New Gee's Bend Quilt Kits And FabricsThursday, September 24, 2009
Guess what!? The press release for the new Gee's Bend quilters' partnership with Baum Textiles / Windham Fabrics was sent to me yesterday - with pics! Starting this November, four quilt kits (shown below) and 19 different solid fabrics will begin shipping to quilt shops.
Housetop, measuring 52” x 64” is based on the same titled design by Rita Mae Pettway – manufacturers style # 30551. Mrs. Pettway (b. 1941) made her first quilt at the age of 14. She was raised by her grandmother, quiltmaker Annie E. Pettway, and still lives in the house that her grandfather built for the family in the 1940s. "Onliest thing we did after everything else was done, we sit by the fireplace in the wintertime and piece up quilts. Me and my grandmama Annie. She didn't have no pattern to go by; she just cut them by the way she know how to make them," says Rita Mae. Piecing quilts, according to Rita Mae, was done individually but quilting "we all did together." Rita Mae, along with her ancestors and her daughter, renowned quilter Louisiana Bendolph share a penchant for creating strip quilts in concentric squares resulting in Housetops or Hog Pens, each artist though has a unique style and variation on the theme.
Housetop 4-Block Variation is 57” x 65” and styled after the work by the same name by Mary L. Bennett – manufacturers style # 30550. Mrs. Bennett (b. 1942), granddaughter of Delia Bennett (1892-1976) ancestor of many quilt makers in Gee’s Bend. Mary L. Bennett pieces primarily “Housetop” and “Bricklayer” compositions and imaginative variations on them. “I was born down here in Brown Quarters and got raised by my grandmother. I started out working in the fields for my uncle Stalling Bennett. I didn’t get no schooling – every now and then a day here and there. Didn’t nobody teach me to make quilts. I just learned it by myself, about 12 or 13. I was seeing my grandmamma piecing it up, and then I start. I just taken me some pieces and put it together, piece them up till they look like I want them to look. That’s all," states Mary L. Bennett.
One of the other really nice things is that a percentage of the royalty that each of the four quilters receives is in written contracts to be routed into The Gee's Bend Quilters Collective and The Gee's Bend Foundation.