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Audio Recordings "Back then you had to have a lot of cover."

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About this Item

"Back then you had to have a lot of cover."
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
-  quilt tacking
-  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: When you were doing some quilting, why did you quilt? Say when you had your big family? What was your reason for quilting then? / IP: Well, you know, back then you didn't have heat in the house, and you just used maybe, burn a fireplace or a heater, wood heater, and you didn't keep fire all night, and you had to have a lot of cover for the beds of a night, to stay warm. That's why we pieced a lot of 'em. To have 'em, you'd maybe use three and four quilts to each bed. You had to have a whole lot to keep warm. / GJ: So when you'd do your quilting, what time of year did you do it? / IP: Mostly in the wintertime. In the fall, spring, when, or in the winter when you didn't have so much gardening and canning to do, That's when we did our quilting. When we didn't have so much canning to do. / GJ: What time of the day would you do it? / IP: Well, I, usually after the morning, we'd quilt the biggest part of the day. It would take about all day to get one quilted, get it out of the frames. / GJ: So would you put it in the morning? In the frame in the morning? / IP: Yeah, put 'em in the morning, and get 'em out late in the evening. / GJ: Would a whole group of you quilt at it? / IP: Yeah, a lot of times, we'd, three or four of us gather together and fix 'em. / GJ: Neighbors and things? / IP: Yes, our neighbors. We'd go some, help each other a lot.
-  For rights information please contact the Folklife Reading Room at
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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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

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Chicago citation style:

Johnson, Geraldine Niva, Ila Patton, and Ila Patton. "Back then you had to have a lot of cover.". Galax, Virginia, 1978. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, (Accessed October 22, 2016.)

APA citation style:

Johnson, G. N., Patton, I. & Patton, I. (1978) "Back then you had to have a lot of cover.". Galax, Virginia. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Johnson, Geraldine Niva, Ila Patton, and Ila Patton. "Back then you had to have a lot of cover.". Galax, Virginia, 1978. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.