Audio Recordings "Experience teaches you better than anything."
Johnson, Geraldine Niva
- "Experience teaches you better than anything."
- Contributor Names
- Johnson, Geraldine Niva, 1940- (Interviewer)
- Todd, Zenna, 1916-2012 (Interviewee)
- Todd, Zenna, 1916-2012 (Creator)
- Created / Published
- Sparta, North Carolina
- Subject Headings
- - Quilting
- - quilt tacking
- - quilt tops
- - hand quilting
- - machine quilting
- - artistic hobbies
- - Ethnography
- - Interviews
- - United States -- North Carolina -- Sparta
- - Mrs. Todd started making quilts for her family to use when she was 25. She teaches quiltmaking and makes quilts to sell through a local shop to supplement her income. Geraldine Johnson described her as "a bubbly, enthusiastic person who would be a natural à interpreter of Blue Ridge quilts." This interview includes good information on the economics and practice of making quilts to sell, criteria for selection of materials to use in quilts, and how quiltmaking has changed over time.
- - Transcription: ZT: And, so, from that, I kept cutting out different, different, you know patterns and doing 'em, and I think that I have really made progress, because I do so much better job now than I did then. Course, experience learns you how to, teaches you better than anything. But I have been quilting for I guess thirty-two years. And I've made an awful lot to sell. And I really don't need 'em now, but it's something to pass the time off in the wintertime and to do. / GJ: So your first quilts that you made were made for what reason? / ZT: Well, I made it to keep the beds warm. [laughter] / GJ: And how did you go about making them? / ZT: Well, I cut my pattern out. And then I sewed it together, and it was all done by hand. I had a sewing machine but I didn't use it too awful much. Uh, I, it was one of these that you treadle, you know, with, treadle machine, they called 'em. You pedal it with your feet. And it wasn't too good, and so I'd just sew with my fingers, you know. And, you had to make, you didn't have warm homes to live in like you do now. And you had to have a lot of quilts when wintertime come. And a lot of times, you'd think, you didn't have time to do fancy quilts. It had to be in a hurry, you had to do 'em in a hurry. Tack 'em? A lot of people tacked their quilts. I've tacked an awful lot, but I didn't like it as good as I do quilt, quilting. Well, the quilting, I've got, uh, I guess that, I kept that quilt, that first quilt. I kept that thing till I don't know, it must not been over ten year ago, and I recovered it. It begin to wear, you know? And I, I'd say that if you would use real good material, course, the material in that wasn't too good, because it was mostly feed bags, and very little cotton, well, it was all cotton, but I mean percale, calico and stuff like that, because you just didn't, you didn't have the money to buy material to make it with. And I guess if you'd take care of a real good quilt now, if it was made out of the right material, it would last you close to a hundred years. I mean if you wouldn't, you know, give it too rough treatment. Cause, I know that one, it's been about eight or ten year ago, I recovered it. I just got material and covered the top. Put a top to it and a bottom, and just put it in between.
- - For rights information please contact the Folklife Reading Room at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.afc/folklife.contact
- Sound tape reel : 7 in.
- Call Number
- AFC 1982/009: BR8-GJ-R99
- 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.
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.