Saturday, March 26, 2011

13 Little Blue Basket

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 Missouri. 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.

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 Missouri. The regulars soon retreated to Arkansas and points south as the Union Army quickly took control of the state.

Missouri remained a Union state despite a good deal of secessionist sympathy in rural areas. When Southern troops retreated, McCorkle deserted rather than travel south with the regular Confederate Army. His intention to live peacefully at home was interrupted, he wrote, when the Federals attempted to impress him into the State Militia by threatening his cousin Millie with imprisonment if he refused to join. Women were not often jailed, but conditions in Missouri quickly deteriorated to the point where revenge, recrimination and murder of civilians, both men and women, became too common.

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 Missouri 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.

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:

And Becky did a version with an appliqued handle.

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.


Sharon said...

I particularly love this post because I am from Savannah and now live in Lee's Summit...not far from the Little Blue River. Thanks!

Claudia Hieber said...

a wonderful block. I love it...but it needs experience, especially for a 4" block.
but I love to do this.

Deb said...

love the block and the wonderful history. I will be listening to the book too. Thanks

Queen Bee's Musings said...

Great post I so look forward to your lessons! Thanks

Anonymous said...

Thank you for another wonderful block. Baskets are my favorites, and the Butternut and Blue is my favorite of your books. I'll have fun making this one later this week.

Anonymous said...

Another movie loosely based on Quantrell's Raiders was Dark Command, 1940 starring John Wayne, Claire Trevor and Walter Pigeon. You can see it on Turner Classic Movies from time to time.

Karen said...

These civil war gals really loved their little triangles didn't they ;)
Thanks for another block!

Nat Palaskas said...

Thanks Barbara, I love basket block and love the triangles as well. Appreciate it, thanks - Hugs Nat

Elinor said...

Thanks a lot fot this new block and the story !
Hugs from France,

Alexis said...

Thanks for the informative posts. I look forward to reading about another segment of the era. The blocks add so much to the story. Thanks again, Alexis

Cheryl said...

Another great example of the courageous women at that time. I've watched the movie a few years ago and it was quite memorable.
Thanks for the block. We should all be good at triangles by the end of the year.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting post and pattern. I have completed my block and posted it on my blog along with a short how-to.

Laurie Aaron Hird said...

I love this blog, Barbara! I do not have time to start this now, so I am saving the blocks in EQ, for hopefully later this year. My only "complaint" is those "Seven Sisters!" Oh, no!! LOL
Thanks for all of your great work, especially your encyclopedia.

Christine said...

I recently watched the movie but was so engrosed in it I didn't even notice the pick and blue blanket at the end. ;-)

Connie said...

Thanks , Like the story and working on my block today, thanks again!!

KathiP said...

Great story and very nice block.