What is “Why Quilts Matter”…and Why Should it Matter to You? Tell Us and Win!

Last fall, I received a request from Jan Magee, editor in chief of The Quilt Life magazine, to write a feature piece on a documentary series called Why Quilts Matter. Since I had only the vaguest awareness of the series, I decided a little research was in order, so I rounded up a copy of the series DVD and settled in to watch. I viewed the series over the course of several evenings, and…well, in a word: WOW!

Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics is a landmark nine-part documentary series that is changing the way people think about quilts. The two-DVD set includes nine episodes, approximately 26 minutes each, plus seven bonus features, for a total of 250 minutes of informative and entertaining programming. Hosted by quilt collector and author Shelly Zegart, the series was created by The Kentucky Quilt Project, Inc. and profits go to further new quilt-related study and projects.

The series showcases dozens and dozens of quilts, both vintage and new. The WQM website provides an Image Resource Guide to identify them. Eli Lilly Family Album (detail) 1847 Cotton 104″ x 105″ Gift of Louise Emerson Francke, great-great-granddaughter of Eli Lilly, Indianapolis Museum of Art Indianapolis

“Summer Echo” by Joy Saville (detail). Collection of John M. Walsh III. Photo by Joseph Coscia.

Consider these episode titles: Quilts 101: Antique and Contemporary Quilts, What is Art?, Empowering Women One Quilt at a Time, Quilt Nation—20,000,000 Strong and Counting, The Quilt Marketplace. Is this stuff relevant? You bet! Whether your passion is making quilts, collecting quilts, talking about quilts, women’s art, quilt or women’s history, you’ll find much to love, to think and to talk about in Why Quilts Matter.

The Quilts of Gee’s Bend get their own episode–Episode 5–in Why Quilts Matter. Photo courtesy of Joe Cunningham and Julie Silber.

The series is available for purchase on the Why Quilts Matter site, which also offers a special group discount (four copies or more) for guilds. Other goodies you’ll find on the site include:

  •  Additional info about the series and what’s in it (including trailers for each episode)
  •  A downloadable Image Resource Guide that gives you the details on every quilt that appears in the series (and there are loads of great quilts!)
  • A downloadable guide with great ideas for using the series as guild programming

There’s lots more on the WQM site, and new resource materials and features are always in the works. To sum it up: Why Quilts Matter will make you proud of being a quilter…period. One quilter, upon viewing the series, stated, “This series makes me proud to say that I’m a quilter. I no longer need to explain myself, or justify the importance of what I do.”

Some members of the “Quilt Nation–20,000,000 Strong,” cruising the floor at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. Photo courtesy of Quilts, Inc. and the International Quilt Festival.

You’ll love this: We’ve got a copy of the Why Quilts Matter DVD-set to give away to one lucky See How We Sew visitor! Just leave a comment to tell us (as they used to say) “in 50 words or less” why quilts matter to you. Post your comment by midnight (PDT), Wednesday, August 8, and I’ll announce the winner in my Friday, August 10 post.

A few “odds and ends” before I wrap up for today:

I’ve heard from the quilter, and my baby quilt, Hugs and Kisses from Grandpa, will be ready soon. I’ve been working on a special “go-with” at my quilting getaway this past week, and will share that (and more) in my follow-up post, soon after the quilt is delivered.

On Friday, August 10, Canadian quilter Mary Elizabeth Kinch will be stopping by as part of the blog tour for her brand-new book, Small Pieces, Spectacular Quilts, which she co-authored with Biz Storm. Mary Elizabeth will be sharing tips for sewing with, sorting, and storing those little bits of fabric, and we’ll top off the post with a giveaway! Stay tuned…

Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget to mark your calendar to come and meet all four of the See How We Sew bloggers at Quilting in the Garden at Alden Lane Nursery in September.

Christie, Jennifer, Laura, and Darra will be featured artists at Quilting in the Garden at Alden Lane Nursery in Livermore, CA, on September 22 – 23. Come see us!

That’s it for now. ‘Til next time, happy stitching!

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37 Responses to What is “Why Quilts Matter”…and Why Should it Matter to You? Tell Us and Win!

  1. Pingback: Power to the (Quilting) People Through Crowd-Sourced Fundraising |

  2. Pingback: A Classic Revisited With A Virtual Log Cabin Quilt Show |

  3. Pingback: Get the Lowdown on Little Pieces from Mary Elizabeth Kinch–Coauthor of “Small Pieces, Spectacular Quilts” |

  4. Quilts matter to me because it helps bring me together with my daughter. She is nine and we our making our first quilt together for her bed. My two year old wants to make her own blanket too. She has started her own fabric collection at age two. She will be three in a few week and getting her first sewing basket to keep her fabric and lacing cards. Mother & daughters bonding! Shuttermom77 at gmail dot com

  5. MarciaW says:

    Quilts matter to me because I love the women who pieced and handquilted them. Great grandmothers, grandmother, great aunts, aunts, and my mother quilted with love threads. I love the grandnieces for whom I quilt too.

