Two Blocks: #35 Flower Basket and #51 Hovering Birds

Hovering Birds (left) and Flower Basket.

Hovering Birds (left) and Flower Basket.

It took me a while to finish the Flower Basket block as I have never done this block before and was hesitant to apply the handle! I have always avoided this block for that one simple reason, but finally, I have slain that dragon.

It is worth noting that many of the block assembly diagrams in the Farmer’s Wife book call for cutting and sewing triangles. Whenever humanly possible, I will avoid working with triangles and their tricky bias edges. So I looked at the assembly diagram and realized this block would go together well with squares and half square triangles….and for both the large HST which forms the basket bowl and the background space behind the handle, and for the two smaller HST’s that form the basket base and background in the opposite corner from the handle, I printed off Triangulations triangle sheets and sewed the HST’s from those. That and three squares, plus the bias strip for the handle, gave me all the necessary components. I carefully pressed the handle strip, starched well, and pinned it into place with fine pins, then appliqué’d it on with fine silk thread.

If you are new to appliqué, or want a very pleasant and thorough review, I highly recommend Karen Kay Buckley’s DVD Hand and Machine Appliqué The Karen Kay Buckley Way. It is a very clear and clearly presented instructional video, easy to follow and well researched. I can vouch for Karen Kay’s product line! I have found her serrated scissors, Perfect Circles and threads to be essential tools, although my preference is to appliqué with 100 wt. fine silk thread like YLI or Kimono Silk from Superior Threads. Get a colour chart, they are beautiful enough to frame!

My fabric choices began with a desire to have the bowl of the basket a fussy-cut flower (which I had to cut twice as I muffed the HST placement of the first one; when sewn it was upside down, sigh…). Then I toyed with choices for the basket base and handle…they look nice when they are the same colour but I liked the effect of two different patterns.

35 Flower Basket

The assembly diagram for Hovering Birds also calls for legions of tiny triangle pieces. Not a chance! This block is more easily constructed from 9 HST’s (1 1/2″ finished size) and 6 squares (2″ = 1 1/2″ finished). So I pulled out my HST software, printed my sheets, and voilà!

Foundation piecing worksheet with notes on how to do it in HST's.

Foundation piecing worksheet with notes on how to do it in HST’s.

You do have many choices for your fabric placement in the Hovering Birds block. I decided that if these were hovering birds, the background could be blue for the sky, and the birds would be red. I liked the whole Bluebird colour scheme, but found the block a bit bland with the birds all in the same fabric. So we have two cardinals at the centre!

For you fellow fabri-holics out there, that blue fabric has been in my stash for 3 years. No idea why I bought it, aside from it was just pretty. The Honeysweet collection did not have a sufficiently quiet background in their blue-green colourway, so I trolled through my stash. This is not a colour I have much of, but thanks to that acquisition so long ago, I found I had the perfect piece. This happens to me all the time now…some obscure stash item I bought just because it appealed turns out, often years later, to be the perfect solution to some quilt design dilemma. Yay!

51 Hovering Birds


About westernwilson

I live in the Pacific Northwest, in Tsawwassen, BC, Canada, a small bedroom suburb of Vancouver, BC.

One response to “Two Blocks: #35 Flower Basket and #51 Hovering Birds

  1. Sam

    I just bought my FWS book last month and also joined the yahoo group. I have yet to select fabrics, but I am enjoying watching your progress and detailed description of how you went about choosing fabrics for your block. TFS

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