Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sampler Quilt #2 - Basket Block

This week's block is an 9" four basket block.  I have never made a basket block, so am excited to try my wings.  Here are the pieces you will need for one basket unit (1/4 of the block):

Choose 2-3 dark, and 2-3 light fabrics for each block.  2 dark fat quarters and 2  light should be plenty to make a four unit block.  After experimenting by cutting out all the backgrounds in a dark, and all the baskets in a light, I would recommend instead cutting half the backgrounds dark, half light, and the same with the basket shapes.  This high contrast will give your finished block lots of charm.  Juxapositioning dark and light, also brings out patterns between the basket shapes that you won't see if you use (for example) all dark backgrounds and light baskets.

If you are using the accuquilt, it is die #55048 Bountiful Baskets. Otherwise cut the following:

For Each Basket Unit

  • Two 2" squares
  • One 2 7/8" square cut on the diagonal into two half square triangles
  • Two 4 1/2" squares cut on the diagonal into half square triangles (you will have one half square triangle  left for another basket unit)
  • Handle of your choice, either 1"x 5" fabric cut on the bias, or rickrack

I will start by saying that I found the basket handle piece included with the die difficult to work with.  After a number of failed attempts, I abandoned this piece for another method which I will share a little later.  If you do decide to make a bias basket handle, I suggest that you buy this nice little clover tool:

It feeds adhesive and bias binding through at the same time.  This makes it easy to shape and iron your basket handle onto the background piece before you stitch it.  You will still have to stitch it carefully on both sides though, which is why I decided to use a simpler, and just as attractive (I think) rickrack handle.

So the first step, after cutting out your shapes and deciding on which style handle to use, is to attach the handle to the background fabric.

If you are using rickrack, as I did, cut a piece the length of the cardboard it comes on, or about 5 inches.  Fold the rickrack in half to find the middle, and then pin the middle about 1 inch below the upper point of the background triangle.  Starting at one bottom edge (about an inch in from the side), stitch along the middle of the rickrack, gently curving until you reach the middle pin.  Be sure the edge of the rickrack is at least 1/2 inch in from all edges of the background triangle so it doesn't get caught in the side seam when you get to that step.  When you reach the pin, remove it, and continue gently curving the rickrack until you reach the opposite edge, again stopping about an inch from the side.

Next stitch a basket triangle right sides together with the background triangle and handle you just stitched. Press toward basket.

Now join the two smaller basket triangles to a background square as shown below.  Be sure the triangles are facing opposite of each other. Press toward small triangles.

Stitch these side pieces to the basket triangle as shown below. Press toward side pieces.

The last piece to be joined is the bottom background triangle.  Press toward background piece.

Make 3 more baskets alternating dark and light backgrounds and baskets. And join the 4 units as shown.

The possibilities are endless as to what you could make with this block.  Besides this sampler quilt, you could make a table runner, place mats, wall hanging, or full sized bed quilt with these sweet and simple baskets.  I think a scrappy one would be especially nice, don't you?

With the exception of my initial problems making the handle, I found this block fun and easy to piece. 

Using a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the most difficult, I rate this block a 3.

Happy Sewing ♥


  1. Great tutorial, Kym. Very easy to understand and the pics are good. I especially like the contrast in the finished block. I see what you mean about the secondary design. It's beautiful!

  2. I love this block! I just bought the basket die, and just need the time to use it now :)