Janet Carruth




Janet Carruth




Janet Carruth


Lenna DeMarco

Interview Date


Interview sponsor

Moda Fabrics


Phoenix, Arizona


Lenna DeMarco


Lenna DeMarco (LD): This is Lenna DeMarco and it's July 14th, 2010, and I'm in Phoenix, Arizona with Janet Carruth. Janet, would you please tell me about the quilt that you brought in today.

Janet Carruth (JC): Well, I love this quilt. This is one of the last ones I've done. I did it for a book called Hooked on Hankies and I had these handkerchiefs and so I was trying to think of some different ways of using handkerchiefs and how handkerchiefs had been used in the past and one of the things that came to my mind were those cafeteria ladies at our school. They would wear a nurse type white dress with a very elaborate folded handkerchief coming out of the pocket. Maybe even with it pinned down to keep the intricate folds in place. And then that brought back memories of going to restaurants in the Fifties and the women all wore, the waitresses all wore starched uniforms with again a pocket on the left side and out of that pocket would usually be a very special, folded, starched really stiff hanky. Certainly not a handkerchief that you'd ever be using, except for decoration. And so that's what inspired me about this quilt. And I went to a lot of Goodwill stores and Savers and those kinds of stores, and I found lots and lots of white shirts that had interesting pockets. And then I used those pockets for the blocks and I used the placket going down the center front with the little buttons, the little shell type white buttons and then incorporated that into the quilt--especially to use handkerchiefs, not that you wouldn't be cutting up, it might be really special or maybe just a family heirloom, that you wouldn't want to cut up but that you could display.

(LD): Now is this quilt pattern in your latest book?

(JC): It is. It is. It's in a book called Hooked on Hankies.

(LD): And has it been exhibited, the quilt?

(JC): Yes. It went--when you write a book you send all the samples and then the publishing company decides what samples they're going to keep and are going to travel with them as they publicize the book. And so, this quilt was with them for about three years. And when it came back--sadly it has this one spot where somebody spilled coffee or tea or something on it. And I'm just not willing to risk getting the whole--you know once you wash a quilt the look of it changes and I'm just trying to overlook this, the one area that's darker.

(LD): How horrible. But what do you think someone who would be viewing this quilt would conclude about you? What does this quilt tell us about you?

(JC): Well, I hope that it says I'm happy. And that it's just fun. It's just a fun--maybe make them think about, if they're about the same age I am, it might recall to them how they remember those cafeteria ladies and their dresses and their handkerchiefs.

(LD): So, now what plans do you have for this quilt since it has been published and displayed. What do you plan to do with it now?

(JC): Well, my plan was to get a hanger, to get a sleeve on it and get it hanging up in my house so that I can enjoy it. When you go and, or when I go and write a book, I do a lot of research about it, and I collect. I collected handkerchiefs from everybody, everywhere, I just lived the--I did everything concerning handkerchiefs. And so, I had collected a huge amount of handkerchiefs and many of them got used in samples for the book. But I still have this huge stack of handkerchiefs. [laughs.] And you know, handkerchiefs are like miniature art. They're really wonderful. There's all different kinds of categories of like crocheted or applied trims that were wonderful. Major designers, like Vera and other people designed the designs for some of them. They are just all different little pieces of art. And so, I have this whole stack and I thought, 'Well, I don't. What am I going to do with these?' Well, this quilt seemed perfect because then I could--I had some darling, like, St. Patrick's Day handkerchiefs. Well, then I could make it look like St. Patrick's Day. Or I could make it look wedding-ish, in my mind, wedding-ish. And I could use all those very elaborately embroidered and crocheted and tatted edgings on handkerchiefs and just have all my handkerchiefs in this one quilt. Or at Christmas, there are wonderful Christmas handkerchiefs and so I could embellish it at Christmas or just have green and red type handkerchiefs for Christmas. But my wish is--my plan. I always have more plans than I have time. And it's always, 'Oh, well, when the next change of season comes, I'll get that hanger on there. And get the nail in the wall and get it hanging.' And so, it hasn't happened yet. So, it was really kind of fun to get it out of the cupboard and flat and with its handkerchiefs in.

