Beth Hugenot




Beth Hugenot




Beth Hugenot


Carolyn Kolzow

Interview Date


Interview sponsor

Iris Karp


Beaverton, Oregon


L. Beth Hugenot


Carolyn Kolzow (CW): This is Carolyn Kolzow and today's date is February 25th, 2006, at 10:35 a.m. I'm conducting an interview with Beth Hugenot in my home in Beaverton, Oregon for the Quilters' [S.O.S.-] Save Our Stories project. We are doing this for the American Heritage Committee of the Oregon State Society Daughters of the American Revolution. Beth is a quilter and is a member of Beaver Chapter [NSDAR-] National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. [noise on the tape.] Beth tell me about the quilt you brought in today.

Beth Hugenot (BH): This quilt is one that I made in about 1938 when I was in high school. We decided to call it Friendship Bouquet.

CK: No. I think that was Bouquet of Flowers.

BH: Bouquet of Flowers, yes.

CK: You had to come up today with a name for it. You weren't prepared to be thinking about a name for your quilt, were you?

BH: No. [laugh.]

CK: How old would you say that it is?

BH: I made it between 1936 and 1938.

CK: I hate to ask your age, but what was your age about that time?

BH: I was in high school so I would be sixteen to eighteen years of age, no, I'd have been fourteen to sixteen years of age.

CK: And is it a particular pattern?

BH: No, each block is a different kind of flower, like a rose or a daffodil or pansy, and

done. They were already printed when I bought them, so I didn't have to do that.

CK: Tell me about the blocks. What did you need to know how to do in order to accomplish making them?

BH: The material on the blocks, on the flowers, was appliqu├ęd on, yellow or red or blue,

Whatever color went with that flower and the background was the embroidery.

CK: And is there a different pattern on each of the blocks, I believe, isn't there?

BH: Yes. Each block has a different pattern. I had a choice of many, many blocks and I just chose the ones that I liked the best.

CK: Which one is your favorite of all?

BH: The pansies.

CH: It seems to me it is in the center.

BH: Yes. That's why it is in the center.

CK: Ah. Did you go ahead and quilt it when you were in high school?

BH: No. I quilted it about 1975 when my father-in-law came to live with us and I needed to sit hours to entertain him, and I would quilt when I was talking to him.

CK: What special meaning does this quilt have for you?

BH: Just an item completed that I enjoyed.

CK: And why would you say you chose it out of all the quilts you have made?

BH: You told me that you had not seen a quilt that been embroidered. So, I brought this one, and this is a quilt that we used in our home from 1975, right straight through until about 2002, it has been a bedspread on a queen size bed.

CK: What are your plans for the future for this quilt?

BH: Whoever in the family really likes it I will let them have it. It has lots of service yet in it.

CK: Do you sleep under a quilt?

BH: Yes. I have always slept under a quilt.

CK: And have you given away some of your quilts as gifts?

BH: Yes. Each of my children and each of my grandchildren have one and I have one. Already pieced ready for the great grandchild.

CK: Tell me about your interest in quilting. At what age did you start quilting?

BH: I probably started before I even went to school helping my mother tie the quilts that she made from the corduroys that my brothers wore.

CK: So, your mother was a person in the family that quilted. Anyone else?

BH: Probably my grandmother did, however I do not remember of seeing my grandmother do it.

CK: Would you say you are self-taught, or your mother taught you?

BH: I am self-taught. My mother never did actual quilting, she did tying, but I loved the quilts.

CK: What is your first memory of a quilt?

BH: When I stayed with my grandmother, nights, she had a quilt on her bed made with rather large hexagons and she would tell me the stories. They were made from my mother's dresses, and she would the stories of what my mother was doing as a little girl when she wore that dress, and I loved it.

CK: I know you made this quilt when you were in high school when you did the work on the blocks. At what age did you start quilting [inaudible.]?

BH: When I was in junior high my next-door neighbor gave me quite a number of blocks that she had started what is called the Flower Garden quilt which are tiny hexagons, and I finished that quilt in about 1975. I did a lot of quilts in 1975, but I started it when I was in junior high.

CK: Why is 1975 significant? Was something special going on then?

BH: Yes. We had moved to a farm, and I would work all morning out in the yard and the garden and come in in the afternoon and sit on the davenport and rest while I quilted.

CK: And was that in Oregon or--

BH: Yes. That was in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

CK: Would you say that you used quilting to get through a difficult time?

BH: No. Quilting was fun.

CK: Did quilting impact your family at all?

BH: I think my family enjoyed every bit of it, just like I did. Mother was sitting quiet, and they could find her.

CK: Are there any other quilters among your family or friends?

BH: Lots among my friends. That's where I have seen quilts. I have one friend that has just made one. It's one of the most beautiful quilts I ever saw.

CK: Tell me about it.

BH: It is a quilt that she has, her material is gathered to make flowers, or the material moves in different directions in order to make the beautiful flowers, and each flower is a different flower. It is absolutely out of this world beautiful.

