Kay Piercey




Kay Piercey




Kay Piercey


Terry Maloney

Interview Date


Interview sponsor

Nancy Bavor


Walterville, Oregon


Kay Piercey


Terry Maloney (TM): [This introduction not recorded on the tape. My name is Terry Maloney and today's date is January 26, 2005, at 8:00 p.m. I am conducting an interview with Kay Piercey at my home in Walterville, Oregon for the Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories Project. We are doing this through the American Heritage Committee of the Oregon State Society Daughters of the American Revolution. Kay is a quilter and is a member of Oregon Lewis and Clark Chapter [NSDAR.] National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.]

[tape records pre-interview background conversation for two minutes, and then the interview begins.]

Terry Maloney (TM): Tell me about the quilt you brought in today?

Kay Piercey (KP): This is a quilt for my step grandson, but I consider him my grandson. He is Connor Braedon Wood, and he is 11 years old. And it was very important to him that I make him this.

TM: So, you made it and what is the pattern?

KP: The pattern, it is an Americana quilt, and it is called "Ascending Stars."

TM: And it is fairly recent?

KP: Yes, it was, I finished it up in November before the baby was born. I had made him a quilt when he was sick and, in the hospital, when he was 7, and it has cars on. And then the baby was coming, the new baby my daughter and her husband were having, she is 2 ½ months old anyways, so I did the whole layette. And then McKenna said, 'Grandma you never made a quilt for me.' So, she picked her pattern out, and it was called Jeweled box, and it had the diagonal pattern going both ways with some stars and Connor when he saw it went, 'Oh, Grandma it is so beautiful I love the direction, the fabric the way they are linked in the diagonal and he said, 'You have never made me that.' And I said, 'Oh, I can't do that, I don't have time.' And he said," But Grandma this is a real quilt, and I don't have a real quilt.' Then he used his blue eyes, and looked at me through his eyelashes, and I said, 'Okay,' [laughs.] and I got it done before the baby came.

TM: And why did you choose this quilt to bring to the interview?

KP: He wanted me to bring it, I told him, well, it came up when we were at pizza and we were trying to decide what to bring and he, because he thinks this one should win first prize because he thinks it should [laughs.], and that is all that really matters. [laughs.]

TM: What a great supporter.

KP: Oh yeah, he is all hugs.

TM: And how does he use this quilt?

KP: Yes, it is on his bed, he has a queen size bed, and it was made for it. He takes it when he goes to swim meets too, they have tents and stuff and then he rolls up in it.

TM: Tell me about your interest in quilting, how long have you quilted?

KP: I have quilted since I was about 8 years old. My grandmother taught me, first she taught me to quilt by hand and we quilted a sailboat pattern. Then she showed me how to do it on machine quilting, and I much preferred that, but she showed me how she learned on the farm out of Omaha, Nebraska. I just love it, and she showed me how to do all my crafts that I do now.

TM: And about how many hours a week do you quilt?

KP: It depends on the project I am doing.

TM: You get concentrated on it. [laughs.]

KP: You do 3 quilts [laugh.] in a matter of 3 months you have got to slack off for a while.

TM: What is your first quilt memory?

KP: The one my grandmother and I made, then I have probably made 30 quilts that time when I quilt comes to mind. It weaves through everything.

TM: Are there other quilters among your family or friends?

KP: My friend, I have a best friend who quilts, and we do craft projects together as we have time. My grandmother was the only one I knew that quilted, but on my dad's side, it was like his mother had offended the family, and then I did the family genealogy and brought us back to the family reunion, and I found out that everyone quilts, and we share fabric and materials, it is definitely generations and generations of quilters.

TM: That's neat, kind of brought you closer together.

KP: Oh, yeah and share the ideas and oh, my God, you have more fabric than I do, and I want that shelf like that [laughs.] by God if she can have it than I can get it. That is about how that goes, we are very competitive.

TM: How does your quilting impact your family?

KP: Oh, they search through the magazines, and it's I want that for my wall, and I want that for my bed, and it is a way of connection, they know that I can do it for them, and I will do it for them, and they treasure it.

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

KP: Yup, yeah, I--my husband is disabled, he had a cavernous angioma of the brainstem. And it was rough, and you don't sleep sometimes because, you know, you just can't sleep, you just can't let down so soothes your soul. Quilting soothes your soul. And when I quilt usually my grandmother is there with me and his grandma. I feel her there with me. And when you do quilting you think of other people not of yourself or your troubles and the person, you're doing that for weaves through it.

TM: What do you find pleasing about quilting?

