Welcome to month 12 of the Underground Railroad BOM. The last block in the quilt is the basket block. As you know, I have based this BOM on the book Hidden in Plain View – which is an account from Ms. Ozella McDaniel Williams in which she explains the story that was handed down from her mother. There were the primary blocks and secondary blocks. The basket quilt design is a secondary pattern. The book does not go into the significance of the secondary blocks as much, but one can only surmise. The basket would have been used to carry provisions and food. When a basket quilt was displayed along the route, it could signify a safe place to get food.
Baskets have long been a popular motif on quilts. Pieced basket patterns became popular in the mid-19th century. The earliest quilts using baskets were likely whole cloth quits. These quilts were not pieced, instead a solid piece of fabric was used and the overall quilting became the focus . Sometimes these motifs were stuffed to give the object a three dimensional look (trapunto). It’s no surprise that basket quilts were so popular – as women used baskets in everyday life for housework, gardening, fieldwork, shopping, bassinets and much more.
Enjoy this last block of the month. And thank you for taking this journey with me, This last pattern includes instructions for cutting sashing and border strips to complete your quilt top.