Visit us at our new home

This is our final post to this address. Please bookmark our blog at its new home

The Quilt Alliance is pleased to announce the launch of our new website! Please, take a look around, make yourself at home, and let us know what you think.

I first learned about the Quilt Alliance in 2002 when I was a graduate student in Textile History and Quilt Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. While attending the annual American Quilt Study Group seminar, I met a board member of the Alliance for American Quilts, as the organization was then called. She was attending AQSG to train members in how to conduct oral history interviews for the recently launched Quilters S.O.S. – Save Our Stories oral history project. As I soon learned, the Quilt Alliance was a virtual hub for quilts, and its website—one of the first sites dedicated to quilts on the World Wide Web—was known as “The Center for the Quilt Online.”

Much has changed in our digital world since our founders established the Quilt Alliance in 1993. At that point, the World Wide Web was in its infancy. Today, the Quilt Alliance is far from the only website dedicated to quilts. In fact, the World Wide Web has changed quilting as we know it, helping foster communities of quiltmakers; teach new generations of quilters the art; and disseminate quilt knowledge, images, and stories on a scale unanticipated in 1993. Those outside the quilt world may assume quiltmaking is a dying art—just as some have claimed since at least the 1840s! But a mere glimpse at any number of quilt focused communities, organizations, or businesses indicates strongly otherwise! And much of this growth has transpired online.

The Quilt Alliance is now one of many centers for the quilt online, each part of the thriving world quiltmakers and quilt enthusiasts inhabit. We are glad to not be alone in this digital world, and are in fact in very good company. We hope our new website will help us continue to play a vital role in this digital quilt network. We have strived to harness new tools to share our amazing projects with you and hope you’ll be patient with us as we iron out all the kinks (or should I say, press all the seams flat?) of our new platform.

Enjoy, and do come back soon!

SmuckerPosted by Janneken Smucker
President of the Board of Directors, Quilt Alliance

In Memory of YP

Beloved quilt world legend Yvonne Porcella died on Friday. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends and by so many in the quilt world–her fellow artists, her students, her colleagues at SAQA and the Quilt Alliance.

Yvonne (or YP as many called her) was documented by the Quilt Alliance and its partners via projects like Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories (Q.S.O.S.), Go Tell It at the Quilt Show!, Quilt Treasures and The Quilt Index (see excerpts below). The vibrancy of her work and her spirit were exciting and magnetic, and the YP brand was easy to spot–bright red and/or pink and always a black and white element (be it a quilt binding or a pair of socks, pants
or glasses).
YvonnePorcellaMany of our sister organizations have also documented and honored Yvonne. (Find links to these resources at the end of this post.) In 1989, Yvonne founded the Studio Art Quilt Associates organization and remained committed to its mission until her death. In 1998, she was inducted into the Quilters Hall of Fame in Marion, Indiana. That same year, Yvonne was named the 5th recipient of the Silver Star Award at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas.

Yvonne was very supportive of the Quilt Alliance’s newest project, Go Tell It at the Quilt Show! which debuted in 2012. We recorded two Go Tell It!’s with Yvonne in 2014: the first during SAQA’s 25th anniversary conference in Alexandria, Virginia and the second at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas.

Yvonne’s life and work was documented by the Quilt Treasures project in 2002. Quilt Treasures, a joint project of the Quilt Alliance, Michigan State University Museum and MATRIX Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences, documented the stories of a limited number of notable individuals – quiltmakers, designers, business people, collectors, scholars, publishers – who were instrumental in moving the 20th century quilt revival forward in some significant way.

Yvonne’s Quilt Treasures Web Portrait includes a photo gallery, biography and timeline, and features a Mini Documentary video and Interview clips (below):

Yvonne Porcella Mini-Documentary

Interview clips


As a founding board member of the Quilt Alliance, Yvonne contributed to many aspects of the organization’s projects and initiatives, including co-founding the Alliance quilt contest. In 2006, she worked with Karen Musgrave to launch this annual fundraising and documentary effort, and since then, artists from the United States and around the world have created and donated 872 quilts to support the Quilt Alliance. For the past nine  years, Yvonne has made and donated one or more of her own quilts to the contest. Here are those quilts, now documented both on the Quilt Alliance website as well as in The Quilt Index.


Yvonne’s struggle with cancer was long and daunting. As a former nurse, she knew her body and her illness with precision. She managed to stay incredibly positive in the face of her prognosis, and maintained a lightness of being and sense of humor that fueled her fight.

