The historic inspiration quilt was a Garden Baskets Quilt made in Pennsylvania in about 1880. The quilt has an interesting setting reminiscent of the basket quilt featured on the 1978 Folk Art Series postage stamps which were based on an 1875 New York quilt. The block, however, is more complex with a pieced basket and appliquéd handle and flower. The quilt is 76” x 62” and made using hand piecing, hand appliqué, and hand quilting. The center consists of twenty 13 ½” square cinnamon pink and green blocks placed edge-to-edge in a straight set. A simple appliqué border repeats the basket flower. The 1880 dating of the quilt is consistent with the quilt’s overall design, fabric, quilting design and batting weight. This quilt was selected for study because it has many elements typical of the period, combined in a way that is unique and highly appealing.
In designing the study quilt, I chose to build on the historic quilt’s design. I replicated the basket pattern, the wonderful setting, and the general border design of flowers growing into the quilt from the binding. While the study quilt includes the original flower, it is joined by flowers selected from quilts made from 1850 to 1880. I used reproduction quilt fabrics, expanding the pink and green palette by adding red and orange. These new colors brightened the quilt and are typical colors of the period. In constructing the quilt, I used similar hand-made techniques as the original quilter, but benefitted from modern tools and materials.
While completing this study, I reviewed many other appliqué and basket quilts of the second half of the nineteenth century. My influences were likely similar to the influences that led the Pennsylvania quilter to her design, and I am grateful for the inspiration she provided me.