Monday, May 23, 2016

Thinking of a Basket of Flowers

Ever since I finished appliqueing stars I've been thinking about beginning another applique project.  I don't love applique enough to make only appliqued quilts but there are times when it's the perfect hand work to do.  I have a hard time just sitting unless I'm really tired.  With applique I can sit and almost do nothing and still accomplish something.  And applique is portable, packable (needle, thread, scissors, project, and I'm set), and friendly (my husband drives, I stitch, and we talk--or not). 

I'd been thinking about stitching baskets but hadn't moved forward with the idea.  And then a few weeks ago Lori of Humble Quilts invited her readers to participate in a Gwen Marston-inspired medallion quilt-along with a basket in the center.  Hmmm.  I began researching Gwen Marston's work.  She's been quilting for more than 25 years, evolving from traditional quilts, shown in her early books, to less traditional, more modern quilts in recent books and online.  Which makes me wonder:  What will a Gwen-inspired medallion quilt look like?  Could I make one?  Maybe.  Probably, especially when Lori says, "The only rule is, you make the rules!"    

This is the basket I've been thinking of appliqueing.  It's a little hard to see because there's not much contrast between the paper cut-out and the background fabric.

I doodled on paper, drew on construction and scrap paper, cut out, and laid the paper pieces on a fat quarter.  It's definitely a "cartoon" in progress.  Paper stems are hard to make but I imagine bias-cut fabric ones will be easier to manipulate.

On the paper sample above, the basket's too wide or the background's too narrow.   The sizes of the flowers should vary more.  That dotty background fabric has to go (unless it works when I get the basket, flowers, and stems cut out).  Red flowers or blue?  And are star flowers cliche?  But maybe this basket of flowers is a little too folksy to be Gwen-like?  But I make the rules so it really shouldn't look like Gwen made it, right? 

For me, part of the reason for participating in a quilt-along like this is to push myself just a little past my comfort zone and stretch my limited abilities by learning and doing something new and different.  One way or the other, I'll learn something, even if it's only that I don't like appliqueing baskets.

And why don't I just quit asking questions, make some decisions, and cut the fabric already?  Now there's an idea!  And I will.  Probably tomorrow.

In truth, I haven't been procrastinating.  I've been working on the Buckeye Beauty blocks.  I have precisely 12 seams to machine-stitch to have 42 blocks.  I'm ironing tonight, will pin tomorrow on the way to the zoo (to see baby polar bear Nora), and stitch when I get home.  And then I can lay them out and play.  (And cut out a basket.)

Little by little things get done.

I hope you're having a great day!



  1. Good for you to tackle new skills (even if only to discover you don't enjoy them).
    I think your basket sketch is very fun and it will work into a great center medallion. I don't applique unless it is required by law, and I avoid those kinds of laws like the plague! : )

    1. The small stars were fairly easy to applique. This will be more complex -- stems, flowers, basket and handle, leaves. We'll see how it goes.... Maybe even the bigger challenge will be all the "borders" required around the center medallion. I may find that I want to go back to simple straight lines.

      Funny how much you dislike applique. You have so many other strengths when it comes to quilts, Janet. No need to add applique.

      Thanks for your kind thoughts. I appreciate them.

  2. It will be fun to see where you go with your basket! I contemplated this one, but just can't add another project. Maybe I'll just live vicariously through you ;-)


    1. I'm curious to know about the four borders that we'll be adding around this center basket. It may happen that I'll drop out when I learn what they are. I wouldn't have taken this on except that I'd been wanting to begin applique again and this seemed to fit with that goal.

      You're welcome to live vicariously through me but please, add your thoughts about the additions, Jennie!

      Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.

  3. I love what you have so far - you just can't go wrong with a basket of flowers! Looking forward to seeing more!

    1. Thanks, Julie. I hope my applique skills are up to this basket, and that my border skills improve enough for this to be a success. Thanks for your encouraging comment.

  4. I'm eager to see this quilt come into being. I have done very minimal appliqué and only then with the very simplest of shapes. I ought to be brave like you and try it more often ... I know I'll never become skilled if I don't try.

    1. Can you tell I'm far behind in responding to comments, Kathy?

      I'm eager to see what happens with this quilt, too. I seem to be dragging my feet just a little. I finally thread-basted the stems today and laid them in place but that's as far as I've gotten. It's a very challenging thing (to me, at least) to be so public about something at which I might dreadfully fail. (I'm chuckling as I type. I guess a fail will help keep pride at bay.)

      Well, you could applique. It just depends on if you really want to. I wasn't very interested in applique until I saw a block I wanted to make and didn't want to deal with the y-seams on the sewing machine or by paper-piecing. I like the portability of applique but I really prefer regular blocks sewn by machine.


I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

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