Audio Recording "I didn't think about them being that pretty."

About this Item

"I didn't think about them being that pretty."
Contributor Names
Johnson, Geraldine Niva, 1940- (Interviewer)
Schockley, Maggie (Creator)
Schockley, Maggie (Interviewee)
Created / Published
Hillsville, Virginia
Subject Headings
-  Quilt patterns
-  aesthetics
-  artistic hobbies
-  double wedding ring quilts
-  wedding ring quilts
-  memory
-  Ethnography
-  Interviews
-  United States -- Virginia -- Hillsville
-  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: What about the quilting itself, what makes that pretty? / MS: I guess it is the design that you do, and the size stitches you make you know. And I had really never thought about it being pretty. I guess you know when you grow up doing things like this, you just don't, really I didn't think about them being that pretty, or anything, I had never really thought too much about it. It's just the, I guess, a way of life for us. We had always just done these things, and I'd never thought too much about, you know, what made it pretty or whether - I could always tell if one looked nice, you know, but you know it didn't I guess what I'm trying to say is, that when we was making a quilt we was making it for the service we would get out of it, you know, rather, and, and always covered 'em up, you know, people always used a spread over 'em to cover 'em up and whereas, getting back now, the, using the quilts on top, where they'll be seen, and using 'em different ways of decoration. / GJ: So you never thought of them as something special, they were just something to be used. / MS: No, just something to be used, something that we needed, and / GJ: At what point then did you begin to think of them as something special? / MS: Just probably in the last, I guess, maybe you know, I, the thing that made me begin to think of some of 'em and save some of the better ones and everything, was thinking you know, now Mom did a lot of these and she's, she's going to be gone, and just, I'm not going to have these, these quilts, you know, her quilts are going to be gone and so on. And I guess then was when I began to really think about 'em, and I thought well you know if I feel that way about my mother's quilts, then my children will probably you know feel the same way in years to come about the ones that I have done. And so then I began, I, I know I had, I have thrown quilts away that I should have mended, you know. For instance, my mother-in-law made a Double Wedding Ring, and it was made out of yellow, it was joined with yellow and it was made out of different shades of the orange and yellows and so on. And it was just about worn out, getting, getting pretty well worn, and ordinarily I'd just ditch 'em you know, and I thought, well, you know, I'm going to put that back and I'm going to mend these places that are bad on it, and, keep this. It's already getting pretty old, you know, and hold on to this quilt, and so I'm doing the same way with some of the older ones that my mother has made. The fact is, my mother-in-law never, she didn't do too many, she did afghans and sweaters, and knit sweaters, and things like that. And this was the thing that I did for quite a few years, was like knit sweaters and so on. Until just the past I guess, few years that I started back to doing quilts again after, and did it mostly I reckon just to have something that I could sit down and do. Because I had, I've never been much to you know just sit down and sit in a place, and since I had to help take of my mother, I've had, that's what I had to do, it was, it was be right there, you know, like six hours a day and then all night and six hours again the next day, and, so I just got to, you know, something, that I could sit down and drop off and pick up again. / GJ: Do you think you were influenced at all by the fact that they became popular and you could now sell them? / MS: I don't know. Probably, probably did, I don't know that it did though, really. I just, I think it was just mostly because she did it and I always kind of liked to do quilts. And I, I guess it was mostly just because it was something, I never liked to embroidery, and I got tired of doing stuffed toys. I'd, had, you know, quite a few stuffed toys. I got tired of that, that was something that was doing the same thing over and over and over again. And in doing a quilt you can do something different each time and you know I guess you could go on for years and never exhaust all the ideas or patterns if you was a mind to get out and search for 'em and find the right patterns.
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Sound tape reel : 7 in.
Call Number/Physical Location
AFC 1982/009: BR8-GJ-R104
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, Maggie Schockley, and Maggie Schockley. "I didn't think about them being that pretty.". Hillsville, Virginia, 1978. Audio.

APA citation style:

Johnson, G. N., Schockley, M. & Schockley, M. (1978) "I didn't think about them being that pretty.". Hillsville, Virginia. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Johnson, Geraldine Niva, Maggie Schockley, and Maggie Schockley. "I didn't think about them being that pretty.". Hillsville, Virginia, 1978. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.