Thursday, February 6, 2020

Getting Caught Up On the Big Basket Series

Gather Ye Roses is the first finish of the year! Yay! This quilt is the first in my big basket series, but somehow the last to be a true blue finish. For some reason, I was intimidated at the thought of quilting all that 'blank' cream space around the basket. After stitching on the other two though, then it all felt so much easier. Amazingly enough, procrastination does occasionally pay off...
These quilting lines are 'eyeballed', not carefully
measured out for accuracy and precision....
And though I liked this quilt, it had become the least favorite of the three. Why in the world? It looks ever so better with the hand quilting than it did as a quilt top! Not sure why that continues to be a problem for me after so many years, under-appreciating the effect that quilting texture can just generally bring to the table. A quilt top can look so well..., lifeless before the quilting. There's just no comparison and really, no possible way to imagine the entirety of the final results.
Gather Ye Rosebuds the first finish of 2020!
Big Basket #1
The whiter areas of the basket handle continue to amuse me. Should there have been an extra stitch or two down the middle of the basket handle in order to dull all that brighter area? I decided not to, time and again. Second guessing just gets tiresome. I decided that it makes for an extra interesting element, having the basket handle fade in and out of the background. In years to come, it will no doubt become another one of those 'what-was-the-quilter-thinking?' questions we all love to ponder.
Gather Ye Roses. Or whatever else flower you might love...
I quickly figured out that making large baskets for a centerpiece would create all sorts of problems in the border areas. Proportion, proportion, proportion! I emphatically did not want these quilts to all be king sized! In the first quilt, I kept to a simple, much smaller basket block repeat on two sides. The purposeful asymmetrical look resulted from adding 1. a different color border on two sides, 2. a larger border width on those two sides, 3. a distinctively different design application in the break from blocks to applique vines. Easy peasy, but yes, involving a lot of different design decisions.  Should do this more often. Love, love a good asymmetrical border application....
A few little flowers in the baskets...
Working with an asymmetrical design idea also totally ended the dilemma of what to do about a long gawky basket surrounded by too-narrow borders. Which just made the basket look even more awkward and weird. So what to do? More borders? One fabric add ons? Ugghh.. I just wanted it to look interesting and somehow maximize the effect of the super large basket. Seriously though, all along I was hinging the entire success of the quilt on the hope that the final quilting stitching would create important depth and texture there in the centerpiece. So, so happy when that came to fruition....

It's hard to tell from the pictures, but all the brown in the applique area is made up of several different brown fabrics. Very subtle difference, but something that I find much more compelling than using all the same fabric. From a distance, the change from medium to darker brown creates depth and movement in the quilt, and close up, it just gives it that utility 'make-do look'. In my opinion, that adds to the sneaky charm of this quilt, the overall coziness, not having everything come off as matchy-matchy.
Possible rosebuds on the vine?
Of course, the fact that I didn't actually have enough brown fabric in any one piece of yardage helped make those decisions come about more easily. However, if it was a truly awful idea {after carefully auditioning whatever there was available from the stash}, I do know where the fabric store is. Rare though it may be, I have taken that option once or twice before in my life! How much more rewarding {for me, can't speak for you!} to find a good use for fabrics languishing away in the stash totes. 

Mixing several different blendy-type, printed fabrics that have a similar color feel to them is a puzzle, but being able to totally use them up and maybe even have to search out more feels great. I love it! I mean, it's not like you'd actually consciously build a quilt around these fabrics, right? Ahem, yeah. Quick disclaimer, I might actually starting to do this very thing, just for fun? lol  For example though,  the brown fabric with the tiny white flower on the corner of the quilt was a 90's look print that I had been trying to use up for years. Why toss the idea of finally getting to use it, when it's an absolutely perfect match for this particular quilt? Oh, there's obviously not enough, bummer. Guess we'll give that idea up. No! Find some fabrics that play reasonably well with that one wonderful print  and make it work
Nothing helps out a red, white a blue quilt better
than the perfect amount of brown...
The sweetest thing about this quilt might be the words with the red flowers nearby. Not all the flowers are rosebuds of course, but the sentiment still makes me happy. Words to live by! The binding is several random lengths from the leftovers binding tote and a couple other scrappy pieces of red fabric that blended well. So easy to go scrappy on a quilt like this. Although it never really, truly reduces the sheer amount of leftover binding lengths does it?  Not in the long run. No matter how much I kid myself, there always seems to be just a little bit leftover to dump straight back into the tote.*sigh  Maybe it's like sourdough starter....
That soft, striped homespun was a bear to work with
but looks so good in the background position!
So there you go. That's the sum total of the Big Basket Series {thus far}. Gather Ye Rosebuds was the first Big Basket in the series to be a completed quilt top, but the last one totally finished up. Improv. Woven Basket, below, was the second quilt top and the first one totally finished up.
Improv. Woven Basket, Big Basket #2
Big Tipsy Basket was the third in the series and the second one to be completely quilted. It's interesting to see the overall comparison at a quick glance. The first quilt was started in 2016 on an impulse {really had no idea that I even wanted to make big baskets}, and that quickly led to the idea of series work. Kind of impossible to stop at one! There was supposed to be a fourth quilt, but somehow that particular idea never got off the ground floor. 
Big Tipsy Basket, Big Basket #3
Never say never! When Jolene shared her beautiful Tribute To Gwen Marston basket quilt earlier this year, it definitely got me thinking again. Hmm... Maybe. Maybe? I might just one more big basket quilt in me. Or two. The series is only over when I say it is.....


