Erin Button




Erin Button




Erin Button


Sandra Button

Interview Date


Interview sponsor

Cherrywood Fabrics (Karla Overland)


Chelsea, Vermont


Edna Curtin


Sandra Button (SB): My name is Sandra Button and today's date is October 15, 2009. It is 5:45 p.m. I am conducting an interview with Erin Button in her grandmother's home in Chelsea, Vermont, for the Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories project. We are doing this through the American Heritage Committee of the Vermont State Daughters of the American Revolution. Erin Button is a quilter and is a member of the General John Strong Chapter NSDAR. Erin, tell me about the quilt we took a picture of.

Erin Button (EB): The quilt you took a picture of was my Crazy quilt. It was the first actual quilt that I ever made. Previously I'd made some small quilts and wall hangings, sort of beginner items. That was my first real quilt. That quilt was made from scraps of material. All of that material belonged to a dear old lady, Pauline Shackett, who was my next door neighbor for the whole of my childhood. Pauline was my--we called her my fairy godmother. Not quite a grandmother, but as close to a grandmother as anybody would ever have. I spent almost every day of my childhood for at least some part of the day at her house. Pauline was a beautiful quilter, made so many varieties of patterns and quilts. She was my teacher and my mentor with quilting. She would collect scraps and had boxes and boxes of scraps from all the quilts that she made. So we had decided, my first quilt to make--she said, 'A Crazy Quilt was the easiest thing to make. You don't have to worry about matching and patterns and colors. Just put whatever you want.' She opened up the scrap boxes and let me pick out as many varieties of colors, of squares that I could possibly find. I just picked out probably fifty different varieties of fabric. I could almost remember the pieces from each of the quilts that she had made. I picked out my favorites. She did most of the cutting, I'll admit, because I was a little bit young. I think I was about ten when I made that quilt. She didn't quite trust me with the cutting board. [laughs.] She did most of the cutting for me after I'd picked out the scraps. We laid them out on the living room floor and she let me put together whatever order of pieces that I wanted. For the back of the quilt we used a sheet that Pauline had had. She had an old pink sheet from a set of bed sheets or something she had laying around. We used that as the back of the quilt. We found some more scraps to make a border. Once we laid everything out she would set me up in her little sewing room at her sewing machine. She'd guide me through every little stitch. Now, though I was young, Pauline, she was a perfectionist. So if I sewed a crooked stitch, something didn't come out quite right, she'd make me rip it out and do it all over again which was very frustrating for me. But like I said, Pauline was a perfectionist and she said that every quilter needs to learn how to do it right. [laughs.] I had to do it right. Of course after every piece I did, my least favorite part was having to open it up and iron it out. I hated doing that and I didn't understand why I had to do that. Ironing has always been my least favorite thing. To this day I don't like to iron. My parents will attest to that. [SB laughs.] Pauline knew I didn't like to iron but again she said every quilter has to do it so I'd better learn. Once the sewing was all done, she had a very, very large piece of plywood that she set up on a couple of saw horses in her back room. We were able to lay the quilt out on that and do the tying with embroidery thread in every corner. That I enjoyed a lot. I liked doing all the little corners. Once that quilt was put together that was a very huge accomplishment. Of course I kept it for myself. I considered giving it away as a present but I thought my first quilt I should keep myself. That quilt, to this day, is the quilt that I sleep with on my bed at night.

SB: I was going to ask you that in just a minute.

EB: Yeah.

SB: Now how did she keep a ten-year-old interested in quilting? Did you have the TV on while you were doing it so you could enjoy it more?

EB: We didn't have the TV on. I think Pauline was a firm believer in doing productive things other than watching TV. Pauline was our--I don't know if you want to call her a sitter or a nanny or whatever. Pauline's house was where we got off the bus every day when we got home from school. We were there for a couple of hours waiting for our father to get home from work. She didn't want us to spend the whole two hours after school watching television so she'd sit us down in the sewing room with a project. It was very far away from the TV. She didn't even play music during the quilting. She was very focused on what she was doing. She was really a true craftsman.