KP: It's good for the soul, I love it, it is an artwork, I used to want to be an artist, but I found out that I didn't want to be an artist because that in doing your work your sell your soul, and then you lose your soul, and it is just a commercial thing, In quilting the materials blend, landscape and colors and patterns, you see , oh this person will love this and you do that and it becomes a gift and that is what makes it.

TM: Any aspects of quilting you do not enjoy?

KP: [laughs.] Appliqué. [laughs.] I tried it, I really tried it, it is just not me.

TM: Okay, what do you think makes a great quilt?

KP: It depends, mainly it is the color and the material, the way they offset each other the pattern that helps offset it the best and the love that goes into it, because you can see it.

TM: What makes a quilt artistically powerful?

KP: Design

TM: What makes a quilt appropriate for a museum or a special occasion?

KP: I would say the quality of work that goes into a museum piece, the amount of stitches, the time that is taken to make those uniform.

TM: What makes a great quilter?

KP: Time. [laughs.]

TM: [laughs.] Wouldn't argue that. How do great quilters learn the art of quilting, especially how to design a pattern or choose fabrics and colors?

KP: I think part of that is inherited but learned, taught, shared and you become that overtime, and just doing, you don't do anything without practicing over and over, and learning from each other and sharing patterns.

TM: Don't we all love the quilt we are working on better than anyone we have ever done [laughs.]. How do you feel about machine quilting versus hand quilting?

KP: Well, I prefer, well, I work 40-45 hours a week, so I prefer machine quilting right now,

but I love hand quilting the best so when I retire [laughs.]

TM: Why is quilting important to your life?

KP: Well, quilting was taught to me by my grandmother, and it was handed down from her generation as well as generations on my father's side, and it is a link to the past and to the people that I do it for, and hopefully the quilts that they will give to future generations, it is a posterity thing.

TM: In what way do your quilts reflect your community or region?

KP: My quilts? Probably I am more country, and my quilts would reflect my country background versus more contemporary quilting.

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

KP: Honestly, I think that they weave past generations together, and so much of TV is you know people don't know about quilts but giving a child a quilt and having them be part of the process teaches them what the past was and what it takes to make a gift and hopefully they will sometime put that effort in and that gift keeps going forward and hopefully won't die.

TM: In what way do you think quilts have a special meaning for women in history in America?

KP: It's our way of gift and weaving our family together over every generation.

TM: How do you think quilts can be used?

KP: Well, they're such a design, but they are laying down from a picnic quilt that is sturdy, to the bed, to showing off a fancier bed, to the wall patterns that tie a living room together, memory quilts. Wonderful designs and materials now that we are so lucky.

TM: How do you think quilts can be preserved for the future?

KP: Well, we have to teach our younger generation to understand what they really need, that it is not just a piece of fabric, it is not just a comforter to use, it is that the heart and soul was in this fabric and woven together to be passed on.

TM: What has happened to the quilts that you have made for your friends and family?

KP: Well, many are used, most are used, and many are preserved and taken care of very well and well, my brother I do not make quilts for anymore because they ended up folded up for a doggie [laughs.] that was it.

TM: [laughs.] We love our doggies, but not with quilts.

KP: And it was a farm doggie, so it wasn't pretty [laughs.]

TM: Oh okay, is there anything else you would like to say?

KP: I would like to share a little story about my grandmother, she had always, well, I had inherited my great grandmother's, her mother's, Daisy Draper Hurst sewing machine given by her husband when they were first moved in, it is a White and she made many quilts on it. It is a treadle, and it is just beautiful but along with that her husband had made her a quilt frame, and it was handed down in the family to my grandmother and she kept it up in the attic up above the garage, and she always promised that quilt frame to me and she had gone up and couldn't find it, and couldn't find it, so finally we were sitting, and I was in my twenties, and we were talking about it, and the whole family was there and I was going, ' I just don't understand Gram, maybe somebody moved it.' We are talking with her. My uncle, her son walked by and realized what piece of wood we were talking about and the look on his face was pure horror because he had taken that wood and he had made lamp bases out of it [laughs.] and someday I am going to get that quilt frame made that he promised me. [laughs.] Family, yeah, it is tied together. And that is my story.

TM: And you are sticking to it. [laughs.] Thank you, Kay. Interview with Kay Piercey on January 24, 2005, for our DAR Quilters' S.O.S [-Save Our Stories project.].

[tape ends.]


“Kay Piercey,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed May 27, 2024, https://qsos.quiltalliance.org/items/show/1938.