Yvonne explaining Quilt Match Manhattan to the crowd at Quilters Take Manhattan 2013.

Yvonne explaining Quilt Match Manhattan to the crowd at Quilters Take Manhattan 2013. She was one of the judges and dressed appropriately in black and white stripes (part of that spunky YP brand).

When Yvonne had to cancel her presentation at the Quilt Alliance’s 2015 Quilters Take Manhattan event, it was not her battle with cancer that prevented her from attending. She called me, laughing, about a week before the event to explain that she had dropped a giant bottle of ketchup on her foot and her doctor wouldn’t let her fly in that condition. She even texted me the photo of her foot as we talked, so we could mock the situation together with proper visual aides.


Yvonne making me (and anyone within earshot) laugh at Quilters Take Manhattan 2014.

Keeping up with the latest technology, while never losing touch with handwork was a central theme in her optimism and excitement for the future. In this Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories interview conducted on November 29, 1999, Yvonne talks about anticipating the Twentieth Century.


Q.S.O.S. Interview, Nov. 29, 1999. International Quilt Festival, Houston, Texas.

Interviewer, Jeri Baldwin: What have you done with thinking about the Twentieth Century in your work and your teaching? What do you think you’ll change, or will you want to change, or what do you want to leave the same? What are you going to take into the Twenty-first Century as a quilter and as a teacher?

Yvonne Porcella: I’m still going to take the passion I have for doing it by hand. I’m going to take the passion of creating something totally for myself, that pleases myself, that comes from myself. I am not interested in scanning it on the computer. I am not interested in coloring it on the computer. Because to me the reason I am an artist, which was very difficult for me to even reach that point where that I can verbalize it because I was trained as a nurse. I was trained as a mother, as a grandmother and to be an artist was to say to people, ‘Well, I think I am an artist although I am not academically trained.’ But I have a passion and I know that if I don’t do the work that I’d be unhappy. So for me the twenty-first century will be similar to the twentieth century because I will continue to work until I can no longer work. The wonderful part of being an artist is that the wonderful ideas never stop so the concept of the creativity that will be produced in the–however long I am going to live is very exciting to me.

On behalf of the board, staff and membership of the Quilt Alliance, I want to send my condolences to Yvonne’s family.

Rest in peace, dear friend, colleague and treasure. You inspired us to be our Best.

Please leave your own remembrance of Yvonne below in the comments.

"The Best", 2014, "Inspired By" contest.

“The Best”, 2014, “Inspired By” contest.

Those who would like to make a tax-deductible gift to the Quilt Alliance in Yvonne’s honor can make a secure donation online via credit card or PayPal here:

Or mail a check, payable to Quilt Alliance to:
Quilt Alliance
67 Broadway Street, Suite 200
Asheville, NC 28801

Please indicate “In Honor of Yvonne Porcella” in the memo or description line.
You can contact us here: or 828-251-7073

More online resources about Yvonne Porcella:

Studio Art Quilt Associates
Quilters Hall of Fame
The Quilt
Yvonne Porcella’s website
San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
Twisted Sister (blog of Jamie Fingal)
Pokey’s Ponderings (blog of Pokey Bolton)
Video interview with Yvonne recorded by Lisa Ellis in November 2015
C&T Publishing

Amy Milne headshot

Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance

Story Spotlight Sunday

Sometimes the quiltmaker isn’t the only one who has a story to share about a quilt. At this year’s International Quilt Festival, Susan Stewart shared her quilt “Blue Plate Special”, winner of the Superior Threads Master Award for Thread Artistry. Can you believe almost all of the color on this quilt is machine embroidery?!
After Susan shared her story, her husband Mark did a Go Tell It at the Quilt Show! interview about his experience living with a quilter, traveling to quilt shows, and the quilt world in general.

Thanks so much to Susan and Mark for sharing two sides of the same quilt’s story!

You can watch more quilt stories from the International Quilt Festival on the Quilt Alliance’s Youtube page.


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

My Top Ten List for Why I Love Attending “Quilters Take Manhattan”!

Were you at our 2015 Quilters Take Manhattan event? Even if you missed it, here’s a GREAT post from Alliance board member Laurie Russman. There are more than 10 reasons to add QTM 2016 to your calendar now, but these are some of our favorites!