(LD): Now, have you exhausted all of your handkerchief ideas in the book?

(JC): No, and there's just a new--I was just reading, I think it was Country Living Magazine, and somebody has just come out with a handkerchief book. I didn't think much of the sample that was pictured.

[JC and LD both laugh.]


(JC): But I thought 'I've got to contact this person' because we have something in common because they were working--I think maybe they were doing more things with clothing and things like that than I did. But I've got to get in touch with them. I've got to get a copy of that book. I've collected. There are quite a few books fortunately that came out during the time or right prior to the time that I was working on this that had a lot of research that I could check. And so, like there was a whole book on children's handkerchiefs, just children. And another one that just had wonderful stories about handkerchiefs. Like, it had one about a lady told about living in Washington, DC, across the street or an alley or next door to Jackie Kennedy. Although she might have been Jackie Onassis then. And how her--some window, she could see part of the bathroom, of Jackie's bathroom. And she saw that Jackie would come home and evidently rinse out her handkerchief. And then spread it on the bathtub. The part she could see, I think was maybe an edge of the bathtub. Or something, some hard surface in that bathroom. And she would spread it out, and if you do that when it's wet, it'll dry really flat and then you don't have to iron it. It's like it's been ironed or pressed. And so she would watch her prepare her handkerchief appropriately. [laughter.] So, I carry a handkerchief in my purse. I have Kleenexes, but when I'm tearful about something it just makes me feel really good to get out that handkerchief, that white handkerchief that has a tatted edge, that was given to me by my partner in the Quilted Apple. It is an old handkerchief. We were on a trip to Paducah [Kentucky.], going to the quilt show in Paducah and she bought it at one of the booths and gave it to me as [inaudible.].

(LD): Oh, that's a touching story. Well, tell me how you got involved in quilting.

(JC): I don't know.

[LD laughs.]

(JC): Because it's been around so long. But in the '70s, after our first child was born, my husband thought I needed to get out of the house. He thought that I probably was having depression. I had taught; I taught up until the time our baby was born and then I wanted to be home and be a mom all the time. And then we didn't have as much money, and I was home all the time, and I couldn't remember what it was I was going to do when I was home. And he finally said to me after about a year 'I don't care what you do, but you need to go do something different. You need to get a babysitter for a day, a week and you need to go do something.' And at the same time, he talked to me about someone who worked at Valley Bank, where he worked, who was also on the board of Pioneer Living History Museum [Arizona.]. And I thought--kind of always been interested in history, too, seems like and so I ended up going to Pioneer Living History Museum and taking school tours through the museum. And it was in a short time, in a couple years, I was working part-time at the museum and eventually full-time. And I was in charge of the people who worked in the museum that demonstrated. Well, we had houses and what did people do with, in houses from a century ago? Or now it would be more than a century ago because we're in 2010 but then it was in the 1970s. So, in the 1800s what would women have been doing in those houses? Well, they would have been doing handwork, they would have been doing quilting. So, I studied about quilting, and I taught them how to quilt and I--so they could demonstrate quilting, and they'd know about it when people came through the museum. So that's probably--that cemented it.

(LD): So how did you learn to quilt?

(JC): I watched people. I'm Mormon, I'm LDS and there were groups of women that were quilting, when I was growing up and when I was a young mother. But sadly, those ladies were old.

[LD laughs.]

(JC): In my mind they were really old. They probably were in their fifties.

[LD laughs.]

