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Audio Recording "You just keep adding on squares."

"You just keep adding on squares."

About this Item


  • "You just keep adding on squares."


  • Johnson, Geraldine Niva, 1940- (Interviewer)
  • Choate, Donna. (Interviewee)
  • Choate, Donna. (Creator)

Created / Published

  • Sparta, North Carolina


  • -  Quilting
  • -  Quilt patterns
  • -  quilt piecing
  • -  patchwork quilts
  • -  hand quilting
  • -  around the world quilts
  • -  Ethnography
  • -  Interviews
  • -  United States -- North Carolina -- Sparta


  • Ethnography
  • Interviews


  • -  Donna Choate is an African-American woman who learned to quilt from her mother who was taught to piece quilts by the white family who raised her. Although at the time of the interview Mrs. Choate had not made quilts for several years, she describes the process, both as her mother practiced it and as she had done it herself. Mrs. Choate had made both utility and fancy quilts, for the use of her family, not for sale.
  • -  Transcription: GJ: Now, let's see that one. / DC: Well / GJ: Is that Around the World quilt? / DC: No, no, I, I don't have Around the World. Yes, yes, yes it is. Well now you start right there with that one piece, then you piece this square come down to right there. And back up here, and you see that seam there? On out there, now that makes a square. From there out here, and down to there, and then from there across here. That makes a square. And the, you just keep adding, just keep adding to that. / GJ: Adding squares / DC: Adding squares, and as you add, it gets longer and longer on each corner, you see. And when I do that all / GJ: How do you plan out your colors now, cause this one has pretty green squares all around the edge. / DC: Well, I had a pattern that I got from a lady in town, a lady I worked for. Her mother was a great quilter and great housekeeper, and I happened to see this quilt on her bed one day. And I asked her about it. She said, well, Donna, take the quilt home with you, 'til you can get it started. And you just keep adding on, you see, just adding on all the time. And first thing you know you've got the quilt done. / GJ: Then you quilted this in what, in straight lines / DC: Yes, I follow these. I couldn't a done that from the back side. I wouldn't know where the squares were. Do it on the, I did all this, now this is all top work. All top work. / GJ: Is this one all quilted by hand? / DC: Every stitch in it. Every stitch in it. So no wonder I had bursitis when spring of the year come. Just reaching out there. And you got to put the quilt in frames, you know. You know about that. Well, see you're reaching out there maybe to the middle of this quilt, and that's putting a lot of strain on this arm. I haven't got over it to this date.
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  • Sound tape reel : 7 in.

Call Number/Physical Location

  • AFC 1982/009: BR8-GJ-R94

Source Collection

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


  • American Folklife Center

Online Format

  • audio

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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:

Johnson, Geraldine Niva, Donna Choate, and Donna Choate. "You just keep adding on squares.". Sparta, North Carolina, 1978. Audio.

APA citation style:

Johnson, G. N., Choate, D. & Choate, D. (1978) "You just keep adding on squares.". Sparta, North Carolina. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Johnson, Geraldine Niva, Donna Choate, and Donna Choate. "You just keep adding on squares.". Sparta, North Carolina, 1978. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.