Saturday, 3 June 2017

Bushel Basket quilt - finished

Hi all, Hope you are enjoying a sunshiny weekend wherever you are. I am very happy to post another finish today. I completed sewing on the binding last night but couldn't take photos till this morning, so I am claiming it as a Friday finish and linking to Crazy Mom Quilts.

I adore this quilt.  It speaks of everything I love about patchwork.  It was made entirely with scraps from previous projects going back over many years. And the quilt has grown and matured over a period of time: I started it back here in February 2016 (scroll to the end of the post) and thought I had finished in March '16 (see this post).  But the backing fabric was big enough for a larger quilt and it seemed a shame to cut it down - and generate more scrap.... So I decided to maybe wait a while and make some more blocks to grow the top.  But then I would need more scraps...

As part of my scrap management process (hollow laughter here from my husband who sees fabric overflowing from every surface) I have been trimming odd pieces too small to be 2 1/2" strips into 1" strips and storing them in a ziploc bag. I have also been putting aside odd 2" squares when I have come across them, and trimming down suitable 2 1/2" squares. 

It feels like I am being tidy and organised, which is a nice pat on the back each time I do it, and I think the fabric probably takes up less space than all the raggedy bits stuffed into plastic bags here and there. When I needed to make additional blocks to grow my quilt top I just had to reach for the bag and subcut the strips into the right length pieces for the blocks.

But the very best thing about this quilt for me is the opportunity it gave me to play around with colour without any consequences.  The fabric is all scrap, so no worry or inhibition about 'wasting' expensive fabric with the 'wrong' colour choices. 

The piecing is simple, so no anguish of piecing something complex only to find that there is insufficient contrast to show off the intricate design, or you just hate the colour combination.... 

So a chance to experiment and just try things, to play freely and enjoy the simple pleasure of pushing fabric through the machine.  Plus a chance to change colours every round, keeping it fresh and fun. I have included lots of photos so you can see how varied the fabrics are in colour and print.  

Lush floral fabric for the backing: so delicious. I bought the backing in a sale and found that it was a perfect match once the top was made - no having to go out looking for a backing and paying full price which can be a costly business for a large quilt. (In fact, I have been known to buy and stash backing fabrics and then plan an entire quilt colour scheme to suit the backing!).

I really love this backing and am so glad I made the quilt top bigger so I could use as much of it as possible.

The finished quilt measures 69 1/2" x 77 1/2". The blocks are a breeze to make and finish at a very cute 4 1/2". There are 255 blocks, set 15 x 17. This sounds like a daunting number of blocks to make but believe me, they are fairly quick to make once the cutting is done, provided you chain piece, of course (!), and quite addictive.

I kept the quilting very simple and utilitarian in keeping with the thrifty nature of the quilt.  Also nice and quick, so something else to love! A gentle crosshatch through the blocks so the quilt stays lofty and soft and drapes beautifully. The thread was a light tan from Mettler on the top and a soft blue grey Mettler on the back, I had both already so no delay in completing.   

Apologies for the cobweb on the binding in the photos above and below - a hazard of outside photography. Binding is three different rust fabrics: I found the strips already cut in my 2 1/2" leftover strip box and trimmed them to 2 1/4" which I prefer for most bindings.

I really hope you may be inspired to start saving your fabric in 1" strips and give this pattern (from Edyta Sitar's book, Scrappy Firework Quilts) a try. I have started saving strips again myself, though it may be a while before I have enough for the next Bushel Basket quilt!

Just a final thing: I went along to the Open Studio of a friend yesterday evening and bought this fun picture for my kitchen wall.  If you are in or near Surrey and like the look of it, you may want to visit Fee Fraser: she is opening her studio in her lovely garden to show her beautiful  (and very reasonably priced work) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend and for the next two weekends. Look at her link on the Surrey Open Studios website for more information.


  1. Hi Alison,
    What a fabulous quilt! It looks like it took you a while to make but I love the scrappiness of it. You put the fabrics together so well. ~smile~

  2. This is just wonderful! I have the book, and this was my favorite pattern. You have done such a nice job with it.

  3. Wonderful scrappy quilt - and I love your cute little laundry themed picture too!

  4. Beautiful way to use those scraps!