Evelyn Ridgeway Nall




Evelyn Ridgeway Nall




Evelyn Ridgeway Nall


Jean Carlton

Interview Date


Interview sponsor

Iris Karp


Lakeville, Minnesota


Jean Carlton


Jean Carlton: I'm Jean Carlton and I am here today interviewing Evelyn Ridgeway Nall and we are in her home, in her living room in Lakeville, Minnesota. It's December 30th, 2013. So Evelyn. It's so fun to finally be doing this. I had asked you to bring a quilt that you like and you chose this one. Tell me about it.

Evelyn Ridgeway Nall: This quilt started when I was, oh, I lived alone and I just picked up the paper and there was a beautiful quilt and of course that always attracts me, so I read it and it was a quilt of the Catholic women making this for their priest… that when they decease, they pass it on down to the family members. And I said, "well, I could have a pall quilt. What's wrong with this picture?" And I chose this pattern because I love roses and it was called Dozen of Roses and I named it 'A Dozen Roses for Me'. And so, it's all done in appliqué and swags. Everything I like and the colors of rose, and I love the quilting, ah, I loved… and I'm really proud of it and I've made many more that's been appraised for more, but this is just my quilt.

JC: It's your favorite do you think of all...

EN: It is. It is my favorite because of the meaning and the way I went about it and chose it very carefully.

JC: Did you say pall quilt?

EN: A pall quilt… for my casket.

JC: Oh. [Spells 'pall'.] Pee-aye-el-el ?

EN: Yes.

JC: Okay. So, was that what the quilts they made for the ministers or priest was used for also?

EN: Well, they had some of their meanings and values that they use in their church which, I'm not Catholic, so I don't know that… but their symbols you know and things like that and it was beautiful, and it was bright, and naturally different from mine.

JC: I see that you have a label on here and this was made… you didn't make this 'til 2000.

EN: Well, that's when I finished it.

JC: That's when you finished it? When would you say you started it?

EN: Oh, I started this probably in the 90's… but I appliquéd and put it down and do something else and it was kinda like take along and do it. I didn't really rush into it 'cuz I made so many more between the time of that time but when I finished quilting it was then.

JC: Okay.

EN: I had it made and put on a shelf for six months at a time. I never picked it up so the time there was probably a long time 'cuz I started this quilt... I can tell you exactly 'cause I was babysitting my grandchildren in Georgia, and I was working on the blocks and she's twenty-two, so this quilt was started 22 years ago.

JC: Okay.

EN: But it'd be nine months before I picked it up.

JC: Do you still quilt that way? You have several things going and you get tired of one and do something else for a while?

EN: Oh. I do. I have lots cut out and pick up and choose. Not as much now that I'm as old as I am I just kinda cut down and I just take one thing out and fix it and that's it.

JC: You discipline yourself a little more than you did at the time.

EN: Yeah. You know I was a lot more energy-wise.

JC: So, do you use this quilt?

EN: I do use it on my quilt.

JC: On your bed?

EN: On my bed. Yes. On my bed.

JC: It is hand appliquéd, hand quilted beautifully. It's just beautiful.

EN: Yes, it is. A lot of work to make the vine… hours to make that so that's why it took me a long time and you get, you know… you get with a crowd and you start doin' this… you know I just can't really tell you exact 'cuz I never thought about that but I did make it but I know how old it is and when I started and that's a great thing to remember that.

JC: Yeah. Well, the label really helps you to remember those things too and I happen to know you are very good about that because I've seen so many of your quilts that...

EN: Yeah. I love the labels... because it's important.

JC: Why do you think?

EN: Well, down the years you know, "Well, who made this?" They forget. Maybe my grandchildren, great-grandchildren that I made quilts for, and you know as time goes and when they're younger and maybe they get it, so I just think it's important and I'm proud to let them know I made it tell you the truth.

JC: Actually, that's...

EN: I mean that's a great issue for me. I want 'em to remember me.

JC: Artists sign their work and so--

EN: Yeah.

JC: So many women through the ages have just thought 'this is just a quilt'. They don't give themselves; they don't want to be... you know, they just don't think of it as that important and it is.

