CAROLYN: "BY SOUTHERN HANDS"
My Granny was a mountain woman with a 3rd grade education. She grew up in western North Carolina in the foothills of the Southern Appalachian mountain range. When she married, her uncle made her an egg basket as a wedding gift. As a child living in Texas, I cherished our trips to visit her. I often went to the hen house with her to gather eggs, which she carried to the country store, along with churned butter, to sell. As an adult, I went to stay with her for a few days when she had breast cancer. At the end of the visit, she insisted on giving me her precious egg basket.
This style of basketry is the most commonly woven basket in the Appalachians. The technique was brought to America from the Scotch/Irish in the 18th century, and was passed down from one generation to another. It is a 4 doz. ribbed basket with a twin bottom that helps prevent eggs from rolling into each other. It is woven with perfectly round oak rods and strips of white split oak.
I made a photo of my basket, now almost 100 years old. I transferred the image to fabric. Then I fused it to the background fabric with Wonder Under. I cut out and applied the eggs in the same manner. I created shading on the bottom of the basket with brown tulle applied with Misty Fuse. Then I stitched around the basket and eggs with a tiny machine stitch. Next, I cut out and fused the coneflowers, a common Southern flower and appliquéd them using a zig-zag stitch. I machine stitched the oak rods, the basket handle and the main oak strips with a hand quilt stitch. I added shading to the eggs with silver tulle. The final step was to quilt the lively background fabric which I chose because it reminded me of colorful fried eggs and because it expresses the joy I felt when I was at my Granny's.