Monday, May 25, 2009

Quilts of Gee's Bend & a Double Wedding Ring

The Quilts of Gee's Bend are on display here in Jacksonville, FL, at The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens until August 2.
This is one of the largest survey collections shown... there is a different grouping of the quilts each time a museum or group sponsors the exhibit.
My guild was invited to do a demo for the two Members' Openings (Sunday evening and Monday afternoon) and again on Family Night (June 2) when there will be 700+ people coming through the museum!

Here are a few of us around the frame:

When I took this picture, I was warned not to be taking any photos of the I didn't. But I can't help it if a few sneaked into the shot!

What a treat to be located right in the center of the gallery amidst all those quilts!
Of course, it is museum gallery lighting, not intended for doing handwork. We were there to talk with people, though, not actually accomplish anything.

Some of the quilters brought their own hand project, as they did not want to quit on a frame!

One of the most-asked questions was "When will this quilt be finished?"
The answer: probably never.
It's purpose is to be on the frame all the time, so whenever a demo is needed, all I do is carry it in (the legs come off the frame so it is totally portable).

Anybody who wants to stitch on it is welcome, and it has been worked on by people of all ages, from many walks of life, male and female.

Even non-quilters recognize it as a Double Wedding Ring.
It is a very fine 1930's vintage top that was given to me by Vergie Greene when she closed up her house to move to a nursing home. I found a backing that is appropriate to the fabrics and basted it, then loaded it into the frame about 18 years ago.
Except for a brief time when I took it off, thinking I could just go ahead and finish it, because no one had called for a demo in a long time, suddenly it was needed! I put it back on the frame and there it has stayed, ready to come out and "go quilting" whenever wanted.

For all you Double Wedding Ring fans out there, I'd like to point out a few things about this quilt.
1) Note that the fabrics really are different from the reproduction prints sold as "30's fabrics". They are true scraps, and it's fun to see the parts of different ones all over the top!
2) The pink and Nile green four-patch sections are about as classic 30's colors as you can find!
3) Those same sections are a kite shaped or curved diamond, and that allows the rings to be perfect circles. Sometimes this is made with a regular 4-patch where the rings come together, and that makes them flatten out, like a square with curved sides. The beautiful round rings were considered a sign of "better" workmanship.
A funny thing about this top is that most of it is handstitched, but some was done by machine!

If you have an old quilt top in good condition, and it's not a very old antique or some way associated with a historic person or event, then it may be a good idea to quilt it. A finished quilt is usually better cared for than a top, especially when you are no longer around to enjoy it!
If you have the quilting done on a long arm machine, be sure to research the kind of quilting that would have been done in the top's time, and plan for a design that respects the original stitcher.


Pat said...

What an interesting life for the "Quilt on the Frame". To travel around & be stitched upon by so many hands.
Thank you for pointing out the kite shaped / curved diamond section of your Wedding Ring Quilt. I never realized that there was a difference in WRQs.

Jackie said...

I've never thought that a demo quilt would never be finished! I need to get to the Cummer to see the exhibit!