Peggy Mages




Peggy Mages




Peggy Mages


Karen Musgrave

Interview Date



Lake View, New York

Interview indexer

Anne Lafferty


Kim Greene


Karen Musgrave (KM): This is Karen Musgrave and I am doing a Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories interview with Peggy Mages, and Peggy is in Lake View, New York and I'm in Naperville, Illinois so we are doing this interview by telephone. We are doing a special Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories based on the exhibition "Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece." Peggy, I want to thank you for doing this interview with me. It is March 7, 2008 and it is 1:12 in the afternoon. Please tell me about your quilt "Puzzling Memories" which is in the exhibition.

Peggy Mages (PM): I have always liked Ami [Simms.] Oh, I'm boring already. [laughs.]

KM: That is okay.

PM: I've always liked her website but I don't really remember how I found her before the Alzheimer's Initiative began. I was drawn to her sense of humor and when I saw that she had this contest for people to enter for the Alzheimer's exhibition, I thought that would be kind of interesting. But I really didn't have any idea what to do. I like to go through the quilt shops and things online looking for new ideas and I went to the and found Liz [Schwartz.] and Stephen [Seifert.] had a pattern there that was called "Quilter's Puzzle." Right away it hit me that this would be a great Alzheimer's quilt. I bought the pattern online from them and I took a look at it and it was too big, so I had to sit down and figure out what I wanted to do as far as making it fit within Ami's parameters. Then I emailed Liz and Stephen, being a former librarian I knew you needed to ask permission to do these kinds of things, so I emailed them asking permission to change their pattern and telling them what I was intending to use it for. They wrote back thanking me for asking permission and giving me that permission to use their pattern for the Alzheimer's Quilt Initiative. I started making the puzzle. I bought really bright fabric knowing that I wanted to dye some pieces. They started out really nice and bright and then as I dyed them different shades, put brown in and they got a little darker and some got darker still, that is how the memories would be fading with Alzheimer's. I put in some black squares, or pieces as well. That was memory that had already disappeared forever and was gone. I decided that I didn't want a square quilt, or a rectangular, or a bound one, so I took the sides and just zigzag, cut randomly all around it so it was very uneven. Then I just took and fringed and cut the border so that it was no longer bound, it looked like it was kind of coming apart. That is the way I see an Alzheimer's life as just kind of disintegrating, kind of coming apart and there is nothing that you can do to put it back together again. By using the "Quilters' Puzzle" pattern, how I finally ended up with my "Puzzling Memories" quilt for Ami.

KM: Have Liz and Stephen seen the quilt?

PM: I don't know. I don't know if they have seen it, I think they did receive a picture.

KM: You did send them a picture when it was finished.

PM: As far as the show, I have not seen it, because I live south of Buffalo, New York and it has not come around here. I see that it is going to Cleveland, which is not too far away. I have not seen the exhibit myself. One of my friends had seen it in California at one of the longarm quilters' conventions and of course she was very moved by it. But I have not been able to see it myself so I am looking forward to that.

KM: What do you plan to do with the quilt when it comes back?

PM: I don't know. I was going to ask Ami if it might be possible to auction it off online or whatever in order to give additional money to the Priority Quilts or to the Alzheimer's (AAQI) [Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative.] because it is really not a quilt I would want hanging around my house. It is not a happy quilt. I like happy things. Right now my mother does not have Alzheimer's thank goodness, but she has been diagnosed with dementia and she recently had an accident and had broken her jaw. She fell down the steps and broke her jaw in three pieces and she ended up now living in an assisted living home and doing well there, but I have seen her dementia. I have seen what happened to her and it is not as bad as the Alzheimer's is, but I don't think I would want this quilt around the house truthfully. So I don't know, I don't know what to do with it. That is a few years away so we will worry about that.

KM: It is nice that it is traveling longer than the original three year agreement.

PM: An extra year so far.

KM: I hope it keeps traveling.