SB: Now, the 'we' you speak of is you and your sister, Beth.

EB: Yes, my sister Beth. Yes. She put us both to work. Of course only one of us could use the machine at once. She'd have one of us in one room laying out fabric and the other one sewing. We would take turns. She kept our focus. Stopping and giving us treats helped a lot. She always had apple pie or something baking in the oven when we got home from school. After an hour or so of sewing we'd get to sit down and have some warm apple pie. That was always something enticing. [both talk at the same time.]

SB: The anticipation of that, just wafting through.

EB: The anticipation certainly drove us to do well. It was very fun, once you got into it. We just really enjoyed ourselves. It was very easy to stay focused. I guess that's just it. She just had a way with us.

SB: Why did you choose this quilt among all of yours to bring to the interview?

EB: It's always been my favorite because it was my first quilt. Even though it was the easiest quilt I ever made, simplest pattern, it still to this day feels like my biggest accomplishment because I did it when I was so young. Short of cutting the pieces of fabric myself I did it independently, that was a very big deal to me. I think that for a ten year old to put together a quilt almost independently is a pretty big deal. I thought it was. It also, this particular quilt holds a whole lot of sentimental value to me because Pauline has since passed away. She passed away several years ago. Very, very big loss in our life. The memory of Pauline stays in this quilt. I feel close to her when I'm snuggled up in it. I remember her, and I can look at all these scraps of fabric and I can still picture the quilts that she had hanging on her walls made out of these particular pieces of fabric. It's something that I will always, always treasure.

SB: What do you think someone viewing your quilt might conclude about you?

EB: I think they would conclude that I'm a very creative person. I'm a think outside the box sort of person, not an organized pattern of matching fabrics. I'm a little bit wild and I have my own idea of what I think looks nice. It's very colorful. It represents me. I feel like it matches my personality.

SB: I think you might have already spoken about how you use this quilt.

EB: It's on my bed, yes. It has been for years.

SB: And your plans for this quilt?

EB: It's going to stay on my bed as long as it isn't falling apart. It's starting to fall apart at the seams a little bit. If that continues to happen I will probably mend them and keep sleeping with it on my bed. It's my favorite and it matches with everything. I will have a very hard time putting it up and putting it in a box and not seeing it every day that would be sad.

SB: When you did this, about how many hours a week did you quilt with Pauline?

EB: Well, I think on average I probably worked on it for at least an hour or two a day every day after school. So maybe eight to ten hours a week total as long as I stayed focused and also on the weekends. Particularly a rainy weekend, a cold winter day we would go and spend a whole Saturday with Pauline working on quilting or other craft projects.

SB: What is your first quilt memory? Do you remember grandmothers' quilts or anybody else's quilts before you were in touch with Pauline?

EB: My first quilt memories were definitely with Pauline. In my house growing up I slept with just the generic store-bought comforter on my bed. It was certainly not a beautifully stitched quilt. She was my first exposure to actual quilts. The first time I ever saw a quilt being made was by Pauline.

SB: Are there other quiltmakers among your family or friends?

EB: Yes. I don't know that my grandmother was really a quiltmaker but I do know she had some quilts on her beds at her farm. My mom is a quiltmaker. She has also taught me some tricks with sewing over the years. And my sister, Beth, is a quiltmaker. I think that's it.

SB: How does quiltmaking impact your family?

