Audio Recording "I've done a lot of the crazy quilts."

About this Item

"I've done a lot of the crazy quilts."
Contributor Names
Johnson, Geraldine Niva, 1940- (Interviewer)
Patton, Ila, 1905-2001 (Interviewee)
Patton, Ila, 1905-2001 (Creator)
Created / Published
Galax, Virginia
Subject Headings
-  Quilting
-  Quilt patterns
-  Quilts
-  quilt piecing
-  patchwork quilts
-  aesthetics
-  crazy quilts
-  leaf quilts
-  poplar leaf quilts
-  sawtooth quilts
-  string quilts
-  Ethnography
-  Interviews
-  United States -- Virginia -- Galax
-  Geraldine Johnson described Ila Patton's quilts as "not fancy, but very interesting and well made." They include utility crazy and strip quilts, as well as a recent Cathedral Window, which is a novelty construction popular in the 1970s. The variety of Mrs. Patton's quilts, her recollections of learning to quilt from her grandmother, and her primary interest in making quilts for family rather than to sell are some of the key elements brought out in this "very useful and informative" interview.
-  Transcription: GJ: What kinds of quilting patterns and things do you remember your grandmother liking? / IP: Well, I can't hardly think what she did have. I believe she had a sawtooth pattern they called it. And Poplar Leaf. Can't think. Crazy quilts, they called them, they pieced them every which way, you know. They was pretty. / GJ: Did they do a lot of those? / IP: Yeah, done a whole lot of the crazy done most, that's the most I've pieced, is mine just crazy-like, crazy pieced. / GJ: Is that like a strip quilt? / IP: Well, you use little strips. You'd cut 'em, you'd sew 'em in strips, about, some would be five- and six-inch strips, you know, on a strip of cloth? And then you'd take these narrow strips and just piece 'em, you know, you could change them strips and put in different colors and it made 'em awful pretty. When you put blue and red and then the flowered pieces all in amongst 'em. They was pretty. And then you would sew them strips all together. And then put your cotton in 'em and then the lining, and tack 'em or quilt 'em either one. You could quilt 'em in fans, or you could just quilt 'em in rows, either way you want. Some would quilt 'em pretty close and some wouldn't be quite so close. The closer you quilted 'em the longer they'd last. And the shorter the stitch you'd take the prettier they was. / GJ: Is that right? / IP: Yeah. You want to make a short stitch, and that made 'em pretty. And then you'd turn the hems down and whip them around, and if you wouldn't let that thread show that made it a heap prettier too, the nicer you fixed your stitch. / GJ: You hemming it around the / IP: Yeah, hemming the quilt around the bottom, yeah. The ends and the sides. / GJ: When you were stripping them, did you used to sew your pieces of cloth to like a piece of paper or anything? / IP: Sometimes I would, I'd take strips of paper and piece the pieces on 'em and then tear these, this paper off. And then, you know, just sew it all up in a top, all together, and then put it together, you know, put the wadding, we called it, and the lining. And then tacked it. You'd get that paper all off. You could use paper instead of cloth, to piece on, you know, for the little strips. Cut your long strips to piece on? And, uh, we used to use old catalogs. It was paper, you know the sheets out of it was thin? And it wasn't as rotten as the thicker paper would be. Take the leaves out of, well, we called it Roebuck catalog. Ward's, we'd just tear them pages out and just piece 'em and then sew them together. / GJ: So you'd piece the quilt on say a page from the Roebuck catalog / IP: Yeah, / GJ: And then when you got a nice square about the size of a page, you'd tear that page away. And then sew all those blocks together. / IP: Yeah, sew 'em all together. Yeah. That's the way you done it.
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Sound tape reel : 7 in.
Call Number/Physical Location
AFC 1982/009: BR8-GJ-R90
Source Collection
Blue Ridge Parkway Folklife Project Collection (AFC 1982/009)
American Folklife Center
Online Format

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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

Cite This Item

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

Chicago citation style:

Johnson, Geraldine Niva, Ila Patton, and Ila Patton. "I've done a lot of the crazy quilts.". Galax, Virginia, 1978. Audio.

APA citation style:

Johnson, G. N., Patton, I. & Patton, I. (1978) "I've done a lot of the crazy quilts.". Galax, Virginia. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Johnson, Geraldine Niva, Ila Patton, and Ila Patton. "I've done a lot of the crazy quilts.". Galax, Virginia, 1978. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.