Sue Hackney




Sue Hackney




Sue Hackney


Ronda Coleman

Interview Date


Interview sponsor

Sue Hackney


Elkhorn City, Kentucky


Ronda Coleman


Ronda Coleman (RC): This is an interview for The Alliance for American Quilts, Quilters' [S.O.S.-] Save Our Stories; Identification Number KY41522-005. The interviewee is Mrs. Sue Hackney. Ronda Coleman is the interviewer and transcriber. The place of interview is Elkhorn City Public Library at Elkhorn City, Kentucky. Today's date is February the 21st, 2008 about 11:30 a.m. Thank you Mrs. Sue for allowing me to interview you today. Would you tell me about the quilt you brought in for this interview?

Sue Hackney (SH): It's a Dresden Plate and I-- [laughs.]

RC: And this is one you have Chicken Scratched?

SH: Yes, yes, it is.

RC: Why did you choose this quilt?

SH: I really liked it. Plus, it's the only one I've got at the house. I had to borrow it. I give them all away that I make. [laughs.]

RC: That's all right. What do you think someone viewing your quilt might think about you?

SH: Well, I hope they think that I'm good at it [laughs.] or at least halfway good. [laughs.] And I enjoy it, I really do.

RC: How do you use this quilt?

SH: I gave it to my sister-in-law. Her house burnt and I told her I would fix her one, so I gave it to her.

RC: How does she use it?

SH: She uses it as a bedspread.

RC: So, she does use it.

SH: Yeah.

RC: Tell me about your interest in quilt making.

SH: Well, I've always liked it. At one time I didn't know how to do it. I took a class when I lived in Michigan and that really got me into it.

RC: How long ago was that?

SH: Back in the nineties, I think. So, it's been quite a while.

RC: It has. So, you've been quilting since then.

SH: Yeah, I have.

RC: What type of quilts have you done?

SH: The Chicken Scratch and I embroider, and I sew the pattern on the sewing machine like I don't know what you call it, but they piece together.

RC: At what age did you start quilting?

SH: I probably was in my early thirties.

RC: So, from whom did you learn to quilt?

SH: Just that class I took.

RC: It would have been a teacher.

SH: Yeah, it was a teacher.

RC: How many hours a week do you get to quilt?

SH: [laughs.] I probably get to quilt about 4 or 5 hours a day, I guess, every day.

RC: What's your first quilt memory?

SH: From my sister. She makes them on the sewing machine all the time. I used to buy them off her before I started.

RC: Did anyone make them when you were growing up?

SH: They said my mom did, but I don't remember it.

RC: Are there other quiltmakers among your family or friends?

SH: Just my sister.

RC: How does quilt making impact your family?

SH: [pause.] Well, it relaxes me, would that count? I don't know.

RC: Have you ever used quilts then to get through a difficult time?

SH: Yes, I have, through death or if anything bothers me, I can sew, and it relaxes me is what it does.

RC: Have you had an amusing experience you would like to share during a class or during quilt making?

SH: No, no.

RC: What do you find pleasing about quilting?

SH: I just like the way they look when you put them together. Really, it just changes the whole thing once you get them put together.

RC: What aspects of quilt making do you enjoy most?

SH: I enjoy the whole thing except putting them together. I hate that. [laughs.]

RC: Have advances in sewing technology affected the way you quilt?

SH: No.

RC: What are your favorite techniques for quilting?

SH: Probably the Chicken Scratch. That's my favorite.

RC: Why does that appeal to you?

SH: I just think it's easy to do. I like to embroider too but this is my favorite.

RC: Describe to me the studio or the place where you create.

SH: In my living room.

RC: How do you balance your time?

SH: I don't know. I guess you just have to fix your time where you can do some here and some there.

RC: Do you use a design wall or--

SH: No

RC: How do you decide how your quilts are going to go together?

SH: I just picture it in my head and that's the way I fix it.

RC: How do you well I know Mrs. Roberta quilts for you too, so you just buy the material and send them to her?

SH: Yeah.

RC: Do you don't have to pin the layers together or anything?

SH: No.

RC: But I know you do the binding correct?

SH: Yeah, I do the binding. I can do the--I have quilted with the needle, whatever you call that [both speak at the same time.] by hand, hand quilting. I have done that. But I tear my finger all to pieces when I do that, so this is much easier. [laughs.]

RC: How do you usually do your binding? With a separate strip of material?

SH: Yeah. I cut it out like a 2 inch or inch and a half, then I fold it and sew it like this and then I turn it over and just slip stitch it.

RC: What do you think makes a great quilt?

SH: To me, it's the layout of it. I don't know about other people but that's what it is to me. And the colors and just the whole thing pulled together I guess makes a great quilt.

RC: And that's what makes a quilt artistically pleasing?

SH: That's what it is to me.

RC: What do you think would make a quilt appropriate for a museum or a special collection?

SH: The age and mostly I think it would be that. And the way it's put together, the color of it and the thread you use in it.

RC: So, have you ever been to a museum?

SH: No. I would love to go. Have you?

RC: No, I haven't as a matter of fact. I have been to quilt shows that had a lot of older quilts but not to museums like in Paducah. Got to go there sometime. What do you think makes a great quiltmaker?

SH: Her work.

RC: How do you feel about machine quilting vs. hand quilting?

SH: I really like hand quilting better. I really do. [laughs.]

RC: Why is quilt making important to your life?

SH: I enjoy giving it away after I get it. I enjoy putting it together and then I just enjoy seeing the reaction from people when they get it. I have kept one out of all of them I have made. I always gave them away.

RC: What is the one that you kept?

SH: The big star.

RC: That was a Chicken Scratch one too?

SH: Uh huh. [yes.]

RC: So, how do you use that one?

SH: On my bed. That's the only one I've got on my bed.

RC: In what ways do you think your quilts might reflect this community or region?

SH: Hmmm. I don't know how to answer that. [laughs.]

RC: How do you think that quilts can be used?

SH: Well, really you could give like to soldier boys and stuff like that, their family. You really could.

RC: That's true. How do you think they can be preserved for the future?

SH: Layer them. Layer them in some kind of paper that--I seen it on TV, but I don't know the name of it but just layer it, take care of it and make sure you unfold it and refold it a lot.

RC: What has happened to most of the quilts that you have made?

SH: I gave them away. [laughs.]

RC: And do they use them or, the ones you given them to?

SH: I know that Hattie does but the rest of them I don't know because it's my niece and my nephews and I don't know what they do with theirs.

RC: What do you think is the biggest challenge today confronting a quiltmaker?

SH: Finding the material. Places to buy some pretty ones, pretty material.

RC: Right. This is the end of our interview and I appreciate you talking with me Mrs. Sue.

SH: I don't know how I done but you're welcome honey.

RC: You did fine.


“Sue Hackney,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed May 19, 2024,