Lorna Holloway (LH): Hello, my name is Lorna Holloway and it is February 11,2008. I am in the home of Sally Nagode. It's about 1:30 in the afternoon. I am going to interview her about her quilting.
Sally Nagode (SN): My name is Sally Nagode and it is February 11, 2008. I ambeing interviewed by Lorna Holloway about my quilting history.
LH: Thank you Sally, for letting me come and sharing your time and the picturesof all your beautiful quilts. Let's talk first about your Oklahoma quilt. Tell me about why you did that and what it means to you.
SN: The Oklahoma quilt was something I decided we needed to do because it wasOklahoma centennial year 2007. I belong to a home extension group and every year we make a quilt to raffle off to raise money for some of our charities and we thought this was an ideal time to do an Oklahoma quilt. So, I was not able to find what I thought we needed that would represent Oklahoma so I decided after thinking about it a lot I would design my own because I am not used to designing my own quilts. So, in January I started thinking about it and in February I begin to get more serious and trying to find different types of fabrics representative of Oklahoma and images I could put on the quilt.
LH: Did you have to travel a lot to find the fabrics? The fabrics are wonderful;the cowboys, the horses, they are just wonderful. Let me think what I want to say, the brand material is one panel. Did you find them in one place or did you have to travel?
SN: I had to look around a lot because I needed to start out with something thathad kind of a western theme, but something that was not only western. I started looking in Oklahoma City and couldn't find exactly what I wanted so I decided I would start looking in Texas. We have a quilt store, shop, in Texas about 35 miles south of Oklahoma and when I went down there I found, probably, about 5 or 6 fabrics that were just perfect. When I started buying them the other gals in the quilt shop and the owner said, 'Oh, are you going to make a western quilt?' 'Well, really I am making a Oklahoma centennial quilt,' and being from Texas they hadn't realized it was our
LH: Well, you spread a little history around as well in all your shopping. Okay,about how long, I know you drew your own pattern, you took ideas from magazines and other sources; how long did it take to draw your pattern?
SN: Well, once I decided exactly what I wanted for each of the blocks andstarted looking to find what I needed, of course the Oklahoma flag and Indian headdress were easy to find. Some of the things that were kind of unusual I went online, on the internet. There were some things there I could download and use, but I thought I wanted to have something about the oil industry in Oklahoma and I could make that oil derrick spouting oil, which was the old way of getting it out of the ground, but I wanted something more modern like the pumping unit so I went on line to a company that sells units to oil fields companies, drilling companies and downloaded the pictures and drew them off, kind of simplified them to use that.
LH: Wow, you used not only your talents as a quilter but also technology to helpyou accomplish your goal.
SN: Yes, and I don't think I would have been able to do it without some of that technology.
LH: It is a wonderful aid. Well, are you the only person that worked on this quilt?
SN: No, since this was a group project for a fund raiser I did the designing andI did all the
appliqu and put the quilt together and started doing the quilting around thedifferent pictures on the quilt and then there were three others in my group that helped me with the final quilting and putting the binding on the quilt.
LH: It sounds to me like you did a major part of this quilt on your own, howeversince it was a quilt you intended to raffle off tell me a little bit about that. Did you raffle it off and was that hard to give that quilt up?
SN: Well, I didn't think it would be. We sold a lot of tickets because it is aunique quilt, not only because it was an original design, but because it was for the Oklahoma centennial year.
So, we even had people from out of state call us when they saw the article inthe newspaper
who had connections with Oklahoma. Then we had a craft fair where we soldchances on the quilt and people having read the article said, 'That's the quilt, can I buy tickets.' That was an easy one to sell tickets for. But once we had the drawing I thought, 'Oh, my goodness I am not going to be able to keep this quilt and I would like to.' So, we drew it and a neighbor of mine
won the quilt. And, a wonderful thing happened. She called me the next day andshe said,
'Sally, you need to have this quilt yourself.' I said, 'You need to think aboutthis.' 'I have thought about it and you need to have it.' She gave it back to me.
LH: How wonderful and how generous. That lady deserves a real pat on the back.
SN: I think so too.
LH: Some weeks ago you told me that the two of you might make a second quilt soshe could have one too. Are you still planning that or did you give that idea up?
SN: No, I had told her that was one of the conditions of giving it back was thatshe would let me help her make another quilt and so she hasn't started it yet but I think she still has plans to do it. She is a quilter too, so I don't think it will be that hard for her to do.
LH: No, it's very intricate and very beautiful. I'm so happy you have it yourhome now.
LH: Tell me, Sally, a little bit about how you got started being a quilter.
