Elva Zoltai




Elva Zoltai




Elva Zoltai


Suzanne Sanger

Interview Date


Interview sponsor

Dorry Emmer


Naples, Florida


Suzanne Sanger


Suzanne Sanger (SS): This is Suzanne Sanger. Today's date is November 22, 2004. It is 1:00 p.m. and I'm conducting an interview with Elva Zoltai [for] the Quilter's [S.O.S.] Save Our Stories project and the Naples Quilter's Guild at her home in Naples, Florida. Elva, tell me, were you living in Naples when you learned to quilt?

Elva Zoltai (EZ): Yes.

SS: You were?

EZ: Yes.

SS: Was that through the Guild?

EZ: No—Adult Education.

SS: Okay, Okay.

EZ: Keith Angel was the teacher at the time.

SS: And she was the Guild president at that time or later?

EZ: No, that was before she was the president.

SS: When was that?

EZ: Oh, early 80's. I don't know exactly what year.

SS: Tell me a little bit about the quilt you chose to talk about today.

EZ: Well, I guess it would be this last one.

SS: The one I photographed you with. You made that for the Hoffman Challenge?

EZ: Hoffman Challenge, 2003.

SS: And what happened to it? [both chuckle.]

EZ: It traveled, and I got it back two weeks ago.

SS: Wow. I'm glad you got it back so that we could photograph you with it. Did you make up the pattern for it?

EZ: Yes.

SS: I noticed it's sort of similar to a Dresden Plate or a Kaleidoscope quilt.

EZ: Right.

SS: Did you do the kaleidoscope technique where you stack the fabrics or--

EZ: No.

SS: You fussy cut them all.

EZ: I fussy cut them, because I wanted the cherries to be in the same place.

SS: Yes, right. It certainly is pretty. Is there any special meaning that that quilt has or was it just driven by the fabric?

EZ: It was just the fabric.

SS: Was there a particular reason you chose to show me that quilt today?

EZ: Well, I guess because it's the last one that traveled.

SS: Where'd it go?

EZ: Where'd it go? It was in the Ft. Myers Show.

SS: Okay, I remember seeing it there.

EZ: And then it went up I think to New York, and it was in Michigan and in April it was in Hawaii. [both chuckle.]

SS: [laughs.] It's too bad you couldn't travel with it.

EZ: Yeah, they don't let you travel with them. [laughs.]

SS: I suppose you could follow it.

EZ: No, I really couldn't. [both laugh.]

SS: Well, you'd probably be some kind of a nut case if you did, but I guess that's possible. Do you have any plans for this quilt now that you've got it home again?

EZ: No. No plans.

SS: Just going to admire it, huh?

EZ: If somebody wants it, it's for sale. [both laugh.]

SS: There you go.

EZ: In the Hoffman Challenge, you don't win anything except the idea that it traveled, and your name was on it everywhere it went.

SS: Well, that's very exciting. It's not to be sneezed at. You said you learned to quilt from Keith Angel in a course, Adult Ed course. How did they design the course? I mean did you make a big quilt or just a little project.

EZ: My first quilt was a full-size bed quilt, but it was a sampler, so you learned all techniques.

SS: Was that still in the days when we did everything by hand?

EZ: That one I did some by machine, but my grandson has one that I did the whole thing, it's a sampler also, but I did it in red, white and blue, and it's all by hand.

SS: Was your first one, the one in the class, quilted by hand or machine quilted?

EZ: It was mach--no it was hand quilted. All my first quilts were hand quilted until I wore my wrist out and have carpel tunnel.

SS: [both laugh.] Oh dear. You've made a lot of quilts, Elva. Do you have any idea how many?

EZ: Oh, I would say somewhere in the neighborhood of 250, all sizes.

SS: Oh my! Lots of them were big ones, right?

EZ: Yeah, yeah.

SS: And how many, I mean are most of them still here, or have you given some away?

