Audio Recordings "We use a worn-out quilt to pad that couch."

Format Audio Recordings
Contributors Choate, Donna
Johnson, Geraldine Niva
Dates 1978
Location North Carolina
United States
Language English
Subjects Ethnography
"We use a worn-out quilt to pad that couch."
Contributor Names
Johnson, Geraldine Niva, 1940- (Interviewer)
Choate, Donna. (Interviewee)
Choate, Donna. (Creator)
Created / Published
Sparta, North Carolina
-  Donna Choate is an African-American woman who learned to quilt from her mother who was taught to piece quilts by the white family who raised her. Although at the time of the interview Mrs. Choate had not made quilts for several years, she describes the process, both as her mother practiced it and as she had done it herself. Mrs. Choate had made both utility and fancy quilts, for the use of her family, not for sale.
-  Transcription: GJ: Now the ones you use for everyday, what kind of patterns are they in? / DC: Why they're just everyday patterns, honey. They're wore out. There's one over there on that old couch. / GJ: Oh, is that right? / DC: Yeah. / GJ: Under the cushion there. / DC: Under the cushion and nothing to it but see it, I'll let you see the pattern of it. / GJ: Okay. / DC: Now that's a old quilt. / GJ: Look at that! Now, what's that pattern? / DC: Oh, good grief. / GJ: Look at that pattern. That's real interesting? What pattern? / DC: I don't know what it was. I think I saw the design in a newspaper. / GJ: That's a real pretty pattern. Kind of like star-like or something, isn't it? / DC: Now that's a old one. / GJ: And the other one you showed me was done in strips. Did you often do that? / DC: Yes, I did. I have did that too. Uh huh. But I don't have any real old, now this is the oldest piece here in this house. / GJ: Is that right? / DC: Yes, ma'am. / GJ: And how old is that one, do you think? / DC: Oh, my heavens. Ten or fifteen years. At the least. / GJ: Is that right. Ten or fifteen years old, huh? How come you keep it under the couch cushion there? / DC: Well, this couch, this couch doesn't have springs. I bought it during the depression when they wasn't a making now I don't want to hear this. Oh mercy. I bought that couch during the depression, when they wasn't making springs, just filling 'em with cotton or something like that you know. And, uh, that's filled with cotton. And it gives down, so I just sit on it. Sabe sits on that one, and now that one's mine. Fix me a bed over there at night, and I do a lot of reading. That's the reason my eyes are bad.
-  For rights information please contact the Folklife Reading Room at
Sound tape reel : 7 in.
Call Number
AFC 1982/009: BR8-GJ-R94
Source Collection
Blue Ridge Parkway Folklife Project Collection (AFC 1982/009)
American Folklife Center

Rights & Access

The Library of Congress is not aware of any U.S. copyright protection (see Title 17, U.S.C.) or any other restrictions in the material in this collection, except as noted below. Users should keep in mind that the Library of Congress is providing access to these materials strictly for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or other holders of rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item. See our Legal Notices and Privacy and Publicity Rights for additional information and restrictions.

The American Folklife Center and the professional fieldworkers who carry out these projects feel a strong ethical responsibility to the people they have visited and who have consented to have their lives documented for the historical record. The Center asks that researchers approach the materials in this collection with respect for the culture and sensibilities of the people whose lives, ideas, and creativity are documented here. Researchers are also reminded that privacy and publicity rights may pertain to certain uses of this material.

This collection includes materials from the "All-American Quilt Contest" sponsored by Coming Home, a division of Lands' End and Good Housekeeping. The quilt contest winning entries from 1992 to 1996 are displayed with the permission of Coming Home which retains its rights.

Researchers or others who would like to make further use of these collection materials should contact the Folklife Reading Room for assistance. 

Credit line

Please cite the source collection title, collection number, and repository, for example:

Blue Ridge Parkway Folklife Project collection, 1977-1981 (AFC 1982/009), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Lands' End all-American quilt collection, 1992-1997 (AFC 1997/011), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Rights assessment is your responsibility.

More about Copyright and other Restrictions

For guidance about compiling full citations consult Citing Primary Sources.