Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June 2010 Recap

I confess that I'm always happy when my block lotto friends indulge my obsession with basket blocks and . . .  make some ;-)

In June, 25 quilters made 156 liberated basket blocks, which were won by Pattilou (a newbie!), Cory (a first time winner!) and Rho (a very lucky girl ;-)

Besides Pat, Cathy and Marilyn also joined us this month.  Welcome again to our newbies and congrats to the winners.
  • Andi - 1 (donate)
  • Andra - 4
  • Balinda - 9 (donate)
  • Carolyn - 9
  • Carrie - 3 (donate)
  • Cathy - 9 ***NEW***
  • Coralie - 9 ***WINNER ***
  • Debbie E - 4
  • Ginny - 9
  • Janet - 7
  • Julie - 5
  • June - 9
  • Kate - 2 (donate)
  • Kim - 5
  • Laura - 9
  • Marilyn - 9 ***NEW***
  • Mary Jane - 8 (donate)
  • Michelle - 9
  • Pat H - 4
  • Pattilou - 4 ***NEW*** ***WINNER ***
  • Rho - 7 ***WINNER ***
  • Sarah - 5
  • Shelley - 9
  • Sophie - 5 (donate)
  • Wendy P - 2
Thanks to everyone for indulging my basket block obsession and another great month of the Block Lotto.

    Mailing Information for June Blocks

    I pulled the trigger a little too quick and so, if you made blocks in June, you should have TWO email messages from me (the second contains the mailing chart that I forgot to attach to the first).

    If you made blocks this month and don't have new email messages from me, please check your spam folder, then let me know ASAP and I'll try, try again.

    If you find any incorrect information on the chart, also please let me know ASAP so I can scramble and correct things ;-)

    As I mention in my email message, I will be moving in mid-July and would love it if I didn't have to chase blocks not yet received when I arrive at where I'm going ;-)



    ...drum roll....

    The lucky winners of the June baskets are:

    #1 (56 blocks) Miss Coralie!!
    #2 (51 blocks) a new member, Miss Pattilou!!
    #3 (49 blocks) Miss Rho!!

    Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to all the quilters.

    Happy Stitching!
    from Andi in Phoenix

    It's (almost) Time to Choose the Winners

    Does anyone else have this English rhyme burned permanently into their memory?

    Thirty days hath September,
    April, June, and November;
    All the rest have thirty-one,
    Save February, with twenty-eight days clear,
    And twenty-nine each leap year.

    It's crazy the things we can remember . . . and all the things long forgotten, isn't it?

    Anyway, the last day of June is today and the deadline for posting a photo to enter your blocks is a few hours away at noon on the US East coast. Andi–who was one of our winners last month and who donated her chances this month–will be randomly selecting our three winners later today.  Thank you Andi and Balinda (the back-up) for agreeing to help when Mary Jane could not.

    As of this moment, there are 156 blocks, which will be split into three sets like this:

    56 blocks for the first name selected
    51 blocks for the second
    49 blocks for the third

    Good luck to everyone.

    Monday, June 28, 2010

    Healing Thoughts for Mary Jane

    I received email from Mary Jane today.  She was contacting me because she was going to pick the winners for this month on Wednesday, but won't be able to do so because she's been in a motorcycle accident.  I don't have any details but she said she didn't know when the doctors were going to let her go.

    Please send some healing thoughts her way.  If you want to send her a card and need her address, let me know and I'll share it with you.

    One Thousand Lotto Blocks

    We quietly passed 1000 lotto blocks so far this year . . .  the July blocks made by some of the sneak peekers pushed us over the top.  Our official total-so-far this YEAR is 1010 blocks.  Congratulations!!

    FYI, 72 of the blocks are for NEXT month–which is pretty impressive in itself . . .  and I haven't yet made any myself ;-)

    My Progress on tic tac toe blocks...

    I ended up with 2 lap size quilts, one for my son and one for my daughter.  Here they are in flimsy form.

    My Daughter thinks her's is too girly but my husband said he would use it if she doesn't because he loves it!

    I loved being able to try two different layouts with these.  This is the first time I have done a piano key border too.  I love it but it takes so LONG.

    Thanks again for all the blocks everyone!  I really love them!!!

