Q.S.O.S. Spotlight

Today’s Q.S.O.S. Spotlight is shining on a 2002 interview with Rosemary Zaugg, in Fort Worth, Texas. In her interview, Rosemary shared about the 30 year gap between her first quilt and her second, how she came to quilt-making (again), and her advice to new quilters. Read on for more words of wisdom from Rosemary:

My first quilt was when I was 18 and right out of high school. When I was 15 or 16, I made a list of things that I was going to accomplish in my life and one of the things on there was ‘piece a quilt.’ And so I took a cardboard shoe box and took some cardboard templates, I first went to see my dad’s cousin who had tons of quilt tops that she had made all her life. People brought her scraps and people in the town had given her scraps to make quilt tops and they’d come and she would sell the quilt tops and she had hundreds of them. So I went to visit her and I picked out a pattern and she gave me her templates and I had cardboard templates and I cut out all these triangles with the scissors. The pattern was supposed to be “Hope of Hartford but I got the pinwheels turned around, half of them, so I called it “Hope of Rosemary.” And I got the quilt finished, my mother put it on the frame, and she had her friends come and quilt it. And I was going to learn to hand quilt and I pricked my finger and it bled on the quilt and my mother said, ‘Honey, you can serve the lemonade.’ So I never learned to hand quilt because I was serving the lemonade. So I checked off on the list that I had made my quilt and it was quilted. And that was in 1964, and I never did a quilt again until 1994. […]

In 1992, I had a liver transplant and I could not go back to work as an accountant because I couldn’t–I wouldn’t have the stamina to take that many hours. I had done our daughters’ wedding–we had two daughters get married and a liver transplant in eight months and when that all was over with, I got bored. I couldn’t go back to work and I said, ‘I think I’ll piece a quilt.’ My husband said, ‘Well, why don’t you write a book?’ and I said, ‘No, I think I’ll piece a quilt.’ I got a quilt book and by the first time I had–by the first quilt I got done, I had three more cut out. And it was just my thing and I just got into it and I made thirty-two full-size or queen-size bed quilts. I’ve made over 180 quilts. I have paper-pieced 1500 blocks in wall hangings, jackets, and quilts and I’ve got a few unfinished projects […]

Edie Jones (interviewer): What advice, in parting words, would you give to new quilters?

Rosemary Zaugg: The first couple of years, I said, ‘There are quilters who talk about it and quilters who do it.’ I said, ‘Get out there and do it. Don’t just go to meetings and learn about it. Don’t go to classes and never make a quilt. Get out there and do it.’ And the vender booth Pastime Fabrics has this display and she’s got these quilter’s quotes out there, and as I walked past it yesterday, I pointed to the one and I said, ‘It says, She who dies with the most fabric wins.’ I said, ‘That’s not really true. She who dies with the most fabric is still dead, so get out there and use the fabric, make the quilts, don’t just collect the fabric.’

You can read more quilt stories on the Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories page on the Quilt Alliance site.


Posted by Emma Parker
Project Manager,  Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories

Thank You Thursday Tributes – Week Two


Quilts are one of the things we leave behind, and it is the Quilt Alliance’s mission to make SURE those quiltmakers are remembered. Help us further that mission as you pay tribute to someone special to you.




Click here to make your own Thank You Thursday Tribute through December 31, 2014.

Today’s Thank You Thursday Tributes is in honor of two industry visionaries, made by a third. The Quilt Alliance would like to say thank you to Alex Veronelli for this week’s tribute, and to all of our donors for sharing their stories and for helping us continue to share the stories of all quilters.

Read previously shared Thank You Thursday Tributes here.


A Tribute to Janet-Lee Santeusanio and Mary Schilke by Alex Veronelli

JanetLeetrib_fromAlexVI would like to extend an enormous thank you to Janet-Lee Santeusanio & Mary Schilke as they, in early 2009 insisted and persuaded me to take a flight from Italy to USA in order to visit MQX show in Manchester NH.

That had been my first time attending at a retail show and gave me the opportunity to meet with people face to face and begin relationships with personalities in the quilt industry that have blossomed into friendships. This was the first time I ever made an appearance in person at a quilt related show in USA, so I will never forget MQX 2009 as I consider it a fundamental life event for my business career.