PM: I do too. There are so many--as I said there are so many venues and we could use. I don't know how we could get it to western New York here, but I would be willing to work on trying to get it here if we could, that would be a great venue.

KM: There is a CD that goes along with the exhibition and it has an audio component, it has the voices of each artist reading their artist statement. Tell me about that experience for you.

PM: It was very nerve-racking to me because as a former librarian I want things to be--what I always read to the children and things like that I would always try to make sure that I put the right punctuation in and the right emphasis and all of that stuff for them to get the most out of the story, so it was very hard for me when I was doing the recording. As this is now for me, to make sure that I had exactly the right words, was saying things the right way, saying things the way I wanted, it was coming across the way that I wanted it to be. One thing Ami did say is that she could listen to my voice talking for a long time, which was very nice because we had to redo the second half another time and by that time I had just about had it with my own writing and my own explanation of the quilt. It was interesting. It was something again that I had never done, having my voice recorded for a CD and that was kind of fun.

KM: I don't know of any other CD that has an audio component like that. I thought that was very clever of Ami.

PM: Yes it definitely was. She has so many wonderful ideas.

KM: I think to use the technology of her answering machine and we just spoke to her answering machine.

PM: Yes that was the thing, you go, 'oh, oh I'm sorry I made a mistake there,' and then you realize you are not even talking to a person. You are talking to the answering machine. [laughs.] Very interesting.

KM: The other thing from the exhibit, I know that you have looked through the book.

PM: Yes.

KM: I am assuming you went through the CD, although I found that to be very difficult.

PM: I couldn't do the whole thing, but I have loaned it out to many of my friends. In fact the nurse at the home where my mom is living, I was talking to her about the project and I had given her all of the information. When you called to set up this interview I had to get all of the stuff back from her because she wasn't letting go of it. She said, 'I have to keep looking,' and I said, 'Well I need it back.' [laughs.] She was very interested as well in the project.

KM: Do you have any favorite quilts in the exhibition?

PM: Pardon me.

KM: Do you have any favorite quilts in the exhibition?

PM: I do like, I tend to like ones that have pictures in it. I do many photo quilts myself and I liked the one, in fact it is right in front of mine in the book. It is by Beth Hartford, "Sundown", that has just the silhouette of her dad that is quite a poignant one. I did a silhouette quilt of our family. In 1983, Christmas of 1983 when we were all together and it turned out that my dad died in February of 1984. That is quite a memory for me. I don't know why I decided to do it at that time because dad had not been sick but he was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away within six weeks.

KM: I am sorry.

PM: So that was when I saw that quilt it did remind me of something I had done. Of course the other one is "Nevilyn" by Linda Huff, again with the pictures and just her mom kind of dissolving away there is quite poignant too. There are art quilts that I find amazing. They are so different, like the "Mimi Has Squirrels in Her Attic." That is one is just fantastic. You can look and look and every time you look you see something completely different.

KM: That is Sue Lemmo's.

PM: Yes it is. There are so many, it is hard. Every single one of them obviously has something to portray that is different.

KM: They are all very different.

PM: Yes they are.

KM: You can't really. They are very broad spectrum of styles and techniques, although they are all pretty small because she did have a size limit.

PM: Yes she did. That was one of my problems, as I said, because I was using a pattern.

KM: How much smaller did you have to make it? Your quilt is 36 inches by 46 inches.

PM: Right. I can't remember.

KM: I can't either, it is really funny I can't remember what the size limit was.

PM: No in fact I was looking to see if I had the original email of Ami's rules of what the size the quilts needed to be and I don't have that. I do have the acceptance email.

KM: How did you feel when you got accepted?

PM: I was ecstatic. This was first thing that I had ever tried to enter and it was accepted. When I saw the names of the other people and how experienced and well known they were in the quilting world, I kind of felt like I was a little leaguer playing in major league baseball, you know. [laughs.] That I wasn't sure I belonged where I was. It was very, very humbling and yet kind of, oh what is the word that I'm looking for, very encouraging and uplifting that my work might be good enough to stand with these other professional quilters.

