Two years ago, when I was reeling from my metastatic diagnosis, I retreated to Atlanta for a long weekend to be with my sister. She, wisely, brought me to the High Museum of Art to see the quilts of Gee’s Bend. They were amazing and soul-nourishing, and I swore that the next quilt I made would be in the spirit of Gee’s Bend–made from the recycled fabric of shirts, pants, tablecloths, etc., and pieced back together without regard for perfect alignment. Ultimately, a more organic quilt both in material and in design.
This fall, I dug up the old clothes I had been saving for such an opportunity, and started ripping them into strips. They are the materials of Mark and my life. The shirt he wore the night we met, some pajama pants I wore to shreds, etc., etc.
I ripped them rather than using scissors and estimated their width rather than measuring. What emerged was indeed organic and imprecise. And full of love and stories just like the Gee’s Bend quilts.
Then, however, I said good-bye to the impoverished, artistic, optimistic, inspiring women of Gee’s Bend and embraced my own heritage…
My mother-in-law, an amazing quilter, has started a small business doing quilting in her basement on a machine that would make my father drool. It is huge. And fun to “drive.” The two requirements of any power tool–and guaranteed fun for our favorite Meyer contractor (my dad, that is).
Jane and I loaded the quilt on her machine last Saturday and I quilted like crazy. It was great fun. And the quilt turned out exactly the way I had wanted it to. I haven’t bound it yet. That’s the tedious part, but here it is…
(Oh, I did use scissors on the applique part.)