(JC): But they wore jersey type dresses, like my grandmother did. And they wore shoes that looked like Dr. Scholl's shoes, very substantial kind of shoes that lace up. And they wore thimbles, they used thimbles. And I didn't know them as people. I just knew them as their exterior. And bluish hair because they put rinses on their hair then, you know. So, it might be tinged with blue or purple. And I didn't associate myself with them, sadly, because they would have taught me. Wouldn't they have loved me to come over and have worked with them? But coming from a family that did a lot of needle work, did a lot of handwork, I watched what they did and then I copied. I copied it. But I could have been farther faster if I had just let them take me under their wing. Now my mom's generation kind of skipped. She probably knew how to quilt but it wasn't something that she wanted to do. Coming out of the Depression, being a teenager and then going to college in the Depression. You put quilting behind. You wanted store-bought stuff. So, I really didn't learn from my mom and my grandmother. It was totally by reading and then by watching these ladies, surreptitiously, of course, because I didn't want them-- [laughs.] I didn't want to get too close. Maybe I'd catch that dress, all those jersey dresses, you know. And so, I kind of cheated myself. But I love all kinds of handwork, and I love, and I love the softness of the quilt. I love--I began to eventually love fabric and the quilt so much that I'd play a game with myself, that if I was good enough and if I could pick up the vibes of a quilt well enough, and by knowing fabric and the designs, I would--I could make up a story about how this quilt came about, and where it had lived, and where, what had happened to it. I did that when I worked at the museum. I would--there would be some wonderful old pieces there in the buildings and the story was lost and I would wish it could tell what happened in the rooms where that piece of furniture was. And that's what I felt about quilts, too. I wished that they could tell who made them, the families, the children that they had slept under them, a life. That had gone in its existence. Which is a very romantic, romanticized vision of quilting but it nevertheless encouraged me to study the history of fabric, and design and the colors that were used so that I could get better and better at understanding quilts that I came in contact with.

(LD): Do you think that your involvement in quilt history has impacted the way you design, create quilts? How has that impacted you because I know you're very interested in quilt history?

(JC): I am. And when I get interested in something that I really--I love doing the research and pulling together, you know, the story about how this might come about. But you know, one of the most fun things are those--the “I Spy" quilts. And that isn't history, per se, but I keep thinking, 'I've made several of them.' Every one of my children has one. And every single patch in that “I Spy" quilt had to be a different design; it couldn't have any two that were the same, of course. And I think what a great history those quilts are going to be for the future because the ones that I did, I was making mine around the change in the millennium, the change in the century. So I had a fabric or two that were printed just for that. And I was looking at some of the pieces that I had used the other day and I had the cell phone in there. Well, do you know what cell phones looked like around the end of the nineties? [laughing.] They looked very different from what they do today. And there was a floppy disk, too.

[LD laughs.]

(JC): Well, who even--in ten more years nobody's even going to know what a floppy disk was. Well, somebody born in the year 2000 is never even going to have used a floppy disk. So, this really is going to be a great historical document, I think, moving forward, for people in the future. Which is what I like about the quilts of the past.

(LD): Do you recreate antique quilts, or do you have a collection of antique quilts?

(JC): You know, I almost brought out an antique quilt because I love antique quilts so much. I love, I just love them. I really love the red and green quilts that were from about the 1850 era. Those just--those especially speak to me. I love the colors, but I think I also love the amount of quilting that was lavished in them. And that's probably a sadness in our era. Although, you know, hand quilting has subsided at this point and machine quilting is in. But there's something so beautiful about the enhancement of what hand quilting does. So, in all those white areas on those red and green quilts they would put such wonderful quilting in. Such rich designs, or that one line quilting really might be two lines of quilting very close together. Or it might be three lines of quilting very close together. And I think the quilting itself, although sometimes it's tedious to do, even if you're doing it by machine if you do a good job, you work hard to do machine quilting. I think it's the quilting, whether hand or machine, that adds an additional layer of beauty over the whole quilt.

(LD): Do you still hand quilt?

(JC): I do a little bit but I've do have like arthritis in this finger and so it is harder for me.

(LD): About how many hours a week or day do you spend in, here in your studio working on quilts and your projects?

