The Stamp Basket Quilt Block Has Some Applique

If you are thinking about trying a little applique, you might want to try the Stamp Basket because only the basket handles are appliqued.

The Stamp Basket quilt block offers a first experience with appliqué. The basket handles are appliquéd onto the center triangles and they help to soften the very angular nature of this block.  This is my first dark background in our Sampler Quilt project and the more I look at it the more I like it.

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My first Stamp Basket block turned out pretty well considering I had never appliquéd before.  I also thought my color selection was nice.  It was simple, using only three different fabrics, and I think that helped the white baskets really stand out!

Continuing on with the theme of “color”, selecting colors for my second Stamp Basket quilt block has been very frustrating.  I have had nearly every combination of my fabrics cut or folded or twisted to make up the Stamp Basket pattern and have had a very tough time deciding on which colors to use.

Because of the way the white baskets stood out on my first block, I was sure I wanted the baskets on my new block to be in the cream.  In the center, I wanted to use my paisley since it is the most colorful pattern, almost simulating flowers in the basket.

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It was really just the background that I was having trouble with.

So, in this picture I used brown for the squares and the caramel pattern for the triangles.  Here I felt that the triangles stuck out too much.

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Lightening the triangles only made them stand out that much more.  It also seemed like there was so much going on in the block that the baskets were getting lost.

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Pretending that my table was the brown fabric, I could picture the entire background in brown and in this one I finally see the baskets standing out.

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Since keeping all the background pieces in one color helped the baskets stand out, I thought I’d just try the caramel colored pattern to see how it looked.  It certainly seemed to brighten up the block and I think it helped the Stamp Basket block blend in better with the previous blocks.  So finally, the Stamp Basket was a go!

So, let’s break down the Stamp Basket block.

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The Stamp Basket block is made up of 32 pieces.  There are 4 templates you will need to create to cut all 32; two triangles, one square and the handle!

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As I mentioned in the last article, the Stamp Basket block goes together differently than any of the other blocks we have tried.  The first step is to appliqué the handle onto a center triangle before we even start the piecing process. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at the materials list and then we’ll get this project going!

Materials List:

  • 8 small triangles 2 7/8” x 2 7/8” – in my block I made mine all cream  (remember this includes ¼” seam allowance all the way around)
  • 12 large triangles 4 7/8” x 4 7/8” – in my block 4 are cram for the baskets, 4 are paisley for the “flowers” and 4 are the background color. (includes ¼”  seam allowance)
  • 8 squares 2 ½” x 2 ½” – mine are all in the background color (also includes the ¼” seam allowance)
  • 4 handles 1 1/8” thick and cut out of a 3 ½” x 2 ¼” rectangle – mine were all  cream (size includes 1/4” seam allowance all the way around which is  not included on the handle template.  You must trace the template  with your pencil and it becomes the fold line then add the seam  allowance when you cut)
  • Cotton thread for sewing
  • Quilter’s Straight Pins (with large heads)
  • Sharp fabric scissors
  • Template Plastic
  • Scissors for plastic
  • Ruler to measure plastic
  • Pencil

Instructions:

1. As always, begin by cutting out the plastic templates.  Download and print the template I’ve made checking to be sure your large triangle measures 4 7/8” by 4 7/8” and the small triangle measures 2 7/8” by 2 7/8”, etc. Remember, all of the templates (except the handle) include ¼” seam allowance all the way around the piece.  For the handle, trace the template and use the pencil line as the fold line for appliquéing.  When you cut the handle out of the fabric, add ¼” all the way around.

2. Place the plastic template on the wrong side of your fabric, trace around it with a sharp pencil or white pencil on dark fabrics.  Then, cut out your pieces.

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3. Work with your fabrics to determine which block pieces will be in which colors.  You may have to replace pieces with another color even after you have them all cut out which is exactly what happened to me on this block!  Make sure to save the pieces you’ve cut and replaced.  They may work in another quilt block.

4. Once you are sure about your color choices and their locations, it’s time to put the patches together.  For the Stamp Basket quilt block we start by appliquéing the handles to the center triangles.

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If you have never appliquéd before, it’s fairly simple.  Start by folding the seam allowance to the back of the fabric handle, following the pencil lines.  Some people baste along the fold to hold the seam allowance in place; I like to iron the seam allowance back. Around curves you will need to clip the seam allowance so it will lay flat.

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Once all the handles are either basted or ironed, they need to be sewn (appliquéd) onto the center triangles.  I started by pinning the outer curve in place.

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Then, I used a regular hemming stitch to attach the appliqué but a blind stitch is more often used.  The blind stitch will completely hide your stitches into the basket handle.  The hemming stitch lets you see just the tiny little catches in the handle fabric.  Whatever is easiest, it’s up to you!

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Next, pin the lower curve in place and stitch it to the base fabric as well.

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5. Once all of the handles are attached to the center triangles, it’s time to start putting the four little blocks together to make one large block.  The first two pieces to go together are the small triangle of the basket and the square. There are 8 pairs of these.  Make sure to put them together correctly so the pattern is going in the right direction.

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6. Next, attach the two pieces to each side of the basket.

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Keep in mind that we still want ¼” seam allowances, so you’ll have to pin these pieces together so the points stick out, don’t line them up end to end.

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7. The last step in the small block is to attach the handle piece and then the background piece to the basket.

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Again, be careful when pinning these pieces together so that the points line up and the seams are laying down flat.  It’s important that the triangle with the handle is the same size as the two triangles of the base of the basket.  Pin well and stitch together.

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8. Its always rewarding ironing the blocks.  They come out so neat and flat….I just think they look fabulous and make the tediousness all worthwhile!

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9. Sew two of the blocks together and then sew the two halves together.  Iron the new seams flat and voila, you’ve completed your first appliquéd block!

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Now that we have five of our six blocks made, we need to consider how the sixth block will pull everything together.  Off the top of my head, I will definitely need some red in the last block.  I will either want to make the sixth block with a white or perhaps another yellow or colored background.  The plan for our next block is to make the Dresden Plate.  This is great because it uses many colors and can be on a light or dark background so my options are still open!

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The Dresden Plate is a nice block to use at the end of your project because it gives you the ability to tie the rest of the blocks together. In fact, you almost expect there to be a sample of all of the colors from the quilt present in the Dresden Plate. For this block we will do quite a bit more appliqué, so I hope you enjoyed what we have done in our current block. Your job now is to start thinking about how you want to handle your Dresden Plate and perfect the art of appliqué on your Stamp Basket!

Until next time!!

Shari

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