Yesterday a group I belong to spent the day sewing together. One of our number decided to clean out her stash and asked us to help her by doing this day. She started gathering fabrics into colour ways and just boxes of fabric of various fibres and textures. We agreed that we would each begin to create a “Gee’s Bend” type top. Our friend decided that she would have fun with her fabric before it left her stash and set about putting some pieces together. In the end she had a beginning of a top for each of us. As well as her having the fun of beginning some pieces she also anticipated that we might spend time dithering about where to start. Each of us was able to choose a piece and that gave us a head start on the day. In my case she choose a piece for me. It it the one in the first photograph.
When I looked at it I realized that it worked wonderfully with some pillows made from some vintage ’40’s blocks that I had added some blue to and created a series of pillows for my living room.
Starting with the centre medallion (Gee’s Bend quilter’s would have called this “roof top” set) and using some four patch pieces that my friend also bequeathed to me I set to work. The second picture is as far as I got yesterday.
One challenge that it presented for me is to be spontaneous and not measure, measure, measure. Thus the first round proved to be a bit large for the centre so I inserted some strips where needed and as I was limited by the number of 4 patches available the design is not symmetrical around the centre. In a regular quilt world the value blocks would be symmetrical but that is not a “Gee’s Bend requirement. The next two “rounds” are symmetrical and I expect the next one to be also. What comes after that will depend on what fabric I have in the stash my friend passed along as that is a design limitation I have imposed upon myself.
As we were working she kept digging in her boxes and as she saw how our designs were developing she dropped fabric onto our piles. So now we each have some fabric to choose from to complete our designs.
Each of the 9 designs is quite different and now reflects our work based on being given a start, our own colour choices and way we work through our own design process.
I came home delighted with the fun day, full of good potluck food and itching to get at my work. I will leave it on my design wall and audition choices as I add my rounds. Now that I see it through the lens of a camera, I think that it will need something to balance the strong blue which is what comes forward right now. I really think that I want to showcase the centre medallion so that is my challenge for the next step.
This is my second attempt at a Gee’s Bend quilt interpretation. They will be individual and based on what I am familiar with in my surroundings. At the same time I have learned how valuable it is to take a picture and look at the piece through the lens.