EB: Well we like to give stuff away that we make. It makes very meaningful gifts, things that people can treasure forever. To this day I still like to make quilts and give them away to people. It's got a lot more sentimental value than any store bought gift you could give to somebody. There's hours and hours of work. I think it's just a great thing to do. I also enjoy times sitting at home with my mom, working on craft projects in the sewing room. [tape machine noise.] One of the first pieces that I made, before I made my quilt, I made a wall hanging. It was purples and greens and pinks. It was in a windmill pattern. I gave that to my mom for Christmas one year to hang in the living room. [tape machine noise.] After I gave her that wall hanging she decided she was going to re-decorate the house and re-decorate the living room. She liked the colors on this wall hanging so well that she used those colors to re-decorate the living room with. So our living room consists of pinks and greens and purples, and matches with the wall hanging. That was very flattering to me. That right there is what makes you want to keep making quilts and giving them away to people.

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

EB: Yes, when I heard the news of Pauline passing away I wrapped myself up in her quilt, the one that we put together, and I cried. Also, years later, Pauline had given me a quilt that she had made. There was a beautiful Irish Chain quilt that had been hanging on her display hooks for years in her house. For years I always admired that quilt. It was my favorite one that she made. She told me when I was young that maybe someday she would give me that quilt. Shortly before Pauline died, indeed she did give me that quilt. For a while after she passed away I pulled that quilt out and I slept with that on my bed for about a week. I've been especially careful with that one so that it doesn't become tattered. So yes, I have definitely been through some difficult times with my quilt. Not to mention nights when the heat goes out and you need to stay warm, that doesn't hurt, either.

SB: [laughs.] Tell me about, if you can think of, an amusing experience that has occurred from your quiltmaking.

EB: Well, yes, in fact I can. I don't know if it's so much amusing as insulting. I made a quilt for a man that I was seeing at the time. My sewing machine had broken so I spent countless hours putting this quilt together by hand. I took me months to put together by hand. It was a surprise. H e was away at college, and complained that the heat was never working in his dorm so I decided, 'I'm going to make a man-made man quilt.' A huge quilt with green and blue and nice masculine colors. So after the countless hours of putting this quilt together, I gave it to him as a Christmas gift. Of course, he was thrilled and very excited about it. He took it home to show his parents. Let's just say I wasn't their favorite person in the world but they had usually been fairly pleasant to me. He took this quilt and showed his mother and said to her, 'Look what Erin spent hours hand making for me.' The first comment out of this mother's mouth was, 'It looks sort of girlie, doesn't it?' [SB laughs.] Right there, that sort of shattered my whole excitement about all this that I had done. That's not so amusing, but it definitely is a memory that stands out, will always stand out in my head. Another, pleasant memory with quiltmaking, I recently made a quilt by hand for my parents for Christmas, with cows on it. I gave them just that as a Christmas gift together. Then I proceeded to watch them receive gifts from other family members that definitely were much fancier, much more expensive, much more extravagant than my little cow quilt that I had made. I was feeling sort of embarrassed that I couldn't give something so expensive and so fancy. It made my year when later on after the rest of the family had left my parents told me that the best most meaningful gift they received that year was my quilt. The expensive things that they were given didn't mean half as much. And that, again, sort of reinforces my statement about the power of giving a quilt to somebody else.

SB: I'm sure your mother realizes the time and effort that you did in giving that gift but how did the cow quilt relate to your father?

EB: Well, my dad is an agriculture man from way back. Born and raised on a farm. Still works in the farm business. Forever a lover of cows, like I think every normal Vermonter is. I should hope so anyway. So the cow quilt definitely represented the likes of my family and our Vermont heritage. They keep it at their cabin in the rolling hills of Vermont, which are surrounded by cows. I think it's all very fitting. So that was a really fun thing to give, especially to my dad. I think he got a kick out of it.

SB: Well, describe the three squares on that quilt.

EB: Okay. I used three different fabrics in this quilt. A very simple pattern. One square has cows on it. Cows and I believe they're standing in a field of red flowers. They're Holstein cows, black and white Holstein cows, standing surrounded by red flowers in a field. That was one of the fabrics I used. The other fabric was just a red square. On the other fabric, it said the word 'moo' all over it in black and white. A hundred and fifty thousand moos all over this quilt. There's just cows, cows, cows and moos everywhere. It's definitely a moo-ish quilt.

