After completing my first quilt study project for the 2014 study, I knew I wanted to do another study quilt. I hoped I could find a tabula rasa quilt for the next study. Finding the quilt for the study was a challenge in itself but I finally found a friendship basket quilt with forty-two blocks signed by forty-two different individuals. I had hoped to find a signed and dated quilt, but was satisfied to know the names of most of the block makers.
The blocks primarily contain indigo prints, which made it difficult to date. I began my study by transcribing the names I could clearly read. I then entered them in a Google search to see if there was a common thread among the names. I was shocked when my first attempt returned Washington County, Indiana. I began researching the names individually on Ancestry.com. This preliminary research using the thirty-six most legible names showed birthdates ranging from 1847 to 1852. While this doesn’t guarantee the quilt was made prior to the turn of the twentieth century, at least one individual died prior to 1900, giving me a fairly high likelihood that it is a nineteenth-century basket quilt.
My quilt is machine pieced and hand quilted. I could not find the exact block pattern in any block identification books, but it is a variation of a basket. The earliest example of a pieced basket block, according to Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, is in a sampler quilt dated 1862 in Quilts, Coverlets, Rugs by Robert Bishop.
Washington County, Indiana was founded in 1827. Many of the makers have a direct link to the pioneers of the county. I am certain the quilt will provide many more hours of study.