Dee Rose




Dee Rose




Dee Rose


Judy Roybal

Interview Date


Interview sponsor

Sandra Anne Frazier


Fort Worth, TX


Joanne Gasperik


Judy Roybal (JR): This is Judy Roybal. Today is May the 19th, 2002. It is 1:42 p.m. and I am conducting an interview with Dee Rose for Quilters' [S.O.S.-] Save Our Stories project in Fort Worth, Texas. Dee, how are you today?

Dee Rose (DR): Good.

JR: Good. I just want to ask you a few questions. First of all tell me about the quilt that you brought today.

DR: It was one of the first classes I took after we moved to Texas in 93, and there is every technique on it. There are two or three different kinds of appliqué, different kinds of piecing. It's a calendar quilt. It shows all the seasons, it was a lot of fun to do. I took the class from Jackie Hensel.

JR: So what special meaning do you attach to this quilt?

DR: Personally that's when I really got to know Jackie and we became good friends. And she has taught me a lot of different things about quilting. It inspired me and I knew quilting was what I wanted to do. I had always done a little bit of it here and a little bit there and not really knowing what I was doing. And this kind of cemented it all for me.

JR: Good. How did you happen to choose this particular quilt, just because it had all of the techniques in it or--

DR: Right, it was kind of my Texas beginnings; I guess you'd have to say on learning how to quilt.

JR: Could we take a look at it?

DR: Sure.

JR: [about 17 seconds pass.] Oh, that's nice. Pretty colorful then.

DR: It's very colorful, very kind of quiltsy. We collect antiques so it kind of goes in our house.

JR: So do you hang it? Is it hanging usually in your house or displayed how?

DR: I lay it over--we have a little deacon's bench out of a church and I refold it for every season.

JR: Oh.

DR: So in the--say in January it has the snowman and then the birds and then Easter. And then the next row is more Springy and then the next row is 4th of July and school. And then the bottom is Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

JR: Great. Great idea, so it's got a lot of embellishments on it and--

DR: I love embellishments.

JR: Good. And so this is going to be your quilt to keep or do you plan on passing it down?

DR: Oh, it'll go to my kids some day. But right now, no, it's mine.

JR: Do you – have you made for your children yet?

DR: Oh, yes. I've made them each a wedding quilt. Made my grandbabies little quilts and different things. When my first grandbaby was born I made him little quilt-blankets for each season. My daughter got more comments when she was like at Target, on how his blanket matched the season.

JR: [Inaudible.] So you started really as an adult or you referred, you said maybe even a little bit earlier than that or--

DR: I've always sewn. My grandma was a seamstress and she did make quilts. I always wanted to do quilts and make them like my grandma. I have one from--each of our grandmothers. And then I came to Texas.

JR: You are saying Texas. Have you made like a Texas quilt per se that would be just indicative of being here in Texas?

DR: I have the material. Does that count? [JR laughs.]

JR: So you said that you had taken some classes then?

DR: Yes.

JR: Over the years. Are you still taking classes?

DR: Once in a while. Our bee is real good about teaching each other [JR hums approval.] If somebody learns a new technique then if we like it, we think it's going to help other people then we teach each other.

JR: That's nice. So how many hours a week would you say that you spend quilting?

DR: Oh probably maybe 20 hours a week depending. But we have bee twice a week sometimes, so I have – and that's a couple of hours each one of those, and so--

JR: What is your first quilt memory?

DR: Oh, my grandma's. Having quilts on my grandma's beds.

JR: Did she have any part in teaching you or did you watch her?

DR: Well, I guess when I got old enough to be able to do it she wasn't able to help me as much, but she was a big influence on learning how to do these things. Except she never did appliqué. Hers were all straight pieces, all piecing things.

JR: Do you sleep under a quilt?

DR: Yes.

JR: Did you make it?

DR: Yes. This one I did.

JR: Great. Great. So beside your grandmother and yourself are there other quilters in your family?

DR: My mom.

JR: Okay.

DR: And she belongs to the guild. Now she lives in Arizona, but she comes back for the quilt show and last year she made 5 quilts for each of her grandchildren, and they were all in the show, so yeah. And my aunt. I mean, there are quite a few people in my family that sew. My aunt and my mom are both into quilting now. So that's fun.

JR: What about any of your children?

DR: My daughter said she'll learn to quilt when you can hot-glue them together. I tried to teach her to sew. She doesn't want anything to do with it.

JR: What about grandchildren? Can you find the time to teach them?

DR: Too little yet. They're too little yet.