SB: What do you find pleasing about quiltmaking?

EB: Like I said I think one of the most pleasing things is looking at the finished product then being able to give it away to somebody else for them to enjoy. It's a very satisfying experience after spending countless hours putting things together, all of the process that you have to do, and putting that last stitch in the quilt and then looking at it for the first time is very thrilling. I also find quiltmaking extremely relaxing. I love to curl up on the couch, put on a great movie and work on my stitching. I have a very stressful life. I'm a nurse. I come home very uptight or stressed out. There's just something about sitting at my sewing machine or hand stitching that really just puts you in a very relaxed mood. It's a therapeutic craft. You can multitask. You can listen to some great music, watch some great movies. I saw a lot of great love movies during my [laughs.] quiltmaking, some great romances and dramas during all of my days of quiltmaking.

SB: What aspects of quiltmaking do you not enjoy?

EB: I get very frustrated when my sewing machine decides to cause me problems. That's my biggest frustration with quiltmaking. I've never had a fancy pants machine. I always get your pretty basic things, and they jam up. My bobbins get twisted. It's just I can spend an hour trying to fix the sewing machine and I'll do five inches of stitching and it breaks again. That's really frustrating. It's also very frustrating when you have to stop your quilting project to go get your machine fixed. Then you get out of the flow for a while. That's really tough. Also, putting the backing on the quilt is my least favorite part. I don't look forward to that part at all. It has to be done. I usually seek the assistance of another person to help me get through it, to do all of the pinning. I also have to say, another frustrating part which I've recently discovered is when I am laying my entire quilt out on my living room floor, going round and round the quilt doing the pinning, my cats are walking along behind me taking all the pins out with their teeth. [SB laughs.] They walk along and they pop them right out. That's really frustrating, I have to go along behind them and pin them back in. And they're running all over the quilts. They're making a mess. It's hard to have cats and be a quilter. I will tell everybody that right now.

SB: [laughs.] Have advances in technology influenced your work?

EB: Not really. I've really stayed in the basics. I still quilt the same way that Pauline taught me years ago. Seventeen years ago. I still use a basic machine. In fact the cutting board and the quilt cutter, the fabric cutter that I use belonged to Pauline. That was something that, when she passed away, she left some sewing equipment to me. I use those to this day. The cutting board is all scratched up. But again, that's sort of a sentimental piece to me. The cuts and all the scars on that cutting board were from her. I still use very basic technique.

SB: What are your favorite techniques and materials that you use?

EB: I still stick with your generic cotton fabrics. It's the easiest to sew, it's what I learned on. Pauline always taught me to steer clear of certain kinds of fabrics, and to this day I still steer clear of them. I'm not getting very experimental with things

SB: Floral, solids anything edgy?

EB: I like a combination of florals and solids. The quilt that I'm working on right now is a little more edgy. I used batiks fabrics, which are very colorful, very funky, very much modern style. That's something Pauline would have never approved of me buying. [laughs.] She would have said that it's too, I don't know. She would have thought it was too modern, too weird, or what. That's what I'm working on now, that's very different from any other quilt that I've done, aside from the cow quilt. That was a little bit different, too.

SB: How about patterns, things that you particularly care for?

EB: I like flowers, I like polka dots.

SB: Quilt patterns.

EB: I thought you meant fabric patterns, excuse me. Quilt patterns. I'm not a very advanced quilter. I don't do a lot of complicated patterns. I find that you can use very basic patterns and make them look beautiful if you use the right fabrics. I enjoy windmill patterns, star patterns, just getting basic large squares and arranging them in an order that looks beautiful. I think that sticking to the basics is definitely my favorite of the patterns. I've not experimented a lot with complicated patterns. I actually feel a little bit nervous doing it without the guidance of Pauline. She was always there to show me how to do it. Trying to teach myself out of a book doesn't feel the same.