My Top 10 List of reasons to attend QTM:

10- You get to visit NYC during its best weather season…there’s a reason songs like “Autumn in New York were written!

9- You have the opportunity to get an inside look into the fabric industry by taking one of the Friday tours (and, pssst, there are goody bags :))

8- QTM’s headquarters for the event are in the midst of innumerable galleries…you can totally get your art fix.

7- You never know who you’ll run into while in town…

6- You can buy signed copies of best-selling quilting books and meet amazing authors like Jamie Fingal, Leslie Tucker Jenison, Victoria Findlay Wolfe and so many more…

5- You can hang out in the best local quilt shop you’ll ever encounter- The City Quilter. Cathy and Dale and the team curate the quilting world for the very best in notions, have an…

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Reprise post: “Logging Peter to Play Paul”

Today we are reprising a July 7, 2014 post:

On this day in 1877, the first lawn tennis tournament was held at Wimbledon, then a suburb of London. The event, hosted by the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club, attracted twenty-one amateur male competitors. In 1884, the Lady’s Singles was introduced at Wimbledon.

An unknown quilter hand and machine pieced and hand quilted this Robbing Peter to Pay Paul quilt around 1885 in Pennsylvania. From this record:

“The back is made of two different fabrics. The center one has a brown ground with light brown, pink, rose, and red figures, roller printed. It depicts male and female tennis players playing mixed doubles, a women reclining in a hammock with a dog, 2 children playing, parrot tulip, birds, roses, ferns, trees, morning glories, etc.”

The quilt is now in the collection of the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, and it was documented in The Quilt Index as part of the Michigan Quilt Project.

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

Enter the Not Fade Away Conference Ticket Giveaway!

If you are still pondering a quilt getaway weekend for this July–look no more!

NFA2015logo_800wideThe Quilt Alliance’s biennial educational and inspiration conference, Not Fade Away: Sharing  Stories in the Digital Age will be held on Friday, July 17 and Saturday, July 18, 2015 at the Floris United Methodist Church in Herndon, Virginia.

Come to this fun and inspirational conference to:

• Hear 2015 Keynote Speaker: Marin Hanson–“One Hundred Good Wishes Quilts: Commemorating and Documenting Adoptions from China”
• Learn how to self-publish a book about your own quilts
• Listen to curators and historians discuss how family trees can provide clues to quilt history
• Make creative quilt labels with quilt artists Leslie Tucker Jenison & Michele Muska
• Meet the people doing cutting-edge oral history projects on today’s quilters
• Hear about the history and future of the Quilt Barn Trails project
• Learn how to use the unique and deep resources of the Quilt Alliance to inspire your own work
• See the 2015 Sacred Threads Exhibition – one-day admission is included in conference registration
• Join Quilt Alliance board members, conference presenters and other attendees for an optional Fundraising Dinner on Saturday night to honor outgoing Alliance president Meg Cox.

 Full details on Not Fade Away can be found on the Quilt Alliance website here.
Tickets are available for the full conference, Friday only, Saturday only (full day or morning only) and even a Home Ticket option that gives you access to most conference sessions via videos distributed after the event. Quilt Alliance members receive a discount on tickets.

Not Fade Away attendees can also take advantage of this great Sacred Threads sponsored bus trips: Museum Bus Tour on Friday, July 17 (9:00 am – 5:00 pm).
Tickets: $75/person
Click here to register for these tours separately on the Sacred Threads ticket site.

Ticket Giveaway Details:

Three winners will be chosen at random to receive a pair of tickets* to attend Not Fade Away. Tickets do not include the Saturday night Fundraising Dinner.

Deadline to enter: Sunday, July 5 at 12:00 Midnight EDT. Names will be drawn on Monday, July 6, and the winners will be announced on the Quilt Alliance Facebook page by 5:00 pm EDT on that day.

Click here to enter the Not Fade Away Ticket Giveaway!


Sponsored by:

Meet All of the “Animals We Love” Contest Winners

On Monday, we announced the winners of “Animals We Love,” the Quilt Alliance’s 9th annual quilt contest. We were thrilled to receive so many stunning, well-crafted, and story-rich entries this year. When Alliance board members e-gathered last spring to conceptualize the 2015 theme, we agreed that we wanted to offer a topic that would have broad appeal. We wanted a subject that quilters bond over when they’re not bonding over quilting. I shared with the group that some of our most popular posts on the Quilt Alliance Facebook page have featured my cat, Frazier Duane. Lightbulb: Animals We Love!


