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The speaker is a 78-year-old White woman with a high school education from Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin; she was recorded in 1968.

County: Waukesha
State: WI

In a challenge to etymologists and to spellers, Wisconsin has three similar-sounding communities: Menominee, Menomonee Falls, and Menomonie. Menomonee Falls was founded in 1843 on the rapids of the Menominee River north of Milwaukee, largely by German families. The flour mill, sugar beet factory, and bottling plant of early days were supplanted by larger commercial and industrial enterprises as Milwaukee expanded and as the population of Menomonee Falls grew as well. The speaker, of German heritage, talks about one of the traditional skills she has helped to perpetuate, that of quilt-making.
Inf: Have you ever seen a quilting frame?

FW: No, no.

Inf: There are four long pieces of wood and they have a thick, like canvas, uh, tacked to ea-, ea- this is the frame, and each board has uh this heavy canvas uh tacked to it. And, and then they have four clamps, metal clamps. And, and these are all holes in here and like the, a pin that fits in, on each corner, to hold that square. Then they clamp each corner. And then they pin the bottom of this quilt to this canvas. Then they lay in their cotton, thin, a wadding of cotton.

You can buy that sheet wadding. And uh, lay that all in smooth, then they put the top cover on. Then, then they pin with regular pins, this top cover to that canvas, and make it real tight. Get it real tight and stretch that frame as much as they can so it's tight. And then they, somebody'll draw a, with pencil and ruler, a design. Stripes, or however they choose to do that, and then the women start sewing.

FW: Along the lines, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Inf: And when it's completed, it looks very pretty on the wrong side.

FW: Oh yeah, sure. Beautiful, I'm sure. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Inf: And they are very particular. They want the finest, smallest stitches that you can make.

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