Rosie Bond




Rosie Bond




Rosie Bond


Pam Schultz

Interview Date


Interview sponsor

Moda Fabrics


Battle Creek, Michigan


Eleanor Wilkinson


[background noise is four-month old puppy shredding newspaper and playing with an empty milk jug.]

Pam Schultz (PS): This is Pam Schultz. I'm interviewing Rosie Bond in her home in Battle Creek [Michigan.]. Today is February 15, 2010, at 1:00, excuse me, about 1:15. This interview is being conducted for the South Central Michigan Quilters' Save Our Stories project of The Alliance for the American Quilt. How are you today, Rosie?

Rosie Bond (RB): I'm doing good.

PS: Tell me about the quilt you brought in today.

RB: Tell you about it. I made it in 1986 and I took a class with Barland's Sewing Center and I made a Double Irish Chain. The fabric I picked out for the big square is kind of an African like, type with black and rust and green and the rest of the quilt is rust and beige. After I got it put together it just kind of made the big squares disappear and that was the fabric I really liked. So then I put on a black border and it made the big squares come right back out again. Oh, it went through a fire. I wasn't going to sew down all the little squares but it finally aired out, so I did and then I had it quilted by Jamie Wallen. [dog speaks.]

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

RB: [dog speaks.] Oh, just learning how to quilt.

PS: Why did you choose to bring this quilt to the interview?

RB: That's one I probably had the most problems with. [dog speaks.] Oh, dear. Rascal, be quiet.

PS: What do you think this quilt says about you?

RB: That I learned how to quilt. [dog whines.] I got the squares pretty much where they should be, but what you want to say. They set in the corners like they should.

PS: Yes, your points are fine. How do you use this quilt?

RB: It's on our bed. [dog speaks.] No.

PS: What are your plans for this quilt?

RB: We'll just keep using it 'til it falls apart.

PS: It's going to be well loved.

RB: Yup.

PS: Tell me about your interest in quiltmaking.

RB: It's something that I've done for a long time, but since I've been retired I do a lot more of it. And then the camaraderie of the guild and our circles that we're in, the people.

PS: What do you think that this quilt says about you?

RB: I don't know. I just picked that pattern. I liked the big print. I learned a lot in doing it.

PS: How old were you when you started quilting?

RB: Gosh, I was probably fifty? Fiftyish, someplace around in there.

PS: And from whom did you learn to quilt?

RB: Barland's Sewing Center. But after I had made some fabric, outfits and things like that, and then my kids' nightgowns and pajamas and bathrobes. So I knew how to sew. But, this was more fun.

PS: How many hours a week do you quilt?

RB: Gosh, I never even added it up. I go downstairs about four o'clock and come back up about six and then after supper and dishes I go back down and sew again. My husband likes to watch all the sports so I just go downstairs and sew.

PS: How many hours a week do you quilt, about?

RB: I don't know. Like I said, I've never even added it up. Probably tenish?

PS: What is your first quilt memory?

RB: Gosh, I don't know. I don't even know what made me interested in taking classes from Barlands. They were downtown at that time on the corner of Michigan and Capital [Battle Creek, Michigan.] [both speak at once.] It's been a long time ago. If I made that quilt in '86 and I made that after they had moved, so it's been a long time.

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

RB: Friends, yeah, but none in the family. I've got a niece by marriage that has quilted. But that was all.

PS: How does your quiltmaking impact your family?

RB: They all get nice quilts.

PS: Have you ever used quilts to get through a difficult time?

RB: I just go down and sew. Not really.

PS: Tell me of an amusing experience that has occurred from your quiltmaking.

RB: Amusing. Gosh, I don't think I have any amusing things. Can't think of anything.

PS: What do you find pleasing about quiltmaking?

RB: Oh, it just relaxes and then it takes time to figure out all the pieces and then cutting them and cutting them the right way. Been many times that I've cut it the wrong way, maybe half an inch short, or too much. Well, too much is fine because you can correct that but not the--not the not enough. But then I've sewn pieces together to make it fit. [both speak at once.] Yeah.

PS: What aspects of quiltmaking do you not enjoy?

RB: Trying to figure out the backing, how to sew it. I always have to get my husband to help me figure out how much fabric I need and what ways to cut it and put it on.

PS: What art or quilt groups do you belong to?

RB: I belong to the Divas, D-I-V-A-apostrophe-S and the Thursday Threaders, and then the guild. [Cal-Co Quilters' Guild, Battle Creek.] We all meet once a month. [clock chimes.]

PS: Have advances in technology influenced your work?

RB: Oh, yeah. The rotary cutter, for one. That's a big advantage. I really like that. And the sewing machines, too, because they're all automated now, pretty much a lot more than they used to be from the treadle machines. My mom had a treadle machine.

PS: Did you sew on it?

RB: Yeah, a little bit. But my mom sewed a lot. There were six of us kids and my dad died when I was about two months old, so she had a lot of sewing.

PS: Oh, she had a lot, yeah.

RB: I was the youngest. I was, maybe, two months and my older sister was thirteen. So she had fun raising all of us.

PS: What are your favorite techniques and materials?

