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  • Nicola

From my Sketchbook: Picnic Baskets

There are some blocks that are just so lovely to make that I really look forward to using them again. It's especially true of sampler blocks: you only make one, after all. Back in the cloistered summer of 2020 I made a basket block for my Jardin de Lavande quilt and made a little promise to myself that it would get another outing: you can find the result in issue 101 of Today's Quilter.

Traditionally basket blocks are pieced with half-square triangles and set on point. As I’m not a fan of diagonal setting - all those stretchy bias edges! - mine are woven together with flying geese blocks and I've planned the seam pressing so that they nest beautifully.

My favourite example of an early basket quilt, made in Philadelphia in the 19th century,

from the collection of the Mingei International Museum, San Diego

As a gentle nod to my Jardin de Lavande quilt, I picked out a Layer Cake - from my *ahem* extensive collection - that featured soft lilac, along with my favourite aquas, greens and corals. It's an older collection by Vanessa Goertzen called called Lollipop Garden, so might be hard to track down (unless you have an extensive collection of Layer Cakes too, of course) but Lori Holt's Calico for Riley Blake has the same old-fashioned charm, as does Brigitte Giblin's French Vintage for Dutch Heritage.

While I was cutting out I made a rather silly error which left me a bit short of pieces and, as I don't tend to use many collections with lilac in them, I will admit to panicking slightly about finding matching fabric ...and then I remembered my original inspiration, the Jardin de Lavande. I made that quilt with Tilda Fabric's Maple Farm collection and my scraps combined beautifully with Lollipop Garden. In fact the slight difference in the shade and style of the prints really makes the quilt ‘tingle’. It was meant to be ;-)

Laying out the blocks: the grid of checks on my Day Out quilt makes it the ideal background!

Most of the low volume prints in my Layer Cake we were black and white, but one was full of bright roses so I decided to 'fill' one of the baskets with it. Jayne picked out a matching rose-strewn pantograph to match, which makes a lovely feature of the negative space.

I like to think of Picnic Baskets as a sister quilt to Jardiniere and Vintage China, so if you're looking for some more colour and fabric inspiration you might find this post a help.

Jardiniere, Vintage China & Picnic Baskets

But there are so many beautiful basket blocks in the quilter's lexicon - and so much gorgeous fabric to make them with - that I'm sure I haven't made my last!

Nicola xx


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