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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Baskets, Baskets, More Batik Baskets!

Batik Baskets Galore!
      A few weeks back, I got involved in trying my hand at making coiled clothesline fabric baskets.  My first attempt was laughable; my progress was noted in my previous post.
My first itty bitty fabric basket!
      Although my plan had been to use up scraps with these basket projects,  I made one of the earlier baskets with some batik fabric I had left over from a 2009 project. 
The batik fabric,which has deep red, blue and golden tan tones.


     I loved how the basket turned out from this fabric.  It was just what I had envisioned when I started this project.
The completed basket.  The batik colors photograph so differently in different lights.
     So much for scraps!  I headed out to the fabric store for some batiks.  I decided to see what I could do with a fat quarter.  I also found some clothesline which was a cotton with a poly core, which seemed to hold its shape much better than a 100% cotton line.  I also began to make the bottoms of the bowls a standard size (about 4 inches), and the bowls finished with 13 loops around.  The finished bowls are 2 1/2 inches high, and about 6 1/2 to 7 inches wide.

The first few batik baskets
     After I had made about a half dozen baskets, it occurred to me that I should take a picture of the batik before cutting into little 1/2 inch strips.   The batik pattern gets transformed so completely in the basket making.  I was attracted to patterns that had some good contrast.
Blue pink and purple batik.
The finished basket.  I used a purple thread on this one.
Yellow and light green batik.
The finished basket from that batik. 
I now have a stack of batik baskets. 
The sizes are pretty uniform
More of the baskets
     I ended up with some scraps from these baskets, usually one little strip or a bit more.  I also had a shorter length of rope and decided to make my own scrappy basket, trying out a much smaller (2 inch) base.
 
The leftover strips of the batik.  I cut the strips by eye, and I don't worry if the width is uniform.
My scrappy basket.  I used a multicolor bright thread on this basket.

Close up of the outside, which shows off the thread, and all the fabulous colors!

This shows the conical shape and smaller base.

      It is possible that some of the batik baskets will be given as gifts this Christmas.  This little scrap basket, however, is all mine!

     I haven't abandoned quilting!  I have two quilt tops finished, and have fabric for two more assembled and ready to cut.  

Enjoy the fall!
Take care,
Gretchen

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Scrap Happy Baskets and More!


My fabric bowl projects - bowls #1 to #5! 
     Well,  I had some unexpected days off of work this week, and decided to finish a long overdue project - making a new cover for my ironing board.   I have had my ironing board since college.  Why buy a new one, when the old one is perfectly fine?  But it wasn't.  I needed a new cover, but when I took off the padding - ick!  The metal had gotten all rusty.   I didn't even want to take a photo of the rustiness, but my husband, normally put to work holding quilts, sanded and spray painted the metal so it was like new!

Newly painted iron board base!
      I have made many curtains and window treatments over the years, and took apart some old kitchen curtains that no longer matched in the kitchen, but I just loved the fabric.
The great yellow happy fabric!
I had to piece together the curtain pieces to fit the large ironing board cover.

I used three layers of batting left over from quilts to go under the cover.  I just put the old board on top of the batting, drew a line around it, and cut it out.  I later added elastic to the batting to keep it taut. 

Voila, the newly recovered ironing board!  There is still a little too much give in the cover underneath, but that doesn't appear to affect the usefulness of the cover.
     I still had time off, and leftover fabric!   I have wanted to try my hand at making fabric covered bowls.  I checked out some internet sites, and without too much ado, just jumped into the project.
Fabric strips and clothesline.
     The first attempt was predictably lame.  I cut the fabric strips too wide, and used a non-cotton clothesline.  I also didn't make much of a base, so the bowl is a little tipsy!
My first fabric bowl!

The first fabric bowl!
    I tried again, making a larger base, and a larger bowl.  This was better, but still not great.
Bowl #2
      I got a bit fancy with this one, trying handles, and also a little fancy swirl to end the bowl.
Showing the handles on Bowl #2.

Little fanciness to the bowl!

      To wrap the cord in fabric, I initially started by clipping the cord to the inside of my sewing cabinet, and just wrapping and pinning from there.  

Wrapping the cord.

     Still more time off - I tackled Bowl #3.  I found a left over piece of fabric I had used in my daughter's  broken dishes quilt.  I was still using strips I cut at 1 1/2 inches, which I now realize was too wide.  This was a much bigger bowl, with a pretty large base.  I used some light blue threads for the zigzagging.
Bowl #3, finished

A close up of the stitching and fabric

Close up of the bowl.  I wish the fabric was wrapped tighter on the top of the bowl.

       I then bought some 100% cotton cord at a hardward store, which made a difference in how the wrapped cord handled.
The new 100% cotton cord
     Bowl #4 used some I had some leftover quilting fabric from the quilt backing on my exotic garden quilt, and cut that up to use.

The blue backing fabric.
    
Bowl #4 had a larger base, and the cotton cord made for a smoother bowl.

This bowl just looked better to me.

A close up of the inside of the blue and roses bowl.
 
      I then watched a video on making fabric baskets that was quite helpful.  I should have watched it sooner!   The big tip was to use very narrow strips of fabric to wrap.   I had some leftover fabric I had used for curtains and a seat cover in the foyer, and cut it up in strips about 1/2 inch wide.  
The gorgeous fabric with rich jewel tones before being cut up!

The narrow strips.
      Bowl #5 was a great improvement.   I used a deep red thread to complement the colors in the fabric. 
The finished bowl.

Bowl #5.     I love this bowl!
 
       I am glad I got the hang of this.  It is a great way to use up fabric scraps, especially home dec fabric that I wouldn't use (anymore) in a quilt.   I am envisioning using some holiday fabric in a bowl or two!

     I am also working on some quilts which I hope to share in the not so distant future.

Take care,
Gretchen