Red Baskets from Wales

Red Baskets from Wales

My search for a nineteenth-century basket quilt took me farther from home than I have traveled for other quilt studies: to the Ceredigion Museum in Wales! There, I found a wonderful quilt with six red baskets, made in the last half of the nineteenth century. My initial impression, from thumbnail photos online, was that it might be an Amish quilt: bright red baskets on a dark background. Neither the basket nor alternating blocks are uniform. However, the quilt is so striking that this does not detract.

The 61”x75” Welsh quilt of wool flannel has six red basket blocks set on point within a square, and six alternating blocks, of a varying number of patches, also set on point within a square. Some of the corners are solid, some are pieced; some blocks have a pieced or solid strip added to make the block fit the space. The border is a “piano key” with the pieces being relatively the same size. However, one block has no border.

Studying this quilt prompted me to learn more about Welsh quilting, and its unique aspects.

The question was then how should I make my study quilt? Make a smaller scale reproduction? Reproduce only a part of the quilt? Or, should I use the Ceredigion Basket Quilt as an inspiration to create a quilt that is entirely different? What fabric should I use to make my quilt, wool as in the original, flannel, or cotton? Many different ideas were sparked by this quilt, but ultimately what you see here is a smaller scale quilt of flannel, with six red and six grey baskets and pieced alternate blocks, all set on point. Perhaps, in another one hundred plus years, this quilt will inspire another quilter in another part of the world, as did the Ceredigion Basket Quilt!