Madge Lundy




Madge Lundy




Madge Lundy


Evelyn Salinger

Interview Date


Interview sponsor

Carolyn Mazloomi


Albuquerque, New Mexico


Evelyn Salinger


Evelyn Salinger (ES): Today is May 17, 2007. This is my first interview in the Albuquerque, New Mexico area, with a quilter, Madge Bell Lundy, at her home. Hi, Madge. I am going to ask you to tell me about the quilt you have here out on the floor. Would you describe it for people who do not see it?

Madge Lundy (ML): It's huge. [laughs.] Each block is different, a different flower. And it has twenty-one hummingbirds on it and they are all different. And it is quilted quite different. It's not quilted like in a regular pattern.

ES: Is each one of these hummingbirds a copy of a real bird from the bird book or just a fantasy one?

ML: It's from the pattern that I had.

ES: Will you describe the fabrics that you used in your hummingbirds?

ML: Oh, I just bought--every time I'd find a little piece that I thought would fit in pretty, I'd buy a fourth of a yard, and I managed to find enough lamé to put on all of them.

ES: Each has some shiny fabric.

ML: Each one has the lamé on it.

ES: It's absolutely beautiful. And the flowers, again are these fantasy flowers or are they Jacobean or--

ML: I think they are regular flowers.

ES: And how did you get the patterns?

ML: I bought the patterns.

ES: They came--all these different varieties.

ML: Yes.

Susan Lundy: (SL) Where did you find the fabric?

ML: Oh, at the different fabric stores, every where I went, I was watching for something that would make a feather or a different flower or something like that.

ES: Was it all in New Mexico, or was it in different places?

ML: I think I got some in Texas.

SL: And Florida, and Atlanta, probably Chicago.

ML: Yes.

ES: I did not say in the beginning that your daughter, Susan, is with us and we will hear her voice occasionally, too.

SL: The phantom.

ES: Yes. This is lovely and you have a very light, sort of washed out pink sashing and borders. It has a very light pink background, it has a little texture to it, and the colors mainly are--?

ML: Well, I don't think anything is predominant.

ES: I was thinking of magenta and pink and purple, but then there are also browns, beiges and yellows--tropical looking flowers. This is a beautiful piece. What do you call this?

ML: Hummingbird Quilt.

ES: And it is your masterpiece?

ML: That's my masterpiece.

ES: When did you make this? I'll look on the back here. It says, '1994.' I am sure it took longer than one year to make.

ML: Oh, yeah. It took four years and I went to the hospital once with a broken hip.

ES: The piecing part of it, do you find you can do that when you are recuperating from an operation?

ML: I never tried it, but I am going to try it this time.

SL: She's got a lot of unfinished projects right now.

ES: Like most quilters. [laughs.]

SL: Like most creative people.

ES: That is right. And what size would you say this is? A full or a queen?

ML: I think it's a full queen.

ES: 'When this you see, remember me. Made with love by Madge Lundy in 1994 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.' It's a very nice identification on the back. This is just lovely. Does anybody use this quilt?

ML: No.

ES: Has anybody ever put in on the bed, yet?

ML: Yes. I put it in the guest room for, oh, maybe a month or so at a time.

SL: When nobody's coming.

ML: When no one's coming.

ES: When did you first start quilting?

ML: I really started quilting in earnest in about the time that Bear Canyon [Senior Center.] opened, in '87. I had quilted some and messed around with it some but didn't know very much about it.

ES: Really.

SL: I think you quilted with Grandma.

ML: Yeah. I quilted from the time I was a teen-ager. A little bit.

ES: You did the quilting but you didn't do the piecing part of it?

ML: No, I didn't do the piecing part.

SL: It was a necessity.

ML: My mother made them because we needed them and if you were there, you worked on it.

ES: And where were you at that time, where you were growing up?

ML: Oh, basically, those years it was over around Santa Rosa.

ES: Your mother was a quilter also?

ML: Well, just for the home.

ES: What kind of quilts did she enjoy making?

ML: There's one laying there.

ES: Oh, good.

ML: That's an antique. Don't look at the workmanship in that. I did that, see. Uh!

SL: Grandma pieced it.

ML: Yeah. She pieced it but I quilted it.

ES: And did you do it at a very young age? Were you still home?

ML: No, I think I was married when I did that.

SL: She married when she was seventeen, so she was probably still a very young person.

ES: You said, 'Don't look at the quilting.' It's very utilitarian and it's very nice. What would you call this pattern?

