Little Blue Basket
The name has two meanings. The pattern is literally a little blue basket and it also can recall the Little Blue, a river in western
. The Little Blue formed valleys and caves along the Kansas/Missouri border, a landscape that provided hiding places and refuge for Confederate guerillas during the Civil War. Missouri
The word river for the Little Blue seems a little uppity.
It might better be called a creek.
In the spring of 1861, 22-year-old John McCorkle from
Savannah, Missouri, joined the Confederate Army in . The regulars soon retreated to Missouri and points south as the Union Army quickly took control of the state. Arkansas
McCorkle attended this 1914 reunion of the Bushwhackers.
Their bloodiest guerilla attack was led by
William Quantrell (in the framed portrait) whom they revered.
The guerrillas along the border between free-state
Kansas and slave-state were known as Bushwhackers. McCorkle and his family and friends survived in the bush through aid from their sisters, mothers and sweethearts who carried baskets full of food to their camps, washed their laundry and sewed their clothing. The Little Blue Basket recalls the women who set out after dusk in the evenings, carrying baskets of food into the woods near the Little Blue River. Missouri
Lizzie Wallace was photographed
with the men at the 1920 reunion
The basket pattern was popular at the time of the Civil War. This one was published as Pieced Baskets in Marie Webster's 1915 book Quilts: Their Story and How to Make Them. It's #664 in my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns and the digital version BlockBase. The basket in Webster's book had a curved, appliqued handle.
Cutting an 8" Finished Block
A - Cut 1 light square 7-1/4". Cut in half with a diagonal cut to make 2 triangles. You need 1 light triangle A.
B. Cut 2 light rectangles 2-1/8" x 5-1/4".
C- Cut 1 light square 4". Cut in half with a diagonal cut to make 2 triangles. You need 1 light triangle C.
D- Cut 5 medium blue squares and 4 dark squares 2-1/2". Cut each in half with a diagonal cut to make 2 triangles. You need 10 medium blue triangles and 8 dark triangles D.
Little Blue Basket by Karla Menaugh, 2003
Karla added a bias strip handle and a lot of sawtooth triangles to the edge of this quilt patterned in our 2003 book Butternut and Blue. Click here for more information about the book:
Through his memoirs, John McCorkle did something towards shaping our view of the Civil War in western
Missouri. Three Years With Quantrell is still in print.
His war story was inspiration for the fictional Woe to Live On by Daniel Woodrell, which in turn inspired the 1999 Ang Lee film Ride With the Devil.
The boys out in a hut built into the banks
of the Little Blue in Ride With the Devil.
Read Woodrell's novel and see the film Ride with the Devil, starring Tobey McGuire as the fictional Jake. Jewel's character represents the women with the baskets along the Little Blue. (Disclosure: I worked as a researcher on that movie but I had nothing to do with that pink and blue baby blanket in the last part of the movie.)
Watch the Criterion edition, a new cut. Read more here:
Read McCorkle's side of the Civil War in his 1914 book on line by clicking here:
Three Years with Quantrell: A True Story Told by His Scout John McCorkle, by O.S. Barton, 1914.