SB: You're going to laugh at this one. Describe your studio or the place that you create.

EB: [both laugh.] Boy, do I wish I had a studio. What I wouldn't give to have a studio. I convert my living room or my dining room or wherever I can find space [laughs.] to set up my sewing machine. I have to move furniture out of the way to use my living room floor. Again, most people don't have cats running around their studio, eating the pins. Sewing at Pauline's was a lot easier. She had a specific room for sewing. She had a large room to put the piece of plywood on to lay it out so there was no crawling around on the living room floor. So there is no studio.

SB: Yeah, you're sewing machine is where?

EB: It's in the closet.

SB: I know, but is that where you work in the closet?

EB: Well, no, [both laugh.] I don't work with it in the closet. I usually set it up on my dining room table. I can't leave it set up all the time unless I'm working on a project because we have to use the table for other purposes, obviously.

SB: Yes. That's the dining room table in your apartment?

EB: Yes.

SB: Tell me how you balance your time, to do all this with your nursing and all your other activities. It's amazing that you can find time to do this.

EB: It is amazing I can find time to do this. Quilting is really for me, much more of a cold weather activity. I tend to put my sewing machine and my quilts away in the summer because I love to be outdoors, that's where I spend my time. But in the winter months I like to, on my days off, spend hours during the day working on a quilt. Quilting is one of those things, once I get started on it I keep going until I drop, 'til I can't take it anymore. I think that I definitely find time on my days off. I oftentimes will take a couple of hours out of every evening during the time that I'm sitting and watching the news I'll do some hand stitching. You make the time.

SB: Yeah. Now, it says do you use a design wall? If so, in what way does that enhance your creative process? But I know you don't. How do you go about designing your quilts? You know, you said you had a lot of different colors.

EB: I lay them out on the living room floor and rearrange them until I'm happy.

SB: Do you number them? Do you pick them up in order?

EB: I pin them together.

SB: Okay.

EB: I pin them together into squares in the order that they need to be sewed. I also tend to draw myself a sketch with colored pencils and give myself a rough idea of how I want it set up in case I forget when I'm sitting down.

SB: Excellent. What do you think makes a great quilt?

EB: The greatest quilts I've made are the ones that I've sat and hand stitched. I feel like I've really put a lot of time and effort into them. I think a great quilt is one that you can make somebody else very happy with. When you give somebody a quilt, you know they use it every day and that they love it and it put a smile on their face, that's a great quilt. I don't think they have to be the ones with the fanciest patterns, and the prettiest fabric. It's sort of the thought that you put behind the quilt.

SB: What makes a quilt artistically powerful? [both talk at the same time.] I think about Pauline's.

EB: The colors. I know some people are very into special patterns. I'm much more of a, I look at the colors, person. If I look at a quilt and the colors are beautiful and they jump out at me then that's the quilt I'm going to grab off the wall.

SB: What makes them jump out? They're intense, or the color combination, or--

EB: I think a lot of it is the color combinations. The quilt that I always admired of Pauline's, the one that she later gave me was made of a lot of different colored blues. The way that she tied them all together just looks like flowing water, it was beautiful. That was really artistic looking and just gorgeous. I love bright, beautiful, bold, jump-out-at-you fabrics. Sort of less subtle looking things, I find beautiful.

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

EB: I think that a quilt doesn't have any right to be in a museum unless it's spent a lot of time on this earth. [ laughs.] I think they've had to have been around for a while and have survived over the years and been made in an old fashioned way. Quilts made on an old fashioned machine, hand stitched, or made out of fabrics that hold some sort of historical value to it. I think those are the ones that belong in museums or quilts that belonged to somebody of significance. Those are the ones that I would be most interested in going to look at.

SB: What makes a great quiltmaker?

