|Housetop Quilt, 51" x 62" 2012|
by jojo sabalvaro tan
based on the traditional log cabin design, the red square represents the hearth of the home.
HERE ARE EXAMPLES OF QUILTS MADE BY THE WOMEN OF GEE BEND.
On a trip to Connecticut to visit a high school classmate almost 10 years ago, I bought a postcard book featuring quilts from Gee Bend hoping to get inspiration to make a similar quilt based on the designs of the original Gee Bend quilt. Then, about 3 years ago I found a kit inspired by a Gee Bend quilt sold at one of my favorite quilt shops, A Touch of Amish. It was produced by Windham Fabrics. I finally, tackled the quilt and finished the quilt top in less than 2 days. I may have even been able to pull this off in one day. The quilt gods must have been smiling on me while I was making this quilt because I did not have to use my seam ripper once. If you are a quilter, you know that this is as close to a miracle as you"ll ever get. I think this is a great quilt for a beginner. My first quilt was a log cabin and this is even easier since it is actually just one giant block.
The fabrics provided in the quilt were all hand dyed and I love them because of the nuances the hand dyeing gave the quilt. I used a a sharper needle than usual, #70/10 needle size, since the fabric is of a more high thread count, Similar to batiks, there is no right and wrong side to the fabric which made it less likely to sew the wrong sides together.
|The start of my Gee Bend quilt|
The kit came with a placement chart and I numbered each block so I can keep track of the sequence of sewing the strips together. I also colored each block on the chart as I finished sewing it.
|Placement chart of quilt which I colored as I went along|
At one point, I was working with long strips and I pinned my strips together to keep my seams straight and measurements accurate. I decided , I love the colorful flat flower head pins. They are of a thinner gauge, sharper and glided through the fabric effortlessly. I think they are made by Dritz or Clover. The flower head is white on one side and blue, neon pink, green or yellow on the other. After sewing each strip, I was vigilant about pressing to set the seams and pressed them open. I also made sure I trimmed off my loose threads. I have thread catchers by my sewing machine and cutting area and they came in handy. After I finished the quilt top, I ended up with a neat sewing and cutting area. Another miracle!! I am also proud of how neat the back of my quilt looks.
|Thread catcher/pin cushion I made|
I do hope that the spontaneous, freeform creative spirit of the women of Gee Bend will rub off on me.