EN: This is hours of quilting and hours of really… the planning is one of the biggest things...and designing it.

JC: Is it a pattern that you said you found?

EN: I found the pattern and then I remembered but not put together like this.

JC: So, you put your own setting?

EN: Yeah.

JC: How do you design… how do you decide what to make next or how do you design your quilts?

EN: Oh, my goodness my mind just works. Before I get one done, I'm already startin' another one and so I just get ideas and so that's the way it is. I always have one started before I finish. Always.

JC: Where do the ideas come from do you think?

EN: Just seeing and reading, and you know, you learn a lot with friends, you know, sitting around talking and stuff. I guess that's… well, I know that's the way I did.

JC: What do you think, if you can think back, what would you say is your first quilt memory? When were you first aware that there were quilts in the world?

EN: To do?

JC: No. Just any quilt. Like as a child did you...?

EN: Oh. Oh. Okay. My mother was a quilter and she quilted for other people and my memories sittin' by my mom… she'd have a quilt frame with two wooden things rolled up and she'd have a board over there with a coal oil lamp or kerosene lamp whichever you want and she'd just sew at night and quilt and so she quilted for other people, and I just really learned seeing this ...and she was a great seamstress. And, uh like, you know, I never wore anything other than what my Mama made and so anyway that's...I just guess I just have that trace from her. And I've always loved quilts, so I guess I'd say it comes from my mom.

JC: Did she specifically teach you or was it just that you were there, and you observed how she was doing things?

EN: No. I would watch her and of course as time goes off and you know you get married, and stuff and I always loved that to do. But with the children I made all their clothes. From infant... I made beautiful baby clothes and so this took off from there and then I started doing the embroidery. I have some beautiful, embroidered quilts and then I went into this, um. regular quilts, before my husband passed away. So, anyway, I just love it. It's my life and I just have to have a needle in my hand. [laugh] Ever' night I go off and come home I have to have a needle and sit down… because it's relaxing.

JC: You know, years ago, about turn of the century, 1910 or so, there was a doctor who described himself as a physician for nervous women--

EN: [laugh] I guess so.

JC: And he recommended quilting and hand work to calm them. Do you think that's true?

EN: Absolutely. 'Cuz I told you a while ago it calmed me when I come in playing Bunco and get geared up and ya gotta settle down and I had it... tell you the truth I can't remember all those years that I just didn't pick up a needle and when people would come see me I'd pick it up. I would always say, "Now look, I'm not bored but this is just something I have to do". [laugh] And so, you know, you can visit and whatever and they didn't mind. I always had travel projects when I'd go see my children...always made a quilt ...even started a quilt of Grandmother's Flower Garden 'cuz that was easy to do in the car in the house whatever but always...still do I still take it over when I go to [inaudible] I have that bag of my handwork.

JC: Do you think you've ever made a quilt, or do you feel that you've worked through some personal problem or emotional time by quilting, specifically?

JC: Yes. When my husband passed away if it wasn't for this quilting, I don't really know what I'd do 'cuz that really, really my mind kept me motivated of what I'm gonna do next and plan it and go buy the fabric and oh, yeah. One hundred percent. One hundred percent.

JC: So, he was right that many years ago. I think most of us feel that way about our handwork; that it's beneficial besides making a beautiful item it helps us.

EN: Yes...and it still is today.

JC: Yeah...Um...I see this is an appliqué quilt, but I know you've also made pieced quilts. You make them both. Do you have a preference?

EN: Yes.
[taping stopped ]

JC: I'm turning this back on again. We stopped it for a moment so that Evelyn's daughter could bring a couple quilts in.

JC: Why did you want her to bring these today?

EN: Just because I love this quilt and it was a travel quilt also and it's called Appalachian Trail and, um, I like the pockets on the back... and so, but I love...there again it's embroidery, applique and pieced.

JC: So, you like all the techniques.

EN: Oh. I do. And I love this border. Um, so yes. I l love pieced quilts but they're not my favorite, but I love 'em and I make 'em all the time.

JC: Do you have a favorite? Maybe you love them all. I mean to do?

