Carmela Madrigal




Carmela Madrigal




Carmela Madrigal


Karen Musgrave

Interview Date


Interview sponsor

The Salser Family Foundation


Boonville, California


Kim Greene


Karen Musgrave (KM): This is Karen Musgrave, and I am conducting a Quilters' S.O.S. - Save our Stories interview with Carmela Madrigal. It is March 7, 2007. I am in Boonville, California. Carmela, tell me about the quilt that you brought today for the interview.

Carmela Madrigal (CM): This is a quilt and I made it. It was my first work, the only idea I had were my son's hands.

KM: So, it is about your son. Those are your son's hands. And then you have a butterfly. What does the butterfly represent?

CM: I love the butterfly.

KM: You love butterflies. His name is Alex and you put "Alex," his name on the quilt. When did you make this quilt?

CM: Two weeks ago.

KM: Is this your first quilt?

CM: Yes.

KM: So, you very first quilt. You did a wonderful job. How did you go about deciding what to do?

CM: I made the hands first and piece by piece the butterfly.

KM: How did you decide on the border?

CM: I had the idea from different colors. First, I cut it out and then I sewed it.

KM: You machine quilted it?

CM: Yes.

KM: You like machine quilting?

CM: Yes.

KM: Do you have a sewing machine at home?

CM: Yes.

KM: Where do you sew in your home? Do you sew in the kitchen, in the bedroom, in the living room?

CM: In the living room.

KM: Do you have a special place just for sewing?

CM: Yeah.

KM: Good. What does your son think of this quilt?

CM: He loves it.

KM: Does it hang in his room? Let's look at your second quilt, because you have started another one. This is amazing that this is your second quilt. Tell me about this quilt?

CM: This is a house that represents Mexico's culture. I always walk on the road. A lot of flowers. The barn.

KM: A little truck, a little lizard. Honeycombs, all of the pine trees. Is this a rain barrel?

CM: Yes.

KM: To catch the rain, and there are chickens.

CM: Yeah.

KM: Is there more things going to go on here.

CM: Yes.

KM: What else is going to go on here?

CM: I don't know. A little wagon.

KM: Did you draw this out ahead of time?

CM: Si.

KM: You did a sketch and then from the sketch you create the quilt?

CM: Si.

KM: Wow you did an amazing job for your second quilt. [CM shows KM her second quilt.] Do you feel good?

CM: Yes.

KM: You feel very good?

CM: Yes.

KM: What other plans do you have for making quilts?

CM: Guadalupe Virgin.

KM: What do you plan to do with this quilt?

CM: I don't know yet.

KM: You don't know if you are going to sell it or keep it?

CM: I would like to keep it.

KM: I think it is good. I think you should keep it.

CM: It is too much work.

KM: I think you should keep this quilt. What does your family think about your quilt making?

CM: My husband likes it.

KM: He likes your work?

CM: Si.

KM: Very good. Excellent work. When did you start quilting?

CM: Three weeks ago.

KM: Three weeks ago, and you are already quilting and doing an amazing job. Wow. How did you come to end up with the group and quilting?

CM: MariElena told me they were making beautiful works in this class. Deanna [Apfel.] also invited me.

KM: She [Deanna Apfel] encouraged you to come in?

CM: Um, hum.

KM: How do you feel about the group? Tell me about the group.

CM: I haven't had too much time with the group.

KM: Because of working and children and family?

CM: Yeah.

KM: How often do you work?

CM: Three or four days a week.

KM: Three or four days a week, that is pretty good.

CM: Yeah.

KM: It sounds like you do get a little bit of time.

CM: Yeah.

KM: Are you getting more and more ideas?

CM: Si.

KM: Do you think you will quilt for a long time?

CM: Yes.

KM: This is going to stay with you?

CM: I think so.

KM: Did you sew before you started doing quilts?

CM: Si.

KM: What kind of things did you sew before?

CM: Dresses. Clothes.

