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Audio Recording "I can't quilt a straight line!"

"I can’t quilt a straight line!"

About this Item


  • "I can't quilt a straight line!"


  • Johnson, Geraldine Niva, 1940- (Interviewer)
  • Stanley, Lura (Creator)
  • Stanley, Lura (Interviewee)

Created / Published

  • Laurel Fork, Virginia


  • -  Quilting
  • -  Quilt patterns
  • -  lone star quilts
  • -  star quilts
  • -  Ethnography
  • -  Interviews
  • -  United States -- Virginia -- Laurel Fork


  • Ethnography
  • Interviews


  • -  Lura Stanley was interviewed on September 28, 1978, at her home. Geraldine Johnson described Mrs. Stanley's quilts as "truly exquisite." She grew up on a farm and learned to quilt as a child, worked as a school teacher, and now makes quilts for herself and her family. She also has some older quilts which she bought at auctions. The highlights of this interview include Mrs. Stanley's comments on individual quilts as they were photographed.
  • -  Transcription: GJ: Do you ever just use straight diagonal lines or by the piece or by the fan? / LS: I can't quilt a straight line! / GJ: You can't? [laughter] / LS: You know, a straight line is hard to draw even. But you can make curved lines and so forth and they don't show up on a quilt. But I can't, some people can make straight lines, but I can't. You know, when I quilt in straight lines, they are not the same distance apart, or something's wrong with 'em. They don't look straight. So I don't, I don't think straight lines. They, that's hard to do, to make a straight line. / GJ: So you've never quilted diagonally, or in straight up and down. / LS: Yeah, I did one time. A Lone Star quilt. I quilted, quilted around each diamond and then the rest of the quilt accordingly. I saw one of those, somewhere. It was done real well, in straight lines. I guess you could do that, maybe, but, I, I try, I stay away from straight lines, if I can. Cause they show a, show up too bad if they's a crook in 'em. / GJ: Do ever quilt in a fan? / LS: I used to a long time ago, but I don't any more. / GJ: Why not> / LS: I think the, quilting with the piece and then filling in with a pretty design is more attractive. / GJ: Nobody's ever told you that the fan was, not / LS: Well, I think the fan's pretty, but I, it's hard to get those the same distance apart. And the kind of quilts that I piece, most of 'em, I join with squares a lot. And, that doesn't lend itself to fans as much. I have nothing against fan quilting. I think they're pretty. If they're done well. / GJ: But basically, you do by the piece / LS: Yeah / GJ: Filling in with fancy / LS: Fancy quilting, yeah, uh huh. And I work that out to suit the quilt. You remember that star quilt in there, that orange, brown quilt. I worked, I had to do a lot of thinking about that quilt to fill it all in. And I did it just, that could have been fan, I guess, but I preferred it otherwise.
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  • Sound tape reel : 7 in.

Call Number/Physical Location

  • AFC 1982/009: BR8-GJ-R106

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, Lura Stanley, and Lura Stanley. "I can't quilt a straight line!". Laurel Fork, Virginia, 1978. Audio.

APA citation style:

Johnson, G. N., Stanley, L. & Stanley, L. (1978) "I can't quilt a straight line!". Laurel Fork, Virginia. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Johnson, Geraldine Niva, Lura Stanley, and Lura Stanley. "I can't quilt a straight line!". Laurel Fork, Virginia, 1978. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.