Sunday, April 7, 2013


I have quilting memories.

Memories of black women making quilts by hand from old clothing scraps.  Of sleeping under handmade quilts and quilt tops made by friends and relatives.  Of always having a quilt on my bed.  Memories... 

I quilt almost everyday - it's my obsession (I can think of worst!).  I am pleasantly surprised at the impact African American quilters have on this industry.  Everyday I learn more and more about quilters like Anna Williams, Rosie Lee Tompkins, Gees Bend, and so many others who contribute to this American art form.

Read an interesting book with a chapter entitled, "Creative DNA".  It sparked something and I ran upstairs to my studio and grabbed my scrap container, needle and thread.  Here is what I hand stitched:

My mama taught me to sew by hand when I was around 6 years old.  Hand stitching comforts me.  Before I was allowed to use her sewing machine, I hand sewed everything.  Made doll clothes and even a pink outfit for me with my first paper pattern - all hand stitched.  I'm pretty good at it!

Here is the completed top.  No plan, just random scraps of fabric.  The squares are extras from past quilt blocks, the strips from leftover binding, etc.  "You use what you got; waste not want not".  Memories... 

Initially, I started hand quilting the top but this piece wanted to be machine quilted.  I resisted and just stared at it for a few days.  Too many starts and stops.  "What you resist, persists" - so the piece won out and I machine quilted it.

Isn't that piece of shot cotton amazing?  It's grey and glows orange. 


Wanted to retain the puffiness of the small squares and couldn't bear to quilt them into submission.   Echoed their stitching on the larger center squares.  Here is the completed quilt.  It is entitled: "Creative DNA". 

I am an African American quilter with a long, proud ancestry.  I grew up surrounded by this rich, joyful quilting history and even though I was not directly taught to quilt, it is in my DNA.  I quilt because I can't help myself - and I love it!  

P.S. Here is a picture of it on my design wall with my Joni Mitchell quilt.  They play well together.

Thanks for stopping by,