Monday, September 10, 2012

Apples in a Basket Block

A Year of  Paper Piecing   Book

September is a beautiful time of year in southeast Pennsylvania.  The days are warm in the afternoon , with lower humidity, and the evenings cool down quickly.  Time for baking apples and cooking soup.
Time to make a basket of apples wall hanging, too!

I found a really great book, on, called  A Year of Paper Piecing, by Beverly A. Maxvill.    
It has 12 Seasonal designs for 12 inch blocks, with some great instructions to do paper piecing and a little  quilting.   I was lucky enough to find it sold as a used book, and I don't think it was ever used!

I picked up some fall toned fabrics while  on a fabric store shopping trip with my friend, Maxine.  I found some pretty reds and browns and greens in the Marcus Fabric lines.  After I had the material cut, I  got excited and was  amazed at how much I loved those colors!  I had never paid much attention to these more traditional fabric lines before.  Maxine and I  were very close to squealing with delight, because we found some really pretty fabrics, and they were ALL 20% off ! Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!!   
My new fabric
I am pretty new at paper piecing, but really love doing it.

I got started , and after choosing which reds to use for which apples, it went quickly. (  I should've made a diagram with the materials designated to each apple , because I got myself confused with the same apple being in  more than one row of the pattern. )

 This one multi-pieced section took me some time to make sure that I put the 4 pieces together in the right order.   Paper piecing patterns can confuse me, because they are printed backwards.    So after I figured out how the four sections joined together, I took a picture of them in the right order, and made a diagram for my notes.  

This is how the sections A thru J  look before sewing them all together.  Elongated, to allow for the 1/4" seam allowances.  My husband said they look like houses piled on top of each other!.

Luckily,  I took my time and looked this over. Have you experienced paper piecers  seen my error already?   The directions told me to piece 2 little sections of background fabric to the row of the basket rim.  That's what I thought I did...
Then, I went back to her directions in the book , and read them properly, to learn that I needed to rip out those  two  background rectangles and the whole  top edge of the basket, and attach the background pieces  before I pieced the basket top and bottom pieces together.   And I had to add some background rectangles to the bottom basket piece, too.

That is when I decided to name my little seam ripper, Cruella DeRipper.   

I also remembered a very simple but handy tip that I am beginning to use a lot  in paper piecing.... 
For tricky sections.... baste  it first. 
Then  open it up, see if it is lined up properly,  and then resew it properly.  It is easier to rip out basting stitches,  than the tiny size 2 stitches I use for paper piecing!! (Plus, I don't need my ultra- magnifying reading glasses to rip out the basted stitches!)

Since basting size stitches are more similar to hand piecing,  I found I  Cruella can rip out a  specific ,small area that is not exactly matching, and I can maneuver it around/play with it, to get it to meet-up  better, while leaving the other areas intact that don't need moved. Give and Take....

                   Here is the   block, with the side strips being added. 
 I had 2 little squares to sew together on the top and bottom strips. I remembered  to make sure it lined up properly before I sewed them on.  I have learned to "piece them" at the right spot as  I sew them on... by  testing them pinned- on before I sew them. (Cruella pouts when I  actually remember to do this...)

Before I knew it, it was time to add the batting and backing to make my quilt sandwich.
I used some Warm and Natural for the batting, and some natural colored linen blend from my stash for the back.
The author suggests sewing the front and back together, right sides together, and then turning it inside out,  rather than binding the edges.  [ In her book, she puts velcro on the four back corners, and attaches it onto a quilted background with velcro , changing the block every month.]  I want to hang my  quilt block on a dowel rod, under a shelf in my kitchen.

So I  made  two corner pockets on the back, to hang this little block by.  They are  attached on the back in each top corner ,and  basted in place  before sewing the front and back together, right sides together.   This clever  method came from A Girl In Paradise ,  Ann.   (This tutorial ,  Hang your quilt using corner pockets  , explains how to make these pockets.)   The corner pockets works well for me. I just hang a tiny dowel rod under my shelf, attached to two eye hooks. Now,  I can keep  the dowel rod in place for all 12 blocks, and just take each block off of the rod by sliding  it out of the  pockets.
Corner pockets were machine sewed in.... and you can adjust to what size you like.  I made my squares 7 1/2 inches .                                                                

Next,  I wanted to try some very minimal hand quilting around the ouline of the apples and basket, and the outside edges .   I have never hand quilted before, but so admire all of the work that I see from you amazing quilters out there!  This includes quilts that my sister,  Amy  ( AmyMadeThat! ), has made for me.  

So I got out a needle and some  thread, and quilted a little  on my  apple block while watching tv last night. It was very relaxing. (It helped to use my strong glasses and a light aimed right on my  work.  )  My kitty, Whiskers, tried to help me with my thread management .   What would I do without her help?!

My stitches are not perfect, but I think I am pleased with my first hand quilting stitches results.  I love this pattern, because the little stems on the apples are not  fully attached, and they stand up a little.  

                                                       Apple stems stand up 

                                          Minimal quilting

                                           September block -  Apple Basket  

                                       Here it is in place under my shelf. 
September is ready for me to enjoy.
I can hardly wait for October's pattern.

Let me know if you get the book and want to sew along with me.  

I'm off to my sewing room!


  1. What a pretty way to welcome September! Whiskers looks like she would donate a whisker, if you run a wee bit short of thread that is very white.

  2. That is so pretty!! I am trying to work on the purse you have made many times over. I can't wait until it is done!!!

  3. Tequila (a Chihuahua) got into my knitting yarn the other night and was playing with it. Sometimes I think she wishes she was a cat.

  4. I am so glad you found my tute helpful. Your quilt is super cute and goes great under your self.

  5. Oh my - you are so CLEVER! It looks so complicated - I get lost just turning a corner, let alone turning fabric over paper, flipping over a stitch line here and a stitch line there. I think I will stick with patching and leave the paper piecing to you (I may actually try it one day). I've seen the block close-up on Flickr and it really is stunning.


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