Quilting The Big Quilt-Baskets

Basket Quilt, Lori Kennedy

Good Morning, Quilters!

As you know, I spent most of last week in Denver filming my second Craftsy video.

It’s taken me a few days to wade through the piles of laundry and now I’m digging in to a long overdue project.

This birthday quilt is for my sister, Pat (Hi, Pat!)  and was created by my Mom, sisters, Pat’s daughters and a few sewing sisters.

I’m so excited to get started on it and give it the time it deserves!


My Mom always said, “When you don’t know where to begin, just begin!”

It’s amazing how often I say that to myself!

I am often subject to “paralysis by analysis”…I don’t know what I want to do, so I don’t do anything…

Most of the time, the best thing I can do is “just begin”.


Begin quilting the stabilization lines.

Every quilt needs to be stabilized.

In this quilt, I began stabilizing around the borders (see Ann Petersen’s Craftsy Class:  Big Quilts, Small Machine, Better Results)  Ann’s theory is that the borders are the most important area to keep straight and that if your quilt is well basted, you can stabilize the borders first and ease the center.  This is a very reasonable theory to me, so I’m giving it a whirl on this quilt.  (PS…Ann also does a great job demonstrating how to spray baste a large quilt!)

Basket Quilt, Lori Kennedy


Once I stabilized the entire quilt-borders and blocks– I stitched each basket.

To do this, I stitched very close to each of the handles and in the ditch of every triangle.

So far, this has taken 7-1/2 hours.  I’m not in any rush—I am bonding with the quilt!

While I stitch all the stabilization, I am starting to get a feel for the fabric and the motifs and am thinking about possible ways to quilt it.  

The ideas are flowing now….

More ideas than if I stared at the quilt for 7-1/2 hours!  It’s amazing!

Basket Quilt, Lori Kennedy


Now that I have some ideas, I will trace the basket and make several copies of it in my sketchbook and doodle a few options

What about YOU?

How do YOU bond with your quilts?  Where do you start when you don’t know where to start?

We’d LOVE to hear!


PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at lckennedy@hotmail.com.  Thanks!



Twelve Essential Skills Every Quilter Must Know


Quilt Notebook, Sulky Thread


In our last episode of The Quilt Notebook see HERE, we started with this premise:    In order to constantly improve and develop our skills, we must try new techniques and be methodical in our efforts.

To this end,  we created two lists in our Quilt Notebooks:

  • Techniques to Try
  • Mastered Techniques

We also discussed how to systematically improve our skills by working on one or two new techniques in every quilt.

While there are a myriad of quilting techniques to try,  there are several basic skills that every quilter must master first.   Once these skills are learned, the entire quilting process will be more enjoyable and then the truly creative process will be possible.

Twelve Essential Skills for QuiltersTHE ESSENTIAL TWELVE

After consulting with over 4000 of my colleagues (Read more HERE), I have  THE LIST:  Twelve Essential Skills Every Quilter Must Learn  in order to create a quilt from start to finish.

  1. Sewing Machine Knowledge–Every quilter must learn the basics of using their own sewing machines.  Necessary skills include oiling, threading, changing a needle,  adjusting stitch length and adjusting tension.
  2. Read a Pattern-The quilter must have a basic understanding  of terminology, abbreviations, cutting and sewing instructions.
  3. Cut accurately with a rotary cutter-This skill includes how to read a ruler, how to square the fabric, where to cut.
  4. Stitch an accurate 1/4 inch seam consistently-This is a skill that must be learned and rechecked periodically.  Inaccurate seam allowances cause distortion (and headaches)  when piecing any block or quilt.
  5. Chain Piece – This method allows for increased quilting efficiency and accuracy. Using “leaders and enders” is helpful here as well.
  6. Pressing Techniques-The Quilter must understand how to press (not iron) to avoid distorting the quilt block.  This skill also includes understanding which way to press each seam and why.
  7. Square-Fabric, blocks and quilt tops  all require “squaring” before cutting to prevent distortion of the entire quilt.
  8. Add Borders-The quilter must learn to cut and stitch borders correctly in order to prevent distortion of the quilt.
  9. Create the Quilt Sandwich-layering techniques to prevent folds and ripples
  10. Straight line quilt–Basic quilting using straight line quilting with feed dogs engaged. (What? no Free Motion Quilting?–While I consider FMQ “Essential”–it is possible to create a beautiful quilt using only straight line stitching!)
  11. Bind a quilt– The finishing touch to any quilt.  Should include a mitered corner.
  12. Label-The quilt isn’t finished until it’s labeled!

