Lida Croteau Surridge




Lida Croteau Surridge




Lida Croteau Surridge


Nola A. Forbes

Interview Date


Interview sponsor

Del Thomas


Kirby, Vermont


Nola A. Forbes


Note: Lida Croteau Surridge is not a member of the DAR. While this is a quiltmaker documentation project and membership in the DAR is not required for participation.

Nola Forbes (NF): My name is Nola A. Forbes and today's date is January 5, 2009, at 4:25 p.m. I am conducting an interview with Lida Croteau Surridge in Kirby, Vermont for the Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories project. We are doing this through the American Heritage Committee of the Vermont State Society Daughters of the American Revolution. Lida is a quilter. Tell me about the quilt we photographed today.

Lida Surridge (LS): It's a quilt that I made for my daughter Helen. I made that in the early 1970's and she's keeping it. To remember me. She doesn't use the quilt. She's using it as a--she's just keeping it for herself to display. On display.

NF: What special meaning does that quilt have for you?

LS: Being a quilt that I made for my daughter Helen because I do a lot for the children.

NF: What about the fabrics that were in that quilt?

LS: The fabric is some fabric that I had used for different clothes that I made for them.

NF: Why did you choose that quilt to bring today to the interview?

LS: It was the only quilt that I had on hand that I could show because the others are away from home. You know away from the state.

NF: What do you think someone viewing your quilt might conclude about you? [pause for 5 seconds.] Will they notice a favorite color?

LS: The different colors. I had all different colors. Pieces of material that I had. Some I've got more than one block made with that same color. I tried to get it different if I could.

NF: You told me something about the gingham fabric in there. Would you share a little information? [pause for 2 seconds.] The checkered fabrics that were shown. You said they were like some that your mother had used?

LS: Yeah. Some that my mother had used. Yeah.

NF: What are your plans for the quilt?

LS: For that Helen's Quilt? It's a plan that I'd like to have her keep it in memory of me. [laughs.]

NF: Would you tell me about some of those other early quilts that you made.

LS: I made one for Isabelle, which is the oldest girl. I made hers. I can't remember. It's been quite a while back. So, I can't remember just-- [pause for 5 seconds.] She's the first one, so it must be way in the 60's. Hers. Then I made one for Ethel. Hers is the red and it's made with--what do they call that?

NF: Triangles? The triangles?

LS: Yeah, triangles and it's red. Then I made one for my son Raymond. Also made one for my son Junior. George, Junior. Then I made one for Elizabeth--Betty, they call her. Hers is triangles sewed together. Helen's is this Ohio-type Star. Different colors. My son Paul has a blue Log Cabin pattern. That was made in--[pause for 3 seconds.] in the late 70's that one was made. In the late 70's. Then Diane, I made her one in 1976. Yellow and red squares. She loved those two colors. Then I made her another one in 1989 which was a Log Cabin. [these were her eight children's quilts.]

NF: That was a Christmas present?

LS: That was a Christmas present.

NF: What about your grandchildren?

LS: I made one for one of my grandchildren. I made her--when she got married-- I made her a king-sized Log Cabin. Blue. I can't remember the year when she got married. [pause for 5 seconds.]

NF: Did some of the other grandchildren get a quilt from you?

LS: Yeah. Then I've got another grandson--two years ago I made it--he was born in [inaudible.] He was in high school. I made him one. Pinwheel. I cut some animals out of a material I had and made the Pinwheel out of those animals. With green.

NF: For the sashing?

LS: The sashing was green.

NF: Now I recall that you might have made some for great-grandchildren also?

LS: Well, this one was for great-grandchildren--that one I made. The daughter to my son--of the one I made the Log Cabin when she got married. Lisa. That was her son that I made that Pinwheel. Then I made all the baby quilts. Different baby quilts that I made the kids when they were born. The great-grandchildren.

NF: Tell me about your interest in quilt making.

LS: Interesting?

NF: Or at what age did you start making quilts?

LS: Oh. [pause for 5 seconds.] I don't remember really.

NF: From whom did you first learn how to quilt?

LS: My mother. I was watching her when she made the quilts. That was about probably twelve years old. Maybe thirteen. Somewhere near thirteen years old maybe.

NF: Now you are how old?

LS: I'm ninety-five.

NF: You still work on some quilts?

LS: Yeah, I still work on quilts.

NF: Do you have a certain number of hours each week that you quilt?

LS: No. I just do it when I have got a minute to myself. I ain't got no special time. [laughs.]

NF: What is your first quilt memory? Was there a certain pattern your mother might have been working on that you remember watching?

LS: That Pinwheel that my mother put together. I watched her do that.

NF: Did she use a sewing machine or was that by hand?

LS: My mother--was hard for her to see. She's done a lot of it by hand. She'd done some by sewing machine, too. She had it hard to see to thread the machine. If we were there, we'd thread it for her.

NF: So, you ended up finishing that quilt yourself?

LS: No, not really.

NF: A different one?

LS: She made some blocks. After that, she made some blocks. My sister found them and gave them to me. I put it into a quilt. The blocks that she had made. A Pinwheel.

NF: Are there other quiltmakers in your family? [pause for 5 seconds.] How about--

LS: Oh, yeah. I've got a granddaughter that is interested. She does some of that quilt stuff too. That's Lisa.

NF: Do you have some friends that are quiltmakers?

LS: I've got all the Kirby Quilters friends. [laughs.] That's where I learned my--[laughs.]

NF: Some of the extra details.

