Sunday, September 05, 2010

A Tisket a Tasket Tutorial...and a lesson learned.

This is a bit of a long winded post review/tutorial/lesson of quilting.

 Alex Anderson's Bountiful Baskets Go! die is what I used with my fat quarter stack of Bliss
and It's a Hoot by MoMo.

I did receive this die from the awesome peeps at Accuquilt before I gave my Go! cutter away.
I intended on talking about it long ago.
In fact, I had started this project over 2 months ago.
What slowed me down?
Well I will show you the main highlights of how I used my Go! for this project,
how easy it was and talk frankly about how difficult it was for me.

Supplies I used:
{16} 5.5" X 11" pieces of Bliss by Moda - fat quarters work best

1/4 yd. of Bliss Red 
subcut into {4} 1.5 X WOF (width of fabric) strips

1 yd It's a Hoot for background subcut into
{8} 5" X WOF strips
subcut into {25} 5" setting squares
{4} 5" strips for 2nd border

1 1/2 yd backing and batting
Go! cutter Bountiful Baskets Die

Those of you that do not have a Go! cutter might be curious how I began my project.
Accuquilt's dies do come with quilt project instructions. I modified it a bit for my needs.

Since I had fat quarters of the prints, I cut them down to 5.5" X 11" give or take.
 I paired up my fabrics as I wanted them in the quilt.
I layered the 2 fabrics and sent them through the cutter at the same time.
Once I sent the fabrics through the cutter, I ended up with 2 blocks, by swapping the pieces of background prints.

Here are how the pieces look.
I found it more helpful to arrange all the blocks as they would be sewn in order to stay organized.

Begin by sewing the small squares to the smallest triangles as shown.
Then take a large handle triangle and stay stitch the bottom edge with about 1/8" seam allowance.
This is done to prevent stretching! These are bias seams.
Set aside the handle triangle.

Next sew the squared triangle to the large base triangle.
* do not sew these to the background triangle*
trust me I know.

This is where my project deviates from the project provided by Accuquilt.
Ugh! they cut so beautifully.
I thought, I can do this. I can applique them.
I have been a quilter for 15 years.
Well after at least 10 tries to perfect the basket handle, and get consistent results that I could show you...

I did.
I abandoned this quilt so many times I lost count.
After countless seam rippings, ruining bias strips, using water soluble pens for quide lines, and on and on.
I lost track of the frustration.
Then one day I was rummaging through my ribbons and trims for my daughter and I spotted some of my smaller rick rack.
Ah! I have been using the jumbo rick rack for so long, I almost forgot about the smaller stuff.
It hit me.

Use little rick rack instead.
I chose several colors that I thought would work with the fabrics and went to work.

I cut 5 inch pieces of  medium rick rack and placed it about 1" from the edge.
Notice my stay stitching?
It's there.

Using my seam ripper/stiletto I eased the rick rack to the other side, also 1" from the edge.

I just used coordinating thread down the center.
Trim the excess, if any, even with the seam allowance.

Next, I sewed the basket handle triangle to the center.

And sew the base of the basket last.

As always, I pin.
These blocks do have bias and so I used Best Press and pins!

And here is one of my finished blocks.

All the 16 finished blocks set straight.
But I decided that was too busy.

I auditioned them on point.

And the setting shown by Accuquilt, also too busy for the fabrics I chose.

I decided on the setting on point with 5" {4.5" finished} squares in between the blocks.

I didn't want to piece half square or quarter square triangles so I pieced this in diaganol rows.
Once the rows were all pieced I used a 24" ruler and trimmed the excess fabric from the edge and squared up the edges.  Notice that I placed the ruler 1/4" from the basket point.
That gave me the seam allowance for the borders.

At this point the baskets look like they are floating.
Once I added the first border, they were no longer floating.

I used the red Bliss print to frame the quilt and the background to repeat that fabric and tie it all together.
I plan on quilting it, or having it quilted and then doing a scallop or rounded corner border.

So let me recap.
My opinion about the Go! cutter has been completely positive until I used this die.
I am not saying there was anything wrong with my die.
I just could not, even with the block instructions provided, figure out how to get consistent handles.

In an amazing way, it worked out the best.
 I prefer the rick rack handles. I think it actually captures more the style of the quilt I wanted anyhow.
I guess it forced me to get creative and once again stretch my skills.
Our blocks do not have to all look like the pattern that is in front of us.
We can make it what we want.
I can't tell you how happy I was while I sewed on those handles.
I was happy when I finished piecing it.
It gave me some of my mojo back.

I liberated myself from "how it's suppose to be".

After months and months of creating for 'others', I created for me.
I can not stress enough the importance of that.
I knew it, I just didn't "KNOW" it until now.
So this weekend I am sewing for me.
 However the wind blows me.
I am sewing for me.
Sewing happy again.

p.s. I did not get to Waynesville or the Fabric Shack yesterday :(
We drove toward Columbus and got stuck in a 10 mile long traffic jam 3 lanes wide! First exit after traveling 10 miles in an hour and a half, we turned around with cranky kids and headed home. So we had a nice LONG 3 hour tour of Ohio. drat. I am ordering fabric online today!!


Sandy said...

Now see, this gives us struggling at home, a shot in the arm- even these quilters who publish, (I saw you in one of my quilt mags!) and who blog (basically to me, "do it all" LOL) can get stumped at times...thanks for sharing, fondly, Sandy
About your missed junket, I remember those days....all set to go, and one throws up, or the traffic is awful etc etc etc, but it does get better- lots better!

Anonymous said...

It sure is pretty!

Anonymous said...