JR: So how has quilting impacted your family?

DR: My husband built out of the back of our house and I have a new sewing room. Does that count? [laughs.]

JR: That counts. That counts. Have you ever used quilting as a means of getting through a difficult time in your life?

DR: Yes, I spend a lot of my time alone; my husband travels so my quilting makes the days go faster. Quilting gave me a way to meet people, to get out into the community. I put together a quilt to be auctioned off for our town, for a women's club, so yeah, it has, it gets me through a lot, just have something to do, to keep your mind occupied.

JR: I see, we've been talking that you did some embellishing. Do you do appliqué? Do you do machine or hand appliqué?

DR: I prefer machine appliqué. I do have a few, there are a couple on here that are 3-D appliqué. I like that too. That's fun.

JR: Do you tend to make the same type of quilt? Or do you kind of branch out and try new things?

DR: I very rarely will make the same thing over again, except that maybe--I did an Irish Chain as a wedding gift and I liked it so much that I ended up making it for my bed, but usually don't make the same thing twice.

JR: Do you tend to stick with the same colors?

DR: No.

JR: Okay.

DR: No. The color--if I like the color, then I use it. Of course I have a wonderful stash of everything. [laughs.]

JR: What do you find pleasing about quilting?

DR: Oh, a satisfaction of learning something new, of making something. My husband always makes a big deal when I make something. So I think it's the gratification you get from it.

JR: So he gives you a lot of oral feedback.

DR: Feedback. Oh, yeah.

JR: That's great. So what part or what aspect of quilting do you not enjoy?

DR: The time between you finish the top and before you get it quilted. You know, it's like ok do I do it myself? Do I have it quilted? I do not like the layering part of it. That to me is wasted time.

JR: What do you think makes a great quilt? When you look at it, what makes you think?

DR: If it makes--if you look at it and it makes you happy, and it's what you want, I think that's why there are so many different kinds of quilts, because it just depends on the way you feel about it. There is not a right way; there is not a wrong way to do it. That's why we have all these new techniques. I don't like when people say 'You can't do it that way.' Where is the law that says, where is the quilt police going to come after you because you folded your seam one way instead of the other? It's very personal.

JR: What makes a quilt artistically powerful?

DR: Use of color. Sometimes it's the way it's quilted, can totally change a quilt.

JR: Have you--do you stick with just the regular cottons, or have you gotten into some flannels or--

DR: I have used flannels. I just made a quilt this past week. My son called. They were standing in the middle of a fabric store. He said, 'Mom they have all these Hawaiian fabrics. Can you make us a quilt out of them?' I said, 'Of course.' And when they sent me the fabric, they sent one rayon piece. And I don't know if you have ever worked with rayon, but it stretches every which way it can. So for the most part I think I'll stick with cottons and flannels. That was a challenge. [JR hums approval.] But it turned out real cute.

JR: Good. What do you think makes a quilt appropriate for a museum or special collection?

DR: Well age of course. I don't know, because that is so [5 second pause.] I guess everybody could have their own museum, because it would be different for everybody, what you'd put into a museum. There are some I've seen, like in Paducah, in their museum, that like why are they there? I don't care for artsy, the artsy-artsy ones. I don't know. It's all very personal.

JR: So have you been to many of the big shows, such as Paducah, you say, but like Houston?

DR: I've been to Paducah. I've been to Houston. These are the only really big shows, of course Dallas.

JR: Have you taken classes when you go to those shows?

DR: No. No.

JR: How do you feel about taking classes?

DR: I did. I've taken classes at Houston.

JR: How do you feel about taking a class at a big show in your opinion?

DR: You are able to take classes from people that wrote the book, or it's their technique. And that part is fun. You're not taking a class from somebody that's trying to interpret somebody, what they wrote in the book. That was fun, to take it from the actual person. And you learn quite a bit.

JR: Good. I hadn't though t about it quite like that. What do you think makes a great quilter?

DR: Oh, my. Somebody with an imagination. [loud announcement in background.] For instance my husband could never do it [sharp click in the tape.] because he is too--I mean you'd have to hand him the pattern and he'd be one of those people that said 'Okay, I want this fabric and I want to do it just like this.' I think you have to be very creative.

JR: Okay. How do great quilters learn the art of quilting, especially how to design a pattern or choose colors, fabric colors? Do you think it's something they're born with? Or do you think it's something that they learn, or?

