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00:00:00 - Introduction / Childhood

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Partial Transcript: I'm Amy Milne, and I'm here with Linda Crouch-McCreadie. And it is May 6, 2023, and we're at the McKinney Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee.

Segment Synopsis: Crouch-McCreadie begins the interview by mentioning the tradition of storytelling in Jonesborough, Tennessee. She tells the story of her upbringing on a 250 year old farm near the Watauga River. She still lives on the same farm and operates it with her brother. Her grandparents lived within walking distance of her home, and she learned how to sew from her grandmother. Crouch-McCreadie went on to attend college, graduate school, and law school.

Keywords: Amy Milne; Family; Grandmothers; Jonesborough; McKinney Center; Tennessee

00:04:27 - Starting to quilt / About the touchstone quilt

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Partial Transcript: How did I start quilting, you say?

Segment Synopsis: Crouch-McCreadie tells about how she started quilting. She was practicing law in Memphis and was invited to a quilting class by her neighbor. Crouch-McCreadie already knew how to sew and do embroidery, but she had never quilted. She was immediately hooked on quilting and began hand quilting in her spare time. Crouch-McCreadie discusses the touchstone quilt, which was the first quilt she ever made. It is a calendar quilt with one block per month. The blocks required techniques including half square triangles, bias stems, and applique. She explains that the touchstone quilt still feels contemporary to her, even though it was made in 1988.

Keywords: Bias stems; Block of the month; Calendar quilts; Half square triangles; Hand applique; Hand quilting; Memphis; Tennessee

00:06:48 - Process of making the touchstone quilt

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Partial Transcript: This was quilt-as-you-go, so I did a block -- I quilted it out to the almost outside edge, stopped -- did the next block, quilted it out.

Segment Synopsis: Crouch-McCreadie explains the process of making the touchstone quilt. She quilted the blocks first and then put them together when they were all finished. When Crouch-McCreadie tried sewing the blocks together, the last block for December didn't fit. Contemporary quilting tools weren't available at the time, so she had to try making the blocks square with a carpenter's square, but the border ended up narrower on one side. She was discouraged by the imperfection and thought that she might not make any more quilts.

Keywords: Blocks; Quilt-as-you-go; Rotary cutter; Techniques; Technology in quiltmaking

00:09:00 - Family heirloom quilt

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Partial Transcript: So then I have this quilt that I'm going to show that was made by my grandmother's aunt and was given to my grandmother, Ruby Range, out in Sulphur Springs, in 1911.

Segment Synopsis: Crouch-McCreadie describes a bowtie quilt that was given to her grandmother on her sixteenth birthday. The quilt is signed and labeled. Crouch-McCreadie hung the quilt on her wall after she received it from her mother. When she made her first quilt and was discouraged with how it turned out, Crouch-McCreadie looked at the heirloom quilt and realized that her quilts didn't need to be perfect. She explains that quilting doesn't have to be perfect, you just have to love what you're doing.

Keywords: Bowtie - quilt pattern; Family; Grandmothers; Hand quilting; Quilt labels; Quilt purpose - Heirloom; Techniques

Subjects: Quilts--United States--History--20th century

00:10:56 - Favorite parts of quilting

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Partial Transcript: One of the things I love about quilting is, it's not just the quilt. It's everything else. It's the technical, it's the beauty, it's the social.

Segment Synopsis: Crouch-McCreadie describes what she loves about quilting, including how it includes technical, artistic, and social activities. She runs a retreat house for quilters who meet there every week. She discusses the geometry and measurements involved in quilting, and how making a quilt is like solving a puzzle. Crouch-McCreadie enjoys working with fabrics and design elements, but she doesn't consider herself to be an artist.

Keywords: Quilt design; Quilt guilds; Quilt retreats; Social quiltmaking activities; Techniques

00:12:39 - What makes a good quilt?

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Partial Transcript: You have a question here? I can slow down a minute.