RB: Favorite techniques, I don't know. I like all material, all the cottons and bright colors.

PS: Do you prefer to piece or appliqué or--

RB: I like to piece, I think, the best, but I'm slowly learning to appliqué, but I have appliquéd quite a bit by the machine. But, I want to try and do it by hand. I'm not very good at it. It comes with practice.

PS: Describe your studio or the place that you create.

RB: Oh, it's a mess. I just have two long tables with my machine at one end. And then I have a cutting table and I've got bookcases full of books and patterns and all of that. Well, this [pumpkin.] quilt, for one, my neighbor came over and she--each square has four different colors of beige in it and then you can see all the pumpkins are orange and just all kinds--and I had fabric all over down there and she thought it was just a mess. But, you just don't put every piece back when you cut one piece and you've got another one and so--but, that's what I like about it. I can just get up and leave it and not have to pick everything up and what have you.

PS: How do you balance your time?

RB: How do I? I don't, I'm retired. I do what I want when I want.

PS: That's good. Do you use a design wall?

RB: Yes, I just got one at Christmas time. And right now I've got--the Divas, our group, made character faces of each of us. And then we exchanged them all. I've got that on there now. And I'm glad I did because I had two of one of the gals instead of just one square. So I gave it back to her.

PS: So that does help.

RB: Yeah. That it does.

PS: What do you think makes a great quilt?

RB: All quilts are great. I think. And all the time that people put into them. I just like them.

PS: What makes a quilt artistically powerful?

RB: Artistically colorful?

PS: Powerful.

RB: Powerful. Now, this one I don't think is powerful. But that other one--the bright colors, I think. I like those more so than the drab ones. But the drab ones are nice, too.

PS: Yes, they are. What makes a quilt appropriate for a museum or a special collection?

RB: Mm, I don't know, but we saw the ones in Paducah [Kentucky.] at the museum and it's amazing what people do with quilts. The threads and beads. I just couldn't believe what all they did to them. They're really artistic. They use thread, and make it look like it's been painted and all that.

PS: What makes a great quiltmaker?

RB: Anybody that wants to make a quilt.

PS: Whose works are you drawn to and why?

RB: Whose works?

PS: Whose quilts?

RB: Nobody special. I just like all of them.

PS: Do you?

RB: Yeah, I really do. And it's fun at the quilt show to see all the different things that people can do with the quilts.

PS: Which artists have influenced you?

RB: Mm, I don't know. I haven't really thought about it.

PS: Any favorite books or TV people or--

RB: I like them all.

PS: How do you feel about machine quilting versus hand quilting?

RB: Oh, I like it because that's mainly what I do and I don't quilt that much. I have done a few things, but not a lot. I'd rather let somebody else do it [the quilting.], so I guess I like to piece better.

PS: What about longarm quilting. How do you feel about that?

RB: Oh, that's fine. That's super. This is my quilt that we were talking about. It was done by longarm. All of them are, really, because I've had Wendy Wells do some and she's really done well. I've got another quilt in there I'll have to show you before you go--

PS: Okay.

RB: --that Wendy did.

PS: Why is quiltmaking important to your life?

RB: Oh, it relaxes me. I just really enjoy it, going down to the basement and sewing.

PS: In what ways do you think your quilts reflect your community or region?

RB: Never thought about it. I have no idea.

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

RB: Oh, they mean a lot, really. Way back when, that's how they kept warm. In fact now, they do, too.

PS: How do you think quilts can be used?

RB: Oh, any which way you want, on couches, on beds, could wear them, even, if you want. And we do. We make sweatshirts, not sweatshirts, but jackets and coats and all kinds of stuff.

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

RB: I don't know. I like to use mine. I don't know if they've been very well preserved.

PS: What has happened to the quilts you have made, or those of friends and family?

RB: What's happened to them?

PS: Yeah.

RB: We use them.

PS: Do they?

RB: Oh, my daughter--this is a story that's really different. She's in Alaska with her family and I read an article in a magazine where a Lisa Moore, who is a quilter in Alaska--but my daughter's name is [also.] Lisa Moore. But that's not the same one. It was really surprising. She has made a lot of really neat patterns. But the funny thing is they moved to Alaska after he retired, because he was in the Air Force or whatever. And her husband's name is Dave and so is mine, and they have Lab dogs, just like we do and there were so many same things. I was always going to call her, but I never did. [PS: inaudible.] And she teaches on cruises and--

PS: Wow.

RB: --designs fabric and all kinds of stuff. So, for Christmas this year I made a Lisa Moore quilt for my daughter, Lisa Moore.

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

RB: Price of fabric.

PS: Yeah. I agree.

RB: It's getting close to what, ten dollars, now, a yard. Well, your threads. Everything has gone up, though, so we just hang in there and start using our stash.

PS: Is there anything else you'd like to talk about?

RB: Not that I can think of right now. Probably later.

PS: After I leave.

RB: Yeah.

PS: Thank you, Rosie.

RB: I'll get that other quilt.

PS: It's now 2:15 and we are done with our interview. [interview actually closed at 1:31 p.m.]


“Rosie Bond,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed July 24, 2024,