Wishing Every Day Was National Quilting Day

Published on March 18, 2022 by Beatrice Alvarez

Every third Saturday of March is a day to celebrate the rich tradition of quiltmaking. The Quilt Alliance and the National Quilt Museum recall the origins of this day: a "Quilter's Day Out" organized by the Kentucky Heritage Quilt Society in 1989. The day for local quilters to show their makes and share the love of the craft was a success. Participating quilters elected to make it a national event thereafter. The first National Quilting Day was observed in 1992. So get your quilts out and display them with pride this Saturday! And remember, keep on quilting. Or at least enjoy these stories about quilters and their beautiful quilts.

Quilts | Craft in America

Contemporary quilters understand that however they came to be quilters, they carry a long tradition of quilting in our country's history. Learn about the diverse and culturally significant traditions in quilting in this episode of Craft in America dedicated to the art of quiltmaking.

Quilt Fever

So much of quiltmaking is about community. From quilting bees to grandmothers and aunts teaching youngest family members to sew to the informal gatherings that would happen at local fabric shops, quiltmakers are a gathering sort. In the film Quilt Fever, a PBS Short Film Festival favorite from Reel South, we follow along as a group of quilters gather for the yearly QuiltWeek events in Paducah, Kentucky.

A Look at Bisa Butler’s Quilted Portraits at Art Institute

Bisa Butler's quilted portraits are stunning. Her textiles capture a moment time yet tell layered stories of music, Black culture, and history. WTTW's Chicago Tonight spoke with Butler when her quilts were on display at the Art Institute of Chicago. The interview is enlightening and inspiring.

Quiltmakers of Gee's Bend

If you quilt, you know about the incredibly talented quiltmakers of Gee's Bend, Alabama. The community in Gee's Bend traces its quiltmaking roots to the enslaved people who lived there. The craft has been taught and passed down from generation to generation since. Each quilt from the Gee's Bend quiltmakers is a piece of art and a piece of history, revealing so much in every piece of fabric and stitch. In this 2004 documentary from Alabama Public Television, we visit Gee's Bend and accompany a few of the quiltmakers who traveled to see their quilts exhibited at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

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Native American quilter expands on Mohawk traditions

In this interview with Mountain Lake PBS Mohawk quilter Carla Hemlock discussed how she started quilting and how she continues to expand her artwork. Hemlock includes her family's beadwork in her own quilting and draws upon her Mohawk cultural meanings in her designs. We see time and again across communities, quilting and handicraft have a firm place in storytelling and intergenerational learning. 

These quilts weave together America's rich, complicated history

Last year Boston's Museum of Fine Arts presented an exhibition dedicated to, you guessed it, quilts. The history of America has been told in quilts, from textile history to social change, you can find all of those stories in the patchwork. Newshour takes us to the museum to learn more.

Read more about quilting

The Quilt Alliance has more information on National Quilting Day for anyone who is interested.

Indian Country Today has an insightful article with more information on Native American quilters and their work.

One of the most popular hashtags within Instagram's quilting community is #QuiltingIsMyTherapy. The therapeutic mental health benefits of crafting are not lost on anyone who has ever made something with their hands or been a part of a maker community. Sewing a quilt (much like crocheting a hat or knitting a shawl) can be a truly healing experience. Next Avenue talked to Missouri Star Quilt Company founder Jenny Doan about this very topic: How Quilting Can Bring Healing.

Did you know Ken Burns is a quilt collector? Yes, yes he is. His collection had never been shown to the public until he shared a small selection of them for display at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska Stories took us on the journey to view Ken Burns' quilts.