Saturday, July 10, 2010

Basket Quilts Part I

One of the most popular themes in quilting, basket quilts are fascinating because of their dozens of different blocks. Because baskets historically have been used to carry so many items into the house for the family, they are a cozy symbol of home and hearth.

As you will see in these next two blog articles, there's almost an endless variety of pretty basket blocks and a variety of different ways to construct them.

Rick Rack Baskets, by Glenna Hailey

Glenna Hailey of Hollyhock Quilts designed this cheery quilt in 2006 for a sample in Karen Snyder's store, Anna Lena's Quilt Shop. Warm colors and retro feedsack prints create such a whimsical and cozy look. We can't help but smile when we see that the rick rack motif, which forms the basket handles, has been extended to dance around the outer border.  Petite appliqued flowers add extra charm to the border.  As is the case with many patchwork baskets, the base and bottom of the baskets are composed of right triangles.  For additional patterns by Glenna Hailey, see the Hollyhock Quilts Patterns Page and blog.  Also, visit Karen Snyder's store at Anna Lena; her blog is Anna Lena Land

Flower Basket block and pattern

 Because many basket quilts are set on point, they can look difficult to assemble.  When we were new quilters, we were surprised to see that basket patterns are much less challenging to sew than they appear. They are actually sets of squares, half-square triangles, and rectangles which are pieced together and can be efficiently sewn by machine.

Janet Wickell of About. com Quilting  provides an easy-to follow assembly diagram, which we are showing here for a checkerboard flower basket pattern.  Starting from the left, the triangles and squares are sewn together to make one large right triangle. Then the half-square pink triangles of the basket handle are added. In the middle image, the side rectangles and base triangles are added.  Later, this block will be rotated slightly onto the diagonal, so that the viewer will see the basket standing straight up. For a more detailed explanation on basket block construction, please see Janet Wickell's very helpful instructions on

Hawaiian Rainbow Basket Quilt, Red and White Variation, by Lisa Boyer

Here's an adorable  Cherry basket quilt, made from a variety of luscious red fabrics. For a traditional Cherry basket look, Lisa has pieced one large wide triangle for the main part of the basket, with two small triangles for the base.  She has then turned the square block on the diagonal, as explained above, and has appliqued the curved handle. Lisa has achieved a lovely contrast by using white background fabric to really make the baskets come alive and "pop" off the quilts. She's selected a large scale red print for the border that nicely matches the baskets. The pattern for this gorgeous quilt can be obtained at Lisa Boyer's website.

Lisa is also the author of two wonderfully humorous quilt  books:  That Dorky Homemade Look  and Stash Envy. To see more of Lisa's creative work and patterns, please visit her website.

Bekah's Basket Sampler Quilt,  84 x 84, by Betsy Rickles

The irrepressible gaiety of Kaffe Fasset's fabrics are featured in his book Country Garden Quilts,  which includes  this delightful variation of a Cherry basket pattern.  Instead of the single large appliqued handle, there are smaller handles on each side of the basket, separated by a stack of cherries piled in the basket, which gives a pleasing symmetrical effect. Like most basket blocks, these blocks are set on point, and the vibrant border of half square triangles mirrors the half square triangles of the basket blocks, thus creating an elegant cohesiveness. To save time, a kit with the exact fabric needed to replicate this quilt is available at  Glorious Color.

Cherry Delight,  61 x 85, by Alex Anderson

Red and white together is such a brisk and breezy color combination, that it's perfect for a summer quilt project. Click on the image to enlarge it, and you'll see a surprise in the center. In addition to patchwork, this quilt contains blocks of redwork embroidered cherries, stems and leaves. Surrounded by nine patch blocks, the baskets with their triangles pointing straight up, are often known as the "cake stand" pattern.  The crisp  outer border of prairie points is the perfect complement to the inner border of white triangles used to set the nine patch on point.   Cherry Delight and dozens of other darling patterns are available from JWD Publishing.

Basket Saturday Sampler, by Alice Kay Arnett

Alice Kay Arnett has done a wonderful job with these 20 different colorful baskets, including several different cherry baskets and cake stands. One of the most charming features of this quilt are the incredibly cute  miniature blue and pink baskets that peek out from the sashing. The flowered border works perfectly to complement the clear red, blue, and green solids used for the basket. For more inspiring quilts, and information on Alice Kay's workshops, visit Alice Kay Quilts.


  1. such wonderful quilts - you sure do find a variety of quilts to post photos of - they give me so many ideas.

  2. Thanks so much for your kind words, and we know exactly what you mean ! We'd LOVE to find the time to make all the fabulous quilt patterns we've seen online.

  3. Time that's what I need, I would love to be able to make even half of the quilts that you feature. Just love that Kaffe Fasset one.

  4. Thanks, Pip ! We too think that Kaffe Fassett quilts are fabulous.

    Yesterday, we mailed out your book to you. Enjoy !


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