Frazier Duane checking messages.

We kept the theme open-ended as we have with all of our contests. The only requirements were size (16″ x 16″) and “quiltiness” (had to be made of 3 layers stitched together). Animal-adoring quilters from 23 U.S. states and 6 countries mailed us their gorgeous artworks. International entries came from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Sweden and the United Kingdom, and several entries are the result of a collaboration of two or more quilters.

The Grand Prize for the contest is the highly sought-after HQ Sweet Sixteen sit-down longarm machine package (machine, table and bobbin winder) by Handi Quilter, Inc. Professional judges Marianne Fons, Mark Lipinski and Paula Nadelstern chose the Handi Quilter Grand Prize Winning quilt, “Giraffe Nocturne,” by Nancy S. Brown of Oakland, California. Nancy said about her win: 

Nancy S BrownI first learned about the “Animals We Love” contest through “The Quilt Show” newsletter. I have always loved animals and I thought making a quilt would be a nice way to support an organization that does such great work for the quilting world in preserving the stories of quilts and quilters. I was just hoping that the quilt would raise some money for The Quilt Alliance at auction.

So imagine my absolute surprise and delight when I received the call from Amy Milne informing me that I won the grand prize. Wow!!! What an honor—especially given all of the wonderful and varied quilts in the contest. I had a hard time choosing my own favorite for the member’s vote.

I have always been a hand quilter but have often admired the beautiful machine quilting that is being done now. So with the prize of the Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen I am looking forward to trying my hand at something new. I have heard many great things about this particular machine. I can’t wait to start this new adventure!

Thanks to Handi Quilter for being such a generous sponsor in this contest. Thanks also to all of the quilters who donated their time and talent in a show of love for animals and support for the Quilt Alliance. And a very special thanks to The Quilt Alliance for all of the hard work that you do in promoting quilting and in saving our heritage by preserving our stories.

–Nancy S. Brown 


Watch and listen to a Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories interview with Handi Quilter Grand Prize winner Nancy S. Brown conducted on June 10, 2015 by Quilt Alliance staffer Emma Parker here.


“Giraffe Nocturne” by Nancy S. Brown (Handi Quilter Grand Prize winner)

Here’s the full report from our judges:

Many thanks to all who participated in the “Animals We Love” competition—you charmed, delighted, and intrigued us with your many and varied reflections on the animal kingdom. The three of us were pleased to have the opportunity once again to get on the phone together to “ooh” and “aah” as we clicked back and forth on the various entry images, enjoying them so much, and gradually narrowing down our choices.

This year’s Grand Prize goes to “Giraffe Nocturne.” All three of us had this particular entry squarely among our top saves. We love the maker’s fabric choices and skilled use of needle-turn applique. This is a work where everything—the pieced background with its distant moon, the composition of the giraffe in the foreground, and the many details such as the animal’s expressive eye—works together perfectly. Congratulations to the artist!

We were glad to have the opportunity again this year to each select a personal Judge’s Choice. Here are our picks:

Mark Lipinski’s Judge’s Choice pick: “Bzzzzz”


“Bzzzzzz” by Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill of Woodbridge, Connecticut

Because the quiltmaker took a creative risk and interpreted the competition’s theme in a totally different way and style than the other entrants, Bzzzzz immediately caught my attention and interest. The pieced work, with its clean and graphic design shapes, was appealing to me. Blending a combination of the modern aesthetic (more than average negative space, solid and contrasting color combos, a sense of minimalism) with traditional piecework (matching points, traditional quilting, a variation on a traditional Lone Star quilt pattern) was both interesting and appealing. The use of the grey and black pieced strips in the bees’ wings adds movement and depth, while the soft hued binding only complements the totality of the piece rather than abruptly stopping the eye with a more predictable choice of bright yellow, black, or grey. Frankly, there was nothing that I didn’t enjoy about this entry.

Paula Nadelstern’s Judge’s Choice pick: “Olive, Olive You <3”


“Olive. Olive you <3” by Lisa B. Filion of Queensbury, New York

Let me set the record straight: I do not love guinea pigs. But I love this whimsical, thoughtful little quilt. I love the furry figure with her moony, mish-mashed eyes. I love the sweet green patchwork ground; I think it would be time well spent to examine the work up close to see if any swatch was used twice. I’m impressed with the carefree, impulsive effect which masks deliberate technical choices. I vicariously share the maker’s fun of slipping something macabre (i.e. the skeleton) into the sweetness, and I’m impressed with the use of pink that doesn’t mar the realism. I exalt in its fabric-ness. Like me, this maker clearly thinks, “When it comes to fabric, more is MORE!”