EN: I do love them all.

JC: Do you like to piece equally with appliqué?

EN: Yeah, I do. It's something that I like but maybe pieced and appliqué border.

JC: Combined. Yeah.

EN: I have that, too, and this is... my daughter wanted a pall quilt when she seen me, she said "Well I have to have one, too." Bless her heart! and so I was makin' this, and she says, "That one's mine." And it's uh...What'd we call it Sandra?" Basket? Something basket. Have you seen this one, Jean?

JC: Oh, It's beautiful. Beautiful. Now these are...what you've shown me is all hand quilted isn't it?

EN: Yes, it is.

JC: How do you feel about machine quilting?

EN: Well, when it first come out there wasn't no way in the world, I was gonna have it done, uh, but the point is I see if you make 'em and you want 'em finished you're gonna have to back up and have 'em done and I've got some beautiful ones that's done.

JC: Yes, you do.

EN: So, but I still like the hand quilting 'cuz it's just my favorite that's all I can say, and I sure don't knock the others 'cuz I've got some beautiful ones.

JC: So, there's room for both, huh, in the world?

EN: All of 'em for me, whatever they are.

JC: What do you think makes a great quilt?

EN: What makes a great quilt is what you do that you like to do and love to do ... cuz if I don't like the pattern, I can't do it. So, you have to like it. And some I like more...doing... and so this quilt was very, very much fun.

JC: So, if you went to a quilt show and looked at other people's quilts, so you didn't have anything to do with liking making it or anything 'cuz you didn't make it, what would you say makes a great quilt when you look at quilts at a show?

EN: Well, there's a lot of gorgeous quilts and I like the traditional quilts is my favorite, Jean. It really, really is. I like the modern quilts they're beautiful and they just need to be in museums. And um... I mean they're just not me. You have to do it for yourself.

JC: So, you would be attracted to a quilt and think, "Ooh, I'd love that," if it was something you could imagine yourself wanting to make or have in your home and that would be traditional?

EN: Right. And I see a lot of them. And not so much anymore. There is so much art quilts anymore and I understand that too as time goes. But in my era there really wasn't art quilts. That's just come in in the last century so even the fabrics for 'em wasn't when I made my quilts.

JC: But I see around your home that you have what I would call kind of 'art' quilts. [laugh]Your crosses...

EN: Yeah. You mix 'em.

JC: And your Poinsettia. You have some what you wouldn't call 'traditional' bed quilts. What are quilts for? How can quilts be used?
EN: Quilts for me is for the beds and they're to use...but, um, and you just have to come along the way and you know, it's pretty as you see I like a broadway mix, too.

JC: So, the things that are not quilts for beds to use do you think of them as a different category then?

EN: Oh yeah. I do. I put 'em in... they're...we'll say they're beautiful and I love to make 'em and I love the wool, too. [indicating a wall hanging she made of wool] So I guess there isn't much I don't like except the artsy-artsy and that's me because I'm not an art major and it's my time era, too.

JC: Right. Right.

EN: And I can see the younger people...no wonder they like them because they like... Lotta people like jewel tones and all this... I have a friend that wouldn't make anything else but jewel tones and the [inaudible] quilts...which I think they're beautiful but not forever. So. But they're certainly beautiful.

JC: What year would you say it was or how many years ago did you make your first quilt do you think?

EN: In the 70's. I can remember it very well. I started makin' quilts when I um..back before Vietnam so that's been awhile and before that so... I guess in the 60's.

JC: After your husband passed away?

EN: No that was before ...I was doing this. I really got into keeping me busy, um, and I just couldn't do anything. Day and night I did this because I'd go to bed thinking what I'm gonna do? Always there is another one in process, and I got through it.

JC: You mentioned that you made your children's clothing even baby clothes and all the growing up...

EN: Oh, I did.

JC: You had four children, did you?

EN: I had four children.

JC: And so that's a lot of sewing.

EN: Oh, yes. I been... well, I'll have to tell you more than sixty-seven years ago I started sewing. Very young.

JC: And how old are you now?

EN: I'm 89 – and almost a half. Almost. [laugh]

JC: So, did you make quilts for your children?

