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In the Quilting World

Size & Shape

Sometimes the shape or size of a quilt project is what catches the interest of a quilter. Sometimes it's not an instant "got to make it" moment but a "maybe" or a "hmm." Sometimes a project sticks in the mind for a while until the lightbulb goes off. Some projects take a bit of thought and maybe a bit of personal tweaking to make it a project that fits into your style or needs.

Dresden Baskets Quartet was one of those projects that I passed by several times. To me it really didn't work as a candle mat, but I liked the idea of a small table runner instead. I liked the basket blocks and felt it could easily be tweaked to accommodate any season or holiday with a bit of imagination. But what I really liked about it was the size and shape. I am an art quilter at heart, and I look for projects that I can applique onto and those where I can practice my machine-quilting skills, so simple is usually better for what I love to do. I think of the piecing as a background where I can place my art.

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Dresden Baskets Quartet -- the free download pattern for
this Quilter's World update.

If you'd like to work along with me on this project, download the pattern PDF under the Free Quilting Pattern tab at the top.

Once I had decided what I wanted to do with this project I headed to my stashed fabrics, which, by the way, are a total mess at the moment. I'm in the process of moving my studio space. This can be an overwhelming task when you have a stash the size of mine. My first idea was quickly squashed. If you can't find the colors you're looking for, well, it means changing directions. My original thought was to redesign this project into an autumn-themed, small table runner with pretty batik leaves instead of Easter eggs. After digging through the fabrics I could find, I quickly changed to holly leaves and berries. This is a simple applique -- easy to draw and easy to add, yet timeless.

First, I selected the fabric for the background and the border fabrics. Since the original pattern, Dresden Baskets Quartet, had four 6-inch finished blocks in the center I decided to forego the piecing and simply add the border. I decided not to add the baskets to this one. I will add the baskets to the next one I make when I locate the right fabrics. 

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My chosen fabrics for the background and borders of my revised project.

Then it was off to the cutting table with my cutting list. 

1 (6 1/2 x 24 1/2-inch) strip (cream) fabric for center
2 (2 1/2 x 6 1/2-inch) strips (green) for short borders
2 (2 1/2 x 28 1/2-inch) strips (green) for long borders
2 (2 1/4-inch by fabric width) strips (green) for binding

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Fabrics cut for the center, borders and binding.

The sizes given in my cutting list make my candle mat/small table runner a tad bigger than the original pattern. The center is the same size, but the borders are a bit wider than the original. I stitched the short borders to each end of the center, pressed the seams, and then added the long borders to the sides. After pressing again, the background was ready for me to lay out my holly leaves and berries. So, next I was off to collect the fabrics for the holly and berries.

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The background ready to add the applique.

I drew my first holly leaf freehand and used a nickel to trace the size of circle for the berries I needed to match the leaves. I traced several leaves and berries onto the paper side of some fusible web; then I fused the web to the wrong side of the chosen fabrics.

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Creating a pattern then tracing and fusing the pieces needed.

I cut out each shape along the traced lines. I arranged the shapes on my background and fused them into place once I was happy with the placement. Next, using a machine buttonhole stitch, I stitched the appliques into place. I layered the appliqued top with batting and backing, and then quilted the entire top.

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The appliques fused, stitched into place ready to quilt.

I then trimmed and squared the small table runner and added the binding.

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My finished project. It's a bit different than the original.

If you choose to play along with me in these updates I'd love to see your projects. Send a photo of your project to me at Editor@QuiltersWorld.com and you may see your project and story on Facebook or in one of the upcoming updates. 

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