LS: Different ideas through the Kirby Quilters. After I joined.

NF: How does quilt making impact your family?

LS: I've got one daughter wants me to show her how to make a quilt. Anyway. I haven't got to it, but I've got to show her how to make a quilt. She wants to continue the tradition.

[phone rings. stopped recording briefly.]

NF: Tell me if you have ever used quilts to get through a difficult time.

LS: No.

NF: Tell me about an amusing experience that has occurred from your quilt making. Have there been any funny experiences? [both talk at same time.]

LS: No. I ain't had no funny experiences. But I had a lot of experiences with the Kirby Quilters to show me how to quilt. To do quilting and know different kind of stuff that I didn't know anything about until I joined the Kirby Quilters. They showed me a lot.

NF: I remember you enjoyed using the Scotty Dog pattern some of the time.

LS: I had a Scotty Dog pattern that I used a lot.

NF: What do you find pleasing about quilt making?

LS: I like to make quilts. I've got a lot of pieces if I ever get it put together. [laughs.]

NF: What aspects of quilt making do you not enjoy?

LS: Sewing by hand or quilting?

NF: Or appliqué?

LS: I don't like to appliqué.

NF: Tell about joining the Kirby Quilters.

LS: I liked to join.

NF: How did you first hear about them?

LS: Through the neighbors. Through Nola Forbes. Is the one that let me know. [laughs.] [both speak at same time.]

NF: I think it might have been David Forbes that told you about it.

LS: Yeah. David Forbes. Yeah. He's the one that mentioned it to me.

NF: That was somewhere around 1979?

LS: Yeah.

NF: Have any advances in technology influenced your work?

LS: No. I guess not.

NF: What are your favorite techniques or materials? What do you like best?

LS: Work on cotton you mean? Cotton material. I don't like that silky stuff. I like cotton.

NF: Describe the place that you create. Where do you sit to work on quilts?

LS: At my table. [hits the kitchen table with her hand.] I bring my sewing machine and set it right on the table.

NF: Tell me how you balance your time. What kinds of activities are you involved in?

LS: I just do my work. My housework and that. I don't do any activities much. Except when--I usually keep my sewing machine on the table and when I have a few minutes I work on a quilt. Sew.

NF: How do you go about picking out a pattern that you want to try?

LS: I try and pick out an easy one. [both laugh.] Such as Log Cabin and Nine Patch and Star quilt. A thing like that.

NF: What do you think makes a great quilt?

LS: Cotton material.

NF: What makes a quilt appropriate for a museum or special collection? What do you think would be important for someone to want to add a quilt to their collection?

LS: Colors and that I guess. I don't know.

NF: What makes a great quiltmaker? What kinds of characteristics would you say makes a good quiltmaker?

LS: Have a lot of patience? [laughs.]

NF: Which quilters have influenced you?

LS: You mean helped me a lot? Nola Forbes.

NF: Maybe Heidi?

LS: Heidi. [Lussier.] Different ones.

NF: Sue?

LS: Sue Willey. Different ones. I like ‘em all. There's quite a crowd of us. [Kirby Quilters.]

NF: How do you feel about machine quilting vs. hand quilting?

LS: I'd rather hand quilt.

NF: Some of the ways quilt making has been important to your life. Could you describe some important ways?

LS: Like making quilts for the children? Enjoying myself making quilts for my grandkids. And great-grandchildren.

NF: Now you sold a few quilts. Would you tell us about some of that?

LS: I sold a Log Cabin quilt. A blue one. In nineteen something.

NF: Was that at the Kirby Quilters' Christmas Fair?

LS: At the Christmas sale up at the Armory. When they had it up at the Armory.

NF: In Lyndonville.

LS: Yeah. I think that's the only quilt I have sold.

NF: That was a full-sized one?

LS: Oh yeah.

NF: What do you think about the importance of quilts in American life? Is it something special just for this country?

LS: Yeah. When you make quilts like that you like to give them to the family members or so forth and that.

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

LS: Wrap them up in tissues or something like that. I don't know.

NF: Tell me what has happened to the quilt that the Kirby Quilters made for your 50th Anniversary back in 1980?

LS: I've got that quilt. I still have it. But it's a full-size so right now I keep it on display because my bed is a twin bed. So, I don't use it on that.

NF: What was the pattern on that one?

LS: The Log Cabin.

NF: I think the color is one of your favorite colors.

LS: Red. [laughs.]

NF: What do you think is the biggest challenge confronting quiltmakers today?

LS: I don't think the younger generation are that interested in quilt making. I think it's the old people's tradition. Don't you think so?

NF: Maybe. Is there a way that we can help get the young folks more interested in quilt making?

LS: I've got a daughter that seems to be interested right now. So, I've got to show her how to make it. [laughs.]

NF: Lida is there anything else that you would like to add to this interview?

LS: No. I'm glad to be able to interview. Nola I hope I did a good job doing it.

NF: I think you still have some projects waiting ahead of you? Those quilt blocks that you wanted to finish?

LS: I've got a star quilt that I've got started. [Martha Washington Star.] I kind of give up on it a while when my husband was very sick. But right now I'm going to start in again. I've got eight blocks. Eight or nine blocks made. I want to finish it.

NF: I'd like to thank Lida Croteau Surridge for allowing me to interview her today as part of the Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories. Our interview concluded at 4:45 p.m. on January 5, 2009.

[interview concludes.]


“Lida Croteau Surridge,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed May 27, 2024,