Audio Recording "Now that's what I'd call a fancy quilt."

About this Item

"Now that's what I'd call a fancy quilt."
Contributor Names
Johnson, Geraldine Niva, 1940- (Interviewer)
Todd, Zenna, 1916-2012 (Interviewee)
Todd, Zenna, 1916-2012 (Creator)
Created / Published
Sparta, North Carolina
Subject Headings
-  aesthetics
-  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: What would you call a fancy quilt? / ZT: Well, a fancy quilt, I would call one that was pieced by a pattern, and it quilted around each piece on each side of a seam, and then if it was put together with, say, one pieced block and then a solid block. Then do some kind of a real pretty design in the solid block, and then your border, do the border, then, to correspond with the, the quilting you did in the solid. Now that's what I would call a fancy. / GJ: What do you call the other kind, then? / ZT: Well, I just call that just a ordinary quilt. Just a quilt to keep the bed warm. Well, the other kind would be just something that you would need to keep the bed warm. Well, I'd say when I was raising my family, that I had to you know kind of make 'em in a hurry. And it took a lot, you know they'd kick out a lot. The kids, they soon kicked the quilts out. They'd play in the bed, and they get 'em and take 'em outside to lay in the shade, of the trees, and you'd have to really get after 'em about that. And then you got to wash 'em more. And it takes a, it takes a lot, a lot more, when you're raising your family. You know, people, years ago, they didn't have oil, and they didn't have maybe ways of keeping their house warm like they do now. And maybe you'd have four, five quilts on the bed. I know when I was just a kid, that we lived in this old house, and it had a upstairs, and me and my sister would sleep together, and why we'd have so many quilts on us, we couldn't hardly turn over. [laughter] And you had to, to keep warm, you know. The house was open and, and it took a lot of quilts. And the more you laundry a quilt, you know, that's hard on 'em too, cause they're heavy and it pulls 'em quite a bit. That's why that I think, the late years that people have learned that they can make 'em lighter weight and quilt 'em closer together, and make 'em more serviceable, to wash, and laundry, ever what, and they just last better than they used to. I know mine does now, better than they did years ago.
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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. "Now that's what I'd call a fancy quilt.". Sparta, North Carolina, 1978. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, (Accessed August 21, 2017.)

APA citation style:

Johnson, G. N., Todd, Z. & Todd, Z. (1978) "Now that's what I'd call a fancy quilt.". Sparta, North Carolina. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Johnson, Geraldine Niva, Zenna Todd, and Zenna Todd. "Now that's what I'd call a fancy quilt.". Sparta, North Carolina, 1978. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.