  6. Rachel says:

    “Why Quilts Matter”:
    I’m a new quilter, I’m making my first quilt top. Quilts matter because of the history, the love and the memories of my grandma and great-aunts making quilts with love, pleasure and need. I’m just getting started but it matters for me to do quilting with love and pleasure like my grandma.

  7. cindy moore says:

    I am not sure what it will mean to win but i have me making quilts just a couple of years now and i love it. I just hope it would help me out teach me some short cuts. Thanks again cindy

  8. Kathleen Ely says:

    Quilts are how I can best express my own creativity…and then my friends and family are covered with it.

  9. vwlady54 says:

    Quilts Matter to me because it the legacy I leave to my children, grandchildren and the generations to come. My many quilts will be here long after I’m gone & through them I will be connected to many future generations.

  10. Susan Paxton says:

    I am fairly new to quilting and love learning about quilts. I do have a quilt my great grandmother made for her daughters wedding. It is a crazy quilt and I love it so much. I would love to display it but don’t know how as it has fabrics that are disintegrating and don’t want to make it worse. I would love the DVD set and hope I win. I am in the process of making my first real quilt top.

  11. Kathy Stuart says:

    In my family, a quilt is love. I love to make them and everyone gets to receive one within a few years. The family continues to grow, but the quilts keep coming. They are used and admired, but appreciation is what is important. There is always a story behind them and as the grandkids grow older, the stories continue (and sometimes grow). Quilting is a living for some and what a great way to do a job. Thanks for sharing, I love the history behind quilting.

  12. Debra Joyce says:

    Quilts are a link back to the summers that I spent with my grandmother. Everyone that visited her home left with a quilt. It was her way of sharing with others. I would love to know where all of those quilts ended up. It never would have occurred to her to add a label. To her quilts were meant to be used and enjoyed. By making quilts, I feel like I am carrying forward a bit of her and those that passed along the tradition before her.

  13. Jenn says:

    Quilts are a physical form of love. They are a love of fabric, a love of friendship, a love of family, a love of creativity, a love of community, and a love of an art form. They bring joy, happiness, and love to the creator as well as the receiver. They are love!

  14. Nancy says:

    Quilts satisy me. I am inspired by their beauty, lost in the pleasures of their construction, comforted by their warmth, gifted by wonderful quilter friendships and proud to give them away.
    Quilts matter and have enriched my life beyond measure.

  15. Kelly Kreft says:

    As a first generation quilter, I wish I had quilts my grandmother ro great-grandmother would have made. Instead, I quilt for others and my greatest joy is when I receive a vintage top and return a quilt. Such treasures!!

  16. Donna W says:

    Quilts are forever timeless. Everyone loves a quilt, whether they know how to make one or not. Whether it is cuddling under one on a cold winter night, or enjoying the workmanship that has gone into it. I love them because they are my link to some of the greatest friends in the world!!!!

  17. Susie Kirk says:

    Why Quilts matter. Besides being homemade, beautiful, cozy heirlooms. They are our heritage. I Love to study the history of quilts.

  18. Chris b says:

    Making quilts is my therapy. It calms me at the end of a stressful work day and leaves me with not only peace but a useful, beautiful object. I give most of my quilts away and I hope the recipients think of me when they use the quilt.

  19. Kris says:

    Quilts are very much a part of our past. They very often reflect the ideas and attitudes of the times and can tell us a little about the people who make them. They also fulfill a need of a number of quilters to create something and to connect with other women, past and future. There is also somthing very comforting about a quilt.

  20. Linda Stone says:

    Quilts link us to those who have gone before, inspire those who come after and are the perfect way to express creativity and love. Whether they be traditional, art, applique, or anything in between, there is room for all and isn’t that a wonderful thing.

  21. Linda Stone says:

    Quilts have always been a part of my life, though I have seen them go in out of fashion. Whether they be traditional, art quilts, applique, hand, or machine quilted and everything in between, they are a way to express creativity and love. The beauty being, there is a place for all.

  22. Quilts are a part of my day where I can do something that lasts, that won’t have to be done again tomorrow. And, they allow me to share my love in an artistic but useful way. Warming giver and receiver.

  23. Sandy says:

    In 1987, when I took my first quilting class, I had no idea I was at the start of a great adventure! Quilting led me to discover that I love playing with fabric and inspired me to be more creative than I ever thought I could. Quilting led me to people who are now life-long friends and to take trips to places I’d never seen before. Today I could not image my life without quilts and quilting. Even when I’m not actually sewing, designs swirl in my head! Quilts Matter!

