Thursday, June 7, 2018

TBT: Basket Quilts

This year, I'm doing a series of Throwback Thursday posts about quilts that I worked on during the 1980's and 90's when I had a tiny quilting career. You can read more about that career in posts here and here. In celebration of spring and summer, when we might gather flowers or produce in baskets, the theme of this post is basket quilts. These quilts are fairly similar to each other, but I want to make sure that all of the quilts I quilted during my tiny career are documented here. There are big variations in size. The tops were all constructed by Becky Schaefer from antique fabrics or blocks. You can read more details about her work in that second link above. I did all of the quilting by hand with off-white cotton thread. As in my last post, I'll show the fronts and backs. The backs show some of the quilting better or show fun samples of antique prints. For documentation, I'm recording the sizes, quilting dates, and amount of thread used (because that determined my pay). While I have since made some of my own quilts from Becky's patterns, I have never attempted basket quilts. I am boggled by the tiny applique and stenciling on some of them--not my crafting cup of tea, but I love how they look. So here they are, with as much information as I have available. 

Look at the tiny handles (applique!) and stenciled flowers. And the narrow inner border. This rust and navy quilt is 10 1/2 by 14 1/2 inches. I used 9 yards of thread to quilt tiny feather circles (my favorite hand-quilting design) as well as outlining in the background of each block. This one was finished in January 1987. 

The backs of these tiny quilts (mini, I guess, in today's terminology) were usually muslin, and the batting was a very light weight polyester as it was easiest to quilt through in those little blocks. 

This navy and rose quilt is 11 inches square. Isn't that navy striking as sashing and inner border? And those double pink fabrics--mmm! Quilting is minimal on this one--4 2/3 yards with partial feather circles and minimal outlining. More tiny applique on this one, with leaves in addition to the handles. This was another January 1987 finish. (Notice the mitten in the second photo.) 

Here are two more quilts similar to the ones above, but with more stenciled flowers. The one on the left is 11 1/2 inches square, finished in April 1989 with 5 yards of thread. The one on the right is 10 3/8 by 14 inches, also finished in April 1989 with 7 1/2 yards of thread. 

Here's another quilt of the same theme, but this time much larger: a whopping 40 inches square! This gave me an opportunity for more detailed quilting in the background. I loved working on the quick minis, but larger quilts were a real treat to work on even though they were fragile. The batting for these was cotton, with antique yardage for the backing, so it was a bit more challenging to get small, even stitches. I used masking tape to mark grid work in the background of this quilt, but I quilted leaves in the setting triangles to mimic the appliqued leaves before filling in the grid around them. I finished this quilt in November 1987 with 53 3/4 yards. 
The right border is a bit cut off. Before digital photography, you couldn't always see exactly what the camera was seeing. You took your chances that everything was in the photo. Sometimes it wasn't.

This brown, rust and yellow quilt is even larger: 45 by 54 inches. From what I recall, the blocks were hand sewn antique blocks instead of newly made from antique fabric. I used masking tape to mark the grid in the background of this quilt with in-the ditch quilting around groups of triangles in the baskets and wavy parallel lines in the border. I finished this one in July 1987 with 150 yards of quilting thread. 

Here is another quilt made with similar blocks (likely from the same batch). It is 43 by 43 inches. Quilting was mostly concentric squares marked with masking tape and some in-the-ditch work around triangles. I finished this one in October 1989 with 97 2/3 yards of thread. 

There are two more tiny quilts made from entirely pieced blocks. I like the quiet colors of this first quilt. It is 11 inches square. I quilted it in the summer of 1988 with the usual partial feather circles and outlining plus some horizontal detail across the widest parts of the baskets, using 6 2/3 yards of thread.The interesting detail in this one is the double inner border. I'm not sure if that tan fabric in the background and border is old. I had newer fabric with the same design, but perhaps it was a copy of an old motif. This one has a tiny checked fabric on the back instead of the usual muslin.

