Monday, December 8, 2008


This weekend it was my great honor to spend some time with Tinnie Pettway, one of the famous quilters from Gee's Bend who has authored a new book entitled GEE'S BEND EXPERIENCE.

I first met Tinnie and her daughter Claudia at an art exhibition last year, where I shared with them my book of poems (that includes the poem "The Quilts of Gee's Bend") and talked with them about my forthcoming novel THE WITCHES OF GEE'S BEND. They were simply wonderful to visit with, so I was thrilled to get to see them again. I bought books and potholders, and this time I remembered to take pictures!

Here is a poem from Tinnie's book:

Quilting Women (1989)

Way back then, women had few friends,
Worked from early morn, till the day's end

They would do their daily household things
While on some song they hummed and sang

They would gather together their quilting things
A few old britches, a few little string

A pair of scissors, their needle and thread
Think of patterns in their heads

Begin to sew old pieces together
Some pieces terrible, some a little better, some of that
stuff was almost leather

It may have been wool or it may have been rubber
But when they was done we all had cover

- Tinnie Pettway


  1. I love that first line, so evocative: "Way back then, women had few friends." It makes you wonder what the time was and how things have changed for women over time.

  2. What a treat to spend some time with Tinnie Pettway! Do you remember the gorgeous "Quilts of Gee's Bend" postage stamps from a couple of years ago? I bought so many sheets that I just recently ran out...loved those.

    I'm really looking forward to reading your book, fellow Tenner!

  3. Very neat, Irene. Would love to have one of her colorful quilts or just even view them someday. Color stirs my it.

  4. What a great experience! My mother-n-law does handmade quilts for us and kids. It is truely an art.

  5. Oh, I envy you! Thank you for introducing me to this poet. I love how she captures the communal act of sewing together. Beautiful!

  6. Hi, I just found you on the Book Odyssey LJ. (My book is with Knopf in 2010.) I'm a big Gee's Bend fan. So exciting to see a book about it. I do have a quilter in my book, and another work in progress that will have a free-form scrap quilt.

    I just started this blog recently I'd love to hear your thoughts on the Book Odyssey.


  7. Thank you - I'm going to buy Ms. Pettaway's poety book. I'm a new quilter and feel an affinity to Gee's Bend. Harriet Tubman is one of my ancestors and I'm designing quilts about her and her journey.


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