Q.S.O.S. Spotlight

The Q.S.O.S. archives are full of stories about starting to quilt. It seems that everyone has a great story about how they “caught the quilting bug”. There are stories about learning the basics from family members, world-renowned teachers and even internet tutorials! But there are also many stories about teaching others to quilt–from daughters, to grandsons, to whole groups at a local guild or quilt shop. Today’s Q.S.O.S. Spotlight features two stories about helping future generations catch the bug!

Sandra McLeod of Texas says:

14-31-E8B-1-McLeodB“I am teaching my granddaughter to quilt. She’s eight. And we have finished two quilts now. I have her doing little blocks, I just pick up scraps from my quilt room, and I make strips a certain width . I have her sew two together, and then a fat strip on the end. We just put it in rows, and it’s just cute. Then, she picks out the border . Now, I’ve got her working on a charity quilt. Now, her seams aren’t always straight, but she likes to turn on the television while she’s working. So, she looks up at the TV at the same time she sews. So, those come out. But I don’t say anything to her, I just take it out, and pretty soon I slip that to her again and say ‘sew this.’ I don’t get to play with her all that often, but I am hoping that this is teaching another generation the pleasure that I’ve had in this.”

Elaine Evans of Vermont shares a story about teaching a young visitor to the United States to quilt:


“When I had an ESL [English as a Second Language.] student stay with me one summer,she came into the house and I took her into the bedroom. I said, ‘Well, this is your bedroom. There’s a hand-made quilt on your bed. I’d rather you didn’t eat on it or drink on it or anything like that, to mess it up and make it look terrible.’ She said, ‘Okay.’ She was a very nice young girl. She just loved the quilt. Of course, she said, ‘Do you have other quilts?’ I said, ‘Yes. Do you want to see them?’ She said, ‘Yes! They’re so pretty.’ She said, ‘Can we make one?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I think we can do that. What do you want to do?’ She said, ‘The maple leaves are so pretty, can we make a Maple Leaf?’ So we made a Maple Leaf that year. I showed her how to cut it. I showed her how to sew it. She sewed almost all of it. I did a few leaves for her. We got the squares all sewed together and we made a twin-sized quilt. She said, ‘Okay, do you want to tie it or do you want to quilt it?’ She said, ‘Your quilting is so pretty. Can we quilt it?’ [both laugh.] I said, ‘Yeah,’ but I said, ‘you’re going to have to quilt it, too. I’m not going to do it myself. You’re going to help.’ So she did and she sat there and she learned to quilt. She finished the quilt before she left, at the end of the six-weeks that she was here. She took it back home. Her mom was just flabbergasted. She said, ‘You taught my daughter how to quilt! That was just fantastic.’ A couple of weeks later, I got a package in the mail. It was all Japanese fabric. She had sent it to me because I had taught her daughter [Akiko.] how to quilt.”

Want to keep reading? You can see other stories about learning and teaching quiltmaking (and more!) at the Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories page on the Alliance’s site.


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

This entry was posted in Uncategorized by quiltalliance. Bookmark the permalink.

About quiltalliance

The Quilt Alliance is a nonprofit 501c3 organization established in 1993 whose mission is to document, preserve, and share our International quilt heritage by collecting the rich stories that historic and contemporary quilts, and their makers, tell about our nation's diverse peoples and their communities. In support of this mission, the Alliance brings together quilt makers and designers, the quilt industry, quilt scholars and teachers, and quilt collectors to further the following goals: To promote the understanding of the quilt as an important grassroots art form. To make information about quilts available to a broad public. To educate the public about the importance of documenting quilts and quiltmakers so that their stories will not be lost.

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