Thursday, October 13, 2016

Reproduction Quilts: Basket Ideas

"Ethel's Treasure Baskets" by Cynthia at Wabi-sabi quilts.

Cynthia interpreted an antique basket quilt for the American Quilt Study Group's challenge this year.

The original is in the collection of the New England Quilt Museum.
See more here:

Baltimore Blues
60" x 70"
Baskets are also the theme of the project sheet that
accompanies my newest Moda line 
Baltimore Blues.

You can buy a kit as well as a pattern.

Pieced baskets were a new idea in the 1840s and '50s when the Prussian blue prints in Baltimore Blues were popular.

Here's one of a pair in a quilt dated 1846.

Lydia Rounsavel's 1846 album
I believe this was once in the Flack collection.

These two in the corners are the earliest pieced baskets I have on file.

Date-inscribed 1853.

Wisconsin project & the Quilt Index
Hawk's Inn Historical Museum collection

The empty baskets are filled with signatures and dates.

The Basket by A G Ellison, Age 9 yrs 1853
Nickols Collection of the Mingei Museum

What to call the pattern?
Basket is good as A. Grace Ellison's 1853 quilt says.
It's the same name Marie Webster gave it in 1915
It's BlockBase #662

The general pattern was published as "Basket" by the Orange Judd Farmer magazine in 1899.

To get a period look it's not only pattern and fabrics---it's style and set. So if you want to stitch a period #662 with your kit here are some period style pointers.

I did a few digital sketches of period basket sets:
All- over on point.

Mass Quilts and the Quilt Index
(with a little cut-out chintz throw back in the center.)

From Skinner Auctions

Note the large print border, which is also a little throw back.
It'd look good in blue.

Too many baskets?
Add sashing.

Fanny S. Lightner, Nebraska State Historical Society.

You could put it on point, piece the sashing and add an appliqued border
as in this example dated 1858, by Mary Morgan

I just dropped those baskets on the background
but there is something to be said for totally unmeasured sashing.

You could float them with a light sashing

Pin them with a red cornerstone

Punch them up with a little chrome yellow and Turkey red

About 1900

Always a good move.

Late 19th century

Late 19th century
Another design idea is to do a counterchange
coloring--- alternating color
or alternating shading

Here's a sophisticated composition from the 
mid-19th century from Laura Fisher's shop.

Inspired by that one
I drew this one. 
25 light baskets, 16 dark baskets.


  1. So yummy! Who doesn't love a good basket. I can't wait to see Cynthia's (and the entire AQSG basket quilt study collection) in person.

  2. I really like the chrome yellow and blue. That's a color combination I've not seen before. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Love all these ideas ♥ Beautiful selections ♥

  4. Lydia Rounsavell, unusual name, turns up in Hunterdon Co., NJ, b.c. 1820.

  5. Who doesn't love a basket quilt?? They are all so beautiful. Anyone can find the one that speaks to them. Great post & thank you!

  6. Thank you Barabara for all the yummidy Basket quilts! baskets have always been my favorite pattern. In added a new antique "Basket" to my collection a month ago, c.1870.

  7. Barbara - I am flattered that you would include my study quilt in this post. What a great post filled with so much basket inspiration!

  8. Interesting overview of basket blocks and quilts!! Pieced baskets are a long time favorite pattern for me!

  9. Thanks Barbara. By the way, the cheddar orange/blue quilt is part of my collection and I used it for my AQSG basket study quilt.