Audio Recordings "Now they have a quilting thread, but I don't like it."

Format Audio Recordings
Contributors Johnson, Geraldine Niva
Todd, Zenna
Dates 1978
Location Ennice
North Carolina
United States
Language English
Subjects Aesthetics
"Now they have a quilting thread, but I don't like it."
Contributor Names
Johnson, Geraldine Niva, 1940- (Interviewer)
Todd, Zenna, 1916-2012 (Interviewee)
Todd, Zenna, 1916-2012 (Creator)
Created / Published
Ennice, North Carolina
Subject Headings
-  thread
-  aesthetics
-  Ethnography
-  Interviews
-  United States -- North Carolina -- Ennice
-  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: GJ: And what kind of thread do you use? / ZT: Well, I usually use this, I try to get a 40 or 50 just spool thread, like, well, I don't guess you, you could sew the 50 on the sewing machine, but you couldn't the 40, I don't believe. You might could, but I usually use that size. And just, mercerized thread. [. . .] Now they have a quilting thread. But I don't like it. Well, it's, it's stiff. And it just looks ugly. And I can just do a lot better, do a neater, nicer job, to do it with the, mercerized thread, cotton. / GJ: What color do you use? / ZT: Well, I usually use a color that blends in with my top and the lining. Now, I had, let's see, I had a quilt here not long ago, that had a dark, I'd set it up with blue, or brown, I forget what that was, and I didn't know what the color of thread to use on that, because it had the blocks, and then it had this three-inch thing in between the blocks. And after I got the thing made, I thought, well, now I should have used my head a little bit there. What am I going to do about my thread. And so I put the unbleached muslin back to it, and I thought well I'm just going to use the white thread. It won't look too bad on that brown, and the thread is so soft and all, and if you make tiny enough stitches, you don't seldom see the, you don't see it too bad. And it looked real good, it looked real pretty.
-  For rights information please contact the Folklife Reading Room at
Sound tape reel : 7 in.
Call Number
AFC 1982/009: BR8-GJ-R101
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.