KM: Another part of the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative is the Priority Quilts. Tell me about your involvement with Priority Quilts.

PM: When that first came out I had sent in ten quilts. I had made them. They were to look like the viewer was looking out some windows. I had bought all of this really neat landscape type thing, one was a campsite, one was, all different pictures of farm scenes that type of thing, one was those ones that look like Monet settings with the watercolor things. I used them, cut them just to the right size and then I made a black like a window frame to put on top of them. I made different shapes, some were oval, some were rectangles, some had windowpanes, some have a rounded half of a skylight on top of it, and I made those and they worked out really well. My first quilt was like number five. Ami numbered them in increments of five. So I was five, ten, fifteen, twenty, all the way up. So it was right at the beginning of the Initiative that I was able to get those in.

KM: I should explain that those are auctioned off.

PM: Yes.

KM: They used to be on her website and now they are on eBay and the money goes to Alzheimer's research.

PM: One of my first ones appeared in I think pretty much the first write up magazine article about her initiative in the Bernina publication Through the Needle and that was in May of 2006. Ami sent me a copy. First she emailed me and told me that she had used a picture of mine. She had eight quilt pictures there, eight little quilts pictured there and the article was telling all about her Initiative. It was trying to get people interested in it and giving the website that they could look at. Someone saw that and told me, 'Hey it was in there,' and I said, 'Yeah I know, Ami sent me one.' I went out and bought a few copies myself from the local Bernina store and that was fun. Last summer Alex Anderson came to town. She gave out bags from Bernina and that exact magazine with included in each bag. Every person got one and there were a lot of my friends from the quilt guild and other places that opened it up and said, 'oh my gosh Peggy you are in here.' Of course that that was printed two years before, but they didn't know that. [laughs.] It was kind of fun again to relive it again.

KM: What else do you do for Priority Quilts?

PM: I also do all the registration.

KM: How did that come about?

PM: I volunteered. [laughs.] You know when they say 'Just say no.' It didn't work. [laughs.] No actually I had retired after thirty some years as a school librarian in June 2004 and I had said that I was going to find myself a project that I felt was worthwhile, a volunteer not a paid position that I could work on and really feel like I was being useful in getting things done. When this came along and Ami asked for a person to do this, I said I would. She asked me if I was sure what I was getting into [laughs.] and I said, 'No but I'll try.' I have been doing it, well this summer it will be two years that we have been doing this.

KM: Tell me about the process.

PM: My name is the registrar on Ami's website. Quilters fill out the form that is posted there. I just emailed Ami that I'm a little frustrated right now. Since she has gone to non-profit, the form has changed and some people are not using the correct form. She mentioned pictures should go to Diane Petersmarck, but they are being sent to me. I'm getting everything and am trying to figure out what goes to whom. Then the fair market value is one that has really been a stickler for me. That is only, it says in about five places on the website that the fair market value is just the price that you figure you paid for materials. So five dollars is a good starting point, give or take a few dollars. Then people write in $140 or $150. They are still talking about the selling price, and then I have to write back to them. So there is so much more communication back and forth and so much more waiting for them to get back to me again with the corrections that I find the process is really slowing down. Hopefully people will get used to using the new form and they will read the instructions as to where the pictures are to go to and to whom and to send one quilt per email, and we will be back to [laughs.] some semblance of order anyway.

KM: How many Priority Quilts? What number are you up to now?

PM: We are up to 2199. I just did number two thousand one hundred and ninety-nine yesterday.

KM: Wow.

PM: We also have over to 200 Little Treasures. I recently registered number two hundred and twenty-eight.

KM: Tell me about Little Treasures.

