Ruth Pettway Mosely
One of three quiltmaking daughters of Mary Ann Bendolph Pettway and Tom O. Pettway (the others being Lucy T. “Lunky” Pettway and Revil Mosely), Ruth grew up in the Sodom neighborhood of Gee's Bend, moving to the Pettway neighborhood when she married Wisdom Mosely Jr. Her work is in the permanent collections of the RISD Museum and the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art.
My mother taught me how to quilt. I used to make my dolls’ clothes. People didn’t have too much material then. And so whatever you found to sew with, if it wasn’t nothing but a flour sack, you sew that together. The first quilt I ever made, Mama left some strips there, and some of the pieces were an inch wide, and I just took those little strings and watched her. I sewed one just like she was sewing hers. And that’s the way I learned how to quilt, from her scraps. Sometimes I cut the pattern I want and I built it just like a "Housetop." Just like folks put shingles on a house, that’s the way I have it lined up. I enjoyed it. My daddy used to go to Camden and he would get all the material he could and bring home for Mama to make quilts where we could keep warm in the winter.
My mama died kind of early, so I would go over to Aunt Arie’s [Arie Pettway] house sometimes. She would make all kinds of quilts. She would give me one block. She would say, "When you come back up here, you better have more than one block made." And so I did.