Gee’s Bend is synonymously known for the women who create quilts, and some of the ladies have the same last name, Pettway. Not all Pettway’s are related, but most do have one thing in common, quilting. Doris Pettway Hacketts is a 4th generation quilter who was raised in the small community and is part of the quilting group recognized for their art, the Gee’s Bend Quilters Collective.
What or who inspired you to start quilting?
“My mother, Marie.”
How old were you when you started sewing quilts?
“As a child I would thread the needle for my mother, then when I turned 15, I started piecing together blocks of fabric. My first completed quilt was made after college and the quilt was an ‘An Old Fashion Wedding Ring’ made with red, gold and navy fabrics.”
Describe to me your process when designing a quilt and how long does it take you to make one?
“The first thing I do is pick my fabrics, then think about the design. Once that is done, I decide on the quilt size and start cutting my blocks of fabric. After that is completed, I start stitching blocks by hand or by sewing machine. The more sophisticated quilts I make by machine. I can make a quilt top by machine in a day and hand stitch one in a week.”
What materials do you use to construct a quilt?
“I prefer cotton fabric and I always feel the texture to see if it talks to me.”
How do you get ideas for your quilt designs?
“I often look on the internet, social media or quilt books.”
Do you make baby quilts?
“I sew a good many baby quilts because they can also be used as lap quilts or a wall hanging.”
Are you part of the Gee’s Bend Quilting Collective?
“Yes, I have been a member of the collective for many years.”
What do you think about the attention the Gee’s Bend Quilters receive?
“I am glad they are recognized. My mother was the secretary for the group back in the 1960’s. She was involved in the development of the Gee’s Bend Quilters Collective. My great grandmother was a Gee’s Bend Quilter before the financial benefits started. People would take pictures of her hanging her quilts.”
Do you think the art of quilt making will continue with future generations?
“No, I am afraid that the new generation will not, but my daughter and I are working together making quilts.”
Are there other members in your family learning the craft?
“Besides my daughter, my elementary school age granddaughter and grandson have now become interested in quilts.”
What do you find most rewarding about making quilts?
“No matter what my day has been like, it is comforting to me when the finished product is a success.”
Doris Pettway Hacketts' quilts may be purchased at Black Belt Treasures Cultural Arts Center or ordered at the website http://blackbelttreasures.com.