And I guess we could make it a Baker’s Dozen:

13.  Five crock pot recipes to get you through a week of non-stop quilting!

These 12 skills are all that’s needed to create a lovely, prize winning quilt.  Once we have mastered these techniques, we can be more creative and break the rules or Gild the Lily with techniques such as applique, embroidery, embellishments, curved piecing, free motion quilting……..(We’ll discuss THE NEXT TWELVE later in the year!)

We will be reviewing all of these techniques in great detail this year with tutorials, reference materials, and online examples.


For now…Add a new list to your Quilt Notebook:  The Essential Twelve…

Then ask yourself:  (Grade yourself if you like–and date the report card to check progress over the year.)

  • How do you rate in each of the twelve categories?
  • Are you confident in each of the skills?
  • Do you need to do a little remediation here and there?
  • When is the last time you checked your 1/4 inch seam allowance
  • Do you avoid any of these techniques because you aren’t quite sure of your skill?
  • Do you need to increase your efficiency of any of The Essential Twelve?
  • Do you know the skills well enough to be able to teach another quilter?

Make these twelve skills a priority for your Big Three quilts on which you are currently working.

Remember:  In order to constantly improve and develop our skills, we must try new techniques and be methodical in our efforts.  THE ESSENTIAL TWELVE FIRST!

Quilt Notebook, Sulky ThreadIf anyone knows of any great tutorials for The Essential Twelve, please let us know.  I’d like to start a list of reference material.  Also, if anyone would like to write a Guest Post on any of The Essential Twelve, I’d be happy to link to your blog…

Gordon B. Hinckley

“Do your best, and be a little better than you are.”
― Gordon B. Hinckley
Happy stitching,
PS…All images, tutorials and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Please feel free to Pin and Re-blog with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at lckennedy@hotmail.com.  Thanks!

Open Line Friday – The Essential Quilting Skills

Vintage Sewing Notions


One of the reasons most of us enjoy quilting so much is the never-ending challenge of new skills to learn and new techniques to try.  A quilter can never master all the possible quilt techniques, but we can add skills with each quilt we make.  As part of our ongoing series, The Quilt Notebook, we are discussing how to steadily improve as a quilter by using a “Skills Inventory”— a list of quilting skills we’ve mastered and a list of techniques we’d like to try.


While no one can learn all the possible quilt skills, there are a few “Essential Skills” that every quilter must learn.  Today, on Open Line Friday, I would like your help creating the Essentials List.     The “Essential Ten”-(more or less) should include all the skills necessary to create the most basic quilt, and include techniques that will save time and frustration later (like stitching a 1/4 inch seam accurately).   We will use this list in our Quilt Notebooks as a starting point for our Skills Inventory and I hope to create a tutorial for each of the basic skills.

Vintage Sewing Notions


A few essential skills I would include on the list are:

  • Stitch an accurate and consistent 1/4 inch seam.
  • Use a rotary cutter properly to accurately cut straight lines.
  • Memorize three crock pot meals for all-day quilt-a-thons.

Vintage Sewing NotionsLET’S BRAINSTORM 

After we create our “Essentials” list, we will dive into the “The Next Ten” list–but we’ll save that for another day…For today…What do YOU think are the skills that every quilter must learn…I’d love to hear!


You might also like:  The Quilt Notebook – The Skills Inventory

The Quilt Notebook – Setting Priorities