(JC): Not enough.

(LD): [laughs.] Not enough.

(JC): And I do things, maybe in cycles would be the right description for it. It seems like I won't do anything and then there'll be a deadline, there'll be a gift I want to give, there will be something, a book I'm writing. Something will come together and then it seems like I will do nothing but just intensely work on that. Day and night. And then that period is over, and I subside, and other things come into my life, because I'm interested in just about everything, it seems like. And family and all kinds of things and then I'll go at it again and just immerse myself in it. So, it's very cyclical for me. It isn't--I keep trying to make rules and organize myself so that I set aside time and I'm in here and I'm working. But nothing makes me produce like having a deadline.

[LD laughs.]

(JC): Deadlines are really--they really are how I get things done. It's to make a deadline for me.

(LD): What do you find to be the most satisfying element of quilt making?

(JC): Well, that's an interesting question because I think each phase has its rewards. I know for me it's the process that's more important than the product. And when I had the store, all the years that I worked at the store, there wasn't time to produce for myself. So, I got a huge kick, a huge--that whole part of wanting to create was satisfied by working with people when they came into the shop [Quilted Apple.]. And they would have an idea, or maybe they wouldn't have an idea. Or maybe they would have fabric, or maybe they wouldn't have fabric. Whatever phase they were when they came in then helping them go through the process of finishing the planning, of figuring the yardage, of-- We had a lot of quiltmakers that worked for us, and we did a lot of custom work. And so, that provided the hands-on reward that I needed. --to take it all the way through that process. Although I wasn't doing the work myself, but it was evolving under the planning that I did and, you know, the people that I gave it to, progressing. Probably--or maybe I should say my thought included in this. Once I have the pattern, the designs, the pattern, I pull together the fabrics. Maybe I've even made some of it. In my mind I can visualize it done. And so, I tend to have what I lovingly call these kits that I put together and even done some of the work and then I don't have to do the rest. I don't have to end up with it finished. And maybe it's because I love fabric so much.

[LD laughs.]

(JC): It's so much fun to make a plan and then choose just the right pieces to go with it. And then make part of it so that you can see which fabrics really play off each other and are just fabulous and you know you need more of that one, so you have to go back and find more of that one. Or those two or three. And it doesn't have to get to where it's finished. So, I have these boxes of things.

[LD laughs.]

(JC): I weeded them out when I moved into the studio. But it was amazing how much I still liked most of the things that I had done, even though time had gone by and what's popular in color had changed. I didn't do too many mauve quilts in the eighties, for instance. And I didn't do too many of those really dark, primitive type quilts in the nineties. I've never tried, well, that's not true because I'm sure I have done things for a specific bedroom. But typically, I don't make--I don't make something for a place. I make it because I love it and I thought if I--because I love old stuff so much and I love a broad range of the antique quilts, so if I make what I love and I use the colors and fabrics that I love then I'll probably like it ten years from now. I mean, wouldn't it be sad to make a lot quilts in one decade and then ten or twenty years later not like what you've done at all?

(LD): It's sort of like 'what was I thinking then?'