EZ: Oh, I've given a lot of quilts away, and my son in law, he's superintendent of schools in Ohio, and they have an auction and every year for the last ten years, I think, I've made him a full-size quilt.

SS: For the auction.

EZ: For the auction. And there was one that went to--two little children were electrocuted. I mean they were struck by lightning. The one little girl's lungs exploded. The father was sitting back taking the shoes off of another twin. The little girl was carrying her little brother and he was burned pretty bad and one a little younger was walking down to the beach. There was not a cloud in the sky and this lightning came out of nowhere, so the community got together and raised money, and my daughter called me and asked me for a quilt that she could raffle off. They made over $3000 on that quilt and it was just an ordinary quilt. It was nothing special. It wasn't made for something special, but it went for something special in the end.

SS: That's wonderful. What a good thing.

EZ: It hung in the bank, and somebody came in the bank. She wasn't even in that town that won it. I don't know where it went. And two other full-size quilts went to the mission. When the missionaries come back from overseas, they have this Linen Closet and they are allowed to choose so much linen, and I have sent two quilts there.

SS: And you don't know where those quilts are living anymore either, do you?

EZ: I put a sign on the back and said, 'Wherever you go, little quilt, let me know.' We moved so my address was different, so I don't know where either one of them are. [laughing.]

SS: [laughing.] Oh fiddle. Well, that's too bad because I bet, they--I imagine they have interesting stories to tell. Have you taken other classes since that first one?

EZ: Yeah, I took some classes from both the Naples guild and the Ft. Myers guild. And when we went to Retreat, we had classes there. I've gone to three different retreats. I went to the Adult Education about two years.

SS: I didn't know that they used to have classes. They don't now on retreat, do they?

EZ: Yeah, but when we had our first one up in Ellenton, we had teachers, and I took a class from the Sunshine Quilters. I'm also a member there. The state. Their symposium.

SS: Oh, yes. What kinds of classes do you take? More traditional quilting, or--have they changed over the years?

EZ: It has changed. When I first took the class, it was traditional, and because I love Cindi and she's an artist and she loves art quilts, I have tried to stretch out a little bit, but my art quilts are not like Cindi's.

SS: They are still wonderful. [phone rings. tape is stopped while EZ takes a call.]

SS: Okay, I think Elva, we were talking about the kinds of classes you were taking more recently because of Cindi Goodwin's influence. Have you taken classes through the Guild? Was there a particular teacher that you really liked lately?

EZ: I, I'm very bad at names.

SS: [laughs.] What did you learn in the class?

EZ: Well, the one class I took, we did the Chinese flower.

SS: Oh, was that the three-dimensional flowers? Oh, I know which one you mean—Joan Shay.

EZ: Yeah.

SS: Yeah, that was a fun class. Have you done anything with that technique?

EZ: No, I haven't had time. I did like it though.

SS: Um hmm. It was a good one.

EZ: And a little girl that I teach, she's 13 now and she saw that, and she wanted to make it, and she said, 'I need a gift for my cousin.' I said, 'That's a little bit advanced,' but she said, 'Oh, you tell me. I'll do it.' I couldn't remember how I did the flowers, and I couldn't find the directions. I had to cut a flower off and take it apart to find out how I made it. The flowers not sewed back on yet. And she did a real good job for 13.

SS: Oh wonderful! [laughs.] So, you teach in addition to taking classes.

EZ: Well, until my husband had the broken hip. I haven't--

SS: Right. Tell me a little bit about that class that you were teaching.

EZ: Well, it was advertised for 11 and up. I ended up with three little 11-year-olds and the rest were Spanish women.

SS: Oh, adults.

EZ: Adults. And then, well then, I had Pat Lerch and another lady from Naples. But because they were inexpensive classes, $10 for the whole session, I wouldn't take anyone that could quilt, so I made sure they were beginners because I thought if they can quilt, they shouldn't be in my class with beginners. They should be taking advanced classes. So, I ended up with 12 women the one session and I think I had 10 the one session. I've had three sessions and we run 12-13 weeks. Depends on--

SS: Do you a sampler quilt so that they learn everything? How do you do this?