DR: Some people, if you look at a lot of the great quilters right now were artists to begin with. Their background is art, and it's just so creative. Oh, and I have a friend, I'm just teaching her how to quilt. She lives in Nebraska. Quilting, teaching somebody to quilt over the telephone is very interesting. I'll say that one. But she said, she's a kindergarten teacher, she said it's nothing but cut and paste. And that's why she has decided she really likes it, because it is creative. Its cut and paste. It's like a Kindergartener starting with, you know, just starting and oh wow, this will go here and this will go here. So I guess it takes all kinds of people and everybody approaches it from a different angle.

JR: So you, you're teaching her. Have you taught other, whether you've been paid for or classes? Okay.

DR: Yeah. Yeah. I taught a couple of classes at quilt shop one time. Decided i didn't like that. I don't mind teaching my friends, but it's hard to teach in a class, in a quilt shop, because people come in and they're at every different level. You get some that haven't turned on the machine. Some that had borrowed their mother-in-laws sewing machine, they know nothing g about it. That's hard. I did not like that. [JR hums approval.] Because I don't feel like I'm helping them, when they're spending their whole time trying to get their machine to work.

JR: Right. Have you tried teaching children yet?

DR: Well considering I failed with my daughter, I don't think I'll do that for a while.

JR: How do you feel machine quilting versus hand quilting?

DR: Personally [loud announcement in the background.] mine will probably always be machine quilted. [tape clicks.]

JR: Would you repeat that? I'm sorry.

DR: I don't know what we said.

JR: Machine quilting versus hand quilting.

DR: Oh. I love the way hand quilting looks and all of that, but it's not for me. It takes too long. I'd rather get on to the next piecing or appliqué.

JR: Do you send out a majority of yours then to be--

DR: And I do some machine quilting myself. But if I have to layer it, and like I said before I don't like doing that part.

JR: What about the long-arm? Is that what your friend that does your--

DR: Right, most of my--the big ones anyway are long arm--I'll do my own little ones, but the big ones I usually send out.

JR: What do you usually do, like ask then to do an overall design or custom or--

DR: Depends. Depends. I have some of both.

JR: Okay. Why is quilting important to your life?

DR: Why is it important to my life? It's a link to my past. It's something that my children will have some day. And I just enjoy it. [JR: Good.] To keep my mind sharp, they say that's important.

JR: In what ways do your quilts reflect your community or region?

DR: I don't know. I think a lot of material comes from Shop Hops in the Texas area and we have a wealth of quilt shops around here.

JR: That's true. What do you think about the importance of quilts in American life?

DR: Oh, I just watched a program this morning before I came of the value of quilts is going up. It was an antique show and they said that the prices are just skyrocketing. People, I mean everybody has gotten to really appreciate the time and the effort that women put into these, so I think they're going to be something that is going to be treasured for a long time.

JR: On a kind of a note of that have you attempted making any of the quilts that you've seen, like say the Civil War, some of the 19th century quilts that are getting more popular now? Have you attempted to make any of them?

DR: I am making a Grandma's Flower Garden, and that's going to be all hand done and hand quilted. I've used all the thirty's fabrics or reproductions, Aunt Grace's.

JR: How do you think quilts can be used?

DR: Of course on beds. I've got quite a few hanging on the walls. They use them to give, John Peter Smith, our charity that we make baby quilts for and give away at the hospital. I know some of the guilds make them and they are in the police cars. If they come across a child they, you know wrap them up in a new quilt and give it to them. So I think they can be used in so many ways.

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

DR: What has happened to them?

JR: Yeah. Are they all hanging on to them, or--

DR: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. My daughter's wedding quilt hangs on the wall. I'm not sure what sure what my son has done with his, but I know, they got four quilts--handmade quilts when they got married. I thought that was pretty amazing. And I think they will treasure them. I don't think they'll let anything happen to them.

JR: If you were giving advice about--to someone about quilting what would be some advice that you could pass on.

DR: Start with classes, with a good teacher. Join a guild. You learn so much there. And if the guilds have a bee, get into a bee with friends. Start small and get the right tools. That makes all the difference in the world.

JR: Anything else that you want to tell us.

DR: I don't think so other than that I think this is wonderful. [JR: Good.] Wasn't painful at all.

JR: Oh, good. Well I'd like to thank Dee Rose for allowing me to interview her today as part of the 2002 Quilters' [S.O.S.-] Save Our Stories Project. Our interview concluded at 1:56 [p.m.], on May the 19th, 2002. Thanks, Dee.

DR: Thank you.


“Dee Rose,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed July 15, 2024,