Sunday, 12 June 2011

Gee's Bend Quilt

Over the last week I have been making 'Housetops' blocks for a Gee's Bend Inspired Quilt.

Gee's Bend is an isolated community in the bend of the Alabama River in America. The community is predominantly Afro-American having descended from a slave community set up on a cotton plantation in the 1800s. This community has been one of America's poorest.

The people and their quilts came to widespread public knowledge in 2002 when 
their quilts were exhibited in The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. 
The quilts then went to the Whitney Museum in New York City.  
They were hailed as "some of the most miraculous works of art American has produced".

The Housetop block was one of their most popular designs.  
I am using a quilt by Lola Pettway in my book "Gee's Bend - The Architecture of the Quilt" 
as my inspiration.

Lola's quilt was made with corduroy in the 1970s. During the 1960s and 70s Gee's Bend was the location of the Freedom Quilting Bee - a co-operative organised to bring jobs and income into the community  by making and selling quilts. Sears also awarded the group a contract to make pillow shams from corduroy. The left over fabric of course made its way into quilts like Lola's. 

As you can tell I am changing the colours. I managed to get hold of some reproduction
Gee's Bend fabrics so I am using those. They look like old hand dyed fabrics which 
I think really suits the Gee's Bend style.

These are my blocks on my design wall - now I need to fill in the white spaces to make the blocks all fit together and then border it.

The next decision to make will be how to quilt it - I am thinking of using two strands 
of embroidery thread and quilting with larger than normal stitches.

As you can see I have way to many quilting interests - mostly related to groups that I run at the shop - Japanese, 1800s Reproduction, Amish, Pin Cushion Club and then of the new Modern Quilt Guild. And I have a project on the go for most of them!!!!!!! But the good thing is I do finish them all - the groups keep on track with deadlines!

The good thing about all these projects on the go is that there is always plenty of variety to choose from  - hand quilting a Japanese project or my Amish Bear's Paw, applique on my Japanese Block project, stitchery or whatever on the latest pin cushion and machine piecing the Gee's Bend quilt. And planning the next Modern Quilt!

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