A Tisket, A Tasket - January

In 2009, Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill Designs offered a BOM called A Tisket, A Tasket. (available here)

Each block featured a basket filled with something appropriate to that time of year. I decided to join along. The 8" blocks were fairly quick to make. It was a good first experience for a block-of-the-month, because I could actually keep up.

I learned a lot about applique along the way, so I thought I'd break one of the cardinal rules of quilting (never point out your mistakes!) so that you might also learn. I still love the project, and look forward to actually completing it. Maybe showing it around on blogland will give me just a little more determination to complete this so I can hang it on my wall.

I have a very special setting idea in mind. I can't wait to show it to you!


Here is the January block. It features a white snowman. This was only the first block, and already I had a technical issue: What do I do about the fabrics that will show through the white of the snowman? I had some solid white Kona. That fabric line is coarsely woven.

I decided that any kind of stiff stabilizer (no matter how opaque) would not be to my liking. The very reason I decided to do my applique by hand is because I didn't like the idea of anything stiff behind the fabric.

I hadn't figured out how to do reverse applique yet with my freezer paper method. I don't think I would have liked it done in reverse, because the snowman would be receding. Somehow, the subtle shadows would be wrong to me. (I'm stubborn!)

Here was my solution at the time: Sew two layers together, turn inside out. Yes, you have to deal with a bulky seam allowance when you are sewing, embroidering, pressing and quilting, but it prevents the background showing. On the plus side, you get some very realistic shadows!

If I had the chance to do it over again, I'd cut one piece of white to the exact finished shape, then wrap it with another piece of white fabric, turning under the raw edges. That way, I'd get the same two layers but less bulk.

I figured out that I could make my own variegated embroidery thread by combining single strands of various colors. The blobby, floppy French knots actually work well for pieces of coal.

Lesson Learned: Go ahead and do whatever works, even if it isn't perfect. There are plenty of unfinished quilts still hidden away somewhere, awaiting perfection.

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