6

Setting Option 7
Setting Option 7

Setting Option 8
Setting Option 8

Setting Option 9
Setting Option 9

Setting Option(s) 10
(The last four are all the same setting, but the color placement makes them look quite different. All three options would be included in the instructions.)
Setting Option 10a

Setting Option 10b

Setting Option 10c

Setting Option 10d