(JC): Yeah, well, we might have one or two of those occasionally but, you know, our view of color changes so much by what is popular. And I just--you know, I've known people that discard things because the color isn't right anymore. And I think, 'Oh, you might change your mind. You know this really bright pink, this magenta color, this really hot pink and orange? You know there was a time when those were the popular colors. Maybe towards the end of the sixties or some of those. And you made it, and you know, in a few years your idea about that color may change; you may feel kinder towards it.' Frankly, I think any hand work takes a long time to produce. And I've tried to teach my children about the only way to protect the things that I have loved and made and collected is if my children have a kind view of how things should be taken care of and the value. Even if you don't like it. If it's made by hand, it's to be--we need to treat it in a way that it can be passed on. Because there's somebody else or a different time when those things that are in that particular use that maybe, will be valued. And I have a son and I knew that I wouldn't have the direct influence over his wife like I could my girls. You know my girls know that I will come back and haunt them if they do anything terrible to something that I made or that I hand on to them, family pieces or one of these wonderful old quilts that I've been fortunate enough to find. And so, I thought 'OK. Anything that this boy gets I have got to make sure that he knows it's special and that he values it. Because I need to count on him teaching his wife.' And so, he's got it. He is so great; he is so cute. I taught each of my kids, when they were little, we all had a time when we made quilts together. Because I thought 'How are they going to love them if they don't ever get to use them or play with them or make them?' And so, I did a lot of tied quilts for them, so they'd have things on their beds that it was okay if shoe polish got on it or fingernail polish got on it or felt tip pen got on it. It wasn't an heirloom. And I also made things with them. We'd go to the cabin in the summer and my sewing machine would go along and we'd have projects. They'd be piecing, and if you'd press, I'd do the pressing and they did the sewing. It's--you know--we really came out with some really nice, nice-looking things. Well, then when my son was about ten, he came to me and said 'Well, when am I gonna make my quilt? When are we gonna make my quilt?' I said 'What? You want to make a quilt?' 'Well, yes, the girls did, and I need to make mine.' So, we did. We found a great pattern and adapted it. It was by the Red--I think it was the Red Pony?

(LD): Red Wagon.

(JC): Red Wagon. Gerry Kimmel's company and it was a square with a--divided in half into two triangles, with trees on each side. And then we did one house which represented our cabin, one of the blocks was a cabin. So, we pieced that quilt and tied it so that he was involved in the whole process and that quilt hangs in our cabin today.

(LD): Oh, cool. That's good.

(JC): And you know, I wrote on the back of it when we made it, and how old he was and you know, it's still special to him. It still looks great; it still looks great all these years.

(LD): How old is he now?

(JC): He just turned thirty.

[LD laughs.]

(JC): So, it's twenty years old but it's still special to him and it still looks great. And I'm fortunate that my kids have, they don't make quilts, but they have an appreciation for them and love for them. And they value women's work, they value hand work whether it's my generation or previous generations'. And I think it's really, really important to sign the things that you made, to sign your quilts. And often we plan on getting back to it and we just don't get back to it. But you know with the pens, the pigment pens or you can embroider on the machine. You can add that, I think it's so important. That just makes me so sad that the history of things is lost. And we might have a beautiful quilt, or maybe not so beautiful a quilt. But something special that somebody loved and made, and it just is worth so much more, even to their own family, if it's signed and dated.

(LD): You have a real interest and a passion about women's handwork, women's work. Have you ever used to make a quilt or any of your projects to help you through an emotional time or something like that?

(JC): I don't think so. But I have to think about that, so I'll kind of put that in the back of my mind but I'll share something else with you.

(LD): OK.

(JC): When we first opened the shop [Quilted Apple.], we were the first quilting shop in Phoenix. And there was one in Tucson [Arizona.] that was open for a couple of years, that was opened prior to when we opened, and they stayed open a couple of years afterward. We were the only shop that I know of in the Valley, in Arizona for quite a few years. So, as we--we were taking a risk when we opened the store. And people didn't know about quilting. We had very good reception from the very beginning. We sent out invitations to 200 people when we opened. We had--they were like neighbors and friends and acquaintances and things like that. And we had a huge response come for our grand opening. But we kept trying different ways, the publicizing, of letting people know about our store and about quilting.

[LD laughs.]