PM: Little Treasures are quilts that are bigger than 9 inches by 12"inches. They don't go without cramming into a Priority mail envelope, so Ami created a new category for those. They are a little bigger, maybe a 12 inches by 12 inches, maybe, whatever, if they are bigger than 9 inches by 12 inches even by a half or quarter of an inch, they go to the Little Treasures and they are handled basically the same way. They are put in there for auction. Many times Ami takes things to the different venues that she goes to, she takes quilts with her and often times people are concerned as to where their quilt is since they don't see it up on the website as being ready for auction or anything like that. Then they write me asking 'where has my quilt gone' and I have to track down what Ami is going to do with it. There is a lot of recordkeeping and a lot of going back through the records I have. I have twelve notebooks full of all my printouts from the Priority Quilts and I have three of the Little Treasures so far. I keep everyone that a person sends me, so I have had them for two years now. Two years worth of notebooks accumulating. [laughs.]

KM: How much time do you spend on this?

PM: Hours, hours and hours. I was just on vacation for two weeks and Ami had put that on the website - don't send anything. This was the beginning too of the changeover, 'Don't send anything yet, Peggy is on vacation.' Well we did take my husband's laptop and had the wireless access and I did miss my emails so I would go on and during that two weeks when I wasn't supposed to be doing anything [laughs.] I got forty-four quilt registrations sent to me. I had to begin the process because I couldn't be coming home and doing everything. I put the quilter's information into an html form, which takes a while, then I have to email the quilter with the new number and the directions that Ami wants them to follow. Then I email my html form to Niki who is doing the actual posting on the website and sending them to Ami. Any pictures, as I said, go to Diane, so there are all different places to send things. There is another form, a post registration form to send to the quilters saying 'I just registered your quilt, did you get it?' because we are finding that sometimes, and this was interesting, the very first one that I sent, the woman had not gotten the quilt registration but she did get my follow up email.

KM: I think unfortunately the Internet is not as reliable as it once was.

PM: As it gets more and more used, you know, then things get lost in cyberspace somewhere, I don't know where they go, but that is at least we are hoping one of them gets through. People will say, 'Well I sent mine in two days ago where is it?' So did fifteen other people. I just do them as they come in. Sometimes it is frustrating, but it really is very rewarding to know that I have helped. I don't know how much we are up to now, $180,000 was the last figure I think I saw.

KM: I am assuming it is more than.

PM: I'm sure it is now. Yes.

KM: I'm trying not to quote any numbers anymore because I'm always one step behind.

PM: That's true.

KM: I think it is incredible the amount of money that is being generated going to Alzheimer's research.

PM: Yes.

KM: Let's move on and let's talk about your involvement in quiltmaking. Tell me about your interest in quiltmaking.

PM: I've always been interested in things from the past. No one in my family quilted, so quilts never were part of my life. I have enjoyed sewing since I was in school and took my first home ec class there, you know where you had to make your pair of shorts and whatever, and so mom bought a sewing machine and I did a lot of sewing. I made my wedding gown and we made the dresses for my bridesmaids as well. A lot of clothing at that point, but no quilts. Then, when I was teaching at this one school one of my fellow teachers came in and she said, 'Look at this book I got.' It was a beginner's book on how to make a sampler quilt. I said, 'hum.' So she and I started working together on these different things and then I found some places that I could take some lessons from and I really got into quiltmaking. I do enjoy doing non-traditional things as well as picture things, family. I've done many. One was for my mother's seventy-fifth birthday. I did her one for her eightieth birthday. I made her a quilt, a wall hanging that hangs in her room now at where she lives and its looks like a closet or a cupboard. I mentioned that my dad passed away in 1984. He was a volunteer fireman with the local fire company and she still had his fireman's jacket and his American Legion hat and other things. I said to her, 'Do you mind if I take this?' I had gone through a lot of her pictures and had taken pictures that I was interested in and I took my dad's jacket and I told her I would give it back to her, but it wouldn't be in the same condition. She said that was okay, so I had to cut--I cut it in half and I cut the back off and I made it look like it was hanging in a closet with the door half open. Then I cut the back off his American Legion hat and I put that on a shelf above the jacket and a used wood grain type fabric. On the other side I put all pictures, like a bulletin board, all pictures of my parents, my mother and her twin sister who recently passed away, and all their special different occasions. I included their confirmation and their graduations and different things like that. I put her confirmation Bible. I made what looked like a little shelf and I put my glasses from college. I took those lenses out. They are just plain wire frames and I glued them on with the arms of the glasses crossed so they looked like someone had just been reading the Bible. The glasses sit right on top of the Bible. I put different things, mementos all the way through it and we had a heck of a time moving it when she moved in there because it's kind of delicate. I put beads as being on the hinges. Those were the nails or screws that held the hinges in, so we had to be careful nothing fell off. After a few minor repairs we hung it up and said it won't be moving again until mom moved out of the place. Those are my favorite things to do. Gifts, I give most of my quilts away. I have very few to show. With the people who live in the facility, I'm in the middle of putting a quilt together of squares that they have done. We took pictures from a nature coloring book and printed them out onto paper, because we figured that the residents would not be able to color right on fabric. It would be easier to color on paper, so we got the fabric crayons and they colored them and they really did a beautiful job. I transferred them, but it had to be on to one hundred percent polyester so that was something I haven't done, quilted with polyester and then I did the transfer. I made one myself, my own picture to see and it really transferred well.

