Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Joan Knight, November 11, 2001

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:11 - Log cabin quilt

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Partial Transcript: Uh, this is Le Rowell.

Segment Synopsis: Joan Knight talks about the first full-size quilt she ever made, how it is used, and the reason she chose the log cabin design for her first-ever full-size quilt.

Keywords: Beds; Family; Grandmothers; Husbands; Log Cabin (Quilt pattern); Log cabin quilts; Quilting; Quilts; Virginia Quilt Museum

Subjects: Arts and crafts; Quilting; Quiltmakers; Quiltmakers--United States; Quilts; Quilts in interior decoration; Virginia Quilt Museum

00:01:19 - Early interest in quilting

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Partial Transcript: So let's start--tell me about your interest in quilting. How did you get started?

Segment Synopsis: Knight talks about her early quilting experiences with her family and how she continued quilting throughout college.

Keywords: Alexandria (Va.); Alexandria, Virginia; Applique blocks; Beth Ford; Crafts; Culpepper (Va.); Culpepper, Virginia; Dolls; Fabric; Family; Grandmothers; History; James Madison University; Korean War; Log Cabin (Quilt pattern); Log cabin quilts; Madison College; Miniature; Patterns; Pieced blocks; Quiltmaking; Quilts; Samplers; Weaving; Willie Hitt; Women

Subjects: Applique--Patterns; Appliqué.; Doll quilts; Log cabin quilts; Miniature quilts; Quilting; Quilting--Patterns; Quilting--United States--Patterns; Quiltmakers; Quiltmakers--United States; Quilts; Weaving

00:06:22 - Inspiration and pleasure from quilting

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Partial Transcript: What do you find pleasing about quilting?

Segment Synopsis: Knight talks about what she enjoys most about quilting and her sources of inspiration for her quilts.

Keywords: Amish quilts; Colors; History; Machine piecing; Machine quilting; Patterns; Pieced blocks; Quilts; Sewing machines; Women

Subjects: Amish quilts; Interior decoration; Machine quilting; Quilting--United States--Patterns; Quiltmakers--United States; Quiltmaking; Quilts; Sewing machines

00:08:17 - Fitting quilting into her life

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Partial Transcript: How do you balance your quilting activities with your family and friends?

Segment Synopsis: Knight talks about taking classes in her small amount of free time. She talks about her grandmother's feed sack quilts.

Keywords: Classes; Feed sacks; Grandmothers; Machine stitching; Quilting guilds; Quilts; Rotary cutting

Subjects: Machine quilting; Quilting; Quiltmakers; Quiltmakers--United States; Quilts

00:09:58 - Virginia Quilt Museum

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Partial Transcript: Uh, you mentioned the museum. Um, talk a minute about the muse--the museum.

Segment Synopsis: Knight talks about the origins of the Virginia Quilt Museum and her role as its director.

Keywords: Belle Grove Plantation; Documentation; Donations; Harrisonburg (Va.); Harrisonburg, Virginia; Middletown (Va.); Middletown, Virginia; Paula Rua; Quilt Research Project; Quilt preservation; Quilting guilds; Quilts; Richmond (Va.); Suzi Williams

Subjects: Museums; Quilting; Quiltmakers; Quiltmakers--United States; Quilts; Virginia Quilt Museum

00:14:41 - Historical aspects of quilting

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Partial Transcript: Talk a little bit about history. You have this interest in history. Um, how do you think quilts have special meaning for women's history in America?

Segment Synopsis: Knight talks about how women put aspects of their lives into their quilts and how it was a form of expression. She talks about how the history of communities and regions can be seen in quilts.

Keywords: Amish women; Art; Bible; Culture; Dresses; Emotions; Expression; Fabrics; Harriet Powers; Heritage; History; Korean War; Log Cabin (Quilt pattern); Log cabin quilts; Modern quilters; Patterns; Quilt of faith; Quiltmaking; Quilts; Scraps; Smithsonian Institution; Underground Railroad; World War II

Subjects: African American quiltmakers; African American quilts.; Amish quilts; Painters; Quiltmakers; Quiltmakers--United States; Quilts

00:21:36 - Quilt exhibitions

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Partial Transcript: I know this is, uh--you had a hard time selecting which quilt would be your touchstone piece and so, uh, we'll photograph this quilt as well 'cause I know you kind of wanted both of them to be part of the interview. Um, tell me, have you had quilts in other exhibits?

