Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Fastest Quilt in the West

 The Gee's Bend Ladies quilting style is the fastest... anywhere.  

In September, I took a three hour class with three ladies from Gee's Bend Alabama.  China Pettway opened the class with a prayer and a few gospel songs.  Here is the best video I could find of the ladies singing.

There was no group instruction.  The idea was not to do any precise measuring or worry about getting any lines straight.  I received about a minute of private encouragement and a suggestion to start with the baby quilt I had already pieced and add borders in a Housetop pattern.  There were no rules except to work quickly and have fun.  I tore most of the fabric with the grain and used the skinny quarters as the basis for the width of the borders. 

The pattern in the middle is one that I had already sewn together for a baby's carriage quilt.  The ladies call it a Standing Up and Lying Down pattern.

My goal was to lay out the top in the three hours and I just made it.  
The quilt top is 94" x 102" once I finished sewing all the pieces together the following week.

I started with scraps of fabrics that I brought from my stash.
Other participants came by to see what I was doing and added fabrics that they thought looked good, the whole pink section was donated by a collaborator.
I photographed the layout right before a wind came through and blew the fabric all over the place.

Here is the final quilt top.
I worked on tweaking the layout and sewing the strips together on Mom's sewing machine.  
I used the bed in an empty bedroom to lay it all out.  The back is also pieced, but it vertical strips.  The colors are similar, but no pink or purple and more grey.  It will be reversible with fluffy warm wool batting and ties instead of quilting.  Stay tuned for part II.

Quilts made by ladies from Gee's Bend, Alabama on display at the Fiber College in Searsport, Maine. 

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