SN: Well, I have always liked to work with my hands, I love crafts and I havealways wanted to be a quilter, but nobody in my family quilted so I didn't really have any background about quilting. I liked quilts very much so this was back in the 70's when I started. At that time there were not many quilt shops certainly not where we were living here in Oklahoma, but I found a pattern in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine and I liked it. One of our boys was starting the University of Oklahoma and I thought I will just send a quilt up with him so he will feel more comfortable away from home. I drafted the pattern and made it larger. It had some directions with it and I thought that wouldn't be any problem. I will choose fabrics that are the OU [University of Oklahoma.] colors and the things I think he would enjoy. So I put it all together not realizing that if I was going to hand quilt this I would need to be more discriminating about the fabrics I chose. The quilt has some fur fabrics in it, some corduroy in it. So, once I got it together needless to say it's a tied quilt, it has no hand quilting on it.
LH: Well, when you use those heavy fabrics, that's one thing. Of course Ihaven't quilted as long as you, but certainly, today they mostly use 100% cotton and that makes it a little bit easier. And the batting they sell today makes hand quilting easier. Do you enjoy the hand quilting,
machine quilting or do you like both?
SN: When I started I really liked the hand quilting, and I hand quilted mosteverything and machine pieced, except one quilt I made, my second quilt which was English paper pieced quilt that had to be put together all by hand and it took me a long time. That was still in the mid-seventies before we had a quilt shop here and I had learned much about quilting. But, as I have gotten older and my hands have gotten more arthritic I'm hardly doing any hand quilting and do mostly machine quilting now.
LH: Sally has a scrapbook with photographs and notes about her quilts. She hasit opened to this quilt, the second one she made and it is a picture of a Drunkard's Path pattern quilt and her son is sitting in front of that quilt and it's a beautiful quilt. It's hard to imagine it was your second quilt, Sally.
SN: Thank you. One thing I will say about hand piecing a quilt is that you cantake along with you. At that time I was teaching kindergarten and when we would have our lunch break of something like that I could work on this hand paper pieced quilt.
LH: I think you told me that your son still has this quil.
SN: Yes, he does, right. I also learned another lesson there when I was doingthe quilting
I backed this quilt; its cream, orange, and a really dark brown on the frontwhere you see the Drunkard's Path pattern. On the back I thought for a boy in college it would be better to have a dark on the back so I put the dark brown on the back. When I started to quilt it with that neutral colored thread and my first quilt hand stitched [laughs.] I thought this is not going to work. So, I wound up doing the dark brown area with dark brown thread and then I tied it and it is partly hand quilted and partly tied.
LH: Oh, well you know I am the same way. I didn't have any instructions in thefirst couple of quilts I made so you really learn a lot by doing it and then knowing something will be better the other way. I know you also told me you have quite a tradition for making a quilt for each of your grandchildren as babies and again when they are ten years old. How many grandchildren do you have and have you been able to keep up with that tradition?
SN: So far we have fifteen grandchildren and I made then all a baby quilt togive them before they were born well, to their mothers before the baby was born. We now have one great grandchild and I have made her a quilt too. The ten year old quilts: when I started doing the quilts when they turned ten years old, of course, we didn't have that many grandchildren. So, I started out and I think so far I've done eight of the ten year old quilts, I am more than half way through. [laughs.]
LH: Half way through, and the ones you haven't done they haven't reached theirtenth birthday?
SN: Right, I have two that reach ten this year. One was in January so I sent thequilt home with her at Christmas time. And then I have another turning ten in June and I will have his done by then.
LH: Wow, that is just a wonderful tradition in your family, I know. You havefour children of your own. Do they have quilts in their homes that you have made?
SN: Well, actually we have five boys.
LH: Five, oh, okay I thought there were four, sorry.
SN: It's hard to keep up. Yes, they all have one or two quilts that I have donefor them for various reasons. Either they requested one or got one for a birthday or some other reason.
LH: Alright, you said you didn't have anybody that quilted in your family. Haveany of your daughters-in-law or granddaughters; anybody shown interest?
SN: Not yet, but I have a couple of daughters-in-law I think will quilt, rightnow they're teaching and they don't feel they have time to do it, but once their kids are a bit older they will and then find out how much fun it really is.
LH: Yes, and my, you can really fill the hours with quilting.
LH: You never get bored when you are doing that. [pause for 15 seconds.] Allright, Sally what's your favorite part of quilting?
SN: Gosh, that's one reason I like quilting is that I like all the differentparts and they are really quite different. Finding a pattern you like, choosing the fabric, and then cutting them out, sewing them together and the quilting part of it also. I think that's one reason I have stayed with quilting since the mid-1970's is because I never really got bored with it. Some crafts that I have done I get tired after while, but there is so much variety in quilting.