ML: I have no idea. She used every little scrap, you know. Nothing was wasted.

ES: Were these scraps from something that she made?

ML: I have no idea where she got them.

ES: Was she a seamstress? Did she sew your clothes?

ML: Oh, sure.

ES: Well, she must have had some fabric left from that. When do you think this was made?

ML: I wouldn't have any idea.

ES: I was wondering if some of it was feed sacks.

ML: It could very well be.

ES: This is a bright pink sashing and it looks like it has been used--

ML: Oh, it has been used and used and washed and used.

ES: So this has got to be at least 75 years old.

ML: Oh, yeah. I would say so.

ES: Very, very nice. I would say is probably a junior bed size.

ML: Yeah. It's not very big.

ES: It may be Hour Glass--

ML: I have no idea what it is called.

ES: It is very nice.

ML: It is quite a comparison to the other.

ES: Sometimes they do that now in the magazines. They show the first quilt of somebody who is famous and then his or her latest. That's quite a bit of growth over the years.

What inspired you to get started--just the Senior Center that you joined?

ML: No, I like that kind of work. And I just started messing around embroidering and similar stuff and kept reading about quilting and quilting. So I just decided to get out and see what I could find. So I saw a piece in the paper that Beverly Garcia was helping start another quilting program at Bear Canyon. Bear Canyon had just opened. And so I called Beverly and she told me where to go, where to find them. So I just went up there one morning and I said I wanted to quilt. And they let me quilt a little bit and said, 'Okay,' and so I started really in earnest.

ES: Were they teaching you how to do any of this?

ML: No. Just going in there and quilting. Just like they do now. I just wanted to do it. So that took the place of my needlepoint. I was doing needlepoint at that time.

ES: I was going to ask you if you had other crafts.

ML: That's some of my needlepoint work up there. [pointing to the wall.] I put that aside when I took this up.

ES: Yes, we all have to make a choice at some point. If it's quilting, that's it.

ML: Yeah.

ES: Do you have inspiration from something--like nature, or from books, or whatever?

ML: Oh, sometimes. And then others, I see a pattern somewhere that I can get and I may change it to suit me a little bit.

ES: So the first quilt that you finished, when was it?

ML: Possibly, that red one there is the first one that I actually finished. There was a time in there that I didn't have time for any of that. I was raising a family and everybody was working. There just wasn't time for it.

Would you care to describe a little bit about your family?

ML: Well. I am the youngest of eleven. [laughs.] But they are all gone. When I was there, there was three of us who grew up together. The rest of them were all grown and gone.

ES: And your parents, what did they do?

ML: He was a farmer. She's a housewife.

ES: And this was in Texas, then?

SL: There was also part Cherokee in her parents.

ES: Very interesting.

ML: We’re trying to trace our Cherokee heritage, you know.

ES: Do you know if they came from over the Appalachians and they came from the Trail of Tears?

ML: We can go just so far and then we can't go any farther, seems like.

ES: That's very interesting. Have you looked into the genealogy?

SL: I tried to work on it and of course they originated in the Southeast.

ES: And how they crossed over the--

SL: Well, not by choice. But a lot of them spread out in the hills before and they weren't taken on the Trail of Tears. A lot of them were kind of--were able to meander off a little bit along the way. So we're not sure, we can just go back a certain so many years and then it just kind of--the trail vanishes. The rolls that were taken, the official rolls to prove your heritage, were taken in 1834. A lot of times, it is that the English who was taking the rolls didn't understand the person's name in Cherokee--that was like 'Sa ma ne' or something. He might put 'Smith.'

ES: So you can't really follow.

SL: And it's hard. It's like a needle in a haystack.

ES: You wonder now if DNA testing might do something.

SL: Yes, you do.

ES: Very good. So, you came from a big family, and you yourself got married young. Where did you live in your early days of marriage?

ML: My husband was postmaster out in a little place, called Salt Lake. There was a salt business and a grocery store. So he was in charge of the whole house. .

ES: The two together in the one building?

ML: The one thing.

ES: What did you do there, besides raise children?

ML: I didn't have any children. We didn't have her until after we left there and moved to Albuquerque.

ES: Oh. So you have been in Albuquerque for how long?

ML: Since 1938. We have seen lots of changes.

ES: You sure have--all those carpet baggers coming in here. [laughs.]
And your family, you had how many children?

ML: Two. This one and one eight years younger than her.

ES: Okay. While you were raising the girls, you did other kinds of crafts?

ML: I sewed for other people at that time.

ES: Oh, how nice. Mainly clothing?

ML: Wedding dresses, cheerleading--I had this room set up for my sewing shop. We've got a big room in there where we could live in. So this was basically a sewing shop.

ES: And did you have shelves with all the different fabrics?

ML: No. We didn't build anything in so it didn't mess up the room. I had a long table and my sewing machine and all that stuff.

ES: Did the people come in with their own fabrics and projects for you to do?

ML: Yes.

ES: Did you save a lot of scraps from that?

ML: I used them and I'd give everybody scraps and I still have scraps. [laughs.]

ES: In your quilting now that you do, what part of the quilting process do you like the most?

ML: I like the quilting the best.

ES: You do very, very fine, beautiful work.

ML: And I love to appliqué. I'd rather appliqué than piece. I don't know so much about piecing. Lately, I have not made very many pieced quilts. Most of mine are appliqué.

I expect each one of the girls has sixteen at least. And then I have two grandkids who have stacks of quilts.

ES: What a legacy. You must do an awful lot in these twenty some years that you really got started in force.

ML: Well, all the quilters say they don't know how on earth I do as much as I do. They say, 'I don't know how she gets so much done.' But if I'm sitting like this, I'm doing something. I'm not just sitting there. I'm reading a book, or--because I like it.

ES: You are so lucky you still have the facility--your hands and your eyes.

ML: Uh-hum.

ES: That's wonderful. What do you think about these people doing machine work?

ML: I don't like it. [laughs.] I told the girls, they may have to have some of these tops that I have, machine quilted some day to get them quilted. But I'm not going to do machine quilting.
I just don't like the machine quilting.

ES: And machine piecing, too?

ML: And they're beautiful, they're very pretty.

SL: You would not necessarily want to curl up under one of them.

ES: It is quite a legacy that you have made. And I think it is such a wonderful hobby because
we are leaving something behind.

ML: And of course now I do lots of wall hangings. I would not be able to guess how many the kids have. Her house is full of Southwestern wall hangings. You saw them.

ES: Wonderful. [inaudible.] The rest in the closets?

SL: I have to rotate because there are so many.

ES: Maybe you will have to start a museum and put all your things in it. [laughs.] I love this beautiful wall hanging over your sofa here. Maybe you would describe that because we maybe can capture that in the picture.

ML: It's supposed to be a poppy. I've had a hard time seeing a poppy in it.

ES: It's hard to see when it is flattened like that. You have the various parts in the middle.

ML: Now, there's a hummingbird that was the last thing I finished. It, to me, is much nicer and prettier than that.

ES: Is it enlarged?

ML: Shall I bring it?

ES: That would be nice. [discussion that the bed is not made.] [SL goes to get it.]

ES: Do you keep track of all the things that you have made?

ML: I did it for awhile and then I just gave up. I have no idea what I've done, but I can sit down and count quilts the kids have. I know they have at least fifteen apiece. Just thinking about them--they're in my mind.

ES: Again, it would be nice to have pictured each one and have them in a little book, as a memory book.

ML: I tried for awhile and I just gave up.

ES: It is hard when your mind is set on this creativity. Susan is bringing the hummingbird.

ML: I think that is very pretty.

ES: With the laminated throat and the fuchsia flowers. It is beautiful. We may capture some of these in a picture.

ML: I want to make more of those in different colors.

SL: She made one with pansies, beautiful pansies, on a yellow background, but my niece just took it home with her.

ES: I notice on your wall you have red hats and purple [inaudible.]. Is that something that you started?

ML: I belong to the Red Hat Society.

ES: You do. That has been some movement since that poem came out about the woman in the purple dress and red hat.

ML: Yes.

ES: One of my usual questions is how does quilting impact your family? Well, I think you have impacted your family. [laughs.]

ML: Pretty much. Yes.

ES: Is this most important thing in your life? Is this something that you feel is the your most important thing?

ML: Well, it's pretty important.

ES: Have you ever entered shows?

ML: Yes, the local quilt shows. The city used to have a Prime Time each fall and we'd have a quilt show. All of the centers entered the quilt show. And Bear Canyon always had a good showing. And I won. I think it was twice, the People's Choice awards.

ES: That's great.

SL: And you won Best of Show a couple of times.

ML: Yeah. And I won First Place several times.

ES: Are you a member of the New Mexico Quilters Association?

ML: No. I used to be but when they meeting so much at night, I don't drive at night, so I just dropped out.

ES: I think all these quilting groups have contributed a lot to the regeneration of quilting here.

ML: It's good to see the young are interested in it.

ES: Have you ever done any teaching of quilting? Or any aspects of quilting?

ML: No.

SL: Well, you've done like--sometimes you have a work day of quilting. You used to do that pretty often. You were teaching certain methods.

ML: I've taught several Bear Canyon people how to appliqué.

ES: And you do that separately from the quilting meeting?

ML: We have a workshop or whatever.

ES: Have you ever sold anything?

ML: I've sold a few quilts.

ES: Have you had commissioned works when people ask you to do something?

ML: I don't think so.

ES: So when you sold something it's that you just had it and somebody asked for it?

ML: My daughter, Dixie, she's an RN in the Houston area. She meets so many people in her work, and she has sold more of them than I have thought about selling. She'll call, 'Mom, so and so wants so and so. They saw mine. Can you make it?' So, I've sold quite a lot through her.

ES: Great. You must have a great output to be able to sell that? It is just amazing because everything is hand done so we know it takes a long time. Do you do, for instance here, the large block maybe you sewed that by machine?

ML: Yeah, I'd do that by machine.

ES: Do you have any antique quilts in your collection?

ML: No.

ES: Do you have any experiences along with your quilting friends that you would think stand out that you would like to talk about?

ML: I can't think of any right now. I’m sure there are some funny ones in our group. [laughs.]

SL: We might think of some later.

ES: Yes, we could always add some.
One of the questions I usually ask is, how has quilting has meaning for American women--that you have come across?

ML: I think it kind of takes us back to our heritage. And really how good we have it now compared to how they were making quilts back then, taking care of them, and even getting the stuff to make them. I remember my mother, I don't remember her doing much of it, but she would get the cotton from the farmer and scrape that cotton and making it out into quilt batts.

SL: Where did she have the quilting frame set up?

ML: Her quilting frame hung from the ceiling [Inaudible.] and there were just four sticks and we started quilting at the edge. Where now, we start quilting from the center. But they started quilting from the edge--

ES: They must have had a vice grip--

ML: No. As I remember, it had holes through here and there'd be a long nail would go down through there. And then you'd [inaudible.] I played under lots of those quilts.

SL: This is her neighbor's quilt.

ML: My neighbor quilted when the older girls were home. When they were small, they all quilted.

ES: Did she have a particular day of the week when people would come in?

ML: No. I think whenever they had time.

ES: They could drop in.[inaudible.] Do you have advice for new quilters?

ML: Don't start something too big to start with. Start something kind of your size and not too complicated or you'll get discouraged and it will lay there not finished. And sometimes that happens anyway. I have things that are just laying there, not finished.

ES: Do you have anybody who's going to finish them?

ML: No, not really. She uses the paintbrush and the other one makes people well. Now my granddaughter is a little bit interested. I taught her to crochet over the Christmas holidays. She's been wanting to crochet. She's got a baby a year and a half old, and like she's been wanting to crochet, so I did get her started crocheting. But she shows more interest in [inaudible.] I think I maybe kind of disgusted them with sewing, because it was always, 'Mom's got to work on this or I've got to get this finished.' And I think I disgusted them with sewing.

ES: Sometimes things skip generations.

ML: Yeah.

SL: I don't think that's it for me. I think it's just so tiny and so tedious. I just don't have the patience.

ES: And you use your creativity--

SL: I can do it a lot faster.

ES: Painting.

SL: Yeah. But I have said before that the group of quilters up there at Bear Canyon, they're such a close-knit group and a support group.

ES: That is something you may not have as a painter sometimes.

SL: Exactly. That's almost enough to make me want to do it.

ES: Some people paint with fabric, but as you say, a lot of it is tedious work--if you call it that. Some of us just find it relaxing and just enjoyable.

SL: It's just a different temperament.

ML: Now, Dixie. Don't give her a needle for anything.

SL: She won't even try to do a lot of things.

ML: She doesn't want to do that. But now, get your house cleaned up and get your clothes organized. It's perfection.

ES: You certainly have a lovely home here and I can see perfection just in the roses and the beautiful flowers you have outside, the same as you what you're putting in your quilts. Is there anything else you'd like to speak about? We can always add a little. I really appreciate your taking the time to do this today.

ML: If I stop and think a little, there are funny stories about the group. I know there's been a lot of funny things. I can't think of them now, 'cause we've had everything happen.

SL: [inaudible.] There have been so many sorrows and joys. If quilts could talk.

ML: Oh. What they would say.

ES: Thank you again, it has been very enjoyable. [tape turned off the on again.] We are adding a little thought here.