Alex Veronelli is Product Manager and Brand Jedi for Aurifil.

giftMake your own donation to the Quilt Alliance in honor of someone who has given you the gift of quilting. Complete information here.

Twice the Good (and why you should)!

This year do twice the good with one donation. Remember the Quilt Alliance this giving season with a donation of any amount and each dollar you give will be matched by a generous family foundation (up to $15,000 total in matching funds).
Please consider joining, renewing your membership or making a one-time gift by December 31. All donors are invited to honor someone special with all gifts over $25–see the details of our Thank You Thursday Tributes here.

Why you should
Donations of any amount advance our mission and allow us to continue the work that you value–documenting, preserving and sharing the rich stories of quilts and quiltmakers from all over our community. Please consider joining, renewing your membership or making a one-time gift by December 31.

1. Support the Alliance because you care deeply about the documentation and preservation of the rich history of quilts and their makers. Our members and donors provide significant support for our core projects like Q.S.O.S. and Go Tell It at the Quilt Show! and allow us to partner on projects like The Quilt Index. We document, record and share, even when you can’t be there! Over 100 Go Tell It at the Quilt Show! interviews were collected at the International Quilt Festival in Houston this year!
Here’s Sandra Branjord talking about the quilt that healed her:

2. You will receive Story Quarters, a new members-only e-newsletter with “Behind the Seams” stories about quilts and their makers from our staff, board, volunteers, and partners.


3. You will receive discounts on ticketed events like Quilters Take Manhattan (Save the Date: September 25-27, 2015 in NYC!), and our second Quilts & Oral history Conference (July 17-18, 2015, Herndon, VA).











4. You can enter our annual contest for only $5/entry. Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen Grand Prize! Entries due May 1. 2015 contest theme: Animals We Love.







5. You’ll receive our new membership lapel pin, and if you join or renew your membership (or make a donation of at least $25) by December 31 you’ll be automatically entered to win one of these great prizes provided by members of our stellar board of directors:

Thank You Thursday: Tributes With Love

remembermeQuilts are one of the things we leave behind, and it is the Quilt Alliance’s mission to make SURE those quiltmakers are remembered. Help us further that mission as you pay tribute to someone special to you.

Click here to make your own Thank You Thursday Tribute through December 31, 2014.

Today’s Thank You Thursday Tributes honor mentors, grandmothers, friends and teachers. The Quilt Alliance would like to say thank you to these donors for sharing their stories and for helping us continue to share the stories of all quilters:

Patricia L. Walters
Michelle Flamer
Allison Aller
Janneken Smucker
Marin Hanson
Susanne Jones
Lisa Ellis
Leslie Tucker Jenison
Amy Milne
Janet-Lee Santeusanio
Mary Schilke

PatriciaWalters_Cottage In The Dale

“Cottage in the Dale” by Patricia L. Walters

A Tribute to Laura Wasilowski by Patricia L. Walters

A big thank you to Laura Wasilowski who teaches in person as well as on Craftsy where I met her.  I made my first Art Quilt because of her class Hand Stitched Collage Quilts.  I attached a copy of this quilt Cottage in the Dale and made a monetary donation in her honor.  Because of the technique she taught me, I have also made three (3) Abstract Art Quilts and am working on more.


A Tribute to My Friend Cory by Michelle Flamer


Block for “Whispering Walls” by Cory

My friend Cory was an accomplished quilter and needle artist.  Orange was one of her favorite colors, a vibrant color that matched her personality.  It was only fitting that Cory would sew the keystone block for “Whispering Walls, a suspended nine block quilt made to honor the nine enslaved persons kept at George Washington’s residence in Philadelphia.  At her memorial service I discovered that Cory had won a first place ribbon from the prestigious Woodlawn competition for her embroidery. Woodlawn was the home of Nellie Custis, Martha Washington’s niece.  Ona Judge, one of the nine slaves, escaped from the Washingtons when she learned that she would be given to Nellie as a wedding gift and taken to Woodlawn. Discovering Cory’s connection to Woodlawn was another fascinating part of her story-much like the quilt stories documented by the Alliance.