EZ: No. I started them out, because I had one nine-year-old and they all started out, they made a little tote bag out of squares, sewed the squares together and then made the tote bag so they could carry their things back and forth. So, then I was afraid of the rotary cutter with a nine-year-old, so I cut the blocks 5 inches and I had packets. So, they sewed it and made a large lap-size quilt. And they quilted it on the machine. And they did pretty good. In fact, Francia, hers was nice enough that we took it to Ft. Myers and had it in the show. I have her picture with it standing beside it. She gave it to her parents for Christmas.

SS: Now was she one of the little girls?

EZ: Yes. She was 11 at the time.

SS: Oh, my goodness.

EZ: She just turned 13 this summer.

SS: Did you offer this class through your church or through the Community Center?

EZ: It was through the church, but it was open to anybody that went by the door and saw the sign. And we did have three churches. We had the Spanish, which is an outreach from our church, and we have another Spanish church that uses our building Sunday afternoon and Thursday night, I think they use it; so, the sign was there for any of them that wanted to come.

SS: That's wonderful.

EZ: They've all been asking, 'When are we going to get back?' I said, 'Hopefully after New Year's.'

SS: Well, I hope that works out. Do they want to continue on and learn more?

EZ: Yeah. And I have a little boy that asked if he could join.

SS: Oh, wonderful!

EZ: And he was ten. And a neighbor man said, 'Would you take a nine-year-old? She's a smart nine.' But then they moved so I didn't have to take her, but then the neighbor on the other side--I do take her in my class, and she's made two small quilts.

SS: And how old is she?

EZ: Nine, well she's probably 10 now. Last fall she was nine when she started, and she did better than some of the adults.

SS: They're so able to absorb information when they are little. I'm looking forward to my grandchild getting old enough.

EZ: And after she finished the first one, she went to Hancock with her grandmother, and she bought fabric. She wanted to make a red, white and blue, and we still made it the same way.

SS: Well next time around you can teach them triangles.

EZ: Yeah. I had one little girl--she was 11. I taught her here at the house, and her quilt went in the fair, and she won first place for her group, and it had triangles.

SS: Oh excellent. In the Ft. Myers show?

EZ: No, it went to Collier County Fair.

SS: Oh, Okay, excellent. Elva, how many hours a week do you quilt, do you think?

EZ: Well, recently I haven't been doing too much, but when I was quilting, maybe 30-35.

SS: Almost a full-time job, but it doesn't feel like a job?

EZ: I was making charity quilts and gifts for neighbors. A neighbor has a baby, they get a quilt. One little girl, I made her a quilt, she was renting next door. She moved away before the baby was born and I haven't seen her since. It's still in there. I don't even know what her last name was.

SS: Well, it's all ready for the next baby that comes along, I guess. What's your first quilt memory?

EZ: Well, the most exciting was when I won my first prize, and it got in Creative Quilting magazine that nobody wants to buy—that little, tiny one. I won quite a few $500 prizes from them—four—and I took a couple second place, a couple third place, couple honorable mention. And one that wasn't even honorable mention, and the magazine comes out and there's my quilt. I had called it "Birds in Flight." It was supposed to be each piece of fabric different, a charm, triangle so I made it like birds were flying every way and got it all made and I had about three I had duplicates, so it wasn't a true charm. But when it came out in the magazine, they called it "Bits and Pieces." But they were small triangles.

SS: Hmm. But it didn't win, they just put it in the magazine. That was strange. Were there members of your family who quilted, you know, before, that made you interested in quilting?

EZ: Well, my mother and father both quilted during the First World War.

SS: Your father too? Oh, how interesting.

EZ: 'Cause there wasn't too much work, so their nights, they didn't have television, I think they had a roll up Victrola, but my mother couldn't teach me too much. Well, when I was four and my brother was five, we did make four-patch by hand. I don't know whatever became of those quilts. But we made the tops, and my parents quilted them. I remember making them, but I don't, my memory's not too good, but I don't remember them on my bed. And then my mother was killed when I was 11, so, automobile accident.

