Thursday, April 21, 2016

Basket Case or a Nut Bag

That is right.  I am a basket case right now. Or you could call me a nut bag.

There is no dearth of inspiration (or temptation, depending on your perspective) in blogland.   Seeing so many 1-hour baskets, I dived in too.

One-hour basket

It took me 2+ hours to make mine.
I am sure that after I have made a dozen, and I remember the pattern by heart, and all the fabric/interfacing is cut to the correct size, and I don't make any mistakes, and I don't get distracted...I will be able to make such a basket in one hour.

Basket #1
You get the picture.

According to the tutorial, the outer fabric should be home decor.  Missed that detail.
Silly me. Proceeded with quilting cotton.  And the basket ended up being a bit on the flimsy side.

Decided to put SF101 on the handles to give them a little more body.  Definitely like the outcome.

1. The instructions are very well-written
2. Different seams for the exterior and the lining - Brilliant!!!

1. The handles need interfacing. Not mentioned.

The other thing that is a personal preference - I did not like the seam in the lining.  Ideally, I wanted it to be smooth.

Attempt # 2
Looked for another tutorial.  This one was from

Smaller basket.  I made the exterior panel using 2.5" squares and linen for the main basket body.   Used SF101 to stiffen it first.

2.5" squares, linen
I used decor bond interfacing on the handles.  See picture below.

Decor Bond Interfacing on the handles

Ready to quilt

Then I quilted the exterior panel with batting. I went ahead and also used interfacing (decor bond) on the lining.  

Since I wanted a smooth inside, I chose to do a drop-in lining (contrary to the instructions in the tutorial).  It did not come out well.
The two - exterior and lining - did not quite match, causing the exterior to be puckered :-(
Once finished, I showed it to a dear friend, Nancy.  Bless her heart. She did not see the imperfections and took it off my hands.

Tried again.
Attempt# 3 -  Smaller basket.  Much better but still not perfect.
The finished basket is 6.5" by 4.5" at the base, and it is almost 5" high. Actually, I am pretty pleased with this one.

The exterior panel was first interfaced with SF101. Then quilted with batting.  The lining was interfaced with decor bond (maybe try SF101 next time).  Since the lining was dropped in, the insides are smooth :-)

Smooth Insides
Since the lining has decor bond interfacing, there is added bulk along the top.  It is top-stitched but that could be neater.

Attempt # 4 - Making the initial 1-hour baskets

I decided to use my just acquired knowledge to try my hand at the 1-hour basket again. I used quilting weight cotton (gorgeous blue/purple batik) but this time I interfaced it first with SF101.  Then used Thermolam as a second layer of interfacing.
Like before, I did not use any interfacing on the lining, because I wanted to avoid the bulk in the top stitching.  Used interfacing on the handles.

But my lining still had a seam and it was just a tad bigger than it needed to be, making it look wrinkly and crumpled on the inside.

Attempt #5 - Repeat Attempt #4.
The only thing I did differently this time was measure the lining and the exterior just before stitching them together. the lining was tad larger than required.  So, I increased the seam by 1/8". Remeasured. Much better.

Attempt #4 on the left, Attempt #5 on the right

Do you see the difference? The lining on the right one fits just a tad better.
These baskets are 9.5" by 5.5" at the base. The height is almost 6.5" They are pretty and I am sure they will make someone happy enough that they would pay for them :-)
Just wish that they did not have that seam in the lining.

By now, I have made five baskets using two different tutorials and I am still not completely satisfied.

So, I tried once again. Attempt # 6.
This time, I referred to no pattern. Made a much smaller basket.  It measures 4" by 6" at the base and it is almost 4.5" high.  Since it was small, I reasoned that Thermolam would be enough.  Interfaced the handles.
This time, when I made the lining, I did not leave an opening in it.  Once the lining was made, I matched it with the exterior of the basket.  It was a little bigger. I chose to sew again, increasing the seam by 1/8" to make it fit better.

