Friday, April 25, 2008

Judge Grants All Concerned in Three Gee's Bend Cases an Additional 45 Days

United States Magistrate Judge Bert W. Milling, Jr. granted the request for an additional 45 days for all parties in the three Gee's Bend lawsuits by Annie Mae Young, Loretta Pettway, and Lucinda Pettway Franklin to continue to talk. The parties have until, no later than June 9, 2008, to "immediately notify the Court if any of these actions settled."

In related news, let's go back to April 14, 2008. The Gee's Bend Foundation filed a motion to intervene as a defendant in the cases of Loretta Pettway and Annie Mae Young. The purpose was to "adjudicate its liability, if any." From reading the publicly available court filings, the argument is that: 1) the suits by Mrs. Young and Mrs. Pettway "center around purported wrongdoing... dealing with the display and licensing of certain quilt images owned by" the women; 2) the two quilters seek to enforce their copyrights; 3) the "Foundation has received monies from TVI from these purportedly unauthorized licenses (TVI refers to one of the defendants, Tinwood Ventures, Inc.). The Foundations is looking to "prevent exposure to double liability." Chief US District Judge Callie V. S. Grande has indicated the motion will be granted unless any objections are filed by April 28.

As mentioned before, you can follow the Gee's Bend suits yourself by reading the actual court filings. As mentioned in previous posts, PACER - "Public Access to Court Electronic Records ... an electronic public access service allows users to obtain case and docket information from Federal Appellate, District and Bankruptcy courts, and the U.S. Party/Case Index via the Internet." There's a fee of about 8 cents per page to access the records.

Gee's Bend Quilter Annie Mae Young Reaches Settlement Agreement with Visa

On April 15, Gee's Bend quilter Annie Mae Young reached a settlement agreement with Visa. As a result, she "dismisses her claims with prejudice against defendant Visa," according to a document filed with the US District Court for Southern District of Alabama (civil action no. 07-317). No details of the settlement were released.

You can follow the Gee's Bend suits yourself by reading the actual court filings. As mentioned in previous posts, PACER - "Public Access to Court Electronic Records ... an electronic public access service allows users to obtain case and docket information from Federal Appellate, District and Bankruptcy courts, and the U.S. Party/Case Index via the Internet." There's a fee of about 8 cents per page to access the records.

Photo of Brazilian Girl with Knitted Top sold for $760!

Ok - this is my last eBay auction post this week (smile!). Isn't this a lovely photo of a Black girl from Rio de Janeiro? Her name wasn't recorded on the photograph. This CDV or or carte de visite is by Alberto Henschel (1827 - 1882), a German photographer, who probably took this photograph sometime between 1870s and 1882, when he had a studio in Rio de Janeiro. The photo measures 2 1/2 inches by 4 inches. Carte de visites were popular in the late 1800s and were used much like a calling card or today's business card. These small, sturdy photos were collected (like baseball cards!) and could also be mailed.

I wonder if the portrait sitter knitted or crocheted her own blouse. The cowrie shells in her hair are stylish even today! You can click on the photo to see it close up. This eBay auction (item #330229125214) started at $44.77 on April 17. The ending price yesterday afternoon - $760! Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Knitting Sojourner Truth CDV sold for $685 on eBay

You've seen this image of Sojourner Truth holding knitting needles with yarn. This specific image was offered at a starting auction price of a mere $0.99 on April 12. It was a 10-day auction. Thirty-seven bids later.... the final, winning bid was $685. (eBay item 360042526566) What's interesting is that this CDV or carte de visite was not even in mint condition. This one had the top cut off! Personally, I continue to look for a CDV of Mrs. Ricks, The Queen's Liberian Visitor by photographers Elliott & Fry to be offered for sale! Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sen. John McCain Visits Gee's Bend Quilters; Judge's Order Due April 24 in Gee's Bend Lawsuits

Senator John McCain on the campaign trail stopped by Gee's Bend, AL yesterday and enjoyed "Do Lord, Remember Me" sung by several Sistah quilters. You can hear them sing on this CBC video. Or, you can read the report and see the video from this link. Apparently, the Senator also left a check for the quilters:
“I have heard of this wonderful place and I know that it has a place in history. I know Dr. [Martin Luther] King was here before the march in Selma, so they stopped running the Ferry. Now the ferry is running and I intend to ride the ferry back,” he said. McCain then pulled a check from his wallet and handed it to the quilters, toured the facility and shopped," said Senator McCain.
Local news station WSFA Channel 12 reports the Senator purchased three quilts. The New York Times reports that quilts similar in the large size that the Senator purchased sale for $2,500 each. You can see the WSFA report on YouTube. You can also hear who the Sistah quilters and local leaders felt about this political visit.

More news should come from the Gee's Bend area later this week as Judge Bert W. Milling Jr. had given the parties in the cases of Young, Pettway, and Franklin until Thursday, April 24, 2008 to file "a joint status report on their efforts towards a global settlement of all three actions. Do share your thoughts on Senator McCain's visit to Gee's Bend!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Barack Obama Redwork Block Pattern - FREE

Will you be visiting Lancaster, PA between June 6 and December 31, 2008? Stop by the Heritage Center Museum for the exhibit "Patchwork Politics: From George to George W." The exhibit will feature a variety of quilts and other textile items from Presidential campaigns past. Unfortunately, there is not a catalog planned for this exhibit. No word yet on if there will be an exhibition checklist.

If you're a regular visitor to the Black Threads blog, you know I'm interested in hearing from those stitching quilts, wallhangings, or fabric postcards about the 2008 US Presidential election.

