I’m embarrassed to say it’s been just about a year since Kay sent me a box of pillow cases and asked if I would make them into a quilt. But I also have to say that if I made the quilt before I went on my trip to Gee’s Bend, it would have been a very different quilt.
Yesterday, when I was still spinning from my visit with Pamela at Blue Star, I did one of the things that brings me back to myself. I went to work in my studio. Sometimes, walking works, sometimes talking or meditating, but yesterday morning I knew if I started working things would begin to fall into place.
So I took out Kay’s box of pillowcases and three hankies and began. First I hand washed them, then spun them in the washing machine then ironed them and hung them out for a while to dry. Then I looked through my Gee’s Bend Book for inspiration. I had choices to make. Do I used just the pillowcases and hankies or do I add fabric to them. In the book I saw some of the quilts made from feed and seed bags, all shades of white and off white, strips of slightly different shades setting each other off. I knew what I would do.
I cut off the embroidered edges in different sizes then cut strips from the rest of the pillow cases to build around the embroidered pieces. When I started sewing the “white” pieces together I saw just how different they really were. Not only in color but in the fabrics too. Like Mary Ann Pettway taught me, I worked on one piece at a time, not planning out the whole quilt like I used to. Cutting strips of fabric as I went, using the scarps when they fit.
And I paid attention to the seams. Some of them are visible through the fabric so they had to be just right. This is my first quilt where the back is as neat as the front. But the seams also become a part of the aesthetic of the quilt. Thick and thin lines, the texture of the seams, how the seams connect the fabric all become important.
I top stitched the hankies onto a piece of plain pillowcase…
Then added onto them.
When I had enough scraps, I sewed them together creating another piece of the quilt. (the Freida hairs will not be included in the finished quilt)