I found this Album Signature Quilt photograph, labeled “The Baskets Quilt”, in For Purpose and Pleasure by Sandi Fox. I knew immediately that I wanted to use it for the challenge. It was in the collection of Dr. Byron and Sara Dillow, now at the International Quilt Study Center (IQSC). There are thirty blocks of red and green appliqué with a large green border. Seven of the blocks are baskets. I chose to exactly replicate four of the basket blocks, one floral block, and the border. I chose four other blocks to make nine blocks total. The quilt is derived from the Baltimore Album quilt style.
Thanks to Kim Taylor, I received pages of IQSC’s investigations. The quilt is probably from Rockland County, New York. It is dated circa 1850 by Fox and circa 1860 by IQSC. The researchers felt that the quilt was made for a departing minister of the Wesley Chapel. Research on this quilt indicates that many of the thirty-three legible signatures were related. I am to trying to better determine the date. I found the marriage date of one of the single girls listed, Elmira Furman (December 1863), so the quilt was completed before then.
I arranged the blocks by making very small copies of the original blocks, cutting them apart, and placing them within the border. I chose the eagle for the center. I made the peacock by cutting apart a reproduction fabric with peacocks, and reducing each part to fit.
I learned in this process how to arrange blocks on an album quilt to please the eye in color and shape. I drew the baskets freehand and reduced or increased them to fit my blocks. I used many Baltimore Album quilt books to see how to construct the flowers in the cornucopia and baskets.