KM: I will tell you that was my very first quilt I ever made.

PM: Was on polyester?

KM: Well it was a cotton polyester blend with the fabric crayons and the pictures are still fine thirty plus years later. It has been laundered to death because it was a baby quilt that I made. It has been laundered to death and the cotton fabric I used in between the crayon blocks is almost gone but the cotton polyester with the drawing is still perfect.

PM: I did have to put like interfacing on the back then because of the shifting. I cut one square and it ended up looking like a diamond, it just shifted way out of position and I went, 'oh my gosh.' [KM laughs.] It is always a learning experience, so before I did my cutting out of the other ones I had already ironed the light interfacing onto the back and then of course they held their shape beautifully. I made each square in an attic window, so each one is seen separately. I just yesterday put the strips between the windows and now today I will be working on the sashing that goes between the rows and then putting the border on and quilting it, because people are wondering, well they don't realize how long it takes to make a quilt either. What they are going to do, they are going to hang it in the building for a while and then they are going to auction it off for some one of the local charities, probably for what they call The Variety Club for handicapped crippled children. That is a big project in the western New York area to raise funds. And the director told me that she thinks that is what they will be doing with this quilt as the donation from the residents of the home. It is a project--again it is something that I enjoy doing and I always seem to not be able to say no.

KM: Is it safe to say that making charity and gift quilts is what gives you the most satisfaction?

PM: Yes, definitely, it very much is. People say 'show me what you have done,' and I say 'you will have to go to so and so' or 'you have to see this person' or 'come to my mother's room' because that is where things are, they are not in my house.

KM: What does your mom think of your quiltmaking?

PM: She loves it. Now with her dementia too sometimes she tends to repeat over and over, and I say 'Mom don't say anything else.' [laughs.] She invites everyone and their brother down to her room to see her quilts that are hanging up. There is that cupboard one and then there is one on, well I made one when her sister passed away, her twin sister. I made a small wall quilt with her picture on it and a saying that was on the card from the funeral home. It is a Native American prayer; don't grieve for me I'm on the wind and that type of thing. It was a beautiful saying so I included that and Mom has that little wall hanging in her room. Then she has the one on her bed that was one of the first picture quilts I did. It has her mother and her mother's family; a picture taken in 1913 and they of course are all in their Victorian garb. The females are in the white, no matter how old they are, except for their mother who is in black and the father and all the boys are in black suits. There were thirteen children so it is quite a picture. Then I went up chronologically, mom's picture she sent to my dad in the Navy and my dad's Navy picture and then pictures of my sister and my brother and myself as children and then her family, because she had a lot of family, sisters and brothers, and finally it ends up with mom's three children and the families we had at that time. It runs a long gamut of years. It is on her bed and she always is looking at it. I think it brings a lot of happy memories of her family and she is the only one left. She is eighty-six. She will be eighty-seven soon and she was the youngest one in the family and the only one left so this is a good reminder for her.