(JC): But what we discovered was as people came into the shop and learned how to quilt, then if their husband or child was in the hospital, they would take their handwork with them to the hospital. And we would--then the nurses would copy them. Well, we would--it was almost comical because we would, we could tell we had caught on, on a ward, on a floor in the hospital. Because we'd be getting all these calls, people coming in, talking about it, didn't know anything about it, but they wanted to learn and we really- - It happened all over the Valley. It was really, really interesting how that just spread. And people in the medical field were really responsive to quilting. And we tried figure out why, why was that. Was--they were using their fingers not in handwork but maybe it was because they were using their fine muscles in surgery, in other ways. I don't know if that was it. That's kind of a sidelight. But I certainly found out then how that quilting or doing handwork in hospitals really helped people get through tough times. And then when they would come back and share with us their experiences- - One time when my husband had a stroke and was in the hospital, I couldn't concentrate very much when I took my handwork. It had to be things I didn't have to think about. I couldn't put like colors together. If it was all ready and organized and I could just do the stitching, there. But I couldn't really do the thinking. I think that one of the things I love about quilting is that after the planning is over, I can solve the problems of the world, my family, by doing the rote things of quilting, over and over and again. And that's the part probably that I have found that helps me--like at that time that he was sick, now that I'm thinking about that, it was just doing something comforting that you knew how to do. And it wasn't designing, it wasn't planning the fabrics, it was just doing the stitching, the pinning, sewing over and over and over that gave me comfort.

(LD): The repetitive element.

(JC): Uh, huh.

(LD): How much teaching did you do when you had the shop? And for our tape, why don't you identify the shop and your partner.

(JC): The shop is called The Quilted Apple and we started in 1978. And my partner was Laurene Sinema and we owned it for about seven years together. And then my oldest, my oldest became a teenager. And I always said, 'Family first'. It's very difficult though. And this teenager needed a mom, needed mom around more. I can organize time, but she needed me when--I wasn't--you know--what I'm trying to say, when I wasn't- -when my time wasn't organized, she just needed me to be there when she needed me. I needed to be here when the time was right for her. Versus when I could organize time for her. And so, then I sold to my partner. But she was so wonderful, and she said, 'This is ours.' And so, I was always involved. I began then to teach lots of classes. I was either making samples or teaching classes or writing books it seemed like after I left the shop. So, in some ways that's what, I could organize that around my family and be totally available to them. And so, I just became the class and sample person.

(LD): [laughs.]

(JC): Because you get to teach a class, you've got to get the idea and then you have to make a sample. And then, you know, to get people excited. And Laurene, in her philosophy, and I think it was a great one, she always felt--we always felt that you could have classes, of course, from patterns that were published. In the beginning there weren't that many patterns that were published so we were making, we were designing our own. And then after you're established and when other shops come into the area, you want yours to be different than everybody else's. And everybody can do it from a published pattern. You want to have things that probably nobody, possibly nobody else does, so that you will want to have some original things going on in your shop.

(LD): In terms of your quilting, how do you think of yourself? As an artist, as a quiltmaker, as an historian, all of the above? What would you say defines you?

(JC): I don't know. I just think a quilt lover. When I first took over a little bedroom in our house, it just stuck in my throat to call it a studio. It just [shakes her head.]. But yet I didn't want it to be a craft room. I thought if I don't take myself seriously, how is anybody else going to take me seriously? But still, it was huge, and so I was, you know, organizing and setting it up and the kids were around, and I called it my studio. But to say that word, it just kind of caught in my throat. I just never felt like I was good enough as a quiltmaker, maybe, to have a studio. Then Laurene, my friend, came over to see me and dropped by the house. And the kids were so excited she was coming over. And they said, 'Oh, come and see Mommy's studio. Come and see Mommy's studio.' And I thought, 'Okay, the problem's only mine. I need to get over it.' It sounded just fine coming out of their mouths and it was ok. And I did deserve to have that spot, that space and I always--I do want to call it a studio. It's where I do special things and not just crafts. And not just little things. Not that there's anything wrong with calling something craft if that's--if you feel, if that's important. But at that time to call it a craft was kind of a put down. And it was of not taking what you did, or not having other people take what you did, seriously. And I thought that the things that I was doing, and the work other women had done before me was important and should be given--given weight. And it was really interesting to see as we owned the shop, because it was so early in quilting becoming important, how people would come in and, you know, their mother's quilts were used as padding on the ironing board. And their mother's quilts were used to put in the dog, you know, for a dog bed. And their mother's quilts were used to lay on when you changed the oil on the car. And then as it progressed, all of a sudden, those quilts that might have been worth five bucks, suddenly became worth 25 bucks. And then maybe 100 dollars. We might not be calling it 'bucks' then, we might be calling it 'dollars'. And then maybe they might be worth 200 dollars. And all of a sudden, the way people thought about and took care of and treasured the things of their family changed. And it was really neat to see that evolution come about--that change come about.

