Monday, July 6, 2009

Antique Basket Blocks

Help! I’m over thinking and second guessing myself – as usual. It all started several years ago with Kaffe Fassett’s book, Passionate Patchwork. In the introduction section he shows and discusses using antique quilt tops and blocks by integrating them with new fabrics to give them an up-to-date twist. I loved the quilts and the idea. Kaffe described choosing backgrounds “not…to showcase the blocks, but rather to meld with the blocks and form a new lively combination.” (p. 149). So I purchased some blocks and tops from eBay. [I am now in a one woman boycott of eBay, but that’s another story]. The lovely antique basket blocks were one such lucky purchase, and I enjoyed every step of removing them from their tattered, stained, thin muslin backgrounds and re-appliquéing them onto fresh new fabrics. Here are the 12 antique blocks:

Remember, this all started several years ago. I decided I wanted to set the blocks on point and had a great time picking out fabrics to go with them. This is the layout that I first chose and fell in love with:

When I recently re-discovered this project and set out the design, it just seemed pretty boring and a little too traditional for me. Maybe its the just the off-white with blue fabric that doesn't ring right. I noticed that I also had a lot of setting squares cut out, so perhaps I also had this in mind:

While recently reading the Material Obsession blog, I got the idea to use stripped sashing. I started sewing some up last night to see how it would look, but kind of ran out of steam and quit. I seem to have lost all inspiration and any antique basket block mojo I had going. Here is an idea of how stripped sashing might look. Obviously I would need to use a lot more variety in the fabrics.

Maybe I need to explore using some of my Kaffe fabrics in the sashing…. Any ideas are VERY welcome. I need to rediscover my love of these blocks. They were definitely worth saving. I just need to find a setting worthy of them.

With wishes, true and kind -- Joan


  1. Hmmm... I really think they would benefit from white sashing. I love the idea of the striped sashing, but it detracts from the vintage blocks. White would add freshness and modernity. Then maybe you could do a striped border to tie it all together. Love them set on point and I can't wait to see how it all turns out!

  2. Me and DD both like the setting square the best. The stripped sashing overpowers the baskets too much. I also love them set on point.

  3. Well..I like traditional..and I like some of the modern? I actually like the first layout best. You've updated the look of the baskets by putting them on the blue floral instead of the old muslin. I think the white sashing gives the eye a place to rest? I like the blue floral setting triangles at the edges..and on point..yes! The striped sashing sort of competes with the baskets to my eye? Of course, all of this is without ever seeing the book you referred maybe I'm missing the look you're going for? *could* get too busy?

  4. If you stay with the traditional, of course it will look good but ... I say, go for the wild. The baskets will hold their own.

  5. I think the blocks are great. Some of the fabrics in the baskets are quite bright so they hold their own. I'm going to be different to everyone else and say that I like the last one the best. What about a jazzy alternate block if you're not sure of the sashing. Any excuse to put some Kaffes in there I say.

  6. I like the first setting best.
    I'll join your one woman boycot of ebay where fabric is on the line. I no longer purchase fabric online because of my experience with ebay.

  7. hard choice
    like the white as it makes the blocks stand out BUT the colors just add so much life to the quilt
    can't wait to see what you decide.

  8. joan, these quilts are all stunning, thanks for coming by my blog. so appreciated. Jennifer