EN: Oh, my goodness!

JC: When they were little?

EN: Yah. We made quilts.

JC: Well, then you made them before the 70's.

EN: Well, I guess I made little flannel quilts and things like that. I didn't make per se bed quilts. I didn't. 'Cuz I didn't have time. Being a full-time mom with four children. Back when my children were little there was no day care at all. Either Grandma kep' 'em or you stayed home, and my husband chose for me to stay home so you know, this was my hobby as long as I can remember. Sewing. Smocking. Smocking for my children. Making their christening outfits and then for my grandchildren I made them, also. So, it's just like I said. That's been my passion.

JC: And you mentioned embroidery you like. Other needle work things along the way?

EN: Oh. I would crochet but that was then and that's when the kids were little, I could pick it up and crochet and put it down and go on and tend to 'em but I didn't really, I made some tablecloths one time...but I could do it. I guess that's the main thing and I chose to do the other kind.

JC: Tried a lot of things it sounds like.

EN: I have [laughs]

JC: Settling right now on pretty much quilting? You don't knit or...

EN: No. I tried to knit one time and that just wasn't for me. You know, you always find your niches and my niches was my quilts. I have some beautiful quilts.

JC: I asked you earlier how many you think you've made.

EN: Oh, I've made well over two hundred. I used to make 'em and hand quilt 'em and give 'em to my children. I never kept 'em for myself and I just woke up one day, "Hey this is wrong!" but I was so excited to give them something I had made and so then towards then I started of course keepin' some. My favorites. [laugh] Yah. As you can see, I have plenty of them. Oh, my goodness. All my children have quilts. All of 'em. All four. More the girls than the boys and don't ask me why for that. You can take that out if you want to [laughs]

JC: No. I mean...

EN: You know. It's just the idea that...um. It's the wrong color. They don't like it. Colors don't suit your house. And I got discouraged because I was making it, which was wrong, for what I liked and like to work on.

JC: You kind of get a feeling for who in your life appreciates it the way to like it to be appreciated.

EN: You got the words right nailed down.

JC: And we looked earlier at your entire room which is a beautiful sewing studio.

EN: I love my room.

JC: When you started quilting things were pretty different in terms of what tools and things were available. What would you say is...

EN: Well yeah 'cause you had to draw your pattern on your fabric and then cut 'em out – my goodness. That's the way you did. Make your patterns out of cardboard and do it, which was fine but, of course, it so much easier and more convenient now that you wonder how you done it...and I have some quilts and I've given 'em to my children where that's just exactly what I done.

JC: And now? What tools are you using to make it easier?

EN: Well, now you know you got all these rulers how to cut all these different things out; flying geese, you name it. Half square triangles and every year...this year at Houston I bought a new tool of paper for half square triangles so it wouldn't stretch your fabric and you wonder how did you do that before to make 'em come out!! [laugh]

JC: Yeah.

EN: So yeah. It's your rulers number one.

JC: And the rotary cutter? Was that available when you started?

EN: Oh, no!

JC: No. Use a scissor?

EN: Scissors. Scissors, yah. I made the Tennessee Waltz quilt. I don't know if you know what that is, but it's got a lot of squares, a lot of cutting. I cut every piece of that out by hand. Every block.

JC: So, you would have a cardboard template that you trace around for each of the squares?

EN: Yeah. Yeah. You just trace around and cut 'em out and you save fabric by doing that also, really. These take a lot of fabric. And really my favorite quilting design is feathers. And anyway because ...and I know why...because of my mother. I used to see her cut the feather out of a cardboard and draw it and turn it and draw it and that fascinated me. So, it's just...I know that's where that come from. I know it with all my heart.

JC: She didn't have what they have today in the plastic stencils or anything. She made her own designs.

EN: No. Cardboard...like me. I started out and they didn't have the plastics. When I started out there was no quilt shops, okay? You bought your fabrics at the Five and Dime and of course it progressively took off pretty quick, but quilt shops wasn't then.

JC: Well, don't you think it's interesting that you had that experience of saying you can figure out a way to do it without a lot of fancy tools because you always have that to fall back on if you want to do something that you don't have a pattern for you can make your own.

