Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Quilters for Black History Month

I partnered with Windham Fabrics in 2008 to create patterns to go with their fabrics for the Gee's Bend quilts. They had been in negotiations for over a year with the Gee's Bend Collective of quilters to offer patterns for the most famous of the quilts made from their quilters. This is the bag the kits would eventually be packaged in. My design, btw.

Quilt Kits for the Gee's Bend Quilts
Together, they selected 7 quilts. Then Windham and I selected a color palette of about 2 dozen colors that would be used for the quilts. These would become a group of batik/tie dyed type of fabrics that would mimic the scrap fabrics used in the original quilts. It took us several months to do this. To say that I didn't know what I was doing is an UNDERSTATEMENT!
Final selection of Pantone Color Chips

We were feverishly sending emails back and forth 10 years ago (2008) discussing the quilts, the ones that might be most welcomed by the quilting community, the ones that could REALISTICALLY be patterned. Remember, these were IMPROVISATIONAL quilts. Scrap quilts. Quilts made with various scraps and leftovers. How in the world do you PATTERN an improvisational quilt? That's an oxymoron, right?

Here is the Housetop Quilt. Can you believe the size of this single log cabin block? The original by Rita Mae Pettway was 84" x 70"! We scaled it down to 51" x 62". And do you see that renegade red patch at the top? Clever!

Housetop Quilt by Rita Mae Pettway: 84" x 70"

Here is one of the pattern pages from the Housetop Denim quilt that shows the original quilt and a photo of Rita Mae, with a little bio info:


And my version of the quilt (which I still sell on Craftsy). Housetop Denim: 52" x 64"

Housetop Denim: 51" x 62"

Check it out. More quilts to follow (since I patterned a total of 8 quilts). The Gee's Bend quilters were ecstatic to see my renditions of their quilts. Windham sent each of them the quilt kit for their particular quilts and they sewed them up and loved it!

13 comments:

  1. Some one, a dear friend, just gave me this movie to watch. Cool.

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  2. I made two of these. This one s on my balcony rail right now. I made a second one and hand quilted it closely with big stitch quilting. I made a third from the left over fabric using my own design. In September, I went to a four day camp and two of the Gees Bend quilters were teachers for the quilting workshop. It was awesome to be wit them.

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    1. I think it would be wonderful to meet these ladies. I have grown to love these quilts and my daughters have taken the ones I made for myself! They proudly display them on their walls.

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  3. Wonderful- looking forward to getting one of thse kits! These women should be an inspiration to all of us!

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    1. The kits are gone. That happened about 8 years ago! But it's not a problem to make these using your own solids.

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  4. I'm in! I have aways loved the Gee's Bend Quilters - they are such an inspiration. Sew glad for their recognition and success!

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    1. I have two more quilts being featured on Thursday and then the final 5 next week. I have made each of them more than once! (Windham owns the originals)

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  5. I made one of these that is still on my daughter's wall. It's fun to see the background for it.

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    1. Yes, two of my daughters have taken a few of my own! They are modern looking, aren't they? Glad you enjoy seeing these. More to come!

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  6. You did an amazing job with the patterns. I have made one, and I love it.

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  7. Thank you for acknowledging Black History month,Debby.

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Thanks for stopping by Debby Kratovil Quilts! If you had a question and don't get an answer from me, please feel free to email me at: kratovil@his.com