    Progress - Block Lotto January 2010 Tic Tac Toe winnings

    I've not been around much as my computer had a virus and I was not going to take the risk of passing it on! Anyway it's all working again so I can show you that I've begun to sash the blocks and join them together.  With hindsight I should have checked all the blocks are the same size, and made sure my sashing was too. Nevermind, it'll cheer up my bedroom no end to have this on the bed to protect it against Ivor cat hairs and the quilt police don't know where I live....

    I'm using all the blocks I won, but have made some extra blocks in the same white background and then some with hand-dyed backgrounds with white haches on.  I've arranged them 7 across and 9 down in the order of the spectrum (red/ orange/ yellow/ green/ blue/ indigo/ violet but with 2 extra rows that are yellow/green and blue/green because I got more of some colours than others).  Sashing is white, and then the cornerstones (well they're in the corner but don't look to hard at the matching - they don't!) are in complementary colours (well as near as I could find in my stash - green/ blue/ purple/ dark magenta/ red/ reddish-orange/ orange/ yellow).

    As you can see, I've done 3 & half rows (red, orange, yellow, yellowy/green mixed) so far, with another 5 to go (green, greeny/blue mixed, blue, indigo & violet) to go.  Poor Ivor cat currently languishes on a plain white sheet covering my duvet cover, when it's eventually finished, he'll be in colourful luxury!

    I've been looking at Lazy Gal Tonya's letters and the lettering that was the Block for February (that I didn't get around to joining in on) - and if the quilt needs a border on one or two sides I'm thinking of doing liberated lettering 'Block Lotto January 2010' or similar in white lettering on handdyed background.  First I've got to make the blocks go together, I'm getting ahead of myself again!

    I'm biased and inexperienced, so I think it's going to be gorgeous!

    Sunday, June 27, 2010

    June 10 Liberated Basket Blocks

    Wow, those handles are fun to make.  Hi there, I'm a neewbie at this and these are my 4 entries for June.  I may get at more tomorrow, but for now these are my entries in the Lotto.

    Thursday, June 24, 2010

    My Baskets for June

    Hello everyone. I spent the day in the sewing room today and got all my blocks done for this month. I had so much fun using up some crumbs...I really like getting rid of some of always a great block!

    I missed out on last month's lotto. I did have two blocks done, but never got them submitted thinking I'd make more first, but the deadline came and went. They sure are interesting!

    June 10 Liberated Baskets Blocks

    Egads...hope I'm doing this right! haha... thanks for holding my hand, sophie. When I hit the send button we'll see what a good teacher you are! I had to also enlist the aid of my teenage son to figure out how to upload the photo! :)
    (if it worked, then...yay!... but I'm not sure I will remember what I did, in order to do it again next month!!! haha! :)

    Here are (hopefully) my blocks for June. Some of the backgrounds look iffy on here, but trust me, they are yellow and/or goldish. What fun to make them! The absence of pattern was very liberating indeed!!!

    --- thanks for letting me play!

    Welcome Marilyn!

    Marilyn is joining the Block Lotto from Dallas, Texas (howdy neighbor!) and here are her 9 basket blocks.

    She was having some problems, so I'm posting her photo for her.  And, while doing so,  I noticed that Blogger has changed the interface to add photos ... again.  Look for the option to UPLOAD photos from your computer on the right, with the old photos that appear.

    These blocks bring our total to 129 so far for June.  We're now 6 blocks away from the number needed for three winners.

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010

    Some Block Lotto Housekeeping Notices

    The sneak peek was emailed earlier today to the twenty people who have made blocks so far this month.  If you're on the list and didn't receive the mail from me OR if you have made blocks and should be on the list but aren't, please let me know ASAP.

    If you are donating your chances this month or are a past winner and haven't made basket blocks and would be willing to be our winner picker next Wednesday, let me know.  It's easy and at least three (maybe four) people (the winners and me) will be very grateful.

    Because blogger limits the number of authors per blog,  I'm going to do some housekeeping in July and remove anyone who has not yet made blocks in 2010.  It looks like there are only 10 people who fall into that category.  Since the pattern information is published each month, there's no real advantage to becoming an author if you aren't actually planing to make and enter the blocks.   It's no big deal to add anyone back in if they decide to play later, but I don't want to end up with no open slots for anyone who genuinely has the time and inclination to make blocks for the lotto and play along. 