Segment Synopsis: Knight talks about the exhibitions she has entered her quilts into and the prizes she has won.

Keywords: Alexandria (Va.); Alexandria, Virginia; Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA); Blue ribbon; Civil War; Crazy quilts; Cross stitch; Grandmother's Flower Garden quilts; Harrisonburg (Va.); Harrisonburg, Virginia; Hexagon quilts; Madison (Va.); Madison, Virginia; Miniature quilts; National Quilting Association; Needlework; Quilt pillows; Sully Plantation; Tina Gravin; Woodlawn Needlework Show

Subjects: Crazy quilts; Miniature quilts; Needlework; Quilt National; Quiltmakers; Quiltmakers--United States; Quiltmaking--United States--Patterns; Quilts; Quilts--United States--Exhibitions

00:25:29 - What makes a great quilt

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Partial Transcript: What do you think makes a great quilt?

Segment Synopsis: Knight talks about the qualities of great quilts and what would make an appropriate quilt for museums.

Keywords: Condition; Crazy quilt blocks; Design; Education pieces; Machine piecing; Needlework; Original; Patterns; Quilt; Stitching; Techniques

Subjects: Crazy quilts; Machine quilting; Museums; Quilting; Quilting--Patterns; Quiltmakers; Quiltmakers--United States; Quilts

00:28:52 - Learning the art of quilting

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Partial Transcript: How do you think great quilters learn the art of quilting?

Segment Synopsis: Knight talks about different ways quiltmakers have learned their crafts: intuition and classroom learning.

Keywords: Classes; Quiltmakers; Quilts; Techniques

Subjects: Art quilts; Artists; Quilting; Quiltmakers; Quiltmakers--United States; Quilts

00:30:36 - Quilt preservation

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Partial Transcript: Talk a little bit about the preservation of, of quilts.

Segment Synopsis: Knight talks about the importance of quilt preservation and the role of museums in preservation.

Keywords: Chintz quilts; Creases; Dixie Reddick; Museums; Muslin; Patterns; Preservation; Quilt care; Quilt storage

Subjects: Museums; Quilts; Quilts--United States--Exhibitions; Virginia Quilt Museum

00:35:26 - Quilting and young people

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Partial Transcript: You mentioned the students, um, at JMU. How can we encourage quilting in young people?

Segment Synopsis: Knight talks about how to get young people involved in quilting, from elementary school aged to college aged.

Keywords: Children; Crazy quilts; Elementary schools; Family; Featherweight sewing machines; James Madison University; Needlework; Nine patch quilts; Ohio star pattern; Quiltmakers; Quiltmaking; Quilts; Quilts of Faith; Resist method; Richmond (Va.); Rockingham County (Va.); Running stitch; Sewing; Sewing machines; Students; Teenagers; Teens; Tidewater (Va.); Underground Railroad quilts; Virginia Quilt Museum; Young people

Subjects: Children's quilts; Craft and art; Crazy quilts; Needlework; Patchwork quilts; Quilting--Patterns; Quiltmakers; Quiltmaking; Quilts; Quilts--United States; Sewing machines; Textile fibers; Virginia Quilt Museum

00:44:46 - Final thoughts

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Partial Transcript: Our time is just about up. We just have about a minute left. Um, is there anything else that you would like to add?

Segment Synopsis: Knight wraps up the interview talking about her quilting urges and the importance of her work at the Virginia Quilt Museum.

Keywords: Museums; Quiltmakers; Quiltmaking; Quilts; Virginia Quilt Museum

Subjects: Museums; Quiltmakers; Quiltmakers--United States; Quiltmaking; Quilts