EB: A great quiltmaker is truly a master of their craft, or a perfectionist. Like Pauline was a great quiltmaker because she was such a perfectionist. She didn't tolerate crooked lines and corners that didn't come together. Her quilts were flawless. That was always something very admirable about her. I think a great quiltmaker has a gift for putting together beautiful colors. It's like an artist. It's a painter. They just know what colors look good together. They know what's going to look beautiful. They know how to put it all together. They take their craft very seriously. I think a great quiltmaker is also somebody that is willing to share their craft with somebody else, as Pauline was. She wanted to take what she learned and pass it on to somebody else. That makes a truly great quiltmaker.

SB: Speaking of those colors, did she guide you in choosing colors for your successive quilts? I know you got to choose the first ones, but--

EB: Oh, yes. She would take us to the fabric store and my first instinct was to grab every neat looking fabric that I saw. She'd grab the fabric out of my hand and say, 'No, no, no, this does not go together. You can't put three dark colors together. You have to choose a light color.' She definitely had a way of knowing what colors belonged together, what patterns belonged together. If I tried to choose too many fabrics that had patterns on them, she'd make me choose my favorite one and get a solid to go with it. So definitely she taught me that. Otherwise I would have had some truly weird looking quilts. [SB laughs.] So she definitely taught how you have to have light and dark all in the same quilt in order to make the patterns pop. I wouldn't have thought about that without somebody that was helping me do it.

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

EB: Sewing machines are a great invention. I love them when they work. Unfortunately I've had many instances where my sewing machine does not work. In that case I really enjoy the hand quilting if you have the patience [laughs.] to wait for the hand quilting. If I'm going to seriously sit down and get a bunch of quilting done in a day then I'm going to go to my machine. If I feel like just having some nice relaxation time I'm going to grab a needle and thread and I'm going to sit on the couch and do some hand quilting. It sort of depends on your mood. It definitely depends on my mood, that's for sure. When I get too frustrated with the machine, oftentimes, I will rip out what I've already started and I'll just do it by hand and continue to finish the entire quilt by hand.

SB: Are you familiar with long arm quilting? That goes on the top?

EB: No.

SB: Okay. Why is quiltmaking important to your life, and will it continue to be?

EB: Quiltmaking's become a hobby, a craft that I enjoy. I feel that I need to carry on what I was taught. Even though Pauline's gone I still feel this desire to make her proud of me, and to carry on what she wanted us to keep doing. It's a great way to avoid buying Christmas presents for people, [laughs.] you can make gifts. I think it's also a great gift to yourself to provide yourself with the gift of warmth.

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

EB: The only quilt I can think of that reflects my region is the cow quilt.

SB: Why does that reflect your region? Those people who don't know about Vermont.

EB: Vermont is the land of farms and rolling hills. I believe at one point in time, I don't know about it now, there were more cows than there were people in the state of Vermont. You're not likely to crash into another car on the road. You're more likely to crash into a cow crossing the road. [laughs.] You often are driving behind tractors, and you pass by dozens of farms driving through the state of Vermont. We're a very big producer of milk and cheese, all things cows. This is a big dairy state, and Holstein cows, especially, are prominent in Vermont. When I saw this Holstein cow fabric I didn't know at first what I was going to do with it, I just knew I had to buy that fabric. I bought yards of this fabric still not knowing what I was going to do with it. I actually bought the cow fabric before I went back and bought the other fabrics to go with the quilt. Then I came up with the idea of making this cow quilt for my parents. Of course, my father is a native Vermonter. He grew up, like I said, on a farm. And he's in the dairy business, in the agricultural business so that's definitely my regional contribution.

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

EB: Quilts have been a part of American History since, forever. I think that women have been crafting quilts since the beginning of time. It was probably not so much a hobby at one point but a necessity. You had to have quilts to stay warm. There was not really the option of going to the Walmart and buying a comforter set. Sewing and mending and making things has been something that's happened since the beginning of America. I think that it will be one of America's pastimes forever. People will always enjoy quilting.

