Some of the earliest quilts with baskets were wholecloth whitework quilts. Considering my love for wholecloth quilts, I knew this was the style of basket quilt I wanted to study. Almost immediately I found a historic quilt owned by the Stamford Historical Society of Connecticut. It was made by Lucy Foote Bradford of Colchester, Connecticut, circa 1816 and donated to the Society in 1966 by Lucy’s great-granddaughter. My research led me to two very similar quilts one owned by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and another by the Connecticut Historical Society. I chose the Stamford quilt for my historic quilt because it came with family provenance. The other two quilts are believed to be connected to Lucy and/or Colchester, because of similarities in their style and design.
I had many questions about the construction of Lucy’s quilt. After 990 miles and a 32-hour round-trip drive, I had all the information I needed to start my study quilt. Using photos and measurements of the historic quilt, I drew the design freehand. I chose to reproduce the center basket of flowers and feather border. In the four outer corners I added leaves and grapevines, elements found in the historic quilt. Lucy’s quilt had a thin batting with ¾-inch diagonal background quilting. All of the design elements were stuffed. She used a tape binding which I was able to find and apply with a running stitch as Lucy applied her binding.
At times I grew tired of quilting and wondered if I would ever finish the trapunto. I often wonder if Lucy had similar feelings working on her quilt. She created a masterpiece and I was honored to study it. Thankfully, Lucy’s quilt was donated 50 years ago, the year I was born, leading to the name of my quilt, Jill’s Jubilee.