KM: Describe where you work, describe your studio?

PM: I'm sorry, what did you say?

KM: Describe your studio.

PM: [laughs.] It is a mess. [laughs.] Actually it is funny that you would say that because we, about a year and a half ago we moved from a larger home when my sons were home and needed space for their friends and everything else, now that they are both in school but they are on their own. They have apartments and are not living with us permanently. Anyway, so we moved to a smaller more comfortable home for us with the bedrooms downstairs. I don't have any place to sew as of now. I had a studio in the basement in my other house with there was room for the boys and all of their friends down there and then I had my sewing room. Now we are talking about getting a sewing room down in the basement here all made up, but as of now I don't have it. I just have stuff down in the basement, stuff in the extra bedroom and it is a mess. [laughs.] As I say to my husband, 'How can I do anything? My stuff is all over the place.' Now I'm working on the dining room table which is not a good situation because that never gets cleared off then.

KM: How often do you use your dining room table?

PM: Never. I don't cook.

KM: That is a good use of your table.

PM: [laughs.] In fact there is a funny story when we were building this house and the builder's rep said 'You might want to add three feet to the kitchen, people have done that.' I said, 'Are you kidding? Do you make the house without a kitchen?' She said, stuttered, 'I don't think that would be very sellable.' Well I was only kidding but we never use the kitchen. I was thinking of a big window, a take-in window where people could pull--trucks could pull up and just drop things off and the woman was looking at me like, what a kook. I also have a UFO [unfinished object.] wall hanging and it says 'I only have this kitchen because it came with the house.' That was one of those sayings that I found so I put it into a quilt that will eventually hang in the kitchen. I took it to the quilt guild the other day and they all got a big laugh out of that. They all know I don't cook.

KM: Do you belong to anything other than the guild? Do you belong to any other groups?

PM: No. My friend, Laura, actually started it. There was not a guild. This would be in the former town where I lived, which was Orchard Park. There was no quilt guild there and she worked in a fabric store in town and decided, the mayor had come in often so she was talking with the mayor of the town who was a quilter and the mayor said, 'You know we have no guilds in Orchard Park, what about starting one up.' The mayor even joined the guild for a while until she left office and went out, I think went out west because her sister had passed away and she went out west to care for her sister's grandchildren. So Laura started, my friend and I and a core group of people started this guild just about four years ago.

KM: What is the name of it?

PM: It is called Quaker, which is the mascot of the town, Quaker Quilters. In the high school there, the teams are The Quakers and there is a Quaker Cemetery in town and an original Quaker house of worship there. So we are the Quaker Quilters.

KM: What advice would you offer someone starting out?

PM: Don't be intimidated by other people's work. Don't look for the faults in yours; although I always look for the faults in mine. I don't look for the faults in others, you know how that is. [laughs.] I think I have learned that from teaching. I'm very open to whatever people do because you can't be the judge. Whatever they do is their best and that is how it is and that is the way it works out. We have had a lot of people who joined our guild who really were not quilters who have since gotten enough nerve and enough confidence in themselves to try projects and that is what we want to do. We are not, some groups I think are, they limit their membership to people who are really productive and good quilters because that is what they want to show. But we are more of a group who wants people to have fun quilting and to let people know what type of people quilters are and what we do. Anybody who comes and who has enough initiative and drive to want to start, that is what we like to look for. We are not looking for the best quilters, we are looking for people who are willing to learn and who are willing to participate in whatever we do at whatever skill level they have.

KM: How many people are in the group?

