Dicie Sloan




Dicie Sloan




Dicie Sloan


Ronda Coleman

Interview Date


Interview sponsor

Carolyn Mazloomi


Elkhorn City, Kentucky


Ronda Coleman


Note: This interview was done during a quilt class so background conversations can be heard throughout the interview.

Ronda Coleman (RC): This is an interview for the Alliance for American Quilts' Quilters' [S.O.S. -] Save Our Stories, identification number KY41522-008. The interviewee is Mrs. Dicie Sloan. Ronda Coleman is the interviewer and the transcriber. The place of interview is Elkhorn City Public Library at Elkhorn City, Kentucky. Today's date is March the sixth, 2008. The time is about 11:50 a.m. Thank you Mrs. Dicie for allowing me to interview you today. Tell me a little bit about the quilt that you brought in today.

Dicie Sloan (DS): Well, I don't know where I got the pattern. Somebody gave it to me, but I don't remember who. I thought I would make it and see what it, how it turned out and after I made it, I didn't have it quilted right off the bat. I set it up and didn't have it quilted right off the bat, but one of my daughters, she said Mom, I want that, so I had it quilted but she's never taken it home yet. She said she wanted it. I brought it over here at Apple Festival and one of the girls comes with me and she said I want that quilt. [laughs.] I said I can't give you that quilt, that my daughter's. [laughs.]

RC: Where does your daughter live?

DS: She lives up above me over at Mouthcard [Kentucky.]. I made them all one.

RC: How many children do you have?

DS: I have six. I've got five daughters and one son, and they're all grown. My son is 34 years old and he's the baby.

RC: Does this quilt have any special meaning for you?

DS: No, not really. It's just something I like to do and since my husband died, I do a lot more of it now than I did when he was alive.

RC: How long did it take you to do this quilt?

DS: It don't take too long if you don't have a big lot to do around the house, but I usually do more in the wintertime than I do in the summer because I raise a garden and I like to be outside. I do a lot of it in the winter.

RC: About how many hours a week do you think you get to quilt?

DS: Sometimes, if it's bad outside I can get my housework done. My son goes to work at 6:30 and I get my housework done real early, and then I can work. If I want to do that all day or if I want to go somewhere I can do that. But when it's bad, I stay inside and work.

RC: Why did you bring this quilt for the interview today?

DS: They wanted me to. The girls wanted me to bring it. Sue said,' Bring it,' and Eloise said, 'Bring that one.' [laughs.]

RC: It's a fine quilt. It really is. What do you think someone viewing this quilt might think about you?

DS: I don't know. I hope they think something good. [laughs.]

RC: How do you use the quilt?

DS: I don't.

RC: You have it put up?

DS: I've got them all in garbage bags, in the white garbage bags and I keep them in one room we don't use only when one of the girls comes home. I told them, I said they're all ready and I've got the grandchildren one. I've got three great grandchildren, but I hardly ever see the two little boys but the little girl, I've got her one made. I've got some more where I've appliquéd. I haven't set them up. I'm going to get them all fixed and give them to the kids.

RC: And they can come by and pick them up any time? [DS indicates yes.] I would already be there.

DS: [laughs.] My oldest daughter, she lives in Illinois. When she was home Christmas, I had a Dove quilt and I gave it to her and I've got her a Chicken Scratch and I gave my granddaughter one that lives in Illinois, and I bought her a bed skirt and then I put the color of the quilt around the bottom of the bed skirt. When she was home at Christmas, I said what did you do with your quilt? She said, 'It's in the cedar chest Mamaw.' So, I gave my grandson when he was home and they started home for Christmas, after Christmas I gave him a--his was a star on blue Chicken Scratch. So, he took his home too.

RC: Very nice. At what age did you start quilt making?

DS: When I was at home, I helped Mom cut her pieces out. We would cut them out and put them, we had an Alden's catalog, and we would put them in between the pages so she could just turn the page and get it out and put it on and she taught me how to do that.

RC: And she taught you how to appliqué?

DS: [indicates yes.] Mom, did.

RC: How long have you been doing that?

DS: [laughs.] I'd say I was about ten years old or a little older when I started. And I'd help Mom quilt, she had them hanging from the loft and I would quilt like that. But now I quilt on, if I do any quilting I quilt on a hoop. I've got quilting frames but there nobody to help me roll them and them little old spindly things that you get at Wal-Mart. When you take them apart to roll it, they want to fold up on you so I just [inaudible.]

RC: Do you have one of the old fashion frames that's like on sawhorse legs?

DS: Yeah, I've got one of them, but I got the big old round hoops and I just spread it out on the bed and do it.

RC: Are there other quiltmakers in your family?

