Seven quilts were donated to the Alabama Department of Archives and History Museum (ADAH) in Montgomery, Alabama in 2006. Rubilaw Ray, wife of Sam Granada, a Baptist preacher and a fine storyteller, was the donor.
Mattie Stallings Law Ray, of Goshen, a tiny town southwest of Troy in Pike County, Alabama was the grandmother of the donor and the maker of three of the quilts. These quilts include an Irish Chain, a Wandering Foot, and a Cut Glass Basket, sometimes called Crystal Basket, all made in the late 1800’s. It is the only basket quilt in the ADAH collection from the nineteenth century and it is the quilt I have chosen to study.
The eye appeal of the baskets on point repeated in even rows facing opposite directions is compelling. The various ways she pieced the diamonds together to make the different sections of the baskets shows skill and creativity. The unique quilting accents the different angles of the blocks. The colors are faded and the quilt shows much wear, but the skill with which it was made remains unaffected by time.
I recently taught a class in using strips to make diamonds for use in a Lone Star pattern. I used this same technique to make the diamonds in the baskets. It made piecing the baskets much simpler which was beneficial in making such small blocks.
An especially interesting feature that I observed is that Mattie hand pieced the diamonds in the baskets, while she applied the handle of each basket with her sewing machine. I couldn’t help but think that she must have been very proud to show off her even stitches made on that sewing machine.