EN: Yeah. But of course, you know you shouldn't let that go 'cuz everything's coming out that you can do and of course quilt shops carry different things and manufacturers make something they want to outdo it next year, so you have to buy it to keep them in business!

JC: But it sounds like you like to try those new gadgets or whatever you want to call it...tools.

EN: I do. I do. I just got through buying a precision trimmer – it's neat – 'cuz it shows you, really, look what you missed.

JC: Oh. Wow.

EN: Yeah, that you could do it easier. Of course!

JC: Why not? Take advantage of...

EN: I'm a gadget person [laugh] when it comes to quilting, I want all the gadgets because I enjoy it. Yeah. I do. The rotary cutter was a life saver. Man. That was terrific and the cutting mat. My goodness [laughs] you just had your table to work on.

JC: If we talk about American women back as far... how do you see quilts as a reflection of anything about women's lives...do you connect...do you think it's an important part of women's history?

EN: I do. I do. Back in the early days, you know, they had to make them for warmth and the ladies' get-togethers..lot of social..there's a lot of things about makin' quilts that's wonderful. There's nothing like getting together with bein' social and friends and it's just really nothin' like it as far as I'm concerned. That's my entertainment and it's the things I love to do.

JC: When you talk about... like I said I've seen many of your quilts but not all, I'd like to see more... but your labeling impresses me and makes me realize, and you've said, that you think it's important to have people know who made it and that you're proud to have made it. Um [big sigh], I'm thinking about, and so are most of my friends as we get on, "What's going to happen to my quilts?" What do you think you want to have as your legacy?

EN: Well, that could really bother a person really but you just have to drop it but it I'd like to see my quilts handed down to my grandchildren and great grandchildren... and they love 'em and love 'em like I do and that's all you can expect, really.

JC: You have a lot of children and grandchildren.

EN: Yeah. I have fourteen grandchildren and twelve greats.

JC: Oh! Wow.

EN: So, yah. So, I think they would treasure my quilts.

JC: They will stay in the family.

EN: I think they would. And I know my girls and my children have taken care of them, but you never know so that's one of the things you have to trust.

JC: Well, I think people who aren't quiltmakers sometimes say, "What are you making that for? Haven't you made enough?" ...that kind of thing but from what you're telling me it's about the doing it.

EN: It is the doing it.

JC: It's not providing a bed cover...

[EN: that's exactly right]

JC: ...for the winter so much as primarily having an outlet for your own expression.

EN: It is. This is really, Jean, all for me. 'Cuz I love it and I love to see what you can do and to me it means a lot. Anything that's handwork is so special to me and if I was to go to an estate sale and see a quilt, I would treasure it so much. I really would.

JC: Have you ever sold a quilt?

EN: No.

JC: It just occurred to me to ask that because so much of your heart is in them and you're not making them to have an income or a living.

EN: No.

JC: ...although your mother, interestingly enough, did earn money...

EN: Yeah, but that was days when, you know, it was very hard.

JC: That's right. A lot of women did that I think and if we heard what they were paid it would feel rather pitiful, wouldn't it?

EN: Yeah. But my mother did. She did this for other people and of course we had 'em for our cover, of course, but she did do this for other people. She sewed for other people.

JC: What's the oldest quilt you have? Do you have any from back from when you were young did you happen to...

EN: That my mother made?

JC: Well, yeah.

EN: No.

JC: Those are all used up I suppose.

EN: Oh, yeah. That's a long time ago and different lifestyle that we lived. Being military, why you know you couldn't just keep everything like that, so you had to do away with a lot of treasures I wish I had today. I really do but at the time you don't think of that. No.

JC: And you were busy with raising a family and, um, when you move a lot, it seems like you have to...

EN: Actually, we used to say stay there three years or more and go you know but...I was a little bit more fortunate, but we did travel yeah ...and near the war time you couldn't do that.

JC: Well...

EN: I've even hooked a rug, wool rugs. I've done a little bit of that too.

JC: Ever braided rugs?