SB: In what ways do you think quilts have special meaning for women's history in America? What do quilts say about women's history in America?

EB: They say that women were able to contribute to their families. They kept them warm. It showed that women had patience. It shows that we are resourceful especially then they're resourceful. Use every scrap and everything they could find, hang on to and put something together out of it, by gosh. I think some of the most beautiful quilts that are made, are made out of scraps of things. I actually have a particular quilt in mind that my mom made. Or actually I think it was her grandmother had made years ago. They were made out of scraps of fabric from her grandfather's pajamas which I always thought was a very cool thing. I'm sure that quilters two hundred years ago were doing the same thing. I think women are very resourceful people. They always have been.

SB: How do you think quilts can be used?

EB: Well, there's the obvious, putting on your bed and staying warm. They also can be used artistically. I think it's very beautiful to decorate a room with a wall quilt. Oh, gosh, you can make place mats, you can make tablecloths, napkins and all kinds of things out of quilts. You can make clothing out of quilting. Just a number of things.

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

EB: Gosh, do you mean [tape machine noise.] how we keep quilts for the future? Quilts unfortunately are one of those things that can tatter and fall apart over time just like anything else. I think it's important that we treat our quilts with a lot of TLC [tender loving care.]. I know, the sentimental quilts to me like the one Pauline gave me, I keep it put away, and I don't use it, because I'm trying to keep it in its beautiful state as long as I possibly can. In it's original, beautiful state. The older quilts, the very older quilts that we want to keep sentimental we need to display them somewhere or protect it, you know, fabrics and things will fade. You need to be very careful with them. Keep them out of your washing machine. [laughs.] Keep your cats off of them.

SB: [laughs.] What has happened to the quilts that you have made or those of friends and family? Do you know where they are, do you think they're cherished? Do you think they're used?

EB: Oh, I know that they're used. I know that they're cherished. The cow quilt is on the bed at my parents' cabin, I have a feeling it's going to be there as long as the quilt survives. My first quilt that I made still sits on my bed. The quilt that I made for this former man friend, I hope has still survived. One can only hope that it wasn't too girlie to get passed on. I know that the quilted wall hanging that I made still hangs in my parents' home. So, oh yes, I still happily get to see some of the work that I've done.

SB: And finally, what do you think is the biggest challenge confronting quiltmakers today?

EB: I have noticed, especially more in recent years, it's becoming sort of a pricey craft. By the time you buy your thread, your fabric, your needles, all the bits and pieces, it can really add up. That may be a problem for some crafters, being able to buy the materials that you need. Not to mention the price of sewing machines is pretty significant. So that's going to affect some things in the future. [tape machine noise.] I think along the lines of the more expensive equipment and sewing machines is how advanced these machines have become. I personally am still a fan of the very basic sort of machines like I learned on. Those are very hard to find now. Everything is very fancy. They're digital. I'm afraid to use them. I think other people might feel the same way, other people who have been quilting in a more old fashioned way. That may become frustrating for some people and takes away some of the personal craftsmanship. When you can press a button and have it do everything for you. Personally I still feel best when I can sit down and hand stitch a quilt. I know that with technology that's sort of fallen by the wayside and it's too bad but people don't always have the time now either to do that. Women these days are working women and we don't have time to spend all day long working on a quilt. People want to take advantage of some modern technology, but it's hard for people to accept change. I'm one of them.

SB: Well, Erin is there anything that you would like to add to this interview?

EB: I just want to say that I hope that I will not stop quilting for any reason. I would like to devote more time into it. Perhaps I can keep working on them during the summer months as well.

SB: I'd like to thank you, Erin Button, for allowing me to interview you today as part of the Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories project. Our interview concluded at 6:30 p.m. on October 15, 2009.

[interview concludes.]


“Erin Button,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed June 23, 2024,