Marianne Fons’ Judge’s Choice Pick: “Grandpa T and His Salad”

"Grandpa T and His Salad" by Cindy Cooksey of Irvine, California

“Grandpa T and His Salad” by Cindy Cooksey of Irvine, California

A high contrast, hot-pink-and-black plaid fabric as the background for pictorial applique would generally be a disaster, but in this artist’s hands it worked perfectly. That crazy, bold fabric adds whimsy and humor to the drama taking place on this quilt, i.e., the turtle’s laborious journey toward lettuce, broccoli, and tomatoes. I love the way Grandpa T’s little hind foot breaks the edge of the quilt on the left side. The fabrics the maker chose for his shell are perfect, and the quilting on the shell panels add great realism. The shading under Grandpa T’s shell and the luncheon plate, the big-stitch quilting in the background, and the loose-edge applique used for the vegetables all work together beautifully. The big risk this artist took really paid off for me!

As judges, we’d also like to send shout-outs to five other entrants. We spent a lot of time viewing their quilts, enjoying them, making the difficult decisions of just which quilt would be the Grand Prize winner and which three would be our personal choices. We want these makers to know their terrific quilts were in the running!

Judges’ Shout-outs to:

Finally, big thanks to Amy Milne for getting us all organized and together in one (virtual) spot, as well as to Lisa Ellis who designed the fantastic software (ArtCall) we used for the judging process. It was great!

Best regards,
Mark Lipinski, Paula Nadelstern, and Marianne Fons

Members’ Choice Awards

Quilt Alliance members also weighed in on the contest entries, and their votes determined the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and Honorable Mention winners. It was a tough choice and even required a run-off election to determine 2nd and 3rd place!

Here are the Members’ Choice winning quilts and their makers:

First Place: “Bzzzzzz” 


“Bzzzzzz” by Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill of Woodbridge, Connecticut

Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill

I am truly honored to have so many Quilt Alliance Members and Mark Lipinski select my mini quilt, Bzzzzzz, as their favorite. As a member and a quilt donor, I am proud to support the Quilt Alliance and the important work they do.

Second Place: “Eye See My Beloved” 

"Eye See My Beloved" by Maria Ferri Cousins and Syrie Blanco Walsh of Great River, New York

“Eye See My Beloved” by Maria Ferri Cousins and Syrie Blanco Walsh of Great River, New York


Maria Ferri Cousins


Syrie Blanco Walsh






Syrie and I are so privileged and thrilled that our quilt “Eye See My Beloved” came in second place in the Quilt Alliance “The Animals We Love” Quilt Contest.  We love what we do and are happy that we are able to help such a worthy cause.  The Quilt Alliance works hard to have the story of all our quilts remembered and we at Fine Art Quilting make our quilts with a story to tell.”

Your generous award will definitely go a long way.  We can’t wait to see all the wonderful Moda Fabrics, Aurafill thread and Simplicity/EZ Quilting Accessories, with a big expression of our thanks to your sponsors.
We hope your fund raiser brings in the needed funds for you to continue all your hard work in preserving and educating others about quilts and their stories.

Third Place: “Innocence” 

"Innocence" by Kathy York of Austin, Texas

“Innocence” by Kathy York of Austin, Texas

Kathy York

I am so thrilled about winning the 3rd place award and an Honorable Mention for my quilt, Innocence, which features our little mischievous kitten! And, I am grateful for an opportunity to give back to the Quilt Alliance.  I appreciate the work that they do to preserve our stories and our history as quiltmakers.  It is an honor!


Members’ Choice Honorable Mention Awards


You can view all of the “Animals We Love” contest quilts on the Quilt Alliance website here and on The Quilt Index here.

We’d like to thank all of the artists who donated quilts for this year’s contest! After a national exhibition tour that began on June 8 at the Utah headquarters of Handi Quilter, Inc, and includes stops at American Quilter’s Society and Original Sewing & Quilt Expo shows, the quilts will be sold via an online auction in November, 2015.  The auction is one of the Alliance’s most important annual fundraisers and provides crucial funds that support the operation of projects like Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories and Go Tell It at the Quilt Show!