1934 Ada Chitwood Jones's "Sock Top" Quilt

Description
This twentieth-century-quilt, made in 1934 by Ada Jones of Fyffe, Alabama is unique in many ways. The top is pieced of machine-knitted sock tops that were made as separate items to be sewn onto women’s socks. The designs in the sock tops are composed of dots, squares, diamonds, and other shapes.
W. B. Davis, the oldest hosiery factory in Fort Payne, Alabama, made sock tops and sold them by the pound. The factory survived the Depression and tried to make Fort Payne the sock capital of the world. Ada’s sister-in-law, Ruby Mae Jacoway Chitwood, worked at the factory and acquired the tops after they were no longer needed in the mill’s showroom. Ada assembled and then hand-stitched the sock tops into strips to create a delightfully designed top for her quilt.
The lining of the quilt is printed cotton from fabrics distributed by the Agricultural Extension Office, Auburn, Alabama, in a New Deal self-help program to aid farm women. The filling is ginned cotton from cotton grown on the family farm. In 1963, one of the donors, Jimmie Sibert Jones, added a printed cotton border to protect the quilt's fraying edges. This fabric was from unused fertilizer sacks that were given to her by the E. Brooks Gin and Fertilizer Company of Fyffe, Alabama. On a fabric label stitched to the lining is printed in ink, “MADE BY / ADA CHITWOOD JONES / DONATED BY / JIMMIE SIBERT JONES.”
In 1994 when the quilt was given to the Smithsonian, the donor wrote: “The quilt was made in 1934 under the New Deal a government organized form of self help. . . . the government issued surplus cotton fabric to be used in the homes for bed linen and other items. . . . top part is made from ladies sock tops of new material with stylish colors and designs of the thirties. . . . in this era the tops were knitted and then sewn to the sock . . . . My mother-in-law, who is now ninety years of age, received two pieces of the fabric and made two quilts. She gave the quilts to me when I married in 1945. The other quilt is now in the State of Alabama Department of Archives and History.” Ada Chitwood Jones, born in 1903, died in 1997 a few years after the donation. She is buried in Mountain View Memory Gardens, DeKalb, Alabama.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
quilt
date made
1934
maker
Jones, Ada Chitwood
Physical Description
fabric, cotton (overall material)
thread, cotton (overall material)
filling, ginned cotton (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 79 in x 79 in; 201 cm x 201 cm
place made
United States: Alabama, Fyffe
ID Number
1994.0169.01
accession number
1994.0169
catalog number
1994.0169.01
subject
Textiles
Domestic Furnishings
Quilting
Quilts
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Textiles
Quilts
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Jimmie Sibert Jones and Mr. Tommie Jones
Additional Media

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