A Tribute to My Cousin Tracy by Allison Aller

allie aller 3rd quilt 1981

Quilt by Allison Aller

My cousin Tracy was so far ahead of her time in quilting.  She was a freelance commercial illustrator and her medium was applique, way back in the early 1970’s.  I was visiting her after the death of my mom and somehow she knew what would be so helpful to me during that trip.  Little did I know how how Tracy would change my life when she suggested I look through her fabric cabinet and take whatever I wanted to start a quilt. I’ve been quilting non stop ever since, and owe it all to Tracy.

Here is my third quilt, from 1981, hand pieced and quilted.  It was a sampler pattern and I didn’t know any better than to take on something so hard!  This was before rotary cutters and see through rulers, I might add–and I used all cardboard templates. It took a year (I was milking cows and busy at the time.)  I guess it was a secret harbinger of all the handwork to come.


A Tribute to Esther Beechy McDowell by Janneken Smucker


Janneken Smucker (left) with her Grandma Esther Beechy McDowell (right)

I’ve just made a donation in honor of my grandma, Esther Beechy McDowell, who learned to quilt as a young woman and inspired me to learn when I was in my teens. Needless to say, my adventures with quilts have pretty much shaped my adult life. The photo is my grandma and me examining her first quilt, made c. 1928.

See another photo here of Janneken working on her first quilt with three (of five) generations of Mennonite quiltmakers in her family.


A Tribute to Carolyn Ducey by Marin Hanson


Carolyn Ducey, Curator of Collections at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum

I just donated in honor of my first quilt mentor, Carolyn Ducey, who took me under her wing when I arrived at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum as a graduate assistant. 15 years later we are still the best of pals and the best of colleagues! Here she is doing what she loves the most: showing off our beautiful quilts to visitors at Quilt House.


A Tribute to Lisa Ellis by Susanne Jones


Susanne Jones (left) with her mentor Lisa Ellis (right)

My thank you goes to my mentor, Lisa Ellis. In 2010, Lisa said that I could borrow her sewing machine while she spent the summer in California. I was going over to learn how to use it, so she said bring a few fat quarters. So I did and went for my machine lesson. What I got was the best 8 hour one on one lesson in beginning quilt making from a very talented friend. Lisa is so generous with her time and she has introduced me to so many wonderful quilters. Because of her, I quilt. Because of her I am involved in the Sacred Threads Committee, the Quilt Alliance and SAQA. I am forever grateful to my dear friend, Lisa for starting me on this wonderful journey and introducing me to the sisterhood of quilters.


A Tribute to Judy House by Lisa Ellis


Judy House

With my donation to the Quilt Alliance, I am honoring my very special mentor and friend Judy House who started the Healing Quilts in Medicine initiative that is now a huge part of my life and passion. I had been quilting for a year when I took her art quilt class at our local quilt shop in the fall of 2004. I learned so much from her in just three short sessions. She saw something in me that prompted her to invite me to participate in the Walter Reed Army Medical Center project to make art quilts for the cancer center. During the project, through the spring of 2005, I developed a close working relationship with her and learned about using our quilting passions to give back and make a difference. We lost this lovely woman in July 2005 to breast cancer. I miss her. Her legacy continues through many new healing quilts in medicine projects.

A Tribute to Inspirations and Mentors by Leslie Tucker Jenison

There are several important women who inspired and/or mentored me along my journey as a quilt artist.  I owe each a debt of gratitude for their gifts to me:  my grandmother, Maude Tucker, the late Edith York, my “aunt-in-law” Ardeth Laake, Libby Lehman, and Hollis Chatelain.  These particular women had a major impact on my work as a quilt artist.  I am forever grateful. Visit Leslie’s blog to read her full-length tribute piece.