  24. Heather says:

    Quilts are an expression of art and a labour of love. It brings people together to share a common interest giving everyone opportunities to try many different styles and techniques. I love being able to give away many of my creations and know that I was thinking of them while making the quilt. A tangible heartfelt piece of me is in each one of my quilts.

  25. Deborah M says:

    Quilts and quilting are all about connection. Connection to my grandmother who was a seamstress in the early 20th century. Connection to all of the people for whom I make quilts. Connection to all of the wonderful people I’ve met through this compelling hobby!

  26. Nanette says:

    I have tried all forms of art, painting, jewelry making, crafts, etc, etc. I wish I had found quilting a long time ago. I love quilting and all that goes with it.

  27. Mrs. Plum says:

    Q quiet comfort
    U unique
    I infused with caring
    L love
    T tactile
    S sanctuary

  28. Anne Richardson says:

    Quilting–both the piecing and quilting–provide me with hours of pleasure–both solitary and in groups. I give away most of my quilts; it’s a way of giving my love and caring. I taught myself to quilt and since, have taught many others including a group of 12 who started a Prayer Quilt group at a church. My quilts have included a Prayer Quilt for my husband as he battled two different kinds of cancer, a “hundred good wishes quilt” for our beloved granddaughter, and many, many baby quilts, comfort quilts, prayer quilts, wedding quilts, and “hang-in there” quilts. My days are filled with joy because of this wonderful world of quilting.

  29. Pingback: Win a Why Quilts Matter DVD set | Quilt Views & News

  30. Kristin M says:

    I found quilting gave me the outlet I needed to create, plus you have an item that is useful and colorful. I love sharing my passion for quilting through teaching and pattern design. I have not played in those arenas for a while however. Quilting is a way to build community and friendship either through the internet or groups or your local quilt shop. As Thomas Knauer “Yeah Quilts”

  31. Sue Leenders says:

    Quilts matter as they are a connection with our mothers and grandmothers after they are gone. Wrapped in one of their quilts keeps the connection alive, like a hug when they were still with you and you needed that comforting hug in a tough moment.

  32. Martie says:

    Designing and making a quilt reflects who you are and is a work of art that can be shared for generations to come. By creating beautiful quilts, you leave a legacy for those you love because the quilts you create are a part of you and and expression of your life. Many hours and much work goes into designing, sewing, quilting and binding a quilt but, because we all love this whole process, it’s a labor of love. These quilts bring warmth and love to others long after we are gone. It’s a wonderful way to give of yourself and bring joy to others by sharing your talents and gifts.

  33. elaine says:

    thanks, darra, for another great resource that reminds us of all the reasons why we quilt. i went to the website to preview the DVD and also checked out the pdf files of all the sessions showing the quilts that are in the DVD. what a great resource. a must for every quilter’s library.

  34. Evelyn O'Brien says:

    Why Quilts Matter……..to me they are a piece of me that will last long past my lifetime. I started quilting when my children were born. My very first quilt was a Sunbonnet Sue for my daughter who is now 35. I took an evening course at a local school. My mother came along too. My Mum made her first real quilt during that session. I can recall watching her at a quilting bee putting stitches in a quilt that the local ladies from the farming community, where we lived at the time, had made for a charity event. But my mum did not make her own quilt until we took that first class together. Mum’s quilt was a Grandmothers Flower Garden. Unfortunately it proved to be a little on the difficult side as Mum used a combination of cottons and polyester fabrics. Those hexagons were a pain as she did the whole thing by hand. And then she quilted the entire queen size by hand as well! But she did it and I am proud to say that it still graces her bed and looks as good as it did 35 years ago. I hope that one day I will inherit it.
    And that brings me to the real reason that quilts matter to me. Because they contain the heart and soul of the maker. Every quilt that I have made tells a story and reflects something of me to the world. My love of colour, my love of working with my hands. The making of a quilt, whether small or large brings me peace and tranquilty.
    I have always loved the phrase A Quilt is a Blanket of Love. So whether it is a miniature to commerate a special occasion, a baby quilt for a new arrival, a bed quilt for each of my grandchildren. or just a fun piece to try a new technique, quilts matter.

  35. Pat says:

    Why do quilts matter? My six grandchildren will know how much their gramma loved them, long after I’m gone, every time they wrap themselves – and then their own children – in one of their special quilts.

  36. elle says:

    It’s a disposable, shoddy workmanship, trendy style and impersonal in the consumer’s world. I like to make my own.

  37. Carol esch says:

    Quilts are a connection with the past and continuation to the future loved for their creative artistry, color and passion. I have them all over my house…my own and many others and love living with them…..they give comfort.

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