SS: So, you weren't able to learn from her. You didn't have a grandmother who quilted?

EZ: Well, she died in the same accident. I went to a, I got to go because I made the fourth generation, and I have two older brothers, but they wanted the girl, so I got to go, and the accident was on the way home, and my mother and grandmother were both killed, and I spent time in the hospital.

SS: So, you were in the car, too.

EZ: Yeah, my arm still pains from it.

SS: Oh, Elva.

EZ: Had it checked, and they can't find nothing.

SS: Mmmm. How does quilting impact your family now?

EZ: My husband is a very good critic. He can find the mistakes for me.

SS: Oh good. [laughs.] I hope he finds the good things.

EZ: If I'm making a big quilt, I like the scrappy ones. I like to use all colors and try to blend the colors. I don't go for the two-color quilts too much.

SS: Does he help you pick out the fabrics?

EZ: No, but he tells me if something doesn't match too good. Or if I have a-- sometimes sewing so fast, you get a block turned around and you don't see it and you throw it out [EZ makes a motion with her arms as though throwing a quilt out on the floor.] and, that one's upside down and you'd better go back and rip it out.

SS: [laughs.] Well, that's useful.

EZ: Yeah, he can usually catch those. But now that he's lost the sight of one eye he can't see too well.

SS: Have you ever used quilting to get through a difficult time?

EZ: Ahhh, to relieve stress.

SS: Mm, hmmm.

EZ: And a lot of prayer for other people while you're quilting because you don't have to concentrate too much on most of your quilts.

SS: That's true. What's your favorite thing about quilting?

EZ: It's relaxing. I can relax. But now that I don't do hand quilting, you don't do quite as much of it.

SS: Yeah, it's not quite as relaxing hunching over a machine, is it?

EZ: The only ones that I hand quilt now is if it's a special contest.

SS: I didn't notice, you didn't hand quilt the Hoffman Challenge?

EZ: No, I didn't. I even started--Cindi got me into doing a little bit of free motion. I'm going to take a class in January. I'm already signed up for it, with Pat McAfee.

SS: Oh, the Master!

EZ: Yeah. So, I'm already signed for that class.

SS: I know that's the first one she's teaching I think between now and then 'cause I have a friend who wants to take the class, too.

EZ: Yeah, she has nothing until January.

SS: Right. Is there any part of quilting you don't enjoy?

EZ: I really enjoy all of it. I wish I could still hand quilt, because I did enjoy that. And I just love, not that I need any more quilts, but I just like to quilt and give them away. Now last night [EZ had mentioned to me that she had 20 people for dinner the previous night.], I didn't give them quilts, I gave them the long thing that you put the plastic bags in the top and take them out the bottom, I gave them door prize tickets. And I think I gave five of those. And then I had three children here, so they said, 'Do we get a chance too?' I said, 'You couldn't use those.' So, after the adults were done, I give those three a ticket. Two brothers and a sister--the pastor's adopted children, little Haitian children. So, I gave them the three tickets, and I asked Joe to take one of the three tickets, so he asked Joshua, 'What is your number?' He's six. He's in first grade. He told him what the number was, and he says, 'Okay, you read this number.' And he read it, and Josh says, 'That's mine!' So, I gave him one of those little Beanie, not a Beanie Baby, but one of those little Huggable Honeys, and I says, 'Now reach in.' I had them in a bag, and he reached in, and his eyes got big. He pulled it out. No one could figure out what it was. We thought it was a mouse, but it didn't have a mouse tail. So, I don't know what happened. Animal doesn't have a tail. But anyway, Josh got his door prize.

SS: Well, that's good. How many people did you have here last night—twenty?

