21st Century Crimped Handle Basket Quilt

21st Century Crimped Handle Basket Quilt

I have always been partial to red, yellow, and green quilts. I purchased a yellow and green basket quilt at an antique market in southeastern Indiana in 2014. Attached was a label from Farmersville Auction in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. The auction company could confirm neither the date of sale nor the origin of the quilt. After consulting certified appraisers, several AQSG members, and quilt collectors from southeastern Pennsylvania, the conclusion was the quilt was probably of Pennsylvania German origin, dated circa 1870. Although there is no sashing between the blocks, a Mennonite origin for the quilt is possible. According to Anita Schorsch, in Plain & Fancy: Country Quilts of the Pennsylvania Germans, Pennsylvania German basket quilts usually do not have totally curved appliquéd handles.

I chose to make a reproduction of my Pennsylvania German Basket Quilt. I reduced the size of the blocks. I wanted my quilt to have the same visual appeal as the original, so I used essentially the same color placement. I used reproduction fabric with small scale prints to accommodate the smaller block size. I formed squares using modern half-square triangle construction instead of piecing triangles. I tried using bias strips for the handles, but they didn’t look as quirky as the handles in the original quilt. So I cut straight of grain or cross grain strips to make the basket handles look similar to those in the original. I hand quilted my study quilt using essentially the same design as in the original quilt and applied a nineteenth-century style binding.

In studying my inspiration quilt, I learned more about the German influence in quilts and quilting designs. I found similarities in quilting traditions between the German quilt makers from Pennsylvania and my German ancestors from Ohio. I also improved my piecing and hand quilting skills.