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0:00 - Interview Introduction

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Partial Transcript: This is Phyllis Jordan, today’s date is November the 5th, 2001; the time is 4:17 and I’m conducting an interview with Kathi Babcock

Keywords: International Quilt Festival

0:44 - Tell me about the quilt you brought in today.;Why did you choose this quilt to bring to the interview?

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Partial Transcript: Kathi, will you tell me about the quilt you brought today?

Segment Synopsis: Babcock shares that she led the creation of her touchstone quilt as a commerative piece celebrating Marquie de Lafayette's 250th birthday. Her hometown in La Grange, Texas is named after Lafayette's home in France. The quilt was exhibited in Louisiana, at the Musee de Toile de Jouy in France, and at the DAR Museum.

Keywords: Daughters of the American Revolution Museum (Washington, D.C.); Fayette County, Texas; Karey Bresenhan; La Grange, Texas; Lafayette, Louisiana; Marquis de Lafayette; Musee de Toile de Jouy (France); Quilt Purpose - Commemorative; Quilt shows/exhibitions; Texas Quilt Museum

Subjects: DAR Museum (Washington, D.C.); Daughters of the American Revolution; Gordon, M. L. (Marquis Lafayette), 1843-1900; Quilts--United States--Exhibitions


GPS: La Grange, Texas
Map Coordinates: 29.910041, -96.876421

Hyperlink: "Honoring Lafayette: Contemporary Quilts from France and America," DAR Museum, April 16, 2010.

4:00 - What do you think someone viewing your quilt might conclude about you?

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Partial Transcript: Someone looking at this quilt would conclude what about you and your group?

Segment Synopsis: Babcock shares that she likes the medallion format in particular, as well as a nineteenth-century color palette and reproduction fabrics.

Keywords: "Lone Stars III"; Fabric - Reproduction; George Washington; Marquis de Lafayette; medallion quilt

Subjects: Gordon, M. L. (Marquis Lafayette), 1843-1900; Textile fabrics — Reproduction


Hyperlink: Kathi Babcock with her touchstone quilt commemorating Marquis de Lafayette, featuring reproduction fabrics.

5:01 - How do you use this quilt?

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Partial Transcript: You said, is it hanged, how do you use this quilt? Is it hanging in your home right now?

Segment Synopsis: Babcock hangs this and other quilts in her home on rods or on a fruit ladder. She likes to rotate them around as she gets tired of viewing a particular quilt.

Keywords: Quilt Purpose - Home decoration

Subjects: Quilts in interior decoration


Hyperlink: Detail showing Lafayette, Kathi Babcock's quilt

5:50 - Design process for touchstone quilt

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Partial Transcript: We know what your plans are for this quilt, when you designed this quilt, did you design from the inside and go out?

Segment Synopsis: Babcock discusses the design process of this quilt, which was a group effort. She had the center of the medallion made already, and built the rest of the design with that block starting at the center, sticking with the theme of Lafayette and Washington's friendship.

Keywords: design process; George Washington; Mariner's Compass (quilt pattern); Marquis de Lafayette; medallion quilt; Quilt Purpose - Commemorative

Subjects: Gordon, M. L. (Marquis Lafayette), 1843-1900


Hyperlink: Mariner's Compass detail on Babcock's quilt.

7:08 - Tell me about your interest in quiltmaking.

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Partial Transcript: Let’s go back to talking about you. Tell us about your interest in quiltmaking.

Segment Synopsis: Babcock recounts learning to quilt around the time of the American Bicentennial, as a late teenager, although she had grown up sewing clothing. She notes some of the first quilt she made and what she learned through that process of what she describes as "muddl[ing] through."

Keywords: American Bicentennial; Baltimore album quilts; Embroidery; fabric - remnant; Grandmother's Flower Garden (quilt pattern); Hand Applique; Hand Piecing; Home sewing machine; knitting; Knowledge transfer; Learning quiltmaking; polyester; Published work - Quilts; sewing clothing; Singer Featherweight sewing machine

10:12 - How many hours a week do you quilt?

