Traditional Gee's Bend Quilting

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Caster Pettway

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Caster Pettway


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About QuiltsByCaster

Sales 108
On Etsy since 2020

Thank you for visiting my shop!

I am Caster Pettway and a proud Gee’s Bend Quilter. I was born in a small rural community that was originally called Gees Bend, but later became known as Boykin, Alabama. My parents were Reverend and Mrs. Spurlin Pettway. My father was the founder of our home church of which I still attend and am an active member today. Of fourteen siblings, I am the knee-baby (second youngest) of the family.

As a small child, I would work in the fields with my family picking cotton. I was the smallest one out there! I was always happy and enjoyed my childhood. Everything my mother would do, I wanted to do. I even learned to bake cornbread. I would watch my mother quilt. That’s how I learned to quilt. She would have me sit with her and quilt. My mother would quilt alone and sometimes with other ladies in the community. They would use old clothes and rags, anything they could get their hands on. They would make quilts to keep their families warm.

As an adult, I was married twice. During my first marriage, I gave birth to three beautiful children. My first marriage was short lived and I was forced to raise my children alone. During those years, jobs were scarce and we had to rely on help from government assistance. Through the power of prayer and God’s unwavering mercy, I was able to raise and educate my children as independent, self-sufficient and well-rounded adults. In March, 2008 I remarried. Unfortunately, this marriage was also short lived. My husband passed away. Just one year later, my son passed away unexpectantly at the age of 39.

This has been an amazing journey. I find it so humbling that people are interested in my quilts and now they are considered art. I am so grateful that my children are exploring my passion. My daughters and my grandchildren have picked up the needle and thread and are creating master pieces of their own. We have now added a “Mommy and Me” and a “Descendants Line” to our Quilts by Caster collection. My children have even began adding tops to canvas for hanging wall art.

I enjoy sewing. I find it relaxing. For inspiration, I go on walks. That’s the best thing ever! I find beauty all around. Before I began my journey with Etsy, I would make quilts and give them away to friends and families. All quilts are made with 100% cotton. I use old and new materials, scraps and all. When people look at my work, they know me, the person that I am. I want them to see the goodness in me.

History of Gee’s Bend:
The women of Gee’s Bend—a small, rural, community in Alabama's Black Belt—have created hundreds of quilt masterpieces dating from the early twentieth century to the present. Resembling an inland island, Gee’s Bend is surrounded on three sides by the Alabama River. The some seven hundred or so inhabitants of this small, rural community are mostly descendants of enslaved Africans who, for generations, worked the fields belonging to the local Pettway plantation. Quiltmakers there have produced countless patchwork masterpieces, with the oldest existing examples dating from the 1920s. Enlivened by a visual imagination that extends the expressive boundaries of the quilt genre, these astounding creations constitute a crucial chapter in the history of American art.

Gee’s Bend quilts carry forward a proud tradition of textiles made for home and family. They represent only a part of the rich body of African American quilts, but they are in a league by themselves. Few other places can boast the extent of Gee’s Bend’s artistic achievement -- the result of both geographical isolation and an unusual degree of cultural continuity. In few places across the country have works been found by three - and sometimes four - generations of women in the same family, nor have many works been discovered that bear witness to visual conversations among community quilting groups and lineages. Gee’s Bend’s heirloom pieces stand out for their flair—quilts composed boldly and improvisationally, in geometries that transform recycled work clothes and dresses, feed sacks, and fabric remnants.

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Last updated on Aug 13, 2021
Frequently asked questions
How do I freshen up my quilt?

Some of my quilts are older and were stored. You can freshen up your quilt before using it in your home by sitting it outside in the sun and a fresh breeze. One of the easiest ways to do this is to put it on a clothesline on a sunny day in the fresh air for at least an hour.

Can I wash my quilt?

Your handmade Gee’s Bend item requires special care to preserve it for generations to come. As some pieces may be older heirloom items, I recommend testing for colorfastness before washing. To do this, take a damp, white cloth and rub it against your quilt's colored fabrics. If there is any color transfer to the white cloth, washing the quilt may result in discoloration and fading.

If you complete the colorfastness test and there is no color transfer, wash on a gentle cycle using a mild, gentle detergent in cold water; or hand wash by submerging your quilt alone in soapy water, gently rinse, then repeat. No chlorine bleach. Tumble dry, dry on a drying rack, or hang it outside to air dry. Finish with warm iron, if desired.

I noticed a small stain on my quilt. What should I do?

Some older quilts may have spots or discoloration due to their age. Because of its delicate nature, cautiously spot clean your quilt only as needed, as it can remove color that comprises the original style and tone of the quilt that you may not be able to get back. If there are spots that you would like to remove, use a very small amount of a mild detergent and gently rub the area with a white soft cloth. Use extreme care when doing this. If you don't feel comfortable washing or spot cleaning your quilt, consider locating a qualified conservation or restoration service.

Where can I find other Gee's Bend Quilters on Etsy?

You can find links to all the verified Gee's Bend Maker's shops below. Please consider supporting one, or all of us! Thank you in advance!