PM: We now have, we started out with a number of, it was about thirty-five and then we raised it to fifty and now we have topped it at one hundred and we said that is the number. We have a waiting list for people to get on. We don't want to get too many. We get about probably sixty people at an average meeting. We meet monthly and we are doing our first quilt show in July in conjunction again with the town. Orchard Park has what they call Quaker Days. They have a very nice quaint little downtown area and all the shops have sidewalk sales and have a lot of different specials going on. So we are going to be in the Fire Hall that is right there and we are going to have our first quilt show there. We are in the process of organizing it. One of the woman--a few of the women--have participated in quilt shows before so they are really like our guiding lights, we are just following along and hoping that everything goes well with that.

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

PM: I think it is getting people to really appreciate the work, the thinking and the design that goes into making quilts. If people have not done, and I think this is pretty much true with any type of art or craft, if you don't do it you don't realize what goes into it. When they see the price of some of the quilts they think oh my gosh that is outrageous, but a person, a quilter could never be paid like by the hour for how much they worked on something, because the prices would be so outrageous that no one would pay for it. I think people need education as to what comprises a quilt and how much work it does take in order to put one together and make it something that is admirable and that people will want to look at it.

KM: Why is quiltmaking important to you?

PM: It is my way of expressing myself and again whenever there is anything special I think, I have to make a quilt for that. One of the ladies in our guild who is a relatively new member announced that she is retiring as an administrator at one of the local colleges and the first thing I thought of was, 'oh we have to make her a quilt.' She did a very nice presentation on her quiltmaking journey, she is very, well her position is as the director of online students and so of course she is very savvy with the computer and she did a wonderful PowerPoint presentation of the first quilt that she made and why she did it. Most of her things, too, she gives away to family and friends. My thought was, well now we have another project that we need to do and that is to get a retirement quilt made for her with our signatures on it. I have made quilts for both my sons' graduations from high school and from college with their friends' signatures. I had someone go around and get the signatures of their friends and incorporated the signatures and various pictures in the quilts. Now I have a project from another friend of mine, all of her daughter's tee shirts, which I don't know how I'm ever going to fit on. I told her that this would make about four quilts, we would have to see, but her daughter is graduating in May from college, so she has just tons. She is in musicals and things like that in high school and very active in the religious part. She goes to St. John's University. My friend has gotten signatures and things too so she asked me to put them all together. I said, 'Well you are going to help me design this?' I had them put the fabric interfacing on already and cut them in multiples of three, six, nine, twelve inches, whatever, but some of these are just huge, so we will see. That is another one of my projects where I volunteer. But sometimes I tend to be too exuberant! I don't ask for payment, the fun and the satisfaction is in doing something for someone else that they really enjoy and that they will treasure, hopefully, for the rest of their lives.

KM: We have almost been talking for forty-five minutes, so I always give people an opportunity to share anything that they would like before we conclude, so here is your chance.

PM: I don't really think I've anything more to say. I told you my quilting life [laughs.], but just to say that I think quilting is wonderful and I'm so glad to see that people are, that more and more people are coming back to it. As I said, I had no prior knowledge from my family. I wasn't lucky enough to have inherited any quilts or anything that a grandma or great-aunts had made. But my mother-in-law had a quilt that she did give me, a flower garden quilt. She had no idea where it came from or who made it, but at least I have one thing that was an antique quilt. I'm really glad to see so many people getting into quilting again, and that there are so many new techniques. It is so exciting to see all the new techniques that are coming out and every time I see something I want to buy the book. Being a librarian, I have thousands and thousands of books. [laughs.] My husband says, 'You spent your whole life working in the library and now you go to the bookstore and you buy more books.' Some people just don't get it! That is what I have to do in order to keep up with new things that are coming out. There is always something new to do in quilting, I never do the same thing twice.

KM: Thank you so much for taking your time to share with me.

PM: Thank you, I did enjoy it.

KM: Excellent, we are going to conclude our interview at 2:58.


“Peggy Mages,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed May 24, 2024,