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Partial Transcript: How many hours a week do you estimate you quilt?

Segment Synopsis: Babcock notes that she at first underestimated the amount of time she typically spends quilting. At first she thought 10 hours a week, but a friend challenged her, estimated 20 to 40. She gets together weekly at the Second Baptist Church to quilt for 3 hours and socialize with "the girls."

Keywords: Second Baptist Church, La Grange, Texas; Social quiltmaking activities; Time management

Subjects: quilting bees


GPS: Second Baptist Church, La Grange, Texas
Map Coordinates: 29.915790, -96.880673

11:06 - What is your first quilt memory?

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Partial Transcript: Do you have a memory of your first quilt?

Segment Synopsis: Babcock's first two quilts were a Grandmother's Flower Garden, which she has never finished because she worried about the poor quality of the fabrics and a Baltimore Album quilt.

Keywords: Antique quilts; Baltimore album quilts; fabric quality; Grandmother's Flower Garden (quilt pattern); Quilt care; Quilt preservation; UFO (unfinished object)

12:09 - Are there other quiltmakers among your family or friends? Please tell me about them.

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Partial Transcript: Are there any other quiltmakers among your family?

Segment Synopsis: Babcock's mother began quilting after she did. But Babcok's great-great grandmother quilted in Missouri, making very nice quilts that the subsequent generations used up, including a Double Wedding Ring quilt Babcock remembers sleeping under.

Keywords: Double Wedding Ring (quilt pattern); great-great-grandmother; Knowledge transfer; Missouri; mother; quilt care; Quilt Purpose - Bedding; Quilt Purpose - Gift or presentation

13:48 - How does quiltmaking impact your family?

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Partial Transcript: How does quiltmaking impact your family?

Segment Synopsis: Babcock reflects on how quiltmaking defines her life, as she volunteers at a quilt museum, socializes with other quilters, and uses quilts in her home.

Keywords: family; granddaughter; Long arm quilting machine; Quilt Purpose - Bedding; Quilt Purpose - Home decoration; Quilt shows/exhibitions; Social quiltmaking activities; Texas Quilt Museum

Subjects: Quilts in interior decoration; Textile museums


Hyperlink: Texas Quilt Museum

16:42 - What do you find pleasing about quiltmaking?

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Partial Transcript: What do you find pleasing about quiltmaking?

Segment Synopsis: Babcock's loves the quiltmaking process of putting together colors and patterns, but stemming from that, she has built a community both in person and online and values the social aspects of quiltmaking as well.

Keywords: Australia; Awards; community; design process; England; International Quilt Festival; Karey Bresenhan; knitting; online quilt communities; Quilt Purpose - relaxation; Quilt shows/exhibitions; Social quiltmaking activities

19:00 - What art or quilt groups do you belong to?

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Partial Transcript: You said you belong to a group that meets at the Baptist church; do you have any other groups that you belong to?

Segment Synopsis: In addition to her Tuesday quilting group, Babcock belongs to a quilt guild in La Grange, Texas.

Keywords: Guild activities; La Grange, Texas; quilt guild; Second Baptist Church of La Grange, Texas; Social quiltmaking activities

19:43 - Have advances in technology influenced your work? If so, how?

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Partial Transcript: Have advances in technology influenced your work, and if so, how?

Segment Synopsis: Babcock explains how she has moved from simple cardboard templates to more advanced quiltmaking technologies, such as the longarm sewing machine in her living room.

Keywords: cardboard templates; Hand quilting; long arm quilting; Long arm quilting machine; Machine quilting; Singer Featherweight sewing machine; Technology in quiltmaking

21:01 - What are your favorite techniques and materials?

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Partial Transcript: What are your favorite techniques and materials?