After the handles were basted, I put the exterior inside the interior, RST.  Stitched all around at the top but left a 2" gap. Turned it inside out, and sewed the opening shut using top stitching.  Now, the interior was smooth :-)  Makes me very happy.

Smooth on the inside :-)

How smooth? I turned it inside out and it could be (almost) reversible basket :-)

However, I realized that I should have used SF101 on the exterior, followed by Thermolam.
Should have used SF101 on the lining. I am sure there is an Attempt #7.

Medium and Small (ignore the screwdriver, please)

Paul: More baskets. Pretty!!!
Me: Yeah, but I am still not there yet.
Paul: Where?
Me: Where I have all the features I want and it is neat.
Paul: Try a different pattern
Me: I did
Paul: Is it a free pattern or did you buy it?
Me: (I knew where he was going with it. I got irritated.)
You know there was this one time I bought a pattern for making zippered pouches.  It included fabric as well. In a kit.
Paul: The kit and caboodle?
Me: NO. There was a kit but the caboodle was missing.
Paul: How so?
Me: So, the pattern says - use interfacing. But they do not tell you which one.  You have no idea how many different kinds of interfacing they have out there.
And I have made bags with no interfacing and with wrong interfacing.  I am ashamed to show them to even myself.
Paul: So a free pattern may or may not work. Buying a pattern may not have everything.  What is the solution?
Me: Trial and Error. That is WHAT I AM DOING!!!
Paul: Could you take a class or learn from a live person?

Once again, Paul had a made a valid point.  However, by now I could (almost) teach a class on the dos and don'ts of fabric basket making.

Three sizes - Nested Baskets

What if the tutorials and pattern still leave something to be desired. Yes, you could do what I have been doing - Trial and Error.

Did you know there are classes (yes several) on making bags, and pouches, and organizers on Craftsy? Best news - they are on sale!!!
Wish I had known this sooner. Silly me. Check them out.

And if you are into making fabric baskets and organizers, you must check out these two classes.

Some of these classes are on sale now which makes me feel like this!!!


Paul: What if you don't like the class? 
Me: Well, Craftsy will refund your money.

In the mean time, I am making more pouches for the quilt show.

A Bag a Day!!!

Cuteness Overload!!!

Light Aqua inside

Green Swirly Lining

Dotty - Inside and Out :-)

Pretty in Pink!!!
I feel very guilty right now.  I am addicted to making baskets and pouches while several quilt tops languish away waiting to be quilted.  I am Sew Preeti - No Quilts!!!

Now, that I have confessed, it is time to put away these little evil distractions and finish a few quilts this weekend. What do you think?
As always, I'd love to hear from you.

This blogpost contains affiliate links.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Creature Feature etc.

Paul works in the IT industry. It means that he sits at a desk looking at a computer screen (actually three screens) all day.  What do you think he does to relax?
Plays computer games!!!

Fire-Breathing Dragon

What do I do when I get frustrated while I am working on a complicated, treacherous quilt pattern?
I make a simple quilt.

Orange Octopus

Yes, we are so different!!!

Remember Sun City. When I got extremely frustrated working on tiny blocks, I put it away and made this. Meet Creature Feature.

Creature Feature
This darling quilt (42" by 42") came together so quickly, is so bright and cheerful and it lifted me outta my funk. The best part - I completed the top in one afternoon. Hurray for simple and happy quilts. It is the popsicle of quilts.

Smiling Whales

Let me explain what I mean by Popsicle of a Quilt - Imagine, you are slaving over a three-layer chocolate cake with ganache icing (for very special guests).  But what you really want to eat is a popsicle. Get it?  It is simple and low-intensity. It hits the spot and makes you giggle like a kid. 

Puppies - Yay!!!
See this fabric with puppies.  I love this fabric. Here is a fat quarter that keeps on giving.
I used it in Homeful with great success. And also in Playschool as well as Pre-K.

