{Classic Quilt Blocks} Basket - An Introduction

Classic Quilt Blocks have been sewn for centuries, are easy to recognise and are every quilters favorite. Let's celebrate these gorgeous blocks and add them to our quilting projects!

It's time for a new quilt block in my Classic Quilt Blocks series, and with Easter on it's way the choice of which block to pick this month was easy - the Basket block. This block is elegant and beautiful, and you'll be able to use it in some of your Easter projects.

There are lots of variations of the Basket block and I'll give you some examples of those in Week Three, but the one pictured is my absolute favorite. It's easy to piece and I'll show you how in my step by step tutorial next week.

The Basket block has been a favorite of quilters for centuries and even the modern variations make timeless quilts that will be treasured for years to come. I hope you enjoy a more in depth look at this Classic Quilt Block during March, and I hope it inspires you to plan a Basket quilt of your own.

Let's get straight to it, and delve into it's history, look it's beauty and understand it's longevity in the quilting world.

Block History:

The basket was a staple item for pioneer woman, and it was filled multiple times throughout the day with eggs, fruit, vegetables, flowers, grain, feathers and whatever else needed to be carried in the eternal repetition of a housewife's duties. It's little wonder this block features so prominently in quilting history - these light willow baskets were invaluable to the homesteading woman.

The earliest quilts depicting baskets were whole cloth quilts, which were generally made by the upper-class woman. These quilts showed off a women's fine needle skills and some of the baskets were stuffed to give them a raised 3D effect. Barbara Brackman found the earliest known pieced basket quilt which dates back to 1855, but appliqued versions occurred even earlier than this.

There are many Basket blocks to swoon over, some are as simple as a large triangle with an appliqued handle, and then there's more complex versions that include flowers, birds and leaves, some of which are the feature block in a medallion quilt.

Basket blocks were often swapped between friends or collected as part of a quilting bee, and the maker would add their signatures to personalize the block. Quilts made from shared blocks were generally gifted to people moving away as a reminder of those loved ones left behind.

Basket blocks and quilts are timeless, elegant and still popular and relevant in today's modern quilting world.  

Block Design:

The Basket block we'll be sewing next week is drafted using a 4 x 4 grid:

The block consists of HST's, rectangles and a square, and to find out the unfinished size of each square of the grid you simply divide the finished block size by 4 and add seams allowances. 

As an example, for a 6" finished block, divide by 4 which gives you 1 1/2" + the seam allowances means each of the grid squares unfinished measure 2" square.

Don't stress about the math, next week I will provide a Cutting Chart of six sizes of the Basket block with all the information you need to sew blocks for all your projects!

Colour Values:

Choosing fabrics or colours for the Basket block is fun. You can use a the classic dark and light combination like these examples:

Or you can get super creative and make colorful, scrappy blocks:

Classic or scrappy, the Basket block is fun to play with and the possibilities are endless.

Next week is tutorial week and we'll be sewing our own 6" (finished) Basket block. To help you prepare and plan your block, I've provided a colouring sheet for you to download and print. 

Simply click on the link below to grab your copy:

Grab your pencils, crayons or markers and get creative!

 Antique Inspiration:

These antique quilts make you want to sew a Basket quilt of your own, right? They are all so unique, but timeless. They're a good source of inspiration when planning your own quilt, and they're a wonderful example of the sheer beauty of this Classic Quilt Block.

Which one's your favorite? It's a tough choice for me, but I think it's the bottom left quilt. I just love this variation of the block and if you look very closely you will see a name embroidered in the brown basket - so cool!

So here's what to expect in the coming weeks of this month's Basket Classic Quilt Blocks series:

  • Week Two - my step by step tutorial for a 6" (finished) Basket block, plus a Cutting Chart for six sizes to help you with future projects.
  • Week Three - I'll take a look at some Basket Variations and share my top four favorite Basket Quilt patterns.
  • Week Four - a pretty little Basket mini quilt pattern you're going to love, which will be perfect for Easter.

Lot of fun ways to celebrate this gorgeous Classic Quilt Block!

And that's my introduction to the Basket block - I hope you enjoyed what I shared! If you haven't sewn one of these blocks before then you're in for a treat next week. I can't wait, I love when we sew together!

Hopefully, this month's series will inspire you to create a Basket quilt of your own (maybe for Easter), or use this Classic Quilt Block more often in your quilting journey!

Happy quilting :)
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