EN: No, I've crocheted rugs. I crocheted rugs a lot and loved every minute of it, but I did do the wool hook rugs when [inaudible] was in Germany.

JC: When you crochet a rug what's the material you use?

EN: Fabric.

JC: Strips?

EN: Strips. Cut 'em up. Tear 'em.

JC: Cotton?

EN: Cotton, yeah.

JC: Tearing is an interesting thing. When I worked in a fabric store in the 60's we sold fabric and tore it. If somebody said, "I want a yard", we'd snip it in and ripped and now nobody... well, I've seen some shops are going back to tearing... but when you said tearing the strips do you... did you tear any strips for a quilt ever?

EN: No, I didn't because I think it kind of pulls it. It pulls it out of shape, really.

JC: It does. You lose about a quarter inch on each side it seems like.

EN: Yeah. I don't like some of the fabrics will pull a thread and it's just...have to be the fabric. Now I know a quilt shop in Oklahoma she wouldn't do anything but tear.

JC: 'Cuz it goes straight on the thread then, but you do have the other...

EN: Good fabric, too, so but that was always strange to go in there 'cuz she did...but now it's cut, and I like the finish of the cut.

JC: So, what's on your mind for the coming year? I saw that you are working on a Christmas sort of 'dressy' quilt top for your daughter. What else do you have that you would like to do next year?

EN: Well, next year I'm trying to do the things, got cut up...that's a funny joke, [laugh] that I have cut up that I want to make, I really do, and I have some quilts in mind that I want to make and I do have some fabric for 'em so you know and then maybe tomorrow I might find something I wanna do different [laugh] so, yeah, that's the way it goes, you know, and then things get put back on the shelf cuz you'd rather do this. And that's all. Whatever makes me happy, really, at this age I'm for it.

JC: Good for you.

EN: If I don't get it done, well, my daughter can have it.

JC: So, you just play?

EN: I do play. I play.

JC: Now I know that you've gone to some retreats as recently as this last summer. Was that with your small group?

EN: Yes. And I'm going in January.

JC: Where are you going?

EN: We're going to Owatonna. I've been going to this one now since I've lived here which is, what...be about seven years I guess that I've been going. We go in January and April, about fifteen of us and we look forward to that and then we get some up...I think they're trying to get one up, my daughter is, for February and we're going to Chanhassen then. So, it's fun.

JC: What do you do? Do you bring your own projects, or do you have a group project?

EN: No. We bring our own. Oh, no. We work on our own thing. I've never been to one where you do a group project. I'm not sure if I'd just like that [laugh] I don't know.

JC: You have enough of your own to do?

EN: Yeah. I'm too interested to do what I'm doin'. I have about four or five things I've started that I want to finish.

JC: Do you just wake up in the morning and decide which thing it is that you'll play with today?

EN: Well, sometimes but I'm really, like this one I'm doing' now I just want to gonna finish it. And that's where I am at this age, this time in my life. I need to finish it and I do. And so yeah.

JC: It's a good feeling isn't it, to get one done...all the way done?

EN: Yeah. And see when I started out at the very beginning, I would not do anything 'til I made it, hand quilt it, before I started... that was in the very beginning...way back but now as you go along... I think you grow. When I give my bed turnings, this is the thing that I love to show them. All of my quilts from the beginning and the end and it's really fun because I love to do it to see how I grow and that's what I tell them to look as we go. You have to grow 'cuz you learn more every day. You're never too old to learn.

JC: Tell me about these bed turnings. Where have you gone and what do you do?

EN: The bed turnings. I went to the shops. I went to Fabric Town in Apple Valley, and I think we had about eighty people there. And then I went to Rosemount to Quilter's Haven and then I went to Bemidji, and they had a quilt show and they invited me and then I had a presentation in the morning and one in the evening. And then Grand Forks happened to be there, and they invited me to Grand Forks...and give one and it was just really, really fun. I never did this in my life [laugh] so it was a new adventure in my life, but it was fun!

JC: And it was all within the last three-four years?

EN: Six years.

JC: In the last six years. So, you travel around, and you start with your earliest ones, is that what you're saying, and see the progression?

