Wednesday December 11, 2013
Quilting isn't new in Gee's Bend, Alabama, but the community's quilters have become well known over the past decade or so for their unique use of color and 'freehand' patterns.
Over the decades, quilters drew inspiration from both their African American heritage and traditional quilt patterns. But it's the Folk Art appeal of Gee's Bend quilts that made the community famous, and resulted in the traveling exhibits that have been displayed in many museums since the turn of this century.
The U.S. Postal Service issued a group of stamps that depicts Gee's Bend quilts and a quilt mural trail was established in the town to duplicate the designs chosen for stamps. Some of the quilters are now instructors who reach out to teach their methods to others.
Learn a bit more about Gee's Bend, browse the photos and find links to more information.
The Quilts of Gee's Bend
Photo by Carole Highsmith
Tuesday December 10, 2013
You'll see a different image when you land on this pattern's first page, because the tutorial is actually three patterns in one... a table runner and placemats, plus a coordinating 30-inch square quilt that can be used as a wallhanging or in any other decorative way.
The quilt block used for all three projects is a variation of Bear's Paw and Maple Leaf. The block is easy to assemble, but do take care when creating smaller versions of the half square triangle units. They're quick-pieced, which removes the need to work with stretchy bias edges.
It's very simple to lengthen or shorten the table runner to suit your needs, and to make the projects suitable for any season or occasion by simply altering fabrics.
Sew Coordinating Table Runner, Placemats & Quilt
Monday December 9, 2013
Choose a color scheme or make a scrap table runner from this easy pattern that's made from four quilt blocks placed on point. Repeating the fabric used for setting and corner triangles in two patches of each quilt block lets those areas 'drop out' of the layout, allowing the bow ties to emerge. Replacing the same two patches with a contrasting fabric will dramatically alter the block's appearance -- choose that option if it best suits your needs.
Neckties can be used to make the table runner if, once pressed open, each allows you to cut a couple of 5" squares and two smaller squares. Be sure to stabilize the backs of neckties with fusible interfacing to help reduce stretch, and plan fabric placement for directional fabrics.
Easy Table Runner Pattern with a Bow Tie Look
Friday December 6, 2013
Grab your stash of leftover pieces of fabric, because they're a perfect choice for Arkansas Traveler quilt blocks. I've included three finished block sizes in the pattern -- 6", 9" and 12", so even quilters with fewer scraps can put their fabrics to use. The traditional layout for the block is made up of four dark spools against a light background, but switch that up if you prefer. How about bright spools against black? Or neutrals against darker colors? Backgrounds needn't be the same fabric, so feel free to scrap it up.
Take a close look at the four light background areas nearest the block's center -- two vertical and two horizontal. Notice how they form a bit of a pinwheel. Some layouts could take advantage of that look, and dramatically change the block's appearance. Play with the design a bit until you're happy with the layout. One thing's certain... Arkansas Traveler is an easy quilt block that can be used to create a wide variety of quilts.
Arkansas Traveler Quilt Block Pattern