Audio Recordings "The first one I quilted, I did that in fans."

About this Item

"The first one I quilted, I did that in fans."
Contributor Names
Johnson, Geraldine Niva, 1940- (Interviewer)
Todd, Zenna, 1916-2012 (Interviewee)
Todd, Zenna, 1916-2012 (Creator)
Created / Published
Sparta, North Carolina
Subject Headings
-  Quilting
-  Quilt patterns
-  fan quilts
-  quilt marking
-  Ethnography
-  Interviews
-  United States -- North Carolina -- Sparta
-  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: How did you used to quilt your quilts in those early days? / ZT: Well, the first, the first one that I quilted, like I was telling you awhile ago, I did that in fans. I think you had to make five circles. And, well, it fascinated me because I hadn't ever done one like that. I had tacked 'em, and all, but she was going to show me how to do this, you know, so, my mother-in-law, so when she, I said, How we gonna lay this thing off? How do we do that? She says, Well, now, I'm gonna show you just in a minute. And she took a pencil, and put a string to the pencil, and then she would hold it down on the quilt and she would get the circle, fan circle, that way. And, uh, she'd tell me, you know, that uh, that to move my finger up on the next circle and start with my pencil you know to go around. And that's, that's the only way that I knew how to quilt at that time. But now I quilt by, you know, the better patterns, and patterns that you buy and so on. Course, a lot of people still likes the old fan design. I was quilting for one lady. I don't know, you might know her. Mrs. Yates, from over at Meadows of Dan. Do you know her? Well, she, she wanted me to do some quilts for her one time. They was a-quilting for her, but they wasn't a-keeping 'em quilted up, and so, she wanted me to do some, and she said, For goodness sakes, says, don't do any in the fan. Cause I don't like that. And, so, we just, I got my sister to help me, and so we just did it by the piece, you know, you can do it by the piece, too. And, if they've got too much filling in, like the border or something like that, you've got to get you a pattern to do that by. And, she certainly want any fans. She said she didn't like that fan design.
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Sound tape reel : 7 in.
Call Number/Physical Location
AFC 1982/009: BR8-GJ-R99
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, Zenna Todd, and Zenna Todd. "The first one I quilted, I did that in fans.". Sparta, North Carolina, 1978. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, (Accessed January 23, 2017.)

APA citation style:

Johnson, G. N., Todd, Z. & Todd, Z. (1978) "The first one I quilted, I did that in fans.". Sparta, North Carolina. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Johnson, Geraldine Niva, Zenna Todd, and Zenna Todd. "The first one I quilted, I did that in fans.". Sparta, North Carolina, 1978. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.