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Audio Recording "We would all get around the quilting frames."

"We would all get around the quilting frames."

About this Item


  • "We would all get around the quilting frames."


  • Johnson, Geraldine Niva, 1940- (Interviewer)
  • Schockley, Maggie (Creator)
  • Schockley, Maggie (Interviewee)

Created / Published

  • Hillsville, Virginia


  • -  Quilting
  • -  Quilt patterns
  • -  Quilts
  • -  patchwork quilts
  • -  recycled fabrics
  • -  crazy quilts
  • -  string quilts
  • -  hand quilting
  • -  machine quilting
  • -  quilting bees
  • -  quilting groups
  • -  star quilts
  • -  Ethnography
  • -  Interviews
  • -  United States -- Virginia -- Hillsville


  • Ethnography
  • Interviews


  • -  Although Geraldine Johnson's notes indicate that this interview was cut short due to Mrs. Shockley's need to leave to take care of her mother, they nonetheless covered a lot of useful information within the limited time. Mrs. Shockley learned to quilt as a child, has made numerous quilts for her family, and sells quilt tops at a flea market. She talks a lot about her mother and has her mother's collection of quilt blocks. (Although not addressed in the interview, these blocks probably served as a reference collection, to remind the maker how the block goes together.) This interview is particularly interesting because of the amount of detail on the activities of an earlier quilting generation and because of Mrs. ShockleyÆs poignant comments about her realization that quilts are her motherÆs legacy.
  • -  Transcription: GJ: And you also made quilts. / MS: I made quilts. / GJ: How old were you when you made your first one? / MS: I'd say, you know like twelve or thirteen, when, I never, I didn't complete the quilt. I would put the pieces down and she would finish it. But I can remember though, helping her quilt when I was a teenager. / GJ: She would have a quilt in the frames / MS: In the frames / GJ: and you and your sisters? / MS: We would all get around the quilting frames and we had to be very careful what kind of stitches we made, or else we pulled 'em out. Now, the quilts in her later years are, the stitches are longer, and some of 'em are a little twisted, but that just makes them, you know, more precious to us, because, in her first quilting the stitches were tiny and no knots showing, and everything was just, you know, real, real pretty. And she taught us all these things. Also, I started sewing. I made my first dress when I was thirteen. I didn't have a pattern. We had to take a newspaper, you know, and cut our patterns from it, and I had an aunt that would help us to cut our dresses. And then as I got older, I was tall, I couldn't find clothes to fit me, so I still have to make my clothes. But I enjoy all the things like that. / GJ: The first quilt you said you cut out, was it a Lone Star or a star quilt? / MS: Well, it was made like the Lone Star. But she would cut the diamonds, and we would just take little strips of cloth and sew cloth in this way, you know, and then she would trim these, and these were put together to make this big diamond. And I wanted, before you got here, I just thought I would try to do one of them just to show you kind of what it was like. And I didn't get the chance. / GJ: And it was a paper pattern in a diamond shape? / MS: In a diamond shape. And then we would sew the, we would sew the strips of cloth on it, in the, like this, in this fashion, you know. We would turn one, sew it down, turn it back, then lay the next one on it, and sew that on. And all our ends was still hanging off there, you know. But we would have, she made sure that we knotted 'em good and finished 'em off good and then when she trimmed 'em it was the diamond shape just the same as if she had cut it out of a piece of solid material. And then she sewed that together and made the star. And it would be a big star that covered the whole bed, then she joined the rest of it in. And it was, all the pieces that, every color, anything you could get a hold of, you know. Some pieces, you know, just that tiny. / GJ: That's what I was wondering, were they all about an inch? / MS: If they was over an inch, we didn't get them. Anything over an inch, we didn't get hold of a piece of material like that. She'd cut it up into something else. All of our piecing was done by hand. Now, in my, a couple of mine, I have joined them on the sewing machine, because I get kind of tired, you know, sitting, just keep doing by hand, your fingers after awhile in fact I've just about worn my thumb out, just, with this quilt I'm doing. But they're all hand pieced. / GJ: Well that's interesting. Did she ever, you said she would make paper patterns for other quilts. Did she then make them, the paper patterns, in squares? / MS: Uh huh. She would do squares. And, whatever, the shape of her, of her quilt was, her piece was, that she patched down on that paper. She would do squares and then she would sew these squares together. They, then it went together all over the bed like that, just in, what they call, I guess, I think, it was something to this effect, and yet this is cut by a pattern, but it wasn't, is just sewed down in whatever piece, uh shape piece, if you had a diamond or a square, or a triangle, or whatever. That was patched down on the paper. / GJ: Did she ever use like a page from say the Sears Roebuck catalog or something as a pattern for that square? / MS: We probably used catalogs more than anything else because, we only subscribed, we had one newspaper, you know, and that never made enough. So I'm sure that we used the Sears and Roebuck catalogs, or Montgomery Wards, and I think there was, there was another catalog, I can't remember, seems like, Charles Williams or something which was years and years and years ago. And with these, this was the things that we pieced 'em down on. When she had worn-out sheets, she would piece these down on cloth. Or worn-out pieces of material of that type. But most of the time, you know if you had a worn-out sheet, it was used to make a dishtowel, or something of that sort, so most of the time it was, it was really done down on paper.
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  • Sound tape reel : 7 in.

Call Number/Physical Location

  • AFC 1982/009: BR8-GJ-R103

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, Maggie Schockley, and Maggie Schockley. "We would all get around the quilting frames.". Hillsville, Virginia, 1978. Audio.

APA citation style:

Johnson, G. N., Schockley, M. & Schockley, M. (1978) "We would all get around the quilting frames.". Hillsville, Virginia. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Johnson, Geraldine Niva, Maggie Schockley, and Maggie Schockley. "We would all get around the quilting frames.". Hillsville, Virginia, 1978. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.