A Tisket, a Tasket…

You, too, can quilt a basket! Really, you can….well basket-weave a quilt, that is. This darling baby quilt is made from jelly roll strips lined with batting. After they are turned and pressed, you weave them just like those hot pads we used to make in primary school. Then “quilt” along the strip edges, and ta da! It’s read to bind with no backing, pinning, stretching. You’ve constructed back and front at the same time. People will marvel because it’s so novel, yet it’s easy!

So if you have a “little one” who needs an Easter basket but can’t walk yet, here’s the perfect solution, also perfect for a baby gift any time. On sale for just $3.50 for the entire month of March, get this pattern for your stash. Just pay through a credit card, and it’ll wend its way through the ether to you. It’s a great way to use up scraps, too, including scraps of batting.

Click here for more info.

“Baby Basket-Weave Blanket” cc2310
by LJ Christensen

My mother loved baskets. I think her love affair began when we lived in Austria and she learned to carry a basket to market like the Europeans do. Even the stores expected you to have your own. There were always a myriad of baskets to choose from.

Years later, back in the States, she was intrigued enough to take a basket-making class, and as usual, she’d teach me what she learned. Yes, I made a couple egg baskets myself. One time, when I lived in England, I even cut branches from my willow tree and boiled them to get the bugs out. They were stinky from being cooked, but I managed to make a basket. After I tried a few, though, I gave up the practice. I will admit it messed up my nails, and I’m vain about my nails (especially now that I spend $$$ on getting manicures!)

However, making a few baskets was a really interesting experience. My mother and I both bought a lot of baskets over the years, not expensive ones, but just interesting shapes and sizes. I’ve used them for craft table displays quite often. Now I have some special quilt patterns in one of my bigger ones, and this week I filled one with 2800 watercolor quilt squares!

Does anyone remember the beautiful piano watercolor quilt on the front of a book from about 25 yrs ago? I’ve wanted to make it for decades–literally! I’ve been collecting florals and plan to start soon. Remember watercolor quilting? You use florals cut willy-nilly and then piece them by gradations of shade. Coming up for the website, I have an idea developing for a watercolor background with a white cross for Easter. Stay tuned. It should be available soon. Start collecting your spring florals! Spring is close!

Play ball!

So, baseball or football….maybe eyeball? What’s YOUR favorite? At the moment, mine is “Bouncing Ball,” the cutest scrappy toddler quilt I’ve made. I spent today writing up the instructions for two versions–one is simple and straightforward. It can be made with 12 fat quarters if you don’t have a big stash. My sample was more complex with pieced balls (using up little scraps!) that are eased, stuffed, and piped to make them puffy and 3D! Now that’s what I call “playing ball”! On sale through the end of the month for $3.50, this one is a winner–can so easily be made for a girl, boy or an unknown. Wonderful gift!

Click for more info and more pics

“Bouncing Ball” Baby/Toddler Quilt cc2304 by LJ Christensen

I made my first real scrappy patchwork skirt in 1968. It was then that I really learned to appreciate scraps. I had played with Barbies like all girls of my time period, and I loved every piece of material my mother let me have, especially the glitzy ones. But my skirt was cotton, made of nine-patches. I gave it a navy background and then picked a solid color for center of every patch, which I then finished with carefully chosen coordinating fabrics.

That must be the thrill of quilting, getting to mull over the design and match up the colors and prints–these were precious pieces of my shorts and tops and first dresses I’d ever made, a few leftover from baby dolls and Barbie doll dresses. Every color is a revelation; every piece was a precious memory. I love that about charm quilts, but even if not every single piece is different, it’s still a challenge to pick and choose like an artist loads the color on her brush.

I’m working on my inventory these days and organizing my fabrics. It’s comforting and appalling–way too many, yet never enough. I love having the biggest box of crayons! Speaking of which, here’s one of my all-time favorite quilts. I made it, but I didn’t design it–it’s “Montana Cartwheel” by Quiltworx. It won the quilt top challenge at an Alabama National Fair a decade ago and was quilted for me as the prize. This is the design that made me WANT to quilt!