How the Gee’s Bend Quilters Inspired Me to Make a Quilt

I’ve been working on making this quilt that I am rather excited about. I have no idea how to quilt and I have no books on the subject. But I decided I wanted to make one. I am doing it the old fashioned way with whip stitches, by hand. I love doing it, it is so meditative!

How the Gee's Bend Quilters Inspired Me to Make a Quilt [Blog]
Gee’s Bend Quilt

What inspired this, you might ask?

A few years ago, when I was still in school, I learned about these beautiful quilts that are from the early 17-19th centuries. They are considered to be art, going beyond just the craft of quilting. They were “on tour” to several different galleries all over the world. They are the “Gee’s Bend Quilts (of Alabama)”. They are absolutely beautiful and you can just feel the emotion pour out of them when you stand in front of them.

The quilts were all made by female slaves and later, impoverished black women. They were truly labors of love. They had no materials to make them and could never afford new fabric so they used anything that was worn out to make them. From dish rags, to clothing, to socks, and just about anything made out of fabric that was too worn to use any longer. They would take the fabric, cut it up, and carefully, lovingly stitch each square together buy hand. Standing in front of these quilts in the gallery brought tears to my eyes. I could feel their pain, their happiness, and their loving adoration of their families. To put so much work into something that would protect and comfort their loved ones. It’s something we rarely see anymore with so many things so readily available at our finger tips.

How the Gee's Bend Quilters Inspired Me to Make a Quilt [Blog]
My quilt pieces.
So, long story short, I decided I was going to no longer throw out clothing that is worn or too small or too old or just out of fashion. I’m cutting them up into squares and instinctively making a quilt. I want to do it without direction, without a book, and without a machine. It makes me feel like I can go back in time and feel these women’s hearts beating alongside mine. It’s just an incredible feeling. So I’m doing it. I’m putting the squares together, sewing them, and I have a good stack of squares going now. I think I have a plan for putting them together and I can envision this beautiful piece of art when I’m done. Who knows, maybe it will even look like a quilt! All I know is that it makes me feel good to do it and that, for me, is reason enough to keep at it.

Pictured below, several more of the Gee’s Bend Quilts that I found so inspirational! Each is truly a work of art!

How the Gee's Bend Quilters Inspired Me to Make a Quilt [Blog] How the Gee's Bend Quilters Inspired Me to Make a Quilt [Blog] How the Gee's Bend Quilters Inspired Me to Make a Quilt [Blog] How the Gee's Bend Quilters Inspired Me to Make a Quilt [Blog] How the Gee's Bend Quilters Inspired Me to Make a Quilt [Blog] How the Gee's Bend Quilters Inspired Me to Make a Quilt [Blog] How the Gee's Bend Quilters Inspired Me to Make a Quilt [Blog] How the Gee's Bend Quilters Inspired Me to Make a Quilt [Blog] How the Gee's Bend Quilters Inspired Me to Make a Quilt [Blog]

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