Segment Synopsis: Babcock prefers to use reproductions of 19th-century fabrics in her quilts. She likes to combine applique and machine piecing. She has made efforts to slow her work down, as otherwise she would produce too many quilts.

Keywords: fabric - Reproduction; Hand Applique; Machine Piecing; Time management

Subjects: Textile fabrics — Reproduction


Hyperlink: Detail of Babcock's touchstone quilt, featuring reproduction fabrics.

22:25 - Describe your studio/the place that you create.

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Partial Transcript: Describe how your studio or your family or the place that you create?

Segment Synopsis: In her 19th-century home, she uses the parlor as her work space, which she has stuffed with equipment and fabric. She usually has at least three projects going on at a time.

Keywords: Work or Studio space

23:34 - Tell me how you balance your time.

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Partial Transcript: Tell us how you balance your time.

Segment Synopsis: Babcock shares her philosophy of balancing quilting, volunteering, and taking care of her family.

Keywords: Time management; volunteering

24:30 - Do you use a design wall?

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Partial Transcript: Do you use a design wall?

Segment Synopsis: Babcock describes how she uses the floor and other surfaces in her work space to lay things out rather than a design wall.

Keywords: Design process; Long arm quilting machine

25:44 - What do you think makes a great quilt?;What makes a quilt appropriate for a museum or special collection?

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Partial Transcript: What do you think makes a great quilt?

Segment Synopsis: Babcock shares her perspective on great quilts and museum pieces, noting some of the technical details she personally likes in the quilts hanging at the International Quilt Festival. She thinks some art quilts may be harder for general audiences to understand, and thinks more accessible quilts are more suitable for museums.

Keywords: Art quiltmaking; Art quilts; balance; color; Hand quilting; International Quilt Festival; Japanese quiltmakers; Machine quilting; quilt design; Quilt shows/exhibitions

29:13 - Whose works are you drawn to and why?

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Partial Transcript: Whose works are you drawn to and why?

Segment Synopsis: Babcock notes some of the quiltmakers who influenced her early on, notably Jinny Beyer. Currently, she finds more inspiration in antique quilts and books featuring quilts documented in state quilt documentation projects.

Keywords: Antique quilts; Fabric/Quilt shops; Jan Patek; Jinny Beyer; Linda Brannock; Published work - Patterns; quilt history; state quilt documentation project


Hyperlink: Shelly Zegart, "Since Kentucky: Surveying State Quilts," The Quilt Index.

31:37 - What do you think about the importance of quilts in American life?; In what ways do you think quilts have special meaning for women’s history in America?

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Partial Transcript: What do you think about the importance of quilts in American life?

Segment Synopsis: Babcock is glad that quilts have been recognized as artistically important, meriting museum, but doesn't think everyone needs to consider them significant. On women, she notes that some women elevated quiltmaking to an art rather than just do it to keep their families warm, but one had to be of a certain economic means to do that.

Keywords: Gender in qulitmaking; homemaking; Quilt preservation; Quilt Purpose - Art or personal expression; Quiltmaking for family; socio-economic class; Texas Quilt Museum

33:34 - What do you think is the biggest challenge confronting quiltmakers today?

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Partial Transcript: What do you think is the biggest challenge confronting quiltmakers today?

Segment Synopsis: Babcock suggests that all crafts go "through a saturation phase" and recalls that her grandmother had needlepoint covering her house. She hopes quilting stays fresh by appealing to all kinds of quilters and attracting younger people.

Keywords: Australia; craft; Fabric - Reproduction; fabric stash; needlepoint; Teaching quiltmaking

35:37 - Interview conclusion

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Partial Transcript: We’ve covered most of the questions on this. Is there anything else that you would like to have added to this?

Segment Synopsis: Babcock thinks it is valuable to interview quiltmakers and record their words.

Keywords: International Quilt Festival; Library of Congress; Quilt Alliance; Quilters S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories