Lora Lloyd




Lora Lloyd




Lora Stansbrough Lloyd


Evelyn Salinger

Interview Date


Interview sponsor

Martha Sielman


Albuquerque, New Mexico


Evelyn Salinger


Evelyn Salinger (ES): This is Evelyn Salinger, and I am conducting a Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories interview with Lora Stansbrough Lloyd. Today is May 13, 2009, and it is 2:30 o'clock. We are at Lora's home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Hi, Lora.

Lora Lloyd (LL): Hi.

ES: Nice of you to do this today.

LL: It's my pleasure.

ES: I have met you at the Bear Canyon [Senior Center.] Quilters and I know that you have some lovely quilts.

LL: Thank you.

ES: Let's talk about the quilt that you have chosen to talk about, first.

LL: I made that quilt in 2000, or finished in 2000. It was a two-year project. It's called "Roses 'N Ivy." I saw the pattern in Keepsake Quilting and ordered it and knew that it was beyond me. So I spent the next year trying to become worthy of it. I took more appliqué classes and I had to thoroughly go through the pattern so that I understood every step, before I ever, with fear and trepidation, began to cut. It's very special. There are twelve roses and six buds with ivy vines all around each block. Heavy quilting.

It's special because my husband has beautiful roses. That is his gift to us in our back yard. And what I intend to do with it is to keep it and use it to cover our coffins when we are gone, because it is so perfect for him as well as for myself, because of his love of roses. It has won some awards.

ES: Tell us the awards while we're at it.

LL: I was not putting things in the State Fair at that time, and I just missed by one day, putting it in the big every two-year quilt show. I think one of the second place or one of the first place [ribbons.] was from the quilt show that we used to have at the Fair Grounds. It did win. But anyway, it is my most treasured one. Whatever happens when I am gone, they can pass it around. [laughs.] I just cannot give it to one of the five children. They'll have to pass it around.

ES: You had five children?

LL: Yes.

ES: That would be difficult to divide that up.

LL: Yeah. [laughs.]

ES: The size of it is?

LL: It's a very large, long queen.

ES: You said how many pieces there are in each rose?

LL: There are eighteen pieces in each of the twelve roses. There are smaller pieces in the buds. Each bud has a bow around it.

ES: It’s lovely. You have a lot of stitches. Did you quilt that on a frame?

LL: I cannot remember. I must have quilted it on the frame. It was not quilted at Bear Canyon. I quilted it at home. I must have quilted it on the frame because I cannot conceive of quilting it on that lap frame. [laughs.]

ES: What is your earliest memory of quilts and quilting?

LL: Really, 1985. My mother and grandmother lived in the Southern Illinois area, Cairo, Illinois--also, where my husband's mother lived. His mother and my mother were best friends over all of our lives. And we grew up like cousins. Of course, Cairo is right across the river from Paducah, Kentucky, which is now a big center of quilting. But for some reason, they did not quilt. They did all kinds of beautiful hand work: knitting, crocheting, tatting, hairpin lace, but they never quilted. And that's very hard to understand. But again, they weren't in the westward movement where quilts were a necessity to keep warm. So that never happened. And I was not interested in all of this other work that they did, however, as my children started coming along, I did begin to sew. I made their clothes. I made the girls' clothes. I made my clothes for many years.

And in 1985, my husband and I were in an airplane flying to Epcot. And there was a woman sitting next to me and she had a plastic bag full of little pieces of fabric and she was doing something with them. And I realized she was quilting. And I thought, 'I could do that. I'd like to do that.' So I came home and I took a class and that was in 1985. I did not know the first thing--I did not know what backing was, batting was. I didn't know anything. I went to Quilt Works and I took that first class and I have been hooked ever since. I've taken many classes. I don't take so many classes any more. I certainly haven't learned everything there is to know by any means, but I have enough to satisfy me at this point. [laughs.]

ES: Do you ever do any teaching now?

LL: Oh, no. I'm not qualified to do that.

ES: You can help other people.

LL: Well, anyone that asks. Eleven years ago, I came up to Bear Canyon and prior to that I hand pieced everything because that is how I was taught in that class. So, gradually I learned to machine piece and I learn something new almost every week because there's such exposure to quilts and designs and the beauty of it. And it is my passion.

ES: Who inherits your quilts?

LL: Well, first of all of course, family--my adult children, their children and now two great grandchildren, friends. I have a list [laughs.] almost in my mind of who I want to make quilts for. My method is to--I like to finish what I start. I only have one UFO [unfinished object.] and it is a quilt that I probably will never finish because of a lot of reasons. It's my one UFO when I am absolutely desperate and have nothing to work on, I get it out. [laughs.] I like to finish but while I am finishing, I've always got the next one in mind. If I put it in a frame at home and I am hand quilting it, the creative process is over, so I always have something else going at the same time, either on the machine or appliqué, to break that up, too.

ES: Do you have a favorite part of this whole process?

LL: Yes. Choosing the pattern and the fabrics, that's the most creative part for me.

ES: I have noticed in the quilts that I've seen of yours, that you have a wonderful sense of color. Everything is just so vibrant.

LL: Well, that's interesting because to begin with I didn't. And when I picked out the fabrics for the Roses 'N Ivy, I went to Quilt Works and Shirley, who owns the store now, was helping me and she picked out a green fabric that I never would have picked out. And she made a statement that has changed my quilting life. She said, 'Well, you're conservative.' And I thought, 'This is not a good thing to be.' [laughs.] So from that point on, I started living in color. Maybe I was in black and white, but from that point on my quilts became much more colorful. And that is my favorite part of the whole thing.

My least favorite is marking the borders. [laughs.] I hate to mark the borders.

ES: To make them come out at the end?

LL: Yes. But if you see on this little one, in the corners I've learned a little trick. Instead of trying to fight the whole thing, I put a little flower in each corner. I have a big flower and a little flower. [laughs.] And, I put a flower in the middle. Not this one, but another one. I find that works a lot.

ES: The one you were referring to right now was--what was this one called again?

LL: This is a Pioneer Braid. It's a scrap quilt. This is a wall hanging or lap quilt. But I have made full-sized quilts out of it, and I love to do it because I can obsess over every piece. [laughs.] And I do. Now Janet [Moffatt] says, 'Don't obsess.' She just does light to dark. She does watercolors, hers are all watercolors. I like to run a group of colors together so therefore I have to obsess over everyone. That's my favorite part. [laughs.]

ES: Have you kept track of all the things you've made over the years?

LL: Just about everything.

ES: What do you do?

LL: My husband takes very large pictures on the Internet for me. We put them on our king size bed and he takes them--all of those are taken from a ladder looking down.

ES: Oh, my. And how will you keep these? In an album?

LL: Right now they're in a manila envelope. [laughs.] I probably should do something more lasting.

ES: How does quilting impact your family?

LL: They love it.

ES: They're waiting for the next one to come.

LL: And my friends. I find that quilting gives joy twice. It gives me the joy of making it and it gives me the joy of giving it.

ES: Or even triple, if the person receiving it has joy, too.

LL: Exactly. It's a gift of joy.

ES: We discussed before about some awards you've gotten. I can see some ribbons hanging here.

LL: Yes. I guess it was 2005, one of my bed sized appliquéd quilts won first place at the New Mexico State Fair. And in 2006, an appliquéd wall hanging won second place at the Fair. And other blue ribbons and red ribbons have come from New Mexico Quilters Association in their quilt show at the Fair. And I did belong for several years, but I'm not doing that right now.

ES: Do you do some things for charity?

LL: I did do the Ronald MacDonald quilts, but I haven't been doing them lately.

ES: Do you have some thoughts about machine quilting versus hand quilting?

LL: Well, I have done both. Large bed quilts I cannot do. I'm very small. My hands are small. I cannot hold all that fabric. The one I made for my grandson in Austin and his wife. It was a Pioneer Braid and I was doing it on angle. I had to roll it on the floor, do the pins, and the length of it went out into the hall. I'd wrap it around my neck and it felt like it was a boa constrictor. [laughs.] I simply cannot handle a big one. I can do wall hangings, but I have to be careful. I like to do wall hanging with invisible thread on top, certainly on a Pioneer Braid, which has straight rows with invisible thread on top and regular thread on the back. I can do that, but I cannot physically handle big quilts any more. Anything that's not straight lines, I can do a little of, but I'm really not very good.

ES: In seeing quilts that are hand quilted versus machine quilted, do you have a preference? Do you notice the difference?

LL: They're both beautiful. And I surely understand why more and more quilters are doing machine quilting. They can be turned out so quickly and they're so beautiful. The things that these machines can do is incredible. But for myself, I prefer to hand quilt.

ES: I see this tape recorder here, are you one of those who listens to books on tape?

LL: Oh, yes. That's the thing that is such another joy to me is that while I quilt, especially when I'm hand quilting, or appliquéing, I listen to books on tape or CD. I can even do it with the sewing machine. Sometimes it's a little difficult because the sewing machine makes a bit more noise. But, it's very boring, I think, to sit and do nothing but quilt, [laughs.] especially when I get to the stage of all the quilting in a frame here at home. It just makes the time go so quickly. I have this funny thing that I realized recently. When I look at one of my quilts, I can remember what story I was listening to when I was appliquéing or quilting it. [laughs.]

ES: That is something I thought about--even writing that down, to sort of remember, because I don't think I have that connection.

LL: Especially, if it is a pretty good sized project and the book or CD is a long listening project. That's funny, I remember what I was listening to when I made that.

ES: That's good. Do you have any experiences or stories about quilters or quilting that you remember over the years?

LL: Not really. Just all the wonderful memories that I have of all the quilters at Bear Canyon and the ones that we have lost. I treasure them. Wonderful women. One lived to be ninety-nine and she was in the nursing home, not far away, and I would go see her every week. I just loved her so. We talked about the old days and how her father cured the hams, and she was a treasure to me.

ES: Have you always lived in Albuquerque?

LL: No. We moved here in 1956, from Kansas City, Missouri, when my husband went to work for Sandia. Been here ever since.

ES: You worked here?

LL: Yes. I went to work after my youngest one got in the middle school. I thought I'd better have something for myself to keep me out of my children's lives too much. [laughs.] I went up to the library where I had my favorite place to be for years. I brought books for my children and myself almost from the time we moved in here and Joyce Frashier, one of our quilters, was the branch librarian at that time. I did not know what I wanted to do, but I did not want to work full time because I wanted to be here when kids got home from school. I was in the library one day and a light bulb went on and I thought, 'This is where I want to be.' So I spoke to Joyce Frashier and I said I wanted to wait until school starts. And she said, 'Well, we will have a position open at that time, as a part time clerk.' So that's what I did for five years.

Then there was a position open in the children's room as an assistant children's librarian. And she encouraged me to apply and I got the position. And for eight more years, that was one of the high points of my life. I was taught and I became a story teller using books, because of course we were promoting books. But then I went on from there and created puppet shows and when I left the library, I went and worked for another children's librarian who had started her own children's book store. And I did that for several years until the big box stores came in.

Then the library hired me to do a literacy program in day care centers where I would go in and do a story time and train the people, because it was amazing how many of these people do not know how to use books with children. And I was paid by the Friends of the Library. So it was wonderful and I did that for many years. And then they would even hire me back occasionally because times would get hard, as they usually do, in libraries, and the children's librarian had to work reference. So they hired me to do the story times again. I treasure those times, too. I have gifts from the precious children and a precious great grandmother that I have them to this day. So that was wonderful. And the best times of my life.

ES: Then how did you get introduced into the Bear Canyon Quilters?

LL: Well, I knew it was there eleven years ago, but I did not want to go up there with those old people. And of course, I did come to learn that the people at Bear Canyon are very active seniors. Very. So I had the other passion of my life was singing--it isn't any more. I sang with Sweet Adelines [women’s organization that is committed to advancing barbershop harmony.] for several years and a quartet and I absolutely loved that, but I could not stand on risers for hours and dance at the same time and singing, so I had to quit that. As soon as I did that, I marched up to Bear Canyon and I've been there for eleven years.

ES: Have you ever been in charge of quiltmaking up there?

LL: Well, just this last year. [laughs.] At Bear Canyon, each year we make a raffle quilt for the Center and the proceeds go to Center. So they love us. They are very good to us up there. Our dear leader has been ill and she could no longer be in charge. She usually is, with a committee. And she does a marvelous job. She had to undergo treatments and so she asked me if I would step in and I did.

ES: Will you describe the quilt that is there now, the one that you helped to do?

LL: It is a traditional quilt set on point with all the various colors in tulips: three tulips each on pale green background with a very wide, 15 inch border. I had shown Ann [Pitcher], our leader, what I had done in a large wall hanging I had just made with vines and leaves and flowers going two thirds of the way across the top and down the left side and the same on the right side going from a third of the way down and two thirds of the way across. So, that was adopted. And I was able to do one side of the appliqué on that and I got to work with our most marvelous quilter, whose eye for color is wonderful, Madge [Lundy.] and she is ninety-one now. And we pick her up and bring her. Most of the time she still feels like going. And she's a treasure. I learned so much from being able to work with her.

ES: You have done a fantastic job on the quilt.

LL: Thank you. I have one more thing to say. My quilting is, as I say, my passion. It is most important in my life because it keeps me in the present moment. I am talking spiritually now. I never find God in the future or in the past. I find my God in the present moment. Quilting keeps me in the present moment. I cannot obsess about what's going on in my children's lives or anyone else's life. My mind is so full of these beautiful colors and designs and patterns and what am I going to do next. It's one of the greatest gifts I've ever been given.

ES: Very nice. Thank you very much.

LL: Thank you.

ES: This is the end of the interview. It is 3:00 o'clock.



“Lora Lloyd,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed June 23, 2024, https://qsos.quiltalliance.org/items/show/1879.