  1. I like the first one you show the best - really like the look

  2. This basket is probably my favorite of the three. It may have something to do with the red, white, and blue vibe. I really like your use of brown and will have to keep that in my back pocket. I really like the quilting and think it dresses up the neutral background, love the baskets around the edge but not all the way around (good insight there). It's just hits all the right buttons.

  3. The tumbler basket has always been my favorite in the series, still is. The quilting takes this to a new level - love it!

  4. I love Gather Ye --it is one of my favorites...
    The quilting really makes it sing...;)))Hugs, Julierose

  5. Baskets, "sneaky charm", make do, hand quilting, texture, rosebuds, words to live by...oh my! I think this is my favorite of the 3. Congrats on the finish!

  6. I just love these! You are right about how the quilting brings things to life. They are all fantastic.

  7. These are each so charming and delightful! So you! I love them.

  8. Man o man those are some mighty fine baskets you've got there. My fav is the middle basket, but they are all super. The quilting makes them so wonderful. You have nailed them all! xo

  9. Love it so much!
    I would be delighted if you made another big basket quilt. Of course, I would also be delighted if you made a small basket quilt. Or any quilt really. :)

  10. What a fabulous finish and an awesome conclusion(?) to your series. Each quilt seems to have it's own personality yet play so nicely together. You remind me each time to loosen up, at least alittle!

  11. Well, I am certainly impressed! I do love your work with the different browns. That is my kind of quilting..Great job!

  12. love all the baskets! and the lettering :)

  13. This one is my favorite too! I think it is partly the rich color scheme... the blue and brown with bit of red is so delicious. Tipsy baskets has a wonderful shape as well though... Truly a set of quilts to be proud of!!

  14. Audrey, all three of your basket quilts are gorgeous! I am glad you were able to finish this so beautifully. I too like using old fabric and mixing in another fabric if there isn't enough of one. That usually happens because I buy small pieces which aren't usually big enough for projects without help. I rarely go to the store to find more, mostly because by the time I use it, it probably isn't available anymore.

  15. Another beauty! I love this series and admire your persistence in using up those awkward fabrics - you are right though, there is always a perfect spot for even the dullest fabric. I also really, really like the idea that this quilt as a "sneaky charm" - great phrase!

  16. Each of these highlights a different way to finish a quilt. That's the beauty of working in a series, isn't it? The echo quilting on the background of Gather Ye Rosebuds makes a tremendous difference. It wouldn't show nearly as much if you'd used a busier fabric but I sympathize with the feeling that the top was dull. It's the rock and hard place of plain fabric.
    Making two different borders on the sides adds to the charm of the quilt {and makes it easier to sew. Shh. We won't tell.}
    Thanks for sharing all these beauties with us along with lots of explanations.

  17. Congratulations on the finish! I adore this quilt! I love the big basket, the asymmetrical borders and the little baskets, the applique border, the use of multi-fabrics. I love all 3 of your basket quilts, by the way. It does have a cozy, perfect imperfect-ness to it. Love it!

  18. Your basket quilts are 'charming and delightful' I agree. I think you should make many more basket quilts, because you've aced the process. When you're good at something why quit?

  19. Love all your baskets Audrey and oh yes, do please make another one!

  20. What a wonderful bunch of baskets, each filled with love from you by you for you!

  21. I think you are brilliant at using stash fabrics, and all of these baskets are so charming!

  22. What a great & creative basket series! Please, please can you arrange a photo shot of the 3 all hanging on a line outside ~ it would be wonderful to see them all hanging together.

  23. Audrey, what a great post. I enjoyed reading it so much. You should write a book describing your quilts and chronicling your process just as you’ve done here. Seriously!


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