Monday, January 1, 2024

Basket Quilt Sew Along 2024

Happy New Year, quilters! I wanted to let you all know that we'll be making baskets as a sew along/challenge in my Facebook group Kathleen Tracy Quilts this year. We've done this a few times over the years and it's always popular. We'll begin sometime in mid-January. Watch for details coming soon.

                      Who doesn't love a little basket quilt??  An oldie but goodie - Civil War Baskets.   

You'll have the option to make the basket quilt of your choice. I will give you instructions to make a basic 4" basket block and there are several patterns in some of my books for you to choose from as well if you'd prefer to make one of those instead. 

Here are some basket quilts to consider:

Posy baskets from Schoolgirl Sampler

Civil War baskets from my book Remembering Adelia.

Olivia Loves Baskets pattern is available in my Etsy shop.

Prairie Baskets is from my second book Prairie Children & Their Quilts.

Cherry Baskets

     Aunt Sarah's Sewing Basket

January always puts me in the mood to organize my fabric and scraps so  I'm hoping to get  a little of that done this week as I work out the details of the sew along. My sewing room's been neglected for awhile. It really needs to be cleaned up on a frequent and regular basis but last year really threw me off my game a bit so it just didn't get done very often. I find myself avoiding walking into that room right now . . . . So I'll grit my teeth and try to clean it up for a few minutes every day to keep my creative urges going in the right direction. It's a good idea to try this if you're thinking of joining me in the upcoming basket sew along. A clean space or table sometimes really makes all the difference and can feel like a fresh start. 

I hope you all have a happy New Year! 

Monday, December 25, 2023

Merry Christmas

Here's hoping you're having a very Merry Christmas! Holidays are always so rushed and I haven't posted in awhile. 


We had a wonderful Christmas Eve with our kids and my sister yesterday. Today, my husband made Swedish pancakes and bacon for Christmas breakfast. I almost never eat bacon anymore so it was a nice treat. We'll spend the day just hanging out, maybe napping. Was down with the flu for awhile after Thanksgiving and I still have no energy. Made a few more trees and I think I'll try making a few more after Christmas too. 


This coming week I'll be planning a new little sew along for next year. A few of my FB group members expressed an interest in making a basket quilt(s). Details to come after the new year but you'll probably have a couple of options for making the baskets. I'll do some thinking on it and post here soon. Hope you'll join us!

No snow in Illinois this year . . . . 

Have yourselves a Merry little Christmas! May hope and peace be with you all for the New Year.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Quilt Show in the Garden

Last weekend I attended the Fine Art of Fiber show at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Lots and lots of pretty quilts in a beautiful garden setting. I've missed going the past couple of years because of the pandemic. Haven't been to any quilt shows for a looong time so this was fun.

The quilting on this one intrigued me.


The quilts on display were mostly modern designs but I came home with this antique/vintage one. I've always had a plan to reproduce this block someday. And now it's done for me! 

The day was a bit dreary and overcast but the bright and lively quilts inside provided a lovely balance. 

This tree sparkled! 

Friday, November 3, 2023

Scrap Quilt Love

Do you love the look of scrappy quilts? And do you sometimes have a little trouble choosing fabrics for your scrappy quilts?  You're not alone. I get questions about choosing fabrics all the time.    



It's important to develop a good collection of fabrics in order to make nice scrap quilts. I know it's fun to just keep buying the same colors over and over again (guilty). But, if you're intent on making scrap quilts, then you need to go outside your box and pick up some prints that may not be in your customary colors. I love blue and always tend to buy a lot of blues. But if I only buy blue every time I shop, my fabric collection will suffer and so will my quilts. If it gets overwhelming, focus on building up your fabric stash by buying one color at a time.  The good news - this will involve a lot of shopping.



It's actually easy -  in order to make even the simplest scrap quilt you'll need a variety of scraps in all the colors. Decide which will serve you better and fit your budget: Yards and yards of just a few prints or lots and lots of smaller cuts that you'll use for a long time as you build up your collection and make your quilts?


To repeat - In order to make good scrap quilts the very first thing you need to do is begin collecting lots of different prints in various colors. If you're like me and have been doing this for years, then this might not be a problem for some of you. But, if you're new to scrappy quilting (or quilting in general), it's absolutely necessary to  have a "good fabric wardrobe" with a nice variety of prints in basic colors.  Every quilter should have a good assortment of prints in shades of:
  • red
  • medium blue 
  • brown
  • tan 
  • rust or orange
  • green 
  • gold 
  • indigo or dark blue 
  • pink
  • purple 
  • black
  • and, of course, a collection of light prints or "shirting" fabrics

A little organization is key. You may want to take an inventory of some of your fabrics. I store mine according to color. In order to make a good scrappy quilt, you'll need to have several different prints in each colorway. Sounds like a lot of fabric but you don't need yards and yards of prints for each color.  Fat quarters, 1/4 yards or even smaller pieces will do. 


Next time you visit a quilt shop or shop online for fabric, in addition to buying yardage of what you love, try focusing on buying some prints in different colors you may not already have in your collection. Perhaps buy additional half yards, quarter yards or fat quarters of just ONE color (but a variety of prints in that color) on this trip. I always seem to be low on gold and green. Not my favorite colors or used often as the focus in my quilts but I still love to incorporate them into my scrap quilts and need to remember to buy more. Then, the next time you shop, focus on only buying say, an assortment of reds, or just buy a few brown prints.

In addition to buying "quiet" prints like the ones above, look for interesting prints in all the different colors. These will add interest to your quilts.

Over time, if you shop often, this will give you a nice variety. And, you may find that this is a way to overcome the overwhelming feeling we all get when we enter a quilt shop and may help to keep the confusion to a minimum. There's usually inspiration at every step and if you see a quilt you must make, then go for it and buy all of the fabric it takes. Just remember to also build up your basic fabric collection while you're there. Also, if you make small quilts, then don't buy all large, busy floral prints. Mix it up and buy a few geometrics, stripes or checks, tiny florals and dots too. Save the large florals for the borders perhaps. When you build up your fabric collection this way, the next time you feel like making a scrappy quilt, you're good to go.


Bottom line - don't be afraid to buy more fabric. Sure, maybe you feel you don't need it and it's probably true, we will never use all of it up in our lifetimes. But, as quilters, it goes without saying that we are also collectors of fabric. Fabric is what drives us as well as the entire quilting industry.  You should not apologize or feel ashamed if you have too much fabric. Buying fabric is an essential part of the creative process and it often gives us the inspiration we need to begin something new. Stop and think -  do you really need 5 yards of a print you love? Or, will a half yard or even a fat quarter do? There will always be new fabric to love. You may be better off buying additional smaller pieces of some other lovely prints that will complement that one and this will build up your collection. 

                                                               Happy Fall!