CK: Does she live here in Oregon?

BH: Yes. She lives over in Milwaukie [Oregon.].

CK: What is it that you find pleasing about quilting?

BH: Just the peace of it, maybe it is the only time I ever sit in my whole life.

CK: What aspects of quilting do you not enjoy?

BH: Not very much bothers me, excepting the getting the needle through the material properly.

CK: If you were going to teach someone how to quilt, what would you say about putting that needle through the material?

BH: Put it straight down, and don't try to gather a whole bunch together at one time.

CK: Oh. What do you think makes a great quilt?

BH: The memory of it. I really like the ones that are pieced with the dresses that we wore. Lots of memories there.

CK: What makes a quilt artistically powerful?

BH: The design. However, someone has put it together. And they can be put together in many different fashions.

CK: What makes a quilt appropriate for a museum or special collection?

BH: The age of it. And I have one quilt that belonged to my husband's great grandmother. It probably was made around 1900. That type of quilt should be in a museum.

CK: Where do you have it now?

BH: It is in my cedar chest. Being protected.

CK: Have you written down somewhere the story of that quilt?

BH: More than likely I have.

CK: So that the family knows about it?

BH: Yes, the family knows about it.

CK: What makes a great quilter?

BH: Probably just the love of doing it.

CK: How do great quilters learn the art of quilting, especially how to design a pattern?

BH: I would think they would be born with the desire to make a pattern.

CK: Do you think there is a certain way to learn how to choose fabrics and colors?

BH: They'll find out by mistakes.

CK: By mistakes.

BH: Yes. I had mistakes where I used a softer material with other material and softer material wears and wears fast.

CK: That is an interesting thing, I found that too. How do you feel about machine quilting verses hand quilting?

BH: I have never machine quilted. Its lots faster, I am sure, but I would still prefer the hand quilting if just to say, 'I did it.'

CK: Would you say that when you were in high school people were machine quilting at that time?

BH: Not at all.

CK: Machine quilting is something that came in later years?

BH: Yes. It came in later. I did teach my granddaughter to machine quilt, come to think of it, when she was at our house staying one week, I had her make a little quilt for her doll. It was perhaps a yard square, and she did hers one hundred percent on the machine.

So, yes, I have done it.

CK: Why is quilting important to your life, Beth?

BH: It is just a lot of fun, a fulfillment, something I had planned on doing, finished.

CK: You've lived in several different places in the United States. Do you think that your quilts reflect where you are living at the time?

BH: No. My quilts are just made from what we wore and what we enjoyed.

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

BH: Quilts are a history of America because when they came over to the United States, they could not have the things that were made in Europe, and they had to make quilts just for survival.

CK: In what ways do you think quilts have special meaning for women's history in America?

BH: In that way they kept the family warm. Did their duty.

CK: How do you think quilts can be used?

BH: They can be used for warmth or for decoration. I've seen many of them hanging on the wall.

CK: Do you have any hanging on your wall?

BH: No.

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

BH: I do not know. I keep my old quilt in the cedar chest, for protection.

CK: You've given and made quilts and probably a few among members of the family.

Do you know what has happened to those quilts?

BH: They used them and loved them. The one grandchild that I taught to quilt, she had asked, 'Grandma, can I have your Flower Garden quilt?' So, they do love them.

CK: I bet if they asked to be able to have it later on, that's for sure. [pause.] Memorabilia. That's what I was trying to think of. Have you collected memorabilia that has to do with sewing and quilting?

BH: No. I had the gadgets I needed to do my job and no more.

CK: Have you saved all those things, or did you get rid of some of them?

BH: When I had to get rid of my things, I got rid of those also.

CK: Do you think you will be doing any more quilting?

BH: I have one quilt ready to go and I wish I had my hoops.

CK: Tell me about your hoop. Was it--

BH: It was about a yard long and perhaps 24 inches wide and you screwed it down to tighten it and it was like an embroidery hoop, only much larger.

CK: Is there a reason you chose to use a hoop rather than a frame?

BH: Yes, I did not have room for a frame.

CH: All right is there anything else you would like to add?

BH: On the hoops you might like to know that you must know you start at the middle of your quilt and work out. I got into a lot of trouble not knowing that ahead of time.

CH: So, you start in the middle. That's interesting. I didn't know that either. Not being a quilter. Interesting. What happened with you, did you start at the top of one and then discover that it didn't go flat or what?

BH: It didn't go flat, and I was getting off my material, it was beginning to crawl on me, so I started in the middle, and it worked out very nicely.

CK: Basically, do you baste it down first in some way?

BH: You always tie it in as many places as possible and as you work along, you come to those ties and get them out of your way.

CK: Well, Beth, it has been fun. Is there anything you'd like to add to this interview?

BH: No, I think that about covers it. Thank you very much, Carolyn.

CK: Well, thank you.

[interview ends.]


“Beth Hugenot,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed May 27, 2024,