Gift Baskets: A Visit with Jennifer Thomas

 Gift Baskets: A Visit with Jennifer Thomas

Welcome guest blogger and quilt designer, Jennifer Thomas. Jennifer’s new quilt pattern, Gift Baskets, is a spin on the classic basket design, surrounded by a pieced border and appliquéd vines and flowers. Red quilts are fun, but why not make it a two-color quilt? Red and white quilts are always a hit and Gift Baskets is no exception. You’ll find this quilt in the McCall’s Quilting November/December 2016 issue. We’re happy to have Jennifer here to talk about her lovely quilt and fill us in on her process!

Hello there! My name is Jennifer S. Thomas and I’m so excited to be a guest blogger for McCall’s Quilting magazine today. Thank you so much for joining us. I’ll be talking about the making of my Gift Baskets quilt. The pattern for this quilt appears in the new McCall’s Quilting November/December 2016 issue.

My quilt design process often begins the old fashioned way, with graph paper and pencil. This is my original idea for the Gift Baskets quilt, still in my idea notebook, and dated May 3, 2008. Most of my quilts come into being a little faster than this one – eight years is a long time from idea to finished quilt!

JT DesignProcess 276x300 Gift Baskets: A Visit with Jennifer Thomas

Do you keep a quilt idea notebook? I’ve been doing this for the past twelve years. I use my idea notebook for sketches, written ideas, fabric swatches, an occasional photo of something that’s interesting to me, and I handwrite all my quilt patterns in my idea notebook, too. It’s fun, a history of what you’ve experienced, and a great reference tool.

As you can see, the original Gift Baskets design had many different colored baskets on a dark background, with multi-colored square sashing and borders. I made notes on my paper about alternate color schemes and border plans. Apparently, I was planning on incorporating yo-yo flowers in the outer border.

Eventually, I translated this design into EQ5 and redesigned it, playing with different design elements and color schemes. I came up with 90 different versions for the Gift Baskets quilt.

As you can see, the final design still has the same basic elements. The baskets are in the same positions, with the square sashing and border structure making up the center of the quilt.

JT QuiltAtHome Gift Baskets: A Visit with Jennifer Thomas

Gift Baskets became a two-color quilt, my first red and white quilt, something that’s been on my quilting bucket list for a long time. I used the Heritage Reds fabric line, by Paula Barnes, for Marcus Fabrics.

The baskets are sewn using the easy half square triangle method, and come together quite quickly. I used the fusible appliqué method to make the basket handles, with a tiny zigzag stitch to secure the fabric.

The appliqué outer border is my favorite part of this two-color quilt. It was my first time sewing an appliquéd border, and I was a little bit intimidated. I wasn’t completely confident and the pressures of everyday life and looming deadlines didn’t help. Sometimes the best thing to do when you are trying something new is to just begin, so I did. I did hand appliqué for the vines and stems and fusible appliqué for the flowers and leaves. I did all the appliqué for each border, attached them to the quilt, matching the vine as closely as I could, and then added one additional leaf at each vine’s join.

giftbaskets900s 300x300 Gift Baskets: A Visit with Jennifer Thomas giftbaskets900f 300x300 Gift Baskets: A Visit with Jennifer Thomas

To zigzag stitch around each fusible appliqué patch I set my machine stitch width at 2.0 and my length at 1.5. I also sewed around the edge of each patch with my machine set on the super slow “turtle” speed. It helped me to get a lovely and accurate edge finish.

I used The Warm Company’s Warm and Natural batting, plus Superior’s King Tut Sahara Desert color quilting thread to quilt the Gift Baskets quilt. I quilted a simple loopy meander over the center part of the quilt and did a single echo quilt around the appliquéd vine, leaves, and flowers in the outer border.

This quilt is so snuggly warm and perfect for winter. I’ll be sleeping underneath it as soon as the weather cools down. At 98″ x 98″, this red and white quilt’s wonderful for a king- or queen-size bed. And, who doesn’t love a bed-size quilt pattern?

I hope I’ve inspired you to sew a little today and let your creative ideas flow. It’s been fun giving you a little peek into the making of the Gift Baskets quilt. Thank you again, McCall’s Quilting, for having me as your guest today. You’re the best! To see more of my work, and keep up on what I’m doing, please visit my blog at Get Creative!

Thank you, Jennifer!

We’d love to hear from you, quilters! Leave a comment below about this lovely bed-size quilt pattern, stories of your own, or tips you have to share. It’s always fun to hear from the quilting community.

If you’d like to make this lovely two-color quilt, Gift Baskets, and don’t already have a copy of the McCall’s Quilting November/December 2016 issue, you can order print and digital magazines in our online shop. The Good Cheer quilt pattern is also available separately as an instant digital download.

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2 Responses to Gift Baskets: A Visit with Jennifer Thomas

  1. sichadwick says:

    “The pattern for this quilt appears in the new McCall’s Quilting November/December 2016 issue”
    I do not agree.

  2. Carrie Sisk says:

    Hello – you’ll find Gift Baskets on pg 14 of the McCall’s Quilting November/December 2016 issue.

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