Sunday, May 6, 2012

Gees Bend style Workshop

I did a Workshop for the Blue Mountain Quilt Guild on a Gees Bend style quilt.

Here's the technique in images:
build a block
cut in quarters
shuffle/rotate and sew back together

add improv pieced sashing between blocks.

Here's some of the amazing blocks the participants came up with:

What I find most amazing, is that even the fabric choices that I didn't think would work well produced interesting effects and really came together well.

I have made 4 of this style of quilt tops and have always used white or beige as the "background".  When I saw the fabrics that each participant had brought, I was sure we'd end up with some muddy, indistinguishable blocks.  I was surprised (and relieved) that everyone's blocks looked great when they were laid out.

I had everyone make 2 or more blocks at a time.  I under estimated how much time each block would take to make.  This being an improvised type of block and a room full of traditional quilters, I was surprised at how having too many choices slowed down the process.  A Bento Box block with every strip being 2.5 inches wide goes together really quick.  A wonky block where each strip is a different width, and each ring didn't have to be the same fabric and the fun of inserting little fabric inclusions in the middle of a strip all added up to the day being almost over, before everyone had 4 blocks to use for the second step.

Fortunately, everything still works with 3 blocks.  You can see form the layouts above, some have 3 blocks (12 quarter blocks) and some have 4 blocks (16 quarter blocks).  Most people had a couple more blocks on the go that they could finish at home to add to what we got done during the day.

The bottom image shows blocks made from thrifted material.  The gray is a duvet cover, the leopard and green are from sheets and the black is from a pinstriped shirt.


  1. I loooove these blocks, Paul! There's one of these quilts in my future for sure.

  2. Wow! These look like so much fun! This is definitely going on my to do list as well!