Segment Synopsis: Because Crouch-McCreadie's mother and grandmother weren't quilters, she had to learn for herself and decide what she thinks makes a good quilt. Crouch-McCreadie jokes that the technical part of quilting isn't what she likes the best. She thinks a good quilt is pleasing and comfortable, and notes that the styles of quilts have changed over time. Crouch-McCreadie mentions a quilt pattern by Margaret Hayes in comparison to the touchstone quilt and her other quilts.

Keywords: Aesthetics; Margaret Hayes; Quilt design; Quilt purpose - Comfort; Quilt purpose - Personal enjoyment

00:14:15 - Purposes of quilting

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Partial Transcript: Along that line, quilting is art.

Segment Synopsis: Crouch-McCreadie describes the many different purposes of quilting, including art, comfort, decor, celebration, gifts for family, and memorials. She discusses t-shirt quilts, which tell stories about a person, although some people may not consider them to be a real quilt. Crouch-McCreadie has made over 200 quilts in the past thirty-five years. She originally started hand quilting but switched to machine quilting after seeing quilts in Paducah, Kentucky and being inspired to create more quilts.

Keywords: Hand quilting; Kentucky; Machine quilting; Paducah; Quilt Purpose - Artistic expression; Quilt Purpose - Home decoration; Quilt Purpose - Memorial; Quilt documentation; Quiltmaking for family; Quilts of Valor; T-shirt quilts

00:17:30 - Quiltmaking legacy

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Partial Transcript: So what am I going to do with my legacy?

Segment Synopsis: Crouch-McCreadie discusses what she plans to do with her quilting legacy. She jokes that attendees at her funeral will be entered into a drawing to win one of her quilts. Crouch-McCreadie notes that the heirloom quilt she brought to show is 112 years old. She hopes that her quilts will have the same lasting impact in the next century.

Keywords: Quilt purpose - Heirloom; Quilting legacy

00:18:52 - Inspiration / Favorite quiltmakers

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Partial Transcript: This is my inspiration, I am showing a picture. I found this picture in Asheville back in October at New Morning Gallery, and I fell in love with it.

Segment Synopsis: Crouch-McCreadie describes being inspired by a painting she found at New Morning Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina. She enjoys helping customers find fabrics and colors at her quilt shop. She was inspired by the colors in the painting and incorporated them into her most recent quilt, which uses a Judy Niemeyer Quiltworx pattern. Crouch-McCreadie's favorite quilt artists include Paula Nadelstern, Karen Stone, and Judy Niemeyer. She loves all quilts and describes herself as having eclectic taste.

Keywords: Asheville; English paper piecing; Judy Niemeyer; Karen Stone; New Morning Gallery; North Carolina; Paula Nadelstern; Quiltworx

Subjects: Art quilts; Kaleidoscope quilts; Quiltmakers--United States

00:22:37 - Owning a quilt shop

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Partial Transcript: So what prompted you to open the shop?

Segment Synopsis: Crouch-McCreadie discusses the history of the Tennessee Quilts shop. It was started in Jonesborough in 1991 by Polly Taylor. Crouch-McCreadie and her sister-in-law bought the shop in 2000. Her fabric stash continued growing over the years as she quilted and owning the shop was an opportunity to keep buying more fabrics. She's learned more about quilting by owning a quilt shop, teaching quiltmaking classes, and working with customers.

Keywords: Fabric stash; Jonesborough; Polly Taylor; Quilt business; Teaching quiltmaking; Tennessee; Tennessee Quilts

Subjects: Quilting shops

00:25:25 - Storing and displaying quilts / Current challenges

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Partial Transcript: And what are you doing with all of these 200 quilts?

Segment Synopsis: Crouch-McCreadie has given away many of the quilts that she's made. Some of the quilts are hung up in her quilt shop or stored there. She also owns a home in Jonesborough that was built in 1832, which she uses as a quilt retreat. About sixty quilts are hanging on display in the house. Crouch-McCreadie wants to continue getting better at quilting, while still finding joy in the process.

