Housetop quilt

Loretta Pettway American

Not on view

This is one of a series of three quilts made by Loretta Pettway in the early 1960s, all of the same gray, blue, and olive recycled clothing fabrics. It illustrates the Housetop pattern in its purest form—a single central square with strips in alternating colors built around it until the quilt grew big enough to cover a bed. Housetop designs like this one are uncommon outside the Gee’s Bend community, but they may have been originally inspired by central medallion quilts of the early nineteenth century. The earlier examples, which were particularly popular in the southeastern United States, consist of a central square or rectangle—most often appliquéd with colorful chintz—framed by concentric bands of decorative printed fabric.

Housetop quilt, Loretta Pettway (American, born Boykin, Alabama 1942), Top: cotton and polyester; back: cotton and rayon

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