Primrose Hill: month three…
We're continuing on our stroll through Primrose Hill this December with a spot of Christmas shopping and I have some baskets at the ready to carry home our goodies.
Basket blocks are a favourite with quilters, mainly because baskets were so ubiquitous in the nineteenth century, which was the hey-day in the creation of our traditional quilt block library.
But basket making is as old as civilisation, predating pottery and - brace yourselves, fabric lovers - weaving. Rainy Britain has the perfect climate for growing willow and has long been a centre of basket making, even exporting its basket ware to ancient Rome.
Covent Garden flower sellers, from 'Street Life in London', 1877,
by John Thomson and Adolphe Smith
Light and strong, baskets were made in every possible shape and size to transport everything from farm produce to manufactured goods. Until, that is, the arrival of plastics in the 1950’s. A decade later housewives were replacing their wicker shopping baskets with new-fangled plastic carrier bags. But times are changing and as we endeavour to banish the single-use plastic bag to history, the trusty wicker basket is back in fashion.
You can weave your own fruit and flower baskets with the block patterns in issue 83 of Today's Quilter. And if you're in the mood to make a few more, there's a beautiful basket quilt by Sally Ablett in the same issue which caught my eye. Now I'm off to finish my Christmas shopping...