Keywords: Jonesborough; Quilt purpose - Gift or presentation; Quilt purpose - Home decoration; Quilt retreats; Tennessee

00:27:25 - Observations from owning a quilt shop

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Partial Transcript: And what is, this is not on the list, but what is the funniest memory you have of shop life?

Segment Synopsis: Crouch-McCreadie tells a funny story about helping a customer pick out colors of fabric at her quilt store. She discusses Kaffe Fassett teaching workshops at the shop and critiquing the quilts. Often, quilters in the workshops wore the same colors as their quilts, so Crouch-McCreadie always pays attention to what colors customers are wearing when they are shopping for fabric. Crouch-McCreadie discusses other observations she's seen while owning a quilt shop. She discusses the popularity of traditional and modern quilts. Crouch-McCreadie has also seen more young people who are learning to quilt, which is important for quilting to continue on with another generation. There are more tools and gadgets available to buy now, although Crouch-McCreadie usually uses simpler quiltmaking tools.

Keywords: Color theory; Kaffe Fassett; Margaret Hayes; Modern quilts; Quilt business; Quilting industry; Singer Featherweight sewing machine; Traditional quilts

00:32:44 - Impact of COVID-19 on the quilt shop

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Partial Transcript: Have you seen any changes that were caused by the pandemic shift back? Were you able to be open?

Segment Synopsis: Crouch-McCreadie closed her quilt shop for six to eight weeks in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. After reopening, the shop had separate shifts and were able to continue selling products online. Tennessee Quilts has been doing online business since 2002. They also offered a pick up option for local orders. The retreat center continued having groups visit for quilting retreats during the pandemic, but no coronavirus outbreaks occurred due to the precautions that visitors took before and during the retreats.

Keywords: COVID-19; Quilt business; Quilt retreats; Tennessee Quilts

00:34:53 - Quilt labeling

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Partial Transcript: Well I love that you are an evangelist about labeling, because we are as well.

Segment Synopsis: Crouch-McCreadie encourages quiltmakers to label their work. She has labeled some of her quilts, especially the ones that she thinks are important. However, Crouch-McCreadie hasn't labeled the quilts that she considers to be more utilitarian. Crouch-McCreadie discusses the importance of labeling quilts to know their legacy and history, including the 112 year old quilt she showed as an example earlier.

Keywords: Quilt labels; Quilt purpose - Heirloom; Quilt purpose - Utilitarian

00:36:25 - Barn quilts

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Partial Transcript: One thing I didn't, I think it's still up, is your barn quilt square. I got that off the website at the Northeast Tennessee Barn Quilt Trails, so I wanted to ask you about that.

Segment Synopsis: Crouch-McCreadie became involved with the barn quilt project after she was contacted by Roy Settle to help identify quilt blocks for families with heritage quilts. The project was originally supposed to be for families to put heritage quilt designs on barns that were more than a hundred years old. Crouch-McCreadie also wanted to put a quilt on one of the barns on her farm. She tells several funny stories about putting a barn quilt on her property and the reactions from her father and agritourism visitors.

Keywords: Barn quilts; Family; Fathers; Roy Settle; Tennessee

00:42:42 - Conclusion / Audience questions

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Partial Transcript: Is there anything that we haven't asked you that you would like to talk about?

Segment Synopsis: Crouch-McCreadie and Milne discuss the importance of the QSOS project and oral histories for quilting communities, because every quilt has a story. Crouch-McCreadie tells more details about the quilt that she made with her sister-in-law, which inspired the barn quilt. It is a Chesapeake Rose pattern from the Quilts from the Smithsonian book. They gave the quilt to her aunt Dorothy. After her aunt died, Crouch-McCreadie decided to hang the quilt in February Hill, the retreat house that she owns, for visitors to see. Another audience member says that Crouch-McCreadie helped her get through the pandemic by choosing matching fabrics for her quilting projects at the quilt shop.

Keywords: Chesapeake Rose - quilt pattern; Quilting for family; Quilts from the Smithsonian

Subjects: Quilts--United States--History--20th century