ML: I broke my hip three times. The same hip. During the construction of this quilt, the second time that I was laid up, the quilters got together and set up meals, every other day they would send a meal that lasted for two days. That went on for days, because there were so many quilters. There are not very many quilting groups do these things any more. .

ES: That was very thoughtful.

ML: Yeah, wasn't it? I don't know which quilter organized it, but there are only three of us there from the start.

ES: Who are the other two?

ML: Ona [Porterfield.] and Jo Smith. I don't know if you've got to meet Jo. She doesn't come any more. She was the head of the group when I joined.

ES: How do you choose the head of the group?

ML: I have no idea.

SL: She was the head for a long time.

ML: I was the head after Jo gave it up. She got aggravated. So I took it and I was the head for a long, long time.

ES: And what are the responsibilities of the head?

ML: Kind of what Ann [Pitcher.] does. We had a lot more activities because we had just about every month we had a workshop at somebody's house. And we'd get together for that. We used to have our holiday lunches at the center. Now we have to rush in and rush out and finally I said, 'Let's stop doing that. Let's have it in a home.' And then we have a whole afternoon if we want it.
And that's when we stopped taking them up there. [at the Senior Center.]

ES: And now you have the potluck luncheon--is it just once a year?

ML: We have one as often as when we want to have one.

SL: You used to have them pretty often.

ML: We used to have them just real often. We used to have UFO day or something like that.
We don't do much of that any more. I think we are missing a lot by not doing it.

ES: Yes. I think that would be a good way to get to know each other.

ML: I think it kept us closer.

ES: We'll have to suggest that again.

ML: Yeah.

SL: I think it's--what do I know, I don’t belong--but it seems to me that somebody can just take that on. I think what's happened is Ann travels so much and is doing so much. Where as somebody who's here more could just offer to take that on for her.

ES: That's a good suggestion.

SL: That way, it's not usurping her position or anything. It's a help.

ML: Something that's strange to me, so many of us up there have daughters that are here in town and this age or not as old. She's the only one that participates in anything, of the daughters. I can't think of another daughter that participates.

SL: Julia's daughter used to come in and talk.

ML: Just once in a while. And I don't understand why.

ES: It may say something about the relationship that you have with your daughter.

ML: That could be.

ES: Very nice.

ML: She helps me go through any time I have anything like that. She helps me and then she does birthday parties up there.

ES: I went to your wonderful birthday party for your 89th birthday. That was so nice.

ML: I don't understand why some of the others don't.

SL: I think it would be nice to organize a mother-daughter tea or something.

ES: Could it be mother-daughter-in-law?

SL: Sure. [laughs.] Or a surrogate daughter.

ES: That's a nice idea.

SL: Yeah. I always have thought that Mother's Day in May, comes and goes, but it does not always have to be Mother's Day. It could be any time. I think that would be nice.

ES: That's a good suggestion.

ML: I think we're losing some of our--I think other quilters will tell you--we've lost a lot of our quilters over the years. We're not as close as we used to be. I can't quite put my finger on it.

SL: Don't you think part of it is that pretty much you just go quilt--

ML: You quilt and go home. Somebody went to lunch. 'Do you want to go to lunch, we're going to so and so.' Just took it up there. It doesn't have to be planned. [tape turned off again for a short break.]

ES: Susan, you were just saying something about your heritage and I think that would be interesting to put in here.

SL: Because of our Cherokee heritage, we're just interested in pursuing understanding the culture and the traditions and there is a group of Cherokee people here in Albuquerque. Actually, it is called the Cherokee Township of the Southwest. And we have members all over the Southwest. We have about a hundred twenty members. Mom is one of the Elders of the group. And she has donated two or three quilts. We have an annual raffle. We sell tickets during the year and then the winner is drawn at our November meeting which is when the chiefs of Oklahoma come to visit. So we are officially recognized sub-group of the Cherokee Nation.

ES: Wonderful.

SL: Yeah. It is really a fun group. We know some super, super nice people.

ES: When they have these annual raffles, do they have other art things other than your mother's quilts?

SL: Yeah.

ES: Are there other quilters in there, too?

SL: No.

ML: I made a little quilt. It was of an Indian girl. All the skirts were different appliqué, of course. And I donated I think three big wall hangings. All Southwest. I don't have anything Southwest in my house. But, I made some.

ES: Yes. I saw them at your daughter's. Thank you. I am so glad you added the heritage to this interview.

[interview concludes.]



“Madge Lundy,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed April 13, 2024,