Have you seen Michael G. Buckingham's softcover book, Presidential Redwork: A Stitch in Time? In the 80 page book are patterns for each of the US Presidents as well as historical patriotic designs in redwork like the Great Seal of the United States, the American Eagle, the Liberty Bell, the White House, Old Glory and more. Of course, there's not a pattern for the winner of the 2008 US Presidential election. But, that shouldn't stop you!

As a gift from the Black Threads blog, I hope you enjoy this FREE redwork quilt block pattern featuring Barack Obama. Just click here to download it. In the next post is a block featuring Hillary Clinton. I hope you and your quilting friends enjoy!

Hillary Clinton Redwork Pattern Quilt Block

Here at the Black Threads blog, I've been asking if anyone is creating quilts or fabric artwork about the 2008 US Presidential election. There's a kind of quilt called called Redwork which includes an embroidery technique using deep red thread. You can read about Redwork in the following books:
If you'd like to get into the Presidential quilting spirit, you can make your own Hillary Clinton Redwork Block with this FREE quilt block pattern. Just click here to download your pattern. If you'd like to make a Redwork quilt featuring all the presidents, check out Michael G. Buckingham's book, Presidential Redwork. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Harriet Powers Bible Quilt at Air & Space Museum & YouTube

The Harriet Powers Bible Quilt is on display for one last week at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC. The quilt is part of the Treasures of American History exhibition, which has been at the Air & Space since the American History Museum closed for renovations in 2005. The last day for the exhibit is Sunday, April 13. The Treasures exhibit includes 150 iconic symbols of the United States: Abraham Lincoln's Top Hat worn to the Ford's Theater that fateful night, the Ruby Red Shoes Judy Garland worn as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, the manacles worn by actor LaVar Burton in Roots, the lap desk Thomas Jefferson used to draft the Declaration of Independence, a jacket and pair of sun glasses worn by Ray Charles, and so much more! You might not be able to visit the Bible Quilt in person - hope you enjoy seeing the quilt via video - my very first YouTube video! It's less than 3 mins. Enjoy! Update! As of May 5, there are over 500 views of this video - WOW!

Flip Video for your Quilting

Ok - just had to share. I think I'm falling in love with the Flip Video! I spent about 30 mins yesterday exploring how to use it. It's very easy. I opened the velvet pouch it came in, installed the batteries, and read the 6 panel graphical instructions. That's it. I was making a video in moments! The Flip Video camera plugs into your computer via an attached USB plug. The software is in the video camera. My cousin came over to install java for me - as it wasn't on my computer already.

This morning I braved the rains and went to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum - and shot eight or so quick video snips ... front of the museum, inside, Harriet Powers quilt, etc. There's a mike already in the camera - so I had a couple voice overs. Came home within an hour and plugged the video camera into my computer.

It was EASY to edit the snips to take out terrible scenes where my hand shook too much or the film just ran too long. There's Help links to walk you through any steps. Then, I just pressed the Make Movie link, highlighted the snips I wanted in the "movie" - selected with or without music in the background... and the software makes magic! The various snips were aggregated to one movie. The total time from editing to final movie was about two hours - but that included me figuring out what to do the first time. Then - it was upload to YouTube. Again, just a button.

Technology, in this case with Flip Video, IS changing the way to document quilts, quiltmaking, and our process of creating quilts. What do you think?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Gee's Bend Children's Picture Book in October

As mentioned before here on the blog, there will be a children's picture book on quilting in the Gee's Bend area - Stitchin' and Pullin' : A Gee's Bend Quilt by award-winning author Patricia McKissack and illustrated by sistah quilter Cozbi A. Cabrera. According to, the book is about:
MOTHER AND DAUGHTER, grandmother and granddaughter, aunt and niece, friend and friend. For a hundred years, generations of women from Gee’s Bend have quilted together, sharing stories, trading recipes, singing hymns—all the while stitchin’ and pullin’ thread through cloth. Every day Baby Girl listens, watches, and waits, until she’s called to sit at the quilting frame. Piece by piece, she puzzles her quilt together—telling not just her story, but the story of her family, the story of Gee’s Bend, and the story of her ancestors’ struggle for freedom.
You can pre-order your copy today. Enjoy!

Harlem Girls Quilting Circle - See It!

In collaboration with The Franklin H. Williams Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute presents "SPEAK OUT!" - Works by the Harlem Girls Quilting Circle from March 22 to June 27, 2008.

Quilters with works on display: Lucinda Alexander ♦ Anna Alvarez ♦ Michelle Y. Bishop ♦ Valerie Deas ♦ Ife Felix ♦ Laura R. Gadson ♦ Paula Wynter ♦ Gwen Jones-Diallo ♦ Pat Mabry ♦ Myna Majors ♦ Robyn Mahone-Lonesome.

According to exhibit release: Armed with the fabrics of their craft, the members of Harlem Girls Quilting Circle share their social commentary in quilt to SPEAK OUT! regarding the issues that affect their lives. As fiber correspondents, SPEAK OUT! depicts the voices of women who question and dialogue about matters of community, family, human rights, gentrification, politics,
culture, solidarity, economics, education and religion.

See the exhibit at The Caribbean Cultural Center Gallery, 408 West 58th Street, between 9th and 10th Ave. Telephone: 212-307-7420. Exhibit hours: Monday to Friday 10:00AM to 6:00PM. Do drop a note here to share your thoughts about these exciting quilts!