Tropical Turtle

All colored strips are from Connecting Threads. Used some of them in Lickety Split.
And this orange fabric was a gift from dearest quilter buddy in Pennsylvania -  Sylvia.

from Sylvia, with love
Knowing my love for cute fabrics, she saved me two FQs of this adorable fabric.
A bunch of 5" squares and some 2.5" strips + on afternoon = Magic!!!

Jelly Fish :-)

As I was quilting this cutie patootie, I was listening to NPR and this show came up - Creature Feature.
"In this adorable rhyming game, each answer is two words: an animal, and a word that rhymes with that animal. So if we imagined a red crustacean gangster that boiled its enemies alive and served them with butter, it would be called a Lobster Mobster."

That settled it. I found the name for my little adorable quilt - Creature Feature.


Walking foot quilting using a decorative stitch that looks like Cs. Mirrored it looks like clouds.

Bright Stripes Binding

The backing is blue, cream dotty fabric.
The binding is a bright black/colorful striped fabric.  I am really loving stripes for binding. They look lovely!!!

I do not have a recipient in mind for Creature Feature but I am sure that the universe will take care of it.

Remember my last post where I talked about Craftsy kits that were great deals etc.
Guess what? Those very kits are now FURTHER reduced.  Check them out here.

I've had my eye on this Rhoda Ruth FQ Bundle for quite some time now, but I refused to pay more than $2 per FQ. Today it is 30 FQs for just over $60. SOLD!!!

Oh, I also bought this Michael Miller Melodies FQ bundle - how rich are these colors and at $1.625 per FQ, this was impossible resist.

Do you remember the KISS tutorial? It uses 6" strips. I used Kaffe Fassett's Design Strips.  Those are now 55% off at $18.45.  That means you could make two quilt tops for just $18.45.
Pastel Strips

Jewel Strips
And if you'd rather make the KISS quilt using batiks, there is great news.  Each of these Tonga Treats 6" Strips are just $21.

Jupiter 6" Strips

Citrus Mint 6" Strips

City Lights 6" Strips

Speaking of KISS, Kat of Scrapbox Quilts made a baby bargello quilt using my tutorial. I am tickled pink!!!

All addresses have been received from the winners of the Orphan Adoption Event. Packages going out today with the quilt top to Cindy, pens to PK, and template to Shelley.  In your packages, I have also included one small surprise item.  Exact same in each package - because I don't want any fights wherein anyone says - Why is her surprise item better than mine?
Just kidding :-D  Thank you for adopting these orphans and hope you enjoy your surprise :-)

I made another smaller quilt.

Someone had abandoned these triangles at the free table at our Guild Meeting.

I added some green sashing, some striped border and made a small quilt top.

It is only 32" square. It will work for a newborn baby girl.  But I am going to send it to NY Sue for the Stillborn Bereavement Group.

I used this stamp fabric for backing, received with love from Jake in SC.  I am thinking of you Jake and all the wonderful things you do :-)

A muted turquoise binding completes it.

Paul: Ooh, I like that fabric with the stamps.
Preeti: I can make you another coaster from that fabric, if you want.
Paul: Can you make me a little bag?
Preeti: Like with a zipper?
Paul: Yeah.
Preeti: WHAT??? WHY???
Paul: For travel, you know, to keep little things together.
I said fine while I rolled my eyes.
I did not think that my pouch making frenzy would have a negative side effect.  Further, I did not think that guys would want a travel bag in anything other than leather or leather look-alike. Well, I stand corrected.

I guess if I am going to use him as a quilt holder upper, he needs to be compensated!!!
How do you compensate your quilt holders/models?
Here is the fabric audition for the next project.  I need about ten fat quarters.
I am considering these Pashmina batiks from Timeless Treasures.
Pashmina Batik FQs, Grey Background
More in my next post.

I will be linking with my favorite linky parties.
I'd love to hear from you, as usual.