    Final Block Received

    I got the last block from Louise. I have been working real hard to get a finished top. I think I will finish this weekend. I LOVE these blocks. Thank You everyone for being apart of this blog.

    Tuesday, June 22, 2010

    Time Flies . . .

    Time flies when you're having fun . . . or when, as in my case right now, you are frantically looking for a new place to live before your lease ends :-(

    TOMORROW at NOON (on the US East Coast) is the deadline for posting the photo of your blocks if you want to receive the sneak peek of the block and guidelines for July.  JULY?  How can it be almost July already?  (Though to be honest, it has FELT like July for quite a while in North Texas and, as far as the weather goes, it could already be August.) 

    Even if you don't get the sneak peek, you can start thinking about fabrics.  I'm going to expand the guidelines from what I posted in April:   July's lotto block is a "two color" block, made from:

    1. BLACK (solid or BOB) or other VERY DARK TOT backgrounds
    2. BRIGHT fabric of your choice.  It may be a TOT or a multicolor print.
    If you choose a non-black tone-on-tone (TOT) for the background, it should be so dark that someone might think it's black from across the room.   I'm thinking inky navy, really dark greens, deep dark Burgundy, etc.

    For multiple blocks, you may use the same black or dark background, but the BRIGHT fabric must be different for each block. 

    All my Reeds are here.

    I was one of three winners in the May Block Lotto. All of these lovely black/white/lime reed blocks have now arrived at my house, plus 2 more that wouldn't fit in the picture.

    I don't have a design wall here in Michigan, so I used the dining table. Sorry about the angle. The floor may have worked better, but then my little helpers would have wanted to help.

    My son's family was here last week as the blocks were arriving, and my DIL really thought they were neat and enjoyed playing with placement of them. I think perhaps this will become a throw-sized quilt for her, or maybe a set of placemats.

    Thanks to all the participants. I love each and every block!

    june 10 liberated baskets

    I assure you that the blocks have no pink in them. They are bright yellow or a golden yellow and two are a fern gold fabric. The ones that I kept- some took on a pink hue when I treated them with synthropol, but I may be able to use them in a bag or not I haven't decided. I enjoyed making the baskets although time was a crunch this month.

    Monday, June 21, 2010


    My error, when I said my Reed Blocks were complete. I received one final package today from Debbie in Israel.

    I don't think I've ever received mail from Jersulem in Israel before! Love the stamp too, as well as the lovely blocks.

    Thanks, Debbie.

    june 10 liberated-style basket block

    Hi, I have finally gotten the second set of basket blocks finished. The first set I am keeping. I discovered that the red ran, even after the fabric had been treated to remove excess colour, and the blocks were made. The new set is made with colourfast red, so there should be no problems.

    I hope you like these.


    Saturday, June 19, 2010

    More Baskets!


    Here are 5 more baskets, bringing my total to 9. These were fun to make.


    Three lovely reed blocks arrived today from Carol in MN. Thanks so much, and thanks also for the lime fat eighth (or close). How sweet of you.

    That's all my winnings, so now to start figuring out what to do with them. My DIL was visiting last week and was playing with arranging them. I think she really liked them, so perhaps this will be for a quilt for her.

    Friday, June 18, 2010


    Hello group!  You once again inspired me to make up a quick quilt!  I just finished my "Reeds" quilt.  I put in a thin black flange between my blocks and inner border and added a few ladybug friends crawling on some of the blades! Thanks for the fun ideas for blocks!  Melissa

    Reed block on its way

    Balinda, I'm so sorry to be late, but my reeds block is finally in the post to you. This month has been horrendous with work and family/personal stuff overwhelming me, and I'm afraid my lonely block got overlooked in the chaos. It left Derbyshire yesterday, though, so I hope it should be with you in a few days' time.

    I don't think I'm going to get chance to make any baskets this month - no time or headspace to do so - but well done to all of you who have. They look great.

    Hope to be in the lotto again next month. Good luck to all!

    Wednesday, June 16, 2010

    June Basket

    I had lots of fun with this pattern...wish I had more hours in the day! I'll donate my lone chance.

    Monday, June 14, 2010

    Reeds Arrived!

