Baskets and basket making have played an important role in history. The word “basket” is derived from the Greek word kophinos, which is a basket woven of plaited branches and twigs. While baskets are typically used for storage and transport, specialized baskets can be used for cooking; for processing seeds or grains; for tossing gambling pieces; as sieves, rattles, fans, fish traps, laundry; and other uses. Baskets have been part of women’s lives for centuries. They have been used as an inspiration for quilts everywhere and even in today’s quilting. Sometimes the patterns are a true representation and others are creative interpretations. In Barbara Brackman’s pattern encyclopedias, there are over 139 pieced and appliqué basket patterns. On the Quilt Index, a search of nineteenth-century basket quilts will list thirty-five pages of such quilts.
Our inspiration quilt is from the private collection of Taryn Faulkner, who graciously gave us permission to use it. She shared this quilt with 4 ½” baskets at a Baltimore Appliqué Society meeting. It was love at first sight! Not only for the small size of the block but the awesome border, which was somewhat of a challenge and which we made a little smaller. The tiny baskets in the quilt closely resemble B#664 in Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, which is referred to as Pieced Baskets, Basket Block, Cherry Basket (1860), and Flower Basket (1860). The chunkiness of the basket handles, the primary variation to this pattern, certainly adds visual interest.
We did not construct the streak of lightning border as was done in the original, but in an alternate way with the same visual effect. This quilt was machine pieced, hand appliquéd, and hand quilted.