KM: Which do you like better? Do you still make clothing?

CM: Yes.

KM: You still make clothing, and you make quilts. That is good. What kind of things do you like to make, what kind of clothing do you like to make?

CM: Dresses. Yeah.

KM: Good. Do you make anything for your children?

CM: No.

KM: Good for you. [laughs.] Why is quilting important to you?

CM: I like to use my imagination and always I like to sew.

KM: I agree, I like to sew too. I like the way you did the roof. Are you going to leave these like this?

CM: No.

KM: You are going to quilt them down?

CM: Yeah.

KM: I like them like this though.

CM: Thank you.

KM: They are very cool. I like the selection of fabric that you choice, it is very nice. Is this all from the group? All the fabric you got from there?

CM: Yes.

KM: You used--is this wool or felt? Is it felt?

CM: Felt.

KM: How are you going to machine quilt it? How are you going to sew the layers together? What are you going to do up here? I know she did leaves over here.

CM: Yes, leaves maybe.

KM: More leaves over here, that would be cool. What about, are you going to do anything in the road?

CM: Yeah, maybe this and this.

KM: Oh, this little thing, just like you did there, you are going to do it here and here, up this road? [KM is pointing and talking about the quilting on different places on the quilt.]

CM: Ah, ha.

KM: More felt. Are you going to put any more details in?

CM: Yes. More flowers. Yeah.

KM: More pinecones?

CM: Yeah. [laughs.]

KM: I like the pinecones from the pine trees. Very nice. What other ideas do you have for quilts?

CM: She has more, different idea.

KM: Do you get inspirations from Deanna's [Apfel.] house?

CM: From work?

KM: From work?

CM: [laughs.] Yes. In books.

KM: What about from the group?

CM: Yeah. I look at.

KM: What everybody is doing. It is a lot of nice work. This is very good. I am glad that you had a chance to join the group. I think you will go far. I think you will do well. Do you think so? Do you want to sell your work?

CM: I don't know, it is too much work.

KM: Do you want to exhibit?

CM: Yeah.

KM: I think you should exhibit. If you have an opportunity with the group, I think you should exhibit. But I think it is okay not to sell everything. It makes me kind of sad that the group is so eager to sell, and nobody wants to keep something for themselves. I think it is good to have things of your own around you too. What advice would you give somebody starting out?

CM: Just try and look for idea.

KM: There is a big different between your first quilt and your second quilt. This one is pretty simply, very cheerful, very bright, very nice. This is much more complicated. You just decided you could.

CM: For next go back to simple.

KM: Go back to simple. [laughs.] This is good. I think you do wonderful work.

CM: Thank you.

KM: What does your husband think of this?

CM: He likes it a lot.

KM: Does he give you any advice?

CM: No.

KM: No. That is good, you do it all by yourself. That is good. Excellent. How are you going to, are you just going to bind it?

CM: Yeah. Maybe different, bigger.

KM: Bigger binding around the edge?

CM: Ah, ha.

KM: A sleeve. Where will you hang it?

CM: In my living room. [laughs.]

KM: That is good. What does the group think of your work?

CM: They like it.

KM: That is good. Have you been involved in the book or the movie that the group is doing?

CM: I think so.

KM: Do you like writing the stories? I know that Molly requires everybody to write a story about their quilt.

CM: Si.

KM: Do you like writing the story?

CM: Yeah.

KM: Do you think of the story before you think of the quilt, or does the quilt tell the story?

CM: First this and second this.

KM: First you create the quilt and then you create the story. Is this from your memory, or is it something that you have made up?

CM: She remembers the houses.

KM: When did you come from Mexico? When did you come to the United States?

CM: Eight years ago.

KM: Long time, you have a good memory. They are pretty, it is a pretty house. Good memory.

CM: Thank you.

KM: Thank you very much for letting me interview you today. You were wonderful.

CM: Thank you.

KM: I am going to conclude my interview now.


“Carmela Madrigal,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed June 21, 2024,