    Lots of happy mail over the weekend. Thank you to Coralie, Janet, Kathie, Linda and Trudi! All my blocks have arrived and they are fantastic. I'll be leaving next week on vacation, so it will be a few weeks before I can get them together. I'm debating using sashing, but I'll share pictures when I get to that point.

    Happy quilting!

    Kate's baskets

    Here are two from me, Sophie - and I will donate my chances. I promise both backgrounds are yellow, it's just the contrast between the dark golden yellow on the left, and the lighter, more buttery yellow on the right! I may get some more done this month, but it's kind of one of those months, so I'm not holding my breath...

    Oh, and I even remembered to use one of the off-cuts from the wonky log cabins to start the basket on the right hand side!

    reeds fly in

    Today brought my reed blocks from Coralie. I love them all. Thanks so much.

    Baskets by Janet

    Here are my 7 baskets-Janet

    2 More Basket Chances

    Here are 2 more blocks. They are straight - just on my design wall which has windows and moulding behind it. I'm hoping to get 4 more completed by the end of the month to increase my chances to win!

    Saturday, June 12, 2010

    Gwen's Liberated Basket Quilts

    It seemed like it was time for more eye candy and inspiration . . . and maybe a setting idea, too.  I found this photo of this workshop example on Gwen Marston's blog.

    These basket blocks aren't exactly like ours, but share a lot of the same charming qualities. I love the border on this quilt, too.

    Follow the link above for more examples of Gwen's work, both traditional and liberated, on her site. You can also read an interview with Gwen (and see a couple more of her Liberated Basket quilts as well as other quilts) here, on the Real Women Quilt site: Featured Quilter - Gwen Marston.

    Kim's Reeds Arrive

    Kim, you 3 lovely reed blocks arrived today. Thanks. Also thank you for the interesting African/Egyptian print fat eighth. You must be right downtown NYC with that addy! Interesting.

    Friday, June 11, 2010

    Reeds mailed

    I just mailed my Reeds to the 2 lucky winners. Sorry for the delay, but I'm sad to say my mother passed away last week after a long illness. She had lived with us the last 5 months, so I miss her every day when I go home from work. She would have been 89 yesterday. I love you, Mom.

    Growing Reeds

    I have received Reed blocks from: Carol (St Paul), Debbie (Evansville), Ginny (Brooklyn), June (San Diego), Kate (England), Kim (NY), Mary Jane (Waycross), Michelle (Noble), Pat (Winter Garden), Sarah (Canada) and Sophie (Dallas).

    Now I'm ready to make some baskets! Thanks ladies.

    Busy, busy Me!

    I have been rather overwhelmed with things at home, or rather not being able to stay home much, and just discovered that I failed to post that I mailed my Reed blocks on June 1...aAt least I think I failed to post...I really don't have time to go back and read all the blog entries to be sure. LOL! I'm sure the lucky winners have received them by now.

    I hope everyone is having fun with the basket blocks. They sure are cute! I did manage to get 9 made before the busy-ness started. I don't know if Sophie put up pictures of all of them, so here they are:
    Now another busy day ahead for me. Bill paying, grocery shopping, getting a flat tire repaired/replaced. I wish I could just stay home and sew!

    Thursday, June 10, 2010

    My three...

    Here are my three so far for this month. I am donating my chances, too.

    Have to run, little girl getting off the bus soon!

    Wednesday, June 9, 2010

    More Reed Blocks Received

    I am getting reeds in the mail and loving it. Only 5 more to go. Thank you so much to: Caroline, June, Kate, Sophie, and Terri. I also got an extra block from Debbie from Indiana.

    Thank You to all. I have already purchased the sashing fabric.

    Tuesday, June 8, 2010


    Three more reed blocks arrived today, as well as a triangle of polka dots fabric -- polka dots are a favorite of mine! Thanks so much, June.

    May block away!

    My sincere apologies for getting this out so late. Between working graveyards and being rather sick for a week, I hadn't had the chance to set the trap for my postal carrier. Rest assured, Pat's block is in today's mail stream!

    betcha' can't make just one...

    These things are a lot of fun... I made 4 more this evening while watching "The Jerk" with Steve Martin. It was a perfect movie for wonky baskets!

    Monday, June 7, 2010

    Baskets by Andra

    Ok, so I am one of those people who are less than fond of baskets and I NEVER do anything with bias strips like this.  But my Mom was working on her's and they were cute the time I finished the fourth one, I was almost getting the hang of it. 
    Hope they are okay-Andra

    Repaired Blocks for June

    Mary Jane

    More blocks arrive

    Blocks arrived today from: Mary Jane, Lois, Sophia, & M. Lynch. They are all lovely. Thanks, gals.

    Reeds on their way!

    My 2 Reed blocks are on their way to Andi.  After a busy week, today was the day!  They are now flying their way across the pond!

    Blocks sent, finally!

    The envelope with Pat's reeds were sitting here since last Tuesday and I finally made it to the Post Office today. Yay! I hope they get there soon. Debbie M

    Sunday, June 6, 2010

    more baskets from rho......

    Here are three more basket blocks made tonight, bringing my total made for the month to 7 for June. Apologies for the bad lighting, and honestly, these blocks look better that the photo suggest. LOL Happy Quilting! (amended to say.. that I used the "handle" tutorial to make the handles, and my handles were easier to make and came out nicer than before).

    Presto-Chango! Sophie's (reworked) blocks

    If you are unhappy with any of your blocks and thinking of reworking them . . . I feel your pain.  In truth, it wasn't actually all that painful for me last night when I decided to turn the blocks on the left (which you might recognize as some of my original test blocks from the tutorial) into the blocks on the right, to make them into lotto blocks.

    4 Completed Baskets Sophie's 4 reworked Liberated Baskets

    Nobody likes ripping things out but turning three orphans into blocks for the lotto winners' quilts was satisfying.  As you might guess the originally hand-appliquéd handle on the pink one was the easiest to change and the green one with the machine buttonhole stitch the most challenging.  When I couldn't see how to neatly rip out the green handle, I didn't and cut a new background section for the top instead.

    Sophies Basket #2Along with the block on the right that I made as an example for the applique tips post, that makes 5 blocks for me this month. I will make more if I have the opportunity. Sorry for the bad lighting, but I really wanted to get it done so I could post the tips.

    These blocks bring our total-so-far for the month of June to 72 blocks.

    Saturday, June 5, 2010

    A Closer Look at Making the Basket Handle

    As promised here's a closer look at those bias handles with some additional suggestions for creating curved bias appliqué.  This approach will work whether you are making basket handles, stems, vines, branches, etc.

    When it comes to quilting, we are taught to avoid working with bias edges, using STEAM when pressing and pulling/contorting our fabrics.  But sometimes, all of these things can work for you to achieve the desired effect.

    Here's a closer look at the steps for making the basket handle.  Click any of the photos for a larger image and add your own tips in the comments.
    1. Be sure to cut your 1 1/2 inch strips ON THE BIAS.  Align the 45 degree line on your ruler with the selvedge or cut edge of your fabric to find the bias line across your fabric. 
    2. Sew the bias strip into a tube by sewing the two long edges together, WRONG SIDES together.   Don't even finger press the fold and you won't have to worry about getting rid the crease you create.  Thread color doesn't matter (notice my not so "neutral" light gray.) After you've sewn the seam, trim away the seam allowance as close as you can to the seam–after the bias is in place, there will be no stress on that seam.

      Making the bias tube Trim the seam allowance

    3. Now, carefully prepare the sewn bias strip.  Roll the seam and it's tiny seam allowance between your fingers so that the seam is in the middle of the strip. Take the strip to the iron and press it firmly so that it is VERY flat.

      Roll the tube and press 

    4. Next, using the STEAM in your iron, "swirl" the strip.  This is a technique I learned when making hats.  It's how you create the shape of the grosgrain ribbon that rests against the head inside the hat.  Since your head isn't a cylinder, the ribbon needs to wider at the bottom than the top, by swirling the ribbon into a slight curve, you create a ribbon that measures longer on one side than the other and fits beautifully inside a hat and against the head.

      The technique works like this: using a STEAM iron in one hand to anchor one end of the strip to the ironing board and holding the other end of the strip in your other hand to manipulate the strip.  As you press along the length of the bias strip, you'll be stretching one edge slightly to create a curved shape. 

      Swirl the bias strip

      Depending on the angle at which you pull the strip around, you could come very close to creating the shape you want for your handle at the ironing board. I was able to completely form my handle at the ironing board.

      Swirled bias strip

    5. Pin the handle in place, focusing on the OUTSIDE of the handle first.  Use as many or few pins as you need. If you are stitching your handle down on the machine, be sure to remove the pins as you come upon them. 
    6. When machine stitching the handle, be sure to use a thread color that matches or invisible thread. Use an open sewing machine foot that will allow an open view of the needle/seam and the edge of the handle.  If you can change the needle position on your machine, take advantage of that feature to sew as close to the edge of the handle as you can.  On my little Bernina, I used a #10 appliqué foot and moved my needle 1 step away from the far right right position (4.5 out of 5 on my scale).

      If you are using a straight stitch, as I did here, you want to be close to the edge while staying on the bias strip  If you are using a blind stitch, blanket stitch or zigzag, you'll also want to be close to the edge, but stitching along the background (and zigging into the handle).

      Pinned in place.  Stitching the Handle

    7. After you have stitched down the outside, you may notice that the background has pulled in a little.   You also now have an opportunity to work on the inside curve with the STEAM iron.  so, press the strip again, with STEAM, starting with the curviest part of the handle works the excess fabric into the straighter/more gently curved areas so it doesn't get tucks in it. Pulling the edge down/pressing towards the bottom of the block rather than perpendicular to the stitching on the outer edge shortens the fabric in the inside curve to help it lay smoothly as well.

      Outside stitched down. Back to the Iron
    8. When you have pressed and manipulated the handle so that it lies flat, you're ready to stitch down the inside curve.  Once again, you want to sew as close to the edge as you can. Upon close examination, your stitching will highlight the beautiful, smooth curve (with all edges appearing to be turned under– something I learned to think about in a  Jane Sassaman workshop from some years ago.

      Once your handle is completed, attach it to the bottom of the basket block, trimming the excess length of handle even with the fabric edge. I generally sew first and trim later to ensure that the ends of the strips don't have any possibility of folding up and getting in the way in the seam and . . . not lying flat when I'm done.

      Both sides stitched down Trim the handle
    Here's the rest of the block that goes with my example handle, after it was pressed and trimmed to size.

    Press & Trim the Block

    reeds arrive

    Oops! Forgot to say thanks, and that's the most important part!

    Reeds Arrive

    My reeds arrived today from Kate, and also my one from Debbie E. Who would think they'd come from the UK so fast? So far all mail (2 days worth) has been quilt related. So nice. I'm sure the bills, etc., will come along next week.

    Posting my 4 blocks....

    These are my 4 blocks I
    hope they are ok
    Debbie E

    Reeds Arrived!

    I had a great mail day...blocks arrived and BIG THANKS to

    Debbie E, Mary Jane C, Virginia D, C Egan. I'm loving this and have several ideas for layouts. Thanks ladies!!


    Mailed blocks

    I have mailed the blocks....

    Hope you get them soon.

    Debbie E

    Friday, June 4, 2010

    Blocks Received

    Lots of wonderful reed blocks arriving in the mail. I now have a total 5 packages.
    Thank You to:

    Ginny, Kim F, Laura, Mary jane, and Rho


    Andi, my reeds to you went off to you today. Hope they have safe travels.

    Rho's Four Baskets

    Rho made two more basket blocks and included a "group" photo of her 4 liberated baskets.

    If you want a closer look, you can see the individual photos of the newest (top two) baskets on my flickr photo stream here: Rho's heart basket and Rho's string-pieced basket.

    With these two additions, we now have a total of 64 blocks so far this month.

    Sophie's Reeds are on Their Way

    It wasn't exactly like through rain, sleet, snow and gloom of night, but I am patting myself on the back a bit for walking to the post office on our first 100 degree day, standing in a line with more than a dozen people and only one clerk at the counter, and putting on a smile when I got there and she had to "check in" new supplies before checking my envelopes for postage.    (Good thing I didn't just pop them in the mail slot because, as it turns out, they needed more).

    In any event, the May Lotto blocks from this whiney baby are on their way to Balinda, Andi and Pat.   I hope you like mine and all the blocks you receive and I can't wait to see what you do with them.

    June blocks

    Here are 4 more baskets from me--I hope they are not TOO wonky! Fun to make. Thanks Sohpie!