Micki Batté with her quilt

Micki Batté with her quilt

A Tribute to Mary Kay (Micki) Batté by Amy Milne

When the Quilt Alliance moved to Asheville in 2006, I was still in my first year of working with the organization. Even though I grew up in Western N.C., I did not know the quilting community there at all. The Asheville Quilt Guild assigned Micki Batté as a liaison to help the Alliance get acclimated. She connected me to other guild members, let me borrow quilts to hang in the office, volunteered to help with events and projects and even helped us demonstrate our Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories project during the taping of her own Q.S.O.S. interview with Alice Helms in 2011. Micki became my go-to resource for all things quilt, but more than that, she became a friend and a mentor. She and her husband Tom embraced our family: attending dance recitals, soccer games, and birthday parties and sharing their friends with us. Micki came to our rescue during some tough times and brought sunshine (and cake) in. For all this, I am so grateful to her. Be sure to wish her a Happy Birthday with me on December 14!


Make your own donation to the Quilt Alliance in honor of someone who has given you the gift of quilting. Complete information here.

Giving Tuesday and Thank You Thursday!

“Remember Me” by Sue Rivers. Click image to visit this Quilt Index record.

Quilts are one of the things we leave behind, and it is the Quilt Alliance’s mission to make SURE those quiltmakers are remembered. Help us further that mission on Giving Tuesday ant through December as you pay tribute to someone special to you. See the Thank You Thursday Tributes posted to date.

Giving Tuesday was founded in 2012 by New York’s 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation as a global day dedicated to giving back. In contrast to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is about coming together to give generously and then sharing your giving story to inspire others via the social media tag #GivingTuesday.

This year on Giving Tuesday (and up to December 31), make a generous donation to the Quilt Alliance in honor of someone who has given you the gift of quilting: a teacher, a family member, or a friend who showed you how or inspired you to quilt.

 1. Make a donation of at least $25. Make a secure online donation via our website.


2. Email your Giving Tuesday Tribute to information@quiltalliance.org. Send us text (200 words or less) – a story, a poem, a dedication–it’s up to you, and attach photo in jpg or png format.

3. We’ll share your tribute in our Thank You Thursday blog and eBurst posts starting on December 4th and running through December 31. Please share these posts on your social media sites with the tags #GivingTuesday, #ThankYouThursday, and  #QuiltAlliance to share  your support of our mission to document, preserve and share the rich history of quilts and their makers.

Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar!


And thanks to a very generous donation from a family foundation who believes in our work, every contribution made during the Giving Tuesday project will be matched dollar for dollar.  Let me repeat that ; ) –every contribution made during the Giving Tuesday project will be matched dollar for dollar!

Click here to make a secure donation now.

ALittleThankYou_890x806And, if that’s not enough to motivate you, as an added incentive and thank you to our supporters, our generous Quilt Alliance board members have offered these exciting products for our End-of-Year Giveaway! All members and donors who make a donation/membership payment of at least $25 by December 31, will automatically be entered to win one of the following prizes:

Don’t delay, give today: http://www.allianceforamericanquilts.org/support/


Q.S.O.S. Spotlight

Here in the US, we’ve just finished the Thanksgiving holiday, a time to celebrate, gather, remember and give thanks for our families. But now that that holiday is finished, the malls and commercials have started pushing one thing: gifts for Christmas! Today’s Q.S.O.S. spotlight features an excerpt from an interview with Bonnie Gallagher as she talks about making gifts for her family:

Bonnie Gallagher: I’m doing the family Christmas project this year is they are holiday fabrics actually and they are table runners and table toppers for everyone’s dining room tables for the holidays with the exception of one for my nephew, Misha, and his wife-to-be, Katie I asked them to be really specific with me about what they would like in the way of quilting because I said, ‘After all your Aunt Bonnie quilts and that’s what everybody gets for Christmas.’ [both laugh.]

Bless his heart, two years ago Misha asked me, he said, ‘Well Aunt Bonnie, now that I’ve graduated from college and I have my own apartment and I’m fully grown. Does that mean I get to graduate to the family quilt project list?’ I just couldn’t believe it. I could have just hugged him because first of all he was a guy and second of all he was a guy in his 20’s and so it was kind of like graduating to the adult table at Thanksgiving when you’re a little kid. [both laugh.]

I said, ‘You bet.’ I said, ‘Well, did you have anything specific in mind?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I love having friends over for dinner and I really would like to have one of your table toppers and those wonderful napkins that you make.’

