August 04, 2020

Quilt Block Mania - Basketball!

It's time for another Quilt Block Mania series! This month the theme is Back to School, which is something I usually try to avoid thinking about until the V.E.R.Y. last few days before it actually starts. Don't ask me why, but back to school shopping is probably my least favourite parenting activity. Plus, back to school also means back to work for my teacher husband and myself, since I babysit for teachers. Maybe that has something to do with my aversion to it.

Once I wrapped my mind around the theme, I decided to take a slightly different approach to my block. Rather than designing a block with crayons or pencils or books, I created a basketball block. After all, how many kids say their favourite class is gym?? 😊 
Basketball quilt block |
Actually, I chose the basketball for two of my boys. Zachary, my 16 year old, has been playing on the school basketball team for three years now and he loves it. As in, for two of those years he was playing on both the junior and senior teams (it's a small school!), which meant practices 4 days a week and there were no complaints at all. Nathan, my 12 year old, had his first year on the junior team last year, after waiting anxiously for years, and he loved it, too. I hear a lot about basketball practice! I don't know what will happen with school sports this coming year, but I do know I'll have two very disappointed boys if they can't play basketball.

This quick-to-finish basketball block is made with machine applique. I chose to use a washable glue stick to attach the orange circle. I find washable glue is perfect for large, simple applique shapes and it doesn't add any stiffness to the project.

I wasn't sure how fiddly those skinny black lines would be to applique, but they weren't a problem at all. I used Heat 'N Bond fusible web for them and it worked like a charm. 
Basketball quilt block |
I stitched each edge of the lines with a narrow zig zag stitch using Aurifil 2692. I set both the length and width of the zig zag stitch to 1.5. It's much easier to see the stitches on the back of the block.
Zig zag stitching |
I like to tie off the ends of the threads when I do zig zag stitch. When I finish a line, I cut the threads leaving a long tail. Because I chose not to stitch over any lines where they overlap, it made for quite a mess of thread tails by the time I finished stitching!
Basketball quilt block |
I use a hand stitching needle to pull each thread to the back, then knot it with the thread from the bobbin. It's an extra step, but I like knowing those stitches aren't going to come out and for some reason I don't trust backstitching over zig zag stitches. Since these were black threads on a white background, I also took the time to pull the thread tails at the edges through a couple of stitches after tying the knots, so the threads won't show through the white. 
Basketball quilt block |
Once those were finished, I zig zag stitched around the edge of the basketball with Aurifil 2390. I used the same 1.5 settings as when I stitched the black lines. I quite like how the block looks from the back, too!
Basketball quilt block |
I said in my July Quilt Block Mania post (Starfish Dance) that I'm trying to avoid growing my orphan block collection these days, but this basketball block refused to tell me what it should become, so it remains just a block. Maybe a mini quilt? I'm not really sure yet. What would you make with it?
Basketball quilt block |
The Quilt Block Mania series is a lot of fun, with plenty of free blocks for you to download and make. Don't forget to download the basketball pattern before you go hopping around to collect the rest of the blocks!

Back to School quilt blocks |
Here is the full list of Back to School block designers and their blocks for you to check out:

Crayons by Slice of Pi Quilts
Lockers by Powered by Quilting
Math Problem by Pretty Piney
Chalk Board by Inquiring Quilter
Stack of Books by Carolina Moore
Pointy Pencil Block by Sew Brainy
Geometry by Duck Creek Mountain Quilting
Pencils by Quilting Room with Mel
School Bus by Orange Blossom Quilt
Book with Animal by Seams to be Sew
Stack of Textbooks by Quilted Diary
Shades of the Sun by Charisma Horton
Basketball by Devoted Quilter
Apples by Perkins Dry Goods
Box of Crayons by ScrapDash
Apple with leaf by Block of the Mo
Crayons by Off the Wall Quilt
School Time Schoolhouse by Quilt Moments
School House by Utah Quilt Appraiser
Pencil by True Blue Quilts
Owl by The Whimsical Workshop
Calculator by Quilt Fabrication
Crayons by Linda B Creative
Applique Computer by DooHikey Designs
Modern Apple by Cotton Street Commons
Glue by Quilting Mod
School Girls Puzzle by Sew on the Go
Snack by Quiltfox Design
Backpack by Oh Kaye Quilting
Math Signs by Patti's Patchwork
Bookworm by Appliques Quilts and More
Backpack by Tacy Gray
Schoolhouse by From my Carolina Home
Girl's Favorite by Blue Bear Quilts
Origami Paper Plane by Amara Creacions
Show up and Shine! by SewJoy Creations
School House with Children by Aunte Ms Quilts

Happy Back to School sewing (even if, like me, you want to ignore back to school thoughts for just a little longer 😄)!

Basketball quilt block |


  1. Great tutorial! But I didn't like gym class at all, LOL!

  2. Thank you for the Back to School block!

  3. Thank you. Our daughter was in basketball every year in high school

  4. thank you for your pattern it is well done.

  5. I miss those start-of-school days. First day of school pictures; hearing the early morning high school marching band practice a half dozen blocks away; sensing our kid's excitement about seeing friends again. Ahh. Now I have no need to make back-to-school blocks, though your basketball block is really nice, and especially appropriate for your sons. I hope they get to play bb this fall, though I wouldn't be surprised if they don't. So much about school is uncertain. I'm sorry your husband and you must go through the difficult challenges ahead. I knew you babysat, but didn't know the circumstances... that your job is related to school. I hope everything goes well.

  6. Wow! Those skinny lines did turn out great!! Love it!!

  7. I love it!! Basketball is one of our favorite sports!!


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