49 Small Baskets

49 Small Baskets

This quilt, from a Connecticut estate sale, fascinated me because of the deep cool red colors and the little baskets. I see so much of the wine color in quilts at the turn of the century, but the fabrics and basket construction suggest an earlier date.

I chose to reproduce the quilt to go on the hunt for wine prints. Several basket fabrics in this quilt come from late 1800s quilt blocks. I also wanted to create the unusual pieced baskets from two trapezoidal shapes which I machine pieced, requiring the white background sides to be set in by hand with a right angle seam. The earliest little basket quilts I found in The Quilt Index 1876-1900 time period. Where I could observe, most baskets were the three triangle construction. I added Redwork, not in the original quilt, because this quilt reminds me of the bright white outline Redwork quilts of the 1890s. My quilting grid is a cross hatch, rather than the original diamond grid, and I used a vintage Paragon cotton batting.

In the pursuit of like fabrics, I learned that the white ground, wine figured prints, and the white and black prints were popular in France in the late 1800s. This was confirmed in an 1889 sample book that Nancy Hahn shared with me and as found in Textile Designs by Susan Meller and Joost Elffers.

From my discoveries to date, the cool, deep red dye, Bordeaux, claret, or wine was the pigment alizarin derived synthetically in 1868. It was also available from the 1800s synthetic aniline dyes derived from coal tar and later azo dyes. Late 1800 home dye cards called this color garnet, maroon, and crimson. Today, Marsala is popular. It is interesting that many names are wine regions in France.