LH: I agreed. I agree with that. Well, do you have a special room where you doyour quilting?
SN: Now that all the kids have gone to college, married, and have families wehave a little bit of extra room. We have a room that I call the sun room because the light is great there and its' my sewing room. I keep all my sewing fabrics there. When we had the house remodeled I had them build me some cabinets on the wall where I could keep all my fabrics separated by color.
LH: Oh, that would be wonderful. Mine are stored under the bed in plastic boxes. [laughs.]
SN: This really helped a lot and you keep the room so it doesn't look so messybecause it is right off the living room area, and also when we were designing that room I asked them if they could build me a drop down table that was a height that I could stand and use a rotary cutter.
That has really, really helped a lot.
LH: I bet. When you did hand quilt did you use a frame where you put the quilton a frame or did you use a hoop or how did you hand quilt?
SN: Actually, I never did use a frame. I found the easiest way to quilt was tohold it in my lap.
I tried a bigger standing frame where you roll the quilt on, but I found it wasto hard to turn your hand to make the quilting line and the quilting stitches to run in a line you want it to follow.
I finished one quilt that way and decided I would rather do it the other way.
LH: Do you put it in a hoop?
SN: No, I don't even use a hoop. I just hold it in my left hand kind of taut andthen do the running quilt stitch with it. Maybe that's one reason I've got arthritis. Now it's harder to do because you can't hold your quilt.
LH: Right, I can understand that would be true. Okay, how much time do you thinkyou devote to quilting? Do you quilt every day?
SN: I quilt in spurts, sort of inspired quilting I'd guess you would say. Andmaybe if you have a deadline, although I am one of those people that does not like to wait until the very last minute. So, I make my self a deadline further ahead of time.
LH: So, it's not like you quilt an hour every day, but as time presents itself.
SN: Yes, I'm involved in other activities too.
LH: Yes, I saw your calendar and it looked full of things to do and places tobe. Now, have you ever given away any of your quilts? Tell me where are your quilts because your scrapbook is full of quilts and I know the children have a lot of them.
SN: Probably that's where most of them are. There was one quilt I made and gaveaway that is kind of unusual. Our middle son, several years ago traveled with a group from his church, to Russia. When he came back a month or so later his friend from Russia, who he stayed with, came over and we visited and I got to know him. And then Cory went back a couple of years later and he said, 'Do you have something I could take to Gonadi as a gift?' I said, 'I think I have a quilt you can take.' So, one of my quilts is in Russia. The others, mostly family, I've given a few as gifts that are wall hangings and maybe smaller quilts to friends. And with our quilt guild, of course, we make quilts for a couple of projects that we give away. Charitable projects sent to soldiers that are in Afghanistan and Iraq and also there is a group called C-Sara, which is a group that helps abused children and our quilt guild makes quilts to give to them.
LH: And that brings me to this; I had almost forgotten to ask you about that. Doyou belong to a quilt guild?
SN: Yes, we belong to; our guild is called the Southern Oklahoma Quilt Guild.
LH: And how long have you been a member?
SN: I first joined after I finished teaching kindergarten in 1986 and belongedfor quite a long while and then we started traveling when my husband retired in 1990 so I dropped out for a
while. Then rejoined again about the year 2000, the same guild with some of thesame members I started with.
LH: So the guild, to the best of your knowledge, has been around since the early 80's.
SN: Yes, it was formed. I want to say, in 1985. We just had a big quilt show atour local arts center and I remember that was the date we had in the history that we had given them.
LH: Well, does Ardmore have a quilt shop now, or did they have in the past?
SN: The first class I took was in Ardmore, probably about four years after Ifirst started quilting and a lady opened a quilt shop and they had lessons. It was really thrilling because I had no idea there was all that information available and fabric available. That quilt shop was in operation for about five or six years. Then we did not have one available for quite a while, but we do have one again now in Ardmore. We are very happy about that.
LH: Sally do you ever go on what they call shop hop trips where people go fromone quilt shop to another on a particular day or weekend? Have you ever done that?
SN: I've never done that, but it sounds like fun and I know this area of northTexas has those scheduled.
LH: I've read about them too, but I have not been either. Well, tell me have youever gone; you
mentioned the quilt guild had a show here in Ardmore, but have you ever gone toany of the big quilt shows in Houston or Paducah or any place like that?