EZ: Twenty. I thought it would be 21, but Dorothy didn't get here. That was interesting to try to sit down that many people, so I put a card table up in the kitchen, and one up over here, and the three children and one adult sat out at that table. [on the lanai.] It was seven of us around this table. And I had the counter all buffet.

SS: Well, it sounds like a good time.

EZ: We had a good time.

SS: I know you've entered your quilts in our show and in the Hoffman Challenge, and in the Ft. Myers shows. Anywhere else?

EZ: I had the one in Houston.

SS: Oh, you did. I didn't know that.

EZ: The first one I won $500 on. I went to Houston to see it hanging.

SS: Oh wonderful. When was that?

EZ: '89

SS: 1989. Do you learn anything from entering your quilts in shows?

EZ: You learn to be a little more careful, or they don't get chosen.

SS: Right.

EZ: I did pretty good with Creative Quilting.

SS: That's the magazine.

EZ: Yeah. And got a letter in December saying that there would be no more magazines. My husband said [that.] I won their last $500 because I won last year's.

SS: Well, that's too bad. So, are you looking for a new magazine to submit your quilts to?

EZ: Yeah, and I haven't seen any more contests in plain Quilt magazine. That's the one that traveled to England. [EZ had earlier pointed out a lovely wall hanging that she said traveled to England as a winner in a contest.] But now that I'm 80, I don't think I'm going to try for more contests.

SS: I don't know, Elva, you've still got lots of good years ahead of you.

EZ: For charity work.

SS: Okay. If nobody was ever going to see your quilts, would you still make them?

EZ: Yes.

SS: Absolutely.

EZ: Yes. Because it keeps your mind working. I brought a book home from Ft. Myers out of their library. It was on borders. And I've looked at it twice, and I told my husband that I don't have to read the writing. I can see what they did, so I'll take it back. And it didn't cost me $27.95.

SS: Yes. Good.

EZ: I've got quite a few books, quilting books, and magazines. I still get magazines. I like to see what's coming up new.

SS: What magazines do you get?

EZ: I get Quilters Newsletter, The Quilter, Quiltmaker sometimes, the Miniature.

SS: Have you made many minis?

EZ: I did. Just, most of them I have given for auction, guild auctions.

SS: Right. They're fun for that. What do you think makes a great quilt, Elva?

EZ: Well, good construction, good eye appeal, if it strikes you when you look at it.

SS: What do you think creates that artistic power of the quilt?

EZ: Well, I don't think everyone has that instinct. They have to be told. That just doesn't go with that. And contrast. You need a big contrast. Now, Cindi says you need black and white in every quilt. That I never knew, and I never did put black and white in my quilts. I use a lot of black as backgrounds.

SS: Well, maybe what she means, do you think, is that you just need high contrast?

EZ: I don't know. I was looking at her quilts, and she does actually use black and white.

SS: Hmm. That's interesting. I'll have to pay better attention. What do you think makes a quilt appropriate to put in a museum?

EZ: Well, that has to be an heirloom of some kind—something that really means something. Just the ordinary quilt, I don't think, needs to go in a museum. I don't have very many museum quilts.

SS: [laughs.] What do you think makes a great quilter?

EZ: Love of fabric. Love of people, because if you love people, then you want to make and give.

SS: Wow. You certainly qualify as a great quilter on that score. You've made and given lots and lots of quilts. How do you think great quilters learn the art of quilting, especially how to design a pattern or choose fabrics and colors?

EZ: Well, either a friend, neighbor, class, teachers. And just going to quilt shows and observing what is there. I love to go to quilt shows.

SS: When you do, do you think about what is it that makes this quilt work well?

EZ: Oh yeah.

SS: What do you think quilting teaches a person?

EZ: Patience.

SS: [laughs.] Almost everybody says that.

EZ: Endurance. Love of fabric. I like the feel of it. These placemats, they were just fast, but I thought, 'Well, you don't use fall colors too much. Why not put Christmas on the back so you get double duty.'

SS: Right.

EZ: I was going to put placemats on all the tables last night and I thought then I have to wash 20 placemats. I have them. That was no problem, but it was just to think of--

SS: Right. Why make all that extra work?