I have no clear information on this other one of the same design with a simpler setting, so I'm guessing that I finished it between late 1989 and 1991 when my documentation was more haphazard. I'm guessing that it was about 10 1/2 by 14-ish inches. No circles on this one. Instead I used double outlined hearts and a bit of detail in horizontal lines across the baskets. No photo of the back or record of thread used. What I like about this one is the variation in prints in the baskets even though they are all the same shade of red. 

One more basket quilt--a cactus blossom design quite different from the others. Again, no notes with my photo. My receipt records show that I used 62 1/2 yards of thread, so I'm estimating that it's about 36 to 40 inches square. I'm not sure if these are antique blocks or newer ones made from antique fabric. I'm guessing antique blocks by the irregularity of the work. The photo is not real clear, but I think I quilted clam shells in the lightest areas, and parallel lines at different angles in the pink triangles and around the outermost area of the borders. I really like the design of the pieced border. I finished this one in December 1989.

So that is my collection of photos of basket quilts. I have a lot more quilts to share. I think I'll plan some more theme collections for the remainder of the summer TBT posts.

By now you know that those of us who use Blogger are having some communication difficulties. We no longer get email notifications when others comment on our posts. This makes it challenging to reply. There seems to be a work around for this, but until now I have been otherwise occupied (Grandkids here--Yay! Sewing preoccupation--Yay! Tooth restoration and crown prep--Boo!), so I'm not sure how well it works. I plan to try it, though. In the meantime, thank you so much for your comments on my last couple of posts. I appreciate all of them so much but can't see my way clear to respond to them individually. I will try to do better now. However, I have to say that I sincerely hope this is a temporary workaround. And that the Blogger folks don't think that we bloggers have fixed the problem. I am really, really hoping they will restore the email notification to the way it was before. 

I hope June is treating you well. Ours is gorgeous at the moment! I just bought a pop-up screen house so I hope to do some hand quilting outside in a mosquito-free zone very soon. Maybe you will get some time to sew outside, too. The lighting just can't be beat--especially for hand work.

I'm linking up with mmm! quilts for Throwback Thursday. Thanks to Sandra for giving us this opportunity to share our pre-blogging oldies.


JanineMarie said...

I'm trying the "comment on your own blog" experiment. Hopefully this will work for me to get notifications when you comment. Happy Quilting!

Linda said...

Your quilting is absolutely stellar. You could make a fortune today, if you wanted to spend your entire life Hand quilting - lol! Yay on the grandkids and ugh on the dental stuff. :(
I won't be upset with no comment from you! :D

Kaja said...

The comment thing is infuriating, isn't it? I am amazed by the detail on those tiny quilts - the piecing and applique and your lovely quilting.

piecefulwendy said...

What a fun collection of basket quilts! I love that little mini with the red baskets and green background!

Bernie Kringel said...

Janine, some day it would be fun to know just how many quilts you have made or quilted. I just can't believe how many pretty projects you have shared already and to think there are more?
The basket quilts are very sweet - hope the dental stuff is done and over. Don't worry about replying. Not a problem!!

Preeti said...

Each piece and each block is a labor of love. The hand quilting especially makes it a keepsake. Thank you for sharing.

Sandra Walker said...

Your hand-quilting as always is just drop-dead, jaw-popping OHs, gorgeous Janine! I wish I had liked hand-quilting, no clue why it never stuck, as I loved cross-stitching for years, and did a fair bit of embroidery the machine is my friend. 150 yards on the one! Crazy. I wonder who these live with now... :-) And yes, the border on the last one is super-cool.
As for blogger, write the first comment. Click the notify me box, and you'll get all subsequent comments. HOWEVER. Everyone has become a no-reply, SUPER annoying addition to the already beyond annoying issue. So delete their address, and start to type in the person's name, like 'jan' for you and usually (not always, grr , especially if people aren't sandra.. but say, swalker.... anyhow. If you've replied to them before, their name should pop up and off you go replying as before. Altogether a PITA.

Linda said...

How funny that I was thinking about your hand-quilting early, early this morning when I couldn't sleep - lol! I was wishing I could get into it, because it seems like a peaceful thing and looks so much better than the uber-longarm machine quilted pieces that are lovely but too perfect for my taste. You are amazing.
Glad you are having grandkid fun and hope your tooth issues are done!