My 2012 Study quilt, Great Grandma Laura’s Scrap Baskets, was inspired by three quilts. The first was a 1930s era quilt top that I saw on an online auction site. The description read, “The quilt maker was not afraid of color.” The quilt maker had pieced together colors with wild abandon creating one of the most joyful quilts I had ever seen. Unfortunately I was not the successful bidder, but I made sketches of the quilt top with the plan to reproduce it one day. I searched unsuccessfully for the pattern, one with a pieced handle and seven triangles across the top row, for years. Years later I found a pillow (see inspiration photo) made from a fragment of a 1930s quilt made from the pattern for which I was searching. It provided an actual block from which I could draft a slightly smaller version.
My third source of inspiration was a quilt made for me in the 1950s by my great grandmother Laura Price Gibson who was in her 80s and had been quilting for decades. I used that quilt not as a pattern but as an inspiration to combine colors with far greater freedom than usual. As I pieced my study quilt, I remembered watching Great Grandma Laura stitch my quilt.
I researched quilting motifs common during the Colonial Revival era – wreaths, pansies, and a nice sensible grid to tie them all together. The pansies were resized and copied from a 1930s appliqué pattern. I left some of my blue chalk markings on the piece just as a Colonial Revival era quilter would have done, knowing they would disappear in the first wash.
In the 1920s and 30s patterns were published similar to mine. On October 24, 1928 the Kansas City Star published a similar pattern called Cherry Basket by Ruby Short McKim. It had a curved but not pieced handle and five triangles across the top row. Per Barbara Brackman’s Blockbase: Pattern #669 Basket, published by Grandmother Clark, Book 20 in 1931, has a pieced handle and five triangles across the top row. Pattern #671 Flower Baskets, published by Grandmother Dexter, Book 36a in 1935, has a pieced handle and seven triangles across the top row. My pattern must have been published since I have found two unrelated examples of it, but I have yet to find it. I continue to search for the original pattern.