SN: Yes, I've been to Houston twice and to Dallas three times and we did stop inPaducah, it was not at the quilt show, but I did get to see the museum and it was really wonderful. And, another one of my favorite quilt shows, that I have been to twice, is in Bozman, Montana where I grew up. They have a shop there called Quilting in The Country; she has a wonderful little shop. In August they have a quilt show where they hang quilts all over their buildings, barns, fences, houses and it is just wonderful.
LH: Oh, my goodness I'm sure. When I've looked in magazines or read aboutPaducah they kind of do that in Paducah too; don't they hang them everywhere or not?
SN: Well, I don't know about Paducah because I haven't been there, but I've readabout Sister, Oregon and they have one where they hang them outside like that.
LH: That is really special. Tell me Sally, you have such an interestingscrapbook with so many interesting quilts and other projects, have you ever won any awards for your quilts?
SN: Some blue ribbons for quilts entered in the fair and they have [laughs.]gotten recognition.
LH: They've gotten recognition and they certainly should have. One of the thingsI'm interested in; have you ever used quilting to get you through a tough spot when there were things that were not quite right.
SN: I have not because I felt that I've been very fortunate and not have anytraumatic times in
LH: That is wonderful.
SN: Yes, I feel very fortunate.
LH: I know some people if they are sick or somebody in their family is sick theyuse that as a way to deal or cope.
SN: I can see how it would be really comforting.
LH: Yes. Sally, in addition to quilts do you ever make garments that are quilted?
SN: Yes, and that's another fun thing to do. I've made several vests, some ofthem entered in our county fair. They won awards, and some jackets. So there are a number of things you can do with wearable art. Besides table runners, table toppers and Christmas tree skirts. Those are just some of the things I have done.
LH: You quilted a Christmas tree skirt. Do you use it every year?
SN: Yes, I do.
LH: Who do think will get that Christmas tree skirt eventually?
SN: Well, I am not going to name any names, maybe put in a drawing.
LH: There you go that's a good way to do it. Sally how do you think quilting haschanged since you got interested in it in the 1970's?
SN: Quilting has really changed a lot. When I first started in the 70's we wereusing cardboard patterns, and then I read you could use plastic and maybe make more accurate patterns that way.
That was before rotary cutters and we used scissors. Piecing is a lot moreaccurate with the tools we have today. The rulers, all types of rulers, with different angles all ready on them and different shapes, hard plastic templates, if you like to do patterns that way. And, all kinds of techniques that make for faster and more accurate piecing, including, what do they call that, foundation piecing?
LH: Paper piecing.
SN: Paper piecing which is different than the English paper piecing method thatI first started with.
LH: You can make some precise little points with paper piecing.
SN: And, not only that, I have not done it, there are all kinds of softwareavailable for designing quilts on the internet. There are web sites that you that you can go to and order things that you don't find in your local area. There are chat rooms if you want to talk to other quilters around the country and around the world. So, it has changed a lot.
LH: Have you ever done that, gone into a chat room online on the computer?
SN: No, I haven't done that, but I have a friend down the road that does thatquite a bit.
LH: Is that right? I have not done that either, but I have gone online to shopfor fabric or order patterns. Of course, I never tried to quilt before rotary cutters I can't imagine cutting all those tiny pieces with scissors.
SN: It was not as accurate.
LH: Do you enjoy using the quick methods, like strip piecing, as much as you didthe old fashion way where you cut each individual piece and then sewed it together?
SN: I have to say I really enjoy the strip piecing and quick methods theydevised, and am amazed at how many quilters are able to come up with original ideas on how to do things.
LH: I think you are right, they are so creative in the use of colors andfabrics, it is just wonderful. Sally I really enjoyed this afternoon visiting. Do you have anything you want to add?
SN: No, except I am glad to hear there is a project like this, it will beinteresting on down the road to be able to look back and actually see or hear interviews with people who have quilted.
Maybe, on down the decades they will become more and more interesting to people.
LH: You know one of the things I learned after I joined the guild we belong towas to keep a history of your quilts and to keep a scrapbook. But, also the ladies, and you read it in magazines, emphasize labeling your quilts so it is there for history. Do you put labels on all your quilts?
SN: Yes, I do, yes. I have always thought that was something you needed to do,because I have not had to look that up because I did not have any quilts in my family, but I did spent a lot of time trying to figure out some photographs when I was putting together some books of photographs about generations before me. Trying to find out who they were; if they weren't labeled it made it more difficult.
LH: I understand that. I have a lot of pictures and have no idea who they areand if they were in the family. [laughs.] I have labeled all my quilts too, and I think that is so good because when they go back and try to date quilts they have to guess. In many cases because of the fabric or pattern or whatever. Again, I appreciate your time and thank you so much.
SN: You are welcome.