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Audio Recording "I don't guess you ever saw a knotted countypin."

"I don’t guess you ever saw a knotted countypin."

About this Item


  • "I don't guess you ever saw a knotted countypin."


  • Bryan, Mamie (Interviewee)
  • Johnson, Geraldine Niva, 1940- (Interviewer)
  • Bryan, Mamie (Creator)

Created / Published

  • Sparta, North Carolina


  • -  Quilting
  • -  counterpanes (countypins)
  • -  coverlets
  • -  embroidery
  • -  thread
  • -  Ethnography
  • -  Interviews
  • -  United States -- North Carolina -- Sparta


  • Ethnography
  • Interviews


  • -  Mamie and Leonard Bryan were interviewed in their home on September 10, 1978. Due to a technical problem, the audio tape of the first part of the interview is unavailable. The surviving audio includes descriptions of several individual quilts, and recollections of quilting as a child and as a young adult.
  • -  Transcription: MB: I don't guess you ever saw a knotted quilt, a knotted countypin. / GJ: I don't think so. / MB: I don't know where it's at. / GJ: Right on top. Just waiting for us, huh? / MB: Now I used to do this. / GJ: You did that? / MB: Well, this ain't nothing to do / GJ: Just make a few knots, huh? / MB: It's a countypin, now. / GJ: Isn't it beautiful. / MB: But now, it's in knots. The mice has got the head, and I said well, I ought to do something with it, but the mice has got in it, course, I could sort of patch it. And still put it to a quilt. / GJ: So how did you make those knots now? / MB: You make it with a needle. You fill your needle full of thread, Bell thread, get you a Bell thread. And then you just make your, tie a little loop and stick it right through there, and it ties a knot. See you tie your knot so you can poke it through. And when you poke it through, you see, you got a knot. / GJ: Where did you get your pattern for this? / MB: Well, I don't know. I couldn't tell you that. Cause I don't remember. I don't remember where I got the pattern. / GJ: How'd you learn how to do it? / MB: Leonard's mother learnt me how. / GJ: Is that right? That knot is made with yarn? Or with regular / MB: No, with Bell thread. Now you've seen bell thread ain't you, this old big loop white thread is what they call bell thread. / GJ: I don't recall ever seeing it, no. / MB: You hadn't? / GJ: No. / MB: Well, you can go up to the store and buy that! / LE: Like something you'd wrap a package with? / MB: Yeah, and it's in a great big bolt, you know, a whole lot, just bell thread, what they use at the factories and things. They use it in the factories. / GJ: And that's what that is, huh? / MB: You used to be able to go up to the stores and buy any of 'em you wanted. / GJ: So you just wrap it around your needle? / MB: Yeah, you just wrap it around your needle, you just take your thread and wrap it around your needle, as big as you want your knot. And then you poke it through your cloth. And then you draw your needle through, when you draw your needle through there, then you've got a knot tied there. / GJ: I see, kind of like a French knot in embroidery, isn't it? / MB: Yeah, that's what it is. / GJ: But done with heavier string, isn't it interesting. Hmm. So you're even thinking now about quilting this, huh? / MB: I wish / GJ: You're thinking about it. / MB: I wish I had it into a quilt, because nobody will ever use it as a countypin. No more. See, we used to use these things. As countypins. We'd make our own countypins. But we don't anymore. We just buy 'em.
  • -  For rights information please contact the Folklife Reading Room at


  • Sound tape reel : 7 in.

Call Number/Physical Location

  • AFC 1982/009: BR8-GJ-R35

Source Collection

  • Blue Ridge Parkway Folklife Project Collection (AFC 1982/009)


  • American Folklife Center

Online Format

  • audio

Rights & Access

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Credit line: Blue Ridge Parkway Folklife Project collection (AFC 1982/009), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Bryan, Mamie, Geraldine Niva Johnson, and Mamie Bryan. "I don't guess you ever saw a knotted countypin.". Sparta, North Carolina, 1978. Audio.

APA citation style:

Bryan, M., Johnson, G. N. & Bryan, M. (1978) "I don't guess you ever saw a knotted countypin.". Sparta, North Carolina. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Bryan, Mamie, Geraldine Niva Johnson, and Mamie Bryan. "I don't guess you ever saw a knotted countypin.". Sparta, North Carolina, 1978. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.