DS: I had two sisters that did it all the time, but all my sisters and brothers are gone except one sister and one brother.

RC: Do you have any of their quilts?

DS: Yes, I do. I have one. My sister--when our house burned, my sister gave me a quilt.

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

DS: No, I don't think so.

RC: What do you find pleasing about quilting?

DS: I don't know how it makes you feel. You feel you've accomplished something when you get them finished.

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

DS: I like to Chicken Scratch. But I do the other too, but I like to Chicken Scratch.

RC: Have advances in technology influenced your quilting at all?

DS: No. I do what I want to, and I fix it the way I want to. If I want to set it up that way I do. If I want to put the block in it like that, I like that way better than I do where you put the strips in and you don't have the block in it. I think the block, when you get it quilted and you hem it that little block on the sides, I think it makes it look pretty.

RC: You're talking about the blocks that are in the sashing?

DS: In the setting up on it. [indicates yes.] Mom always, she set all hers up like that and I've got one I set up in strips and then Mrs. Bartley showed me how she [did] it and I got stuck on it [laughs.] and then I called her, and she came down and she finished it for me. I said I don't think I've got them straight and she looked at it and she said 'Yes, you have, you do.' So, she finished it for me and after she got it done, she wouldn't take nothing for having it, for finishing it for me so she had to have some material to set up one, so I said, 'I've got that white,' so I gave her the white to set her quilt up. She is such a sweet person.

RC: Yes, you're right. What is your favorite--did I just ask that, favorite techniques? We'll move on to the next question. [both laugh.] How do you--when you used to do hand quilting, how would you attach the layers so you could hand quilt it?

DS: My living room is 18 [feet.] by 20 [feet.]. I lay them down in the floor and pin it to the carpet [laughs.] and fix it like that and then I use safety pins. I saw that on TV. This lady did that and she put more in it, more pins in hers than I always put in mine so after I seen her do that, I put more pins in mine and that way it holds it. You go all the way around it but you start in the middle and come out.

RC: How do you do the binding or the hemming on your quilts?

DS: I hem mine with my fingers. I don't like a machine hemmed quilt.

RC: Do you cut a separate strip to go around the edge or you pull the back?

DS: I have been on the Chicken Scratch, on what I hem. But the lady who did mine before Mrs. Bartley, she'd been quilting some for me, so she hems hers on the machine, so I hemmed them. I told her I'd hem them, and I cut the piece and put on and hem it with my fingers. I think it looks so much neater than on a machine.

RC: What do you think makes a good-looking quilt?

DS: The pains you take with it. You can't do sloppy work and have a pretty quilt.

RC: Right. What do you think would make a quilt appropriate for a museum?

DS: I have no idea.

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

DS: I like machine quilting and I like hand quilting, too. In some, now I'm making a Kentucky quilt for my son, and I'm going to hand quilt it. I think it will look better hand quilted, quilt all the way around that UK [University of Kentucky.].

RC: And are you doing that one in Chicken Scratch?

DS: [indicates yes.] I've got one made and I've got it set up one I'm not ready to set up and then I've got three grandsons and they're all die hard Kentucky fans [laughs.] and I've got one, he is a Duke fan. The one that lives in Illinois, he's the Duke fan.

RC: Are you going to do a UK quilt for him? [laughs.]

DS: No, he said, 'Mamaw, do me a Duke quilt.' [laughs.]

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

DS: I think more people should quilt. I don't like these quilts you buy at the store. I like the home-made quilts which I don't use them on beds, but I think homemade quilts, anything you make homemade I think it's prettier than the ones you buy. Of course, they don't take pains with them. You can look at them and they're not together like that you know and the stitches, some of them are that long [indicates a measure.] and my mom made little stitches. I don't know how she did it, but she did.

RC: How do you think quilts can be used?

DS: I don't know hardly; you can use them for about anything. A lot of people put them up on the wall and fixes them like that. I know they used to. I don't know if it still is or not. On TV there was a lady that quilted all the time on television, and she would make them, and they wouldn't be that big and she would, I'm telling you, I'd give anything to do like she does.

RC: How do you think they can be preserved for the future?

DS: I don't know hardly; you have to take real good care of them. You can't wash them to death. You have to take good care of them and keep them where nothing won't get to them. I keep mine in a bag.

RC: What do you think is the biggest challenge confronting your quilt making friends now a days?

DS: I don't know. They are something else. [laughs.]

RC: Mrs. Dicie, I appreciate you talking with me, this is the end of our interview

DS: I enjoyed it.

RC: And I thank you very much.

DS: You're welcome.

[Note: This interview was 16 minutes and 2 seconds.]


“Dicie Sloan,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed July 19, 2024, https://qsos.quiltalliance.org/items/show/1776.