in my quest to teach myself to quilt i have encountered so many facets of this fascinating art form. that is what pulled me in....the art of it. i had seen quilts, owned a few and actually lost one that i would consider valuable as i had no idea at that time in my life what EXACTLY went into this. the quilt that was lost was a native american quilt made for my daughter. i won't go into how or why it got lost but it does bring up an interesting fact.
i do not think the majority of people understand what really goes on in the mind of the quilter. she can be 98 y/o or ten years of age when she begins. she can remember generations of women in her family doing this or she may have never been exposed to it..or sewing..at all. i fell into the latter.
the fact that i lost a native american quilt is nauseating to me now as i am native american and the history of quilting runs way, way back. i began to research this style of quilting and actually got sidetracked by another ethnic group. i backshelved my own ancestry to experiment with what i had found.
i do not know how many of you out there have seen or heard of gee's bend quilters, a group of aftican american women living in gee's bend alabama who have been quilting for generations in as unique of a style as i have seen. to save space and time i will refer you to the history here. in researching this i found that they are actually in danger of becoming overcommercialized. i read that in the washington post. they are still making their quilts and selling them for very high prices. knockoff companies are making rugs, etc. ...you know the gig.
they have recently released kits for us to try. i bought one as i am a kit buyer. i can't help it. i know it is lame but if i am unsure i need some kind of direction. i quickly found that i could have done this without the kit BUT the fabric that was supplied was worth the kit. i will confess at this time that i do not care for batiks. i do not like the fabric or the result. i hope i offended no one, that is just my personal taste. the reason i mention batiks is the gee's bend fabric is somewhat similar.....very somewhat. the fabric itself is heavier than batik with a higher threadcount. it is hand dyed so the imperfections are there. discolorations but not tie dyed looking. i did wash it first as i was afraid of running as the colors are very, very rich. when i removed even the tiniest pieces from the dryer i had to cut maybe....three strings....now i have washed some fabrics that were unrecognizable when i removed them. i had one i had to throw away (joanns....ahem.) i did not use one pin to hold any piece of fabric to another throughout the entire project. it was not necessary. i made subtle changes to the pattern, adding or subtracting a color or pattern. i did add a few very tiny kaffe fassett striped shot cotton pieces because they worked. the gee's bend quilts are made from old workclothes and the people making them, like me, are getting their materials from goodwill and the like to achieve this effect. i would consider using some, but i would not stray too far from the wonderful, richly colored gee's bend fabric. i fully intend to make more of these. i think they are fabulous....so now i have to make the decision to stick with tradition and hand quilt or freemotion it. it seems in order to keep the original theme i need to handquilt or so it is telling me but.....i hate to bind so......marg? are you there?
this quilt was originally made by qunnie petway and the name of it is lazy gal. thanks for listening to this long rambling post.
i have already planned a second which is pictured at the top of this post.