EN: Yes. My very first quilt I made...which was a riot.

JC: I don't know if I've seen that.

EN: I tried to get it over here today, but it didn't happen.

JC: Where is it now with one of the kids?

EN: My granddaughter's.

JC: Okay.

JC: Do you have photographs of most of your quilts?

EN: Yes, I do. It was a Little Dutch Girl - Sunbonnet Sue and I did the appliqué, and I did the embroidery on the bonnet and so this was my very first quilt. You have to remember that's been 47 yrs. ago. That's a long time.

JC: Yeah.

EN: Anyway, I got it together and I did not know a soul. Nobody helped me. And just by looking at the pattern and so forth and I did the buttonhole stitch around it in black, all around it after I appliquéd it on. [laugh] and the, un, I put the top together and trust me it wasn't square but [laugh] It's so funny, I wish I... I'd give anything if I could show it to you. You'd laugh. So, my sister-in-law from Florida come visit us stationed in Georgia she come to see us, and she says, "Well, I know somebody to quilt it" so I said, "Oh, okay". So, I sent it back to her and so anyway she charged me $25 dollars and...

JC: This was in Georgia?

EN: Georgia but I give it to her to go to Florida. And so anyway I said...just 'cuz I didn't know nobody. No quilt shops ever. Honest. No quilt shops. I got this probably from [inaudible] somewhere. I don't know where you buy ...Kress's ... I don't know...but...anyway so when I got it back, I tell you, I give to Erin and Sandra, my daughter. But when she quilted this, she stretched it and, I don't know, but she went and got some blanket binding that was cotton about 2" around and she sewed that all around that into the sashing [laugh] even on the corners she just tucked 'em and it's coming out at the corners where she tucked it. It was really, really... but you know at that time, Erin... we all thought it was beautiful, but we knew there was a problem. [laugh] You know I wasn't going to take it out! But Erin used it on her bed. My granddaughter. It's got fingernail polish on it and of course it's all comin' undone, but it is a hoot. I call it a hoot. [laugh] And so that's what I start out with. I start out with my mom's first. I have my mother's quilt. I'd like to show it to you 'fore you leave.

JC: Yes.

EN: There again I want to point some things out 'cuz that quilt's probably sixty years old. Anyway, and it's not her first one, of course.

JC: You DO have a quilt of your mothers?

JC: Okay.

EN: I do. I do. It's appliqué. Ohio Star [meant to say Ohio Rose] and appliqued border that's why I like my borders I guess...I'm my Mama's daughter. That's all there is to it.

JC: I'll definitely get a picture of that one, too.

EN: Okay. And so...Anyway, it's still in the picture but then I start with that one after my mom's...and then I start... that's my first one and I started, you know, in that time era showin' my quilts. 'Course lot of 'em my kids have in that era too, so I just had what I had which was about, what was it, fifty-one quilts I showed. That's a lot of quilts. So, it was fun.

JC: This is not the bed turnings this was back...

EN: No this was the bed turnings that I'm talkin' about.

JC: Okay, Okay. I see. Okay. So, the first one then, that Sunbonnet Sue, you've improved since then would you say? [laugh]

EN: I think you've seen what I've done. I think I have, and I was just self-taught, too.

JC: And that's your whole thing. You just said you tell the groups look at your progression and see what you've improved and learned...

EN: And see how you grow and there's always, always in quilting there's always somethin' to learn...and you grow by doing it.

JC: Well, that sounds like an awfully good way to end. I know we'll talk more but we've been talking for 45 minutes already.

EN: Oh my gosh!

JC: So, I'm going to tell you thank you so much for this and I feel like we might have more interviews to come because you have so much to share but that was such a beautiful statement at the end. It sums up your whole philosophy so...

EN: Yeah, it does.

JC: We're going to stop at 1:45 on December. 30, 2013 as we sit here in Evelyn's living room in Lakeville, Minnesota and try the tape and hope that it all recorded the proper way, and I can't thank you enough. It's just been really fun and finally we did it.



“Evelyn Ridgeway Nall,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed May 19, 2024, https://qsos.quiltalliance.org/items/show/2313.