So in my last post I mentioned going through a bunch of old magazines for inspiration. Most of the quilts in the little pictures that I cut out were made of large simple shapes. Some were wonky, and others were straight. But they were mostly simple shapes, and large pieces of fabric. In the last magazine that I looked at, one picture really caught my eye. It was a pattern by Pam Rocco (she doesn’t seem to have a website, but she is a frequent contributor to Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine.) It was patterned after the ‘Housetop’ quilts made by the quilters of Gees Bend.
I am a real fan of the Gees Bend quilters. I love the fact that they just took what they had, which was very little, and made art out of it. And, I was fortunate enough to see several of them at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. I was very touched by the depth and reality of their relationship with God. As they talked to the hundreds of women at that quilt show, they just naturally talked about God, praising him for the good in their life, and how they had to rely on Him in hard times. They broke out in song quite often, singing some of the old spiritual hymns. I bought one of their books that day, and I refer to it frequently for inspiration. I had just found this quote in their book about a week ago, and I LOVE it!
Didn’t nobody teach me to make quilts. I just learned it by myself, about twelve or thirteen. I was seeing my grandmama piecing it up, and then I start. I just taken me some pieces and put it together, piece them up til they look like I want them to look. That’s all. Mary L. Bennett
So that was it! I would do a housetop quilt! I picked out my colors, which were a little different than my usual choices, a little bolder colors.
I got to work, cutting pieces without measuring, and fitting them as I went. I did use my rotary cutter and ruler. I didn’t finish it that night, so planned to put the last few rounds on the next morning.
The next morning, before I started sewing, I read a bit in my Bible, and it just happened to be in Matthew 10. I noticed a verse that I had never noticed before:
“What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!” (Jesus speaking to his disciples, NLT)
Huh! And here I was working on a ‘housetop’ quilt. I finished the last few rounds. The brown fabric that is the last round is a special fabric that I wanted to include in this quilt. It was from a line of fabrics made to replicate the fabrics used by the Gees Bend quilters, and I bought it in Sisters when I met the GB quilters. I had to do a little finagling to figure out how to use the 1/2 yard of that fabric to make it fit. And as you can see, I actually had to ‘fill in’ with a bit of the other fabric. Making do with what I had, just as the original quilters would do. I am very happy with how it turned out. I would have made it a little larger, but then I really wouldn’t have had enough brown fabric.
Later that night, I was still thinking about that verse and the quilt. And I came up with my next BIG IDEA. You guys are going to get tired of me and my big ideas LOL. Anyway, I was VERY excited about this one. I actually like quilting words. Its pretty easy, and I just like the idea of it. And I thought, how perfect–these solid fabrics are the perfect vehicle to quilt words on–and how great to choose some of my favorite passages from the Bible and quilt them right into the quilt.
My BFF and I joke that we have a ‘manufacturing’ gene, and so of course, I am thinking about all the variations I can make with this, both with colorways, and verses. I imagine I WILL make a few more of these. I have my solids all re-organized and ready for me to pick the next colors out. And then I will be done.