EZ: Four tablecloths were enough.

SS: I know you mentioned that you started out as a hand quilter which certainly was what we did back then anyway, and now you do mostly machine quilting, but how do you feel about hand quilting versus machine?

EZ: Oh, I love hand quilting.

SS: Because of, you love the process of doing it?

EZ: I like the look better than the machine. And I can see where some guilds didn't take machine quilting for a long time. Because quilting to me, it's hand quilting. But if something happens and you can't use your hand and you still have that love of making, you do the best you can.

SS: Are there ever circumstances where you think that you can accomplish something with machine quilting that you can't with hand?

EZ: Oh yeah. Well, if you work hard enough, you can do anything by hand that you can do with machine, but you can do it so much faster with machine. You can produce more.

SS: Right. And you said you were starting to get into doing some free motion quilting now.

EZ: Yeah, I, when we went to Houston last year, not Houston--Paducah last year, I found these blocks with different sayings on them—Friendship and Love. I think they were meant to go all in one quilt, and I said, 'That's too many nice sayings to go into one quilt. One person's going to enjoy it.' So, I took them, and I made hot pads out of them. Well, I gave two away last night. And we had something down at Pat's shop, and I took them down there and I gave, I think four or five women there. I gave them. I think there was 20 altogether, and I think maybe I have 6 left. I have one more to quilt. But I was practicing the free motion. But I can't do like Cindi and make flowers and bugs and beetles and frogs.

SS: Well maybe after this class in January. What about long arm quilting? How do you feel about that?

EZ: Well, after I couldn't quilt, some of my big quilts are long arm quilted. The ones I have on my bed now are, Jan Patterson, did for free for practice. She called me and said, 'Do you have any quilts I can practice on?' And she did the scroll. It's not too neat, but it's OK for my bedroom. But it's not--.

SS: But it's not something you would want to do?

EZ: No. I don't want a long arm. I'll do it on my, I think it's a brother.

SS: Yeah, I noticed that machine. It looks like a nice one.

EZ: That one, the feed dog didn't drop. So, I, first I took a credit card, and then I put Pat's thing [The Slider.] over it. So, when the repairman came, he said, 'Why do they have such a small motor on this big heavy-duty machine?' So, he put a big motor on for me, and at the time, I said, 'How do you drop the feed dog on there?' He said, 'Well he did it from the inside.' And I said, 'Well just leave it down then.'

SS: So that's your free motion machine now.

EZ: That's my free motion machine, and I had the repairman do it. It cost me a motor and--repair bill. But he does repair my machines over at the church for free.

SS: Why is quilting important to your life, Elva?

EZ: Oh, I think it has made me age a little easier, because I'm not sitting around doing nothing. I can't, it's hard for me to sit and do nothing. I either have to be reading or I watch TV, but I'm doing something while I watch TV, and it's just important to me.

SS: Do you think your quilts reflect your community or your region at all?

EZ: I don't make too many pictorial quilts, so I don't see where it takes in my community. Most of my friends, my neighbors, he's got three little ones that I've given quilts to and his daughter I'm teaching, and then the one on this side, I gave her a lap quilt and the one next, she got a lap quilt, too, but then she moved away.

SS: Oh, before she had the baby. Was that the one? [EZ nods.]

EZ: Some people get more quilts than others.

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

EZ: I think they are important because they keep the tradition. They keep it all. If we let China, do it all, the American women would just be lost. Their heritage would be lost.

SS: That kind of leads into the next question here. In what ways do you think quilts have special meaning in women's history in America?

EZ: They have a lot of meaning. I particularly like The Road to Jericho. Who's the teacher of that? It's Bible quilts. And she's got Bible names for all her patterns, and I have the one quilt that I made out of her book, a sampler, and, I have it hanging on my bedroom wall, and I don't know, it has more meaning to me, I think. And then something happened when I was making that that I didn't even realize, that when I put my blocks together, I laid it down and I had a star. If I had known that was going to happen, I would have changed a few colors to bring the star out even more, but I caught it, but it's the same as my background, some of my pieces, and I thought it was interesting that it wasn't planned that way, but it ended up with a star.

