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Sometimes What You're Looking For Is Right Under Your Nose

Let me introduce myself: I'm Carolyn Vagts, editor of Quilter's World magazine and writer of this update. That's my day job, and at night, I'm an addicted quilter. I tend to eat, breathe and sometimes sleep with my quilting. I have a beautiful studio with my work space right in it. How convenient, since I work at and with quilting. As editor, I am very hands-on with every issue. I'm also very hands-on with this update. I love to share my thoughts, inspiration and my experiences with other quilters in hopes to inspire them on to another project. For me, inspiration comes from some of the strangest places. An idea can come from a photograph of a quilt or a block diagram or, sometimes, from a project. I can look at a project and think how I would change it to suit my needs. A simple basket for summer can somehow, in my mind, be transformed into a holiday gift basket for my cards or maybe for my guest bathroom as a container my special Christmas towels.

I'm on a mission to use my scrap fabrics to make beautiful, usable items for gifts, for charity raffles or for my home. Unfortunately, a house can only use so many quilts, so I've been forced to find other means to use my fabrics. Not that it's a hardship. No, it's a great way to keep me quilting and not feel guilty about it!

With each update I select a book or pattern to accompany it. It's usually something that I feel goes along with the content of my update. Many times, I'll look at a project and want to take the elements apart to design another. Or like this Floral Fabric Baskets pattern, I'll simply rework it with new fabrics and remove the dimensional appliques. With a bit of imagination, I can easily see these gorgeous baskets as an early holiday project.

Floral Fabric Baskets
Floral Fabric Baskets can be purchased at

Once the decision was made to use my Christmas fabrics to make these baskets, I got out my container of Christmas scraps and sorted out a few fabrics to start. Since I like to use my scraps whenever possible, I knew each of the baskets I made would probably be different both inside and out. Most of my Christmas decorations are reds and golds, so that is where I started. I selected a few nice fabrics -- several in golds and reds, but some in contrasting colors as well -- and then pressed them before I began to cut out the pieces needed.

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My first group of fabrics to choose from and the two I selected for the first basket (along with some thin cotton batting).

The size of my scrap fabrics determined which fabric would be used for which size basket. I pin-basted the batting and outer-shell fabric together and quilted them as directed. But instead of doing straight lines I chose to stipple them in a meandering design. Once the quilting was done, I cut out the corner squares as directed.

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Quilting the outer fabric to the thin batting and cutting out the corner pieces.

I then went back to my machine and stitched down the sides and bottom as directed and then stitched the side seams to square off the basket bottom. Then I repeated the same steps with the basket lining pieces.

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Stitching the side and bottom seams.

The next step was to make the fabric handles. I layered the fabric and batting strips and then stitched them together with fabric wrong sides facing as directed. Next, I turned them right side out, pressed them and top-stitched them. I stitched the handles to the basket as directed. Then I stitched the lining into place and turned the whole thing through the opening I had left in the bottom of the lining. Then it was just a matter of hand-stitching the opening closed and pushing the lining down into the outer shell of the basket. I top-stitched around the top of the lining/outer shell to hold it in place, and voila!, it was finished.

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Stitching the handle layers together and then top-stitching along the edge of one of the handles.

This cute basket took about an hour from start to finish. Without adding the floral elements to the outside of the basket it went fast. I love the way it looks and have already found a great use for it. I think I'll be making several of these. I want to use this one for my guest bathroom to place my special holiday towels in, and I want to also make one for each of the ladies in my cookie group. I think it would not only be a great gift idea that they will hopefully use, but I want to add special little treasures in it for each of them. Hmm, now I only have to figure out what to put in them! I want to make a meaningful, personalized basket for each of them.

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My first completed fabric basket.

If you have any tips on how you channel your ideas into quilts I'd love to hear from you at

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