Photo: David Raccuglia, 2000

Qunnie Pettway

Gee's Bend, Alabama
1943 - 2010

A longtime worker at the Freedom Quilting Bee, Qunnie Pettway enjoyed bringing home ornate fabric scraps from the bee and making improvisational versions of traditional patterns.

My mama, Candis Pettway, learned me how to quilt. We made “Housetops” and quilted them in rows. Af­ter I got married, 1960, I started making pattern quilts. My sister learned me how to piece the “Wedding Ring.” Then I learned to piece a “Chestnut Bud” at Mattie Ross house. Later on I learned to piece the “Bear Paw,” “Grandmama’s Dream,” “Grandmama’s Choice” up to Mrs. Witherspoon’s. For myself­, I like to piece a “Crazy Z” quilt and strip quilts with the corduroy f­rom the Freedom Quilting Bee. I made eight-point “Star” quilts f­or other people. When my health went to f­ailing, I stick with simple quilts.

Most thing I did was learn to cook and make quilts. Now, when I was a real young girl I liked to play jacks, jump rope, and hopscotch. I been to the doctor lately. I’m going blind in one eye. I suf­f­er f­rom the diabetes.