(LD): You and Laurene were real pioneers really in many ways in terms of the quilt community here in Arizona, having the first shop. What do you feel is your, has been your influence or your legacy here in Arizona? Do you feel, and you talked earlier about being an Arizonan, born and bred, how do you feel that your life in Arizona impacts your quilt making? That's a long question.

(JC): Yes, it's kind of two questions.

(LD): It is, really.

(JC): Life in Arizona impacts quilting and how did we impact Arizona. Well, we loved quilting so much. And we loved women's handwork so much. And we did have an influence, a huge influence on quilting in Phoenix as well as in the state that is still going on. So I, we, simultaneously with opening the quilt shop, a few months before that we had organized the Arizona Quilters Guild. And I think we had 50 people come to that first meeting and we--we organized the guild in 1978. Prior to that we had a luncheon here. We asked a group of women to come from around the state for lunch. We presented the idea of organizing a guild and they agreed and then a couple of months later we organized a state-wide meeting where we actually set it up and started it. Well, the Arizona Quilters Guild now, there are chapters throughout our state. I don't know how many. But there are thousands of quilters in Arizona going to hundreds of guilds in Arizona because of what she and I started. And that's a thrill. That is a huge thrill. And when I see the quilts and the quality of quilts being made, complexity of design, the workmanship, it's a thrill. And I think 'I had a part of that.' Even if those people weren't even alive when we started it, that are doing it, the format was set up, the institutions were there that encouraged that and enabled that to go forth. So, I take great pride in the development of quilting in our state. It was exciting at the time. And it still is exciting. It's like that pebble that's dropped in the water and then the--I'm thinking rays but that's not right--the ripples go out and out and out. And other people drop in more pebbles, and it just keeps going more and that's been really, really exciting, to be a part of it.

(LD): You're such a good person to interview because you've answered all the questions, I have for you without me even having to ask them, so we've pretty much come to the end of this. I have one final question for you. What do you think is the future of quilting in America? I mean, you've got your historical background to draw on and present experience.

(JC): Oh, that's a good question. You know everything has an ebb and a flow. And we've seen that in quilting. There are times historically when quilting was really popular and then it ebbed, and then it was really popular again and it ebbed. And it was really popular again in our lives, which came about in the seventies, probably fueled by the Bicentennial and looking back. And it became popular and is still on this crest. I would like it to stay there. And I think for it to stay there we need to keep having new things. We need to have new--we can't have everybody quilting that's 50 years old. We need to have new people coming in. We need to have new fabrics being designed and manufactured. We need to have new products being invented. Heck, we didn't know we needed this wonderful thing, but look how much it helps us. We need to have people being influence by these things and therefore new experiences as well as new products. But like going new places, reading new books, going to exhibits. In other words, influence, the influences so that you're designing new things. I think that quilting will die, will go into a slumber again if we stagnate. If we aren't growing and finding new ways of doing this old art form. Then it will stagnate and then people will turn to something else. So I think the best way to keep it evolving is to have more things come out. More things learned.

(LD): Constant change?

(JC): Constant change, but for the good. I think for the good.

(LD): Well, thank you, Janet. It's been a wonderful interview. Thank you for being part of this project and for being part of the Quilters Hall of Fame here in Arizona. Thank you so much.

(JC): Thank you, thank you.


“Janet Carruth,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed May 19, 2024, https://qsos.quiltalliance.org/items/show/2119.