I for one can thoroughly appreciate this tutorial!! I own this die and found that handle to be the most frustrating! I too abandoned the far as I was concerned the handle was nothing but pure frustration. I even posted about this awhile back. I finally did it MY WAY and it worked but this wasn't after attempting many ways such as you! I like the idea of rick rack but haven't a stash of that but will certainly keep it in mind. I'm so glad you posted this....we can overcome by doing it OUR WAY!!

Yvette said...

I prefer the rickrack handles too! You did a fantastic job resurrecting this baby.

Needled Mom said...

I love the cute ric rac handles on the baskets. I think I might like them even better. Great job.

AnneMarie said...

Ha! Gotta love I-71...always seems to happen to us too when traveling up to Cleveland where my folks live. Buy some extra online today for your troubles!

AnneMarie @ Gen X Quilters

Karen said...

Your rickrack handles are cute, cute! I have not made the basket pattern with the die cutter as of yet but will be. I have made Alex's basket pattern previously for a couple of quilts. I made myself a triangle shape from template plastic of the background piece that goes behind the handle. I then marked handle placement that I wanted and cut out the arch. I could then lay the template on my background triangle and mark a line to sew the handle on. Worked well. Your solution is a good one.

Kim Brackett said...

I love your version of this quilt. The rick rack makes handles are perfect!

ferne said...

I never seem to follow patterns exactly, but think of them as inspiration to make things my own! Thanks for sharing, I love how it came out!

Carol said...

I like the rick rack handles better. I also like your basketd set on point. This quilt is going to be adorable with scalloped edges.

Robin (RsIslandCrafts) said...

Your final version looks great! I prefer the ric-rac handles also. Ric-rac gives it that certain feel. I always think country when I see ric-rac no matter the color.

I am one of those quilters that can never seem to follow even the simplest of directions. I always end off somewhere else doing my own thing lol.

paulette said...

I love YOUR quilt!! Gorgeous...someone else blogged about having problems with the handles...I think GO! needs to re-write the pattern. But all in all your quilt is dang cute...LOVE it!!

paulette said...

Mary from Quilt Hollow Blog had the same problems...check it out...

Take care!

Pokey said...

I remember Mary of Quilt Hollow saying the handles were tough (I see she commented, too), and I appreciate you both sharing that.

I had sewn my crazy patches (for the last quilt I completed) way before the quilt was finished, August '07! When I shared in class that the squares were 'a pain' and finished out almost 1 1/2" smaller than the pattern (because of the -razzle frazzle!-bias) had said they should, it had frustrated me, and I put them away, thankfully squared up! It then made it easier to forgive my imperfections and use these perfectly good -but not true to the "pattern"- squares and go on.

Anyway, after "share time", two different people came and told me "You know, if you kept this to yourself, no one would know" and I realize they were only encouraging me. The fact still stands, though, that if we do not share the reality of creative struggles, there are those of us (maybe new to quilting?) who would not continue the craft if they do not "discover" we all hit a tough lesson in our projects from time to time.

Thank you again, for sharing yours.
Sincerely, Pokey

Pokey said...

HaHa, as I wrote my "book comment" to you, Paulette referred to Mary, too. Anyway, I plan to post this "Reality" idea, and I'll link back to you. Thanks again, you are inspiring even in the challenges! And, those baskets are even better your way...pokey

Darlene said...

Wonderful post - lots of good information and food for thought. I do love your rick rack handles - very cute and perfect solution.

SewCalGal said...

Vicki, Excellent tutorial. This definitely goes into my list of favorite tutorials. Ooodles of tips. And I actually like your use of ric-rak for the handles. Very cute. Really, really cute quilt too.


PS - Try a bamboo skewer for a stilleto. Works quite well. I keep one by my sewing machine.

Joyce said...

Such a great post Vickie. It is inspiring to know others too sometimes struggle, yet overcome their own obstacles to create a beautiful end result. I love the rick rack handles.

Oh so sorry about the bungled trip. I have been wanting to go to Waynesville for years and haven't made it yet. I-71 just seems to swallow us up at times.

Regina said...

I love how this turned out! I'm so glad you didn't give up. Thank you for sharing!

Nancy said...

Thanks for telling it like it is... Did you know you can "glue" that rick rack down with an Elmer's glue stick? It works really well and washes out...

I too like the rick rack..sometimes frustration comes out with the best endings..

Tamera said...

Love, love, love the reminder not to give up...think outside the box...allow your creative juices to flow...and JUST DO IT!

Thanks so much!

Sarah Craig said...

Excellent tutorial, and I certainly appreciate your candor about your struggles!! It is so important to show this to others - or else those less experienced think there's something wrong with them! We've all been there at one time or another - now it's our job to encourage newcomers to the craft by admitting our trials!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

Vicki W said...

Great post and thank you for convincing me that I do not need that particular die! lol!

Dandelion Quilts said...

What a cute basket...and you did it your way. Don't you hate feeling frustrated?

Anonymous said...

I contacted Alex Anderson with regards to the fact I was not the only one struggling with this particular die. She had an older tutorial that she was more than happy to post here:
She makes it look so sure to watch it. Hugs!! Mary

Wendys Hat said...

Darling baskets!

Judy said...

Oh Vickie this was a wonderful post! I have been quilting only 2 years and I have so many problems that I almost gave up quilting. But I'm sticking to it with simple patterns. It is a beautiful quilt and I too am happy with the ric rac. So charming. I started a quilt along and had to stop. It is for a beginner but I have a hard time with pieces under 2 1/2 in. I'm glad I don't have to feel guilty. I can do what I like and what makes me want to quilt. Thank you more than you know.