SS: How do you think quilts can be used?

EZ: How can they be used? Oh, they can be used to keep somebody warm, just like the one that was stolen. I put a quilt in the Collier County Fair and went in the next morning after the show opened, and the women thought I was going to rant and rave and everything and they said, 'Elva, your quilt was stolen.' I said, 'Well I hope that whoever got it stayed warm last night.' It was in January and the weather had got cold. And they said, 'I don't believe you.' It was a hand quilted quilt. It wasn't the best fabric, because it was when I began and I was using whatever fabric I could get, but it was stolen, and the insurance said I had to have an estimate, so Keith Angel wrote me up an estimate. She said $500, because she had seen the quilt. And, you know Jan Patterson, she said it's the ugliest quilt I ever made. [both laugh.] She didn't like my colors. I said, 'That's the fabric I had.' And the fair gave me $100, and my homeowners insurance gave me $400.

SS: Oh, my goodness. Was it the only quilt that was stolen from the show?

EZ: No, there was another one, a lady from Immokalee. And I don't know if she ever collected, I told them to tell her to turn it into her homeowners, if she had homeowners. Maybe she didn't. I don't know. I didn't know the lady. It was out of better fabric than mine. Hers, I think, was all cotton. Well at the time, when I first started quilting, I had a lot of poly/cotton in mine.

SS: Yes, those of us who have quilted a long time all have at least one or two of those.

EZ: It had some cotton, but there was a lot of poly/cotton.

SS: The poly/cotton blend?

EZ: Yes. She said, 'Well, it's worth at least $500,' so I got my $500.

SS: That's good. That was a good experience because it taught you the value of your quilting early on, you know, monetary value. For years, I just would have been amazed if somebody had told me one of my quilts was worth even $100.

EZ: My Ft. Myers challenge is down at Pat's shop, and it's been hanging there since they got back. They stayed up in Ft. Myers at the lady's house for so long and then she brought them down last month. Pat wasn't there when I went down and she had them all hanging, I think she had four hanging there, and I talked to Cindi yesterday and she said, 'I'm putting mine for sale.' It was a stupid contest. It was Cheerios.

SS: Oh, I remember those O quilts from last year. Yes.

EZ: Okay. Mine's hanging down there. So, she said, 'Do you want to put yours for sale?' I said, 'Yeah.' She said, 'Do you want to put $125 on it?' I say, 'Will it bring that?' 'Well, it should.' So, I guess they'll put a for sale sign on it.

SS: Very good. How do you think that quilts and especially the art of quilting should be preserved for the future?

EZ: Well, museums, and--I think there should be some other way because a museum can't hold all the beautiful quilts. I think the State quilters are earning money, but I forget what they're going to build, and it will be just for quilts.

SS: Oh, a museum then maybe?

EZ: Yes, could be.

SS: Interesting. I hadn't heard that.

EZ: I haven't gone to a meeting this year at all. I used to go with Jan and Nadine. I still pay my dues. I'm still a member and I still get their newsletter. But most of those places you have to stay overnight, and I hate that. I can't drive that far and leave my husband. Even before, because he's been on disability for 31 years. That's getting harder and harder.

SS: I find it hard to leave for overnight things, even though there's no reason to feel that way.

EZ: I like to go on the retreat. I guess they had a good retreat last week, week before.

SS: Yes, I heard that.

EZ: They had a good time, and they wanted me to go to that. There's no way I can go for three nights.

SS: I'd like to thank Elva Zoltai for allowing me to interview her today as part of the Q.S.O.S. project. Our interview concluded at 1:45 p.m. on November 22, 2004.


“Elva Zoltai,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed April 24, 2024, https://qsos.quiltalliance.org/items/show/1645.