Gees Bend Quilt Inspiration

A few years ago I saw a documentary about the quilts of Gee’s Bend on my local PBS station. Gee’s Bend is a an isolated hamlet in Alabama.

By Andre Natta (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The quilting tradition goes back many generations in this area, and the quilts are amazing works of art. These women, with very little money or education, created some of the most unique and important African American visual and cultural contributions to the history of art within the United States.

Pieced_Quilt,_c._1979_by_Lucy_Mingo,_Gee's_Bend,_Alabama

“Pieced Quilt, c. 1979 by Lucy Mingo, Gee’s Bend, Alabama” by Billvolckening – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org

gees bend quilt 2

Annie Bendolph, 1900-1981, “One Patch,” ca. 1960, cotton, 78 x 70 inches q103-10b.JPG http://www.auburn.edu/academic/other/geesbend/explore/catalog/slideshow/pages/q103-10b_JPG.htm

The quilts have been shown in the finest museums in our country. I’d love to see one of these exhibits someday.

Recently I found a few baby quilts in a thrift store. They reminded me so much of the quilts in the documentary. Of course, I purchased them and lovingly washed and pressed them. I really wanted to keep them but I don’t have any place to display them, so I decided to sell them in my Etsy Store, http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheBohemianSprout, which is finally open. They’ll be available in the next few days. I still want to stare at them for a while before I part with them.

Gee's bend1

This little vintage quilt is 38 inches x 34 inches and has no batting, which makes it perfect for the southwest where I live.

This lovely lavender 33 inch x 33 inch quilt is just heaven. I the turquoise stripe makes me smile every time I see it!

This lovely lavender 34 inch x 30 inch quilt is just heaven. The turquoise stripe makes me smile every time I see it!

I hope you have a wonderfully artistic and colorful day!

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Storybook Bunting Tutorial

Today I’m making bunting for my Etsy store (https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheBohemianSprout). I’m using a vintage copy of The Pokey Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowry with illustrations by Gustaf Tenggren. This copy was copyrighted in 1942 and published in 1970. One of the Sprouts favorites! I’m putting it together with some vintage bias tape which originally cost 19 cents. Love, love, love all the vintageness!!

Here’s a tutorial if you want to follow along.

Start by going through the book taking measurements of the illustrations and then decide what size and shape will work best for the bunting flags. This copy works best as a 6 inch by 5 inch flag that’s a rectangle on the top and a hexagon on the bottom.

bunting1

Then make a template out of cardboard and trace it onto each page you want to use, centering it on the illustration.

Then the cutting begins. I usually do this while watching a movie or something. I do lots of books at one sitting since this is the tedious part of the project.

iron binding

Iron out the binding so when you sew it to the pages you don’t get any little folds. Iron it straight first then iron it in half so that it’s perfect when it’s done.

Measure out the pictures on the binding. Leave 12 inches on each end of the binding for hanging. Space the pictures about 1/2 inch apart. I don’t usually clip them to the binding ahead of time. I just sew each one measuring half an inch in between as I go but you can clip them to inside the fold of the bias tape with a paper clip. I wouldn’t recommend using pins since you’re using paper flags. If you were using fabric flags then pins would work fine. I think bunting between 8 and 10 feet is optimal to hang on a nursery wall or over a party table.

sewing bunting

Now sew together using a very sharp needle with a zigzag stitch and you’re done!! Hope yours turns out well. I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

dont dig bunting

storybook bunting