Audio Recording "Our ancestors didn't do this fancy quilting."

About this Item

"Our ancestors didn't do this fancy quilting."
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
-  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: ZT: And I did a few, back years ago, where you could take a, you know what a yardstick is, inch wide. Well, I would start on the quilt, and I would, you know, like start at one corner, and you know and come all the way across, diagonal with that. And quilt 'em. Maybe I'd lay off three together, then skip a little space, and lay off three more. And then sometimes I would check it and go the other way. And that made it, that made it real close and made it good. I've done this for a long time. You know, when I'd do it on my crazy quilts, you know, the first ones that I ever did. About three, about three lines close together and then you skip over, about the width of those three lines, you skip over and start again with three more lines. Makes 'em real pretty. And then, if you want to you can go on the other side and come back the other way. And that crosses, you know. I just thought that up. You know you get a lot of, you use a lot of imagination, you got to use your imagination in quilting. Diagonal. And sometimes I have done 'em straight up, you know. Straight up and down. Well, you know, probably our older ancestors, they didn't, they didn't a lot of this fancy, what I call fancy, well, they'd call it that too. They did the fan and the inch strip diagonal more than they did the fancy quilting. Because they would just used 'em for the warmth and, now then people uses quilts for bedspreads. And they're real popular now, quilts is.
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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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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, Zenna Todd, and Zenna Todd. "Our ancestors didn't do this fancy quilting.". Sparta, North Carolina, 1978. Audio.

APA citation style:

Johnson, G. N., Todd, Z. & Todd, Z. (1978) "Our ancestors didn't do this fancy quilting.". Sparta, North Carolina. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Johnson, Geraldine Niva, Zenna Todd, and Zenna Todd. "Our ancestors didn't do this fancy quilting.". Sparta, North Carolina, 1978. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.