I said, ‘Well, I have one more question.’ He said, ‘Blue and green.’ [both laugh.] He knew what that next question was.

This year, bless his heart, I asked he and Katie here not soon enough practically. I said, ‘Did they have any specific thing in mind this year?’ And they both said, “Yep, you have one over here on your quilt rack that we both just love.’ And I said, ‘Ah oh, so do you remember which one it was?’ By golly, they went right to it and it was a Bargello quilt that I’d made to commemorate my mother’s Chinese dinners over the years and they just loved it.

Well, I’ll tell you, Bargello, some of these pieces are like 7/8 inches wide and they are just itty-bitty things, but it’s a technique that I love to do. It is just that I kind of recalled that one quilt I did for Mom took me about two months and here I’m asking them the first of November what it is they want for Christmas this year. I’m down to the borders now, hallelujah. They may not have it quilted in time for Christmas, but they will be able to see the design. That’s kind of fun.

Carolyn Kolzow (interviewer): What a treasure.  

BG: Yeah, well I hope they like it. [laughs.] I said, ‘Oh cripes, you guys are going for the art quilts.’ I said, ‘You do know those take a little longer than the traditional ones.’ Anyway, that is okay. It gives me a warm heart that they’re thrilled with it.

CK: I suppose that is what you find most pleasing about quilts too.

BG: I do. It’s like you think of whomever you’re making them for with great love every stitch of the way. I mean you have that person in mind and it’s just wonderful and they know it when they get it that quilt was especially made for them. It does give me great joy.

I did for this year’s family reunion that Jim and I host here at the house in Sandy for all my Lippincott, my father’s family, come and I’m fortunate enough to have still five aunts and uncles that are living on that side, which thankfully makes me feel not quite so much like an orphan with both of my parents gone now.

Every year for the family reunion I do a big quilt, a napping size I guess I call it. The napping blanket and I only let my aunts and uncles put their name into the hat and I pull a name or have the youngest person at the reunion pull a name and that quilt goes home with that aunt or uncle.

My Uncle Boyd won the last one and my Aunt Sharon won before then and my Aunt Rhodie bless her heart is 96 years old, so she called me about March and she said, ‘Bonnie this is your Aunt Rhodie. Have you started that family reunion quilt yet?’ And I said, ‘Well no, I have clear till August.’ Anyway she said, ‘Well, I’m kind of figuring this out. I think my odds are improving.’ Because if they won before they are not eligible at the next one. She said, ‘So your Aunt Becky usually only comes to every other reunion.’ She said, ‘Your Uncle Boyd already won and your Aunt Sharon already won.’ So she figures, ‘I’m down to one in three now and I really want to win that quilt before I die.’

And I thought, ‘Oh my God. How am I going to do this?’ I just shifted into high gear and I figured the only way I was going to do it was to make a quilt for each and every one of them for this year’s reunion. I did. I made a total of six of them each specifically for that person. 

A Dancer and a Quilt from Washington.

On this day in 1936, postmodern dancer and choreographer Trisha Brown was born in Aberdeen, Washington. Brown founded the avante-garde Judson Dance Theater in 1962. She has collaborated with artists Robert Rauschenberg and Laurie Anderson, including the piece “If you couldn’t see me” (1984) danced entirely with her back to the audience. Brown was the first female choreographer to receive the coveted MacArthur Foundation Fellowship “Genius Award.”

Allison Ann Aller  created this 16” x 16” crazy quilt titled “Hungarian Medallion” in Washougal, Washington for the Quilt Alliance’s 2014 Inspired By contest/exhibition/auction. Allie wrote in her artist’s statement:

I love Broderie Perse and medallions quilts, so the quilt I chose for my inspiration was the perfect jumping off point. Because I am a crazy quilter, I am used to working in three dimensional surface design, so including such embellishment was inevitable! The colors of course came from the happy Hungarian embroidery that is the focus of the quilt. It is bound in vintage velvet ribbon.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to find out! Read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about that quilt.


Quilt Index partners

Amy Milne headshot

Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance