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

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!

Thank you, Clara Barton!

On this day in 1881, the American National Red Cross was founded in Washington, D.C. Founders Clara Barton and Adolphus Solomons started the organization to provide humanitarian aid to victims of war and natural disasters in affiliation with the International Red Cross, for whom Barton had worked during the Franco-Prussian War.

Quiltmaker Ann Holmes from Asheville, North Carolina, made “Thank You Clara Barton” as her entry to the Quilt Alliance’s “Home Is Where the Quilt Is” contest in 2012. Ann’s artist’s statement:

“It is amazing all that she accomplished for our country. Establishing a public school; “Angel of the Battlefield” during the Civil War; spent four years to identify over 22,000 missing soldiers; established the American Red Cross and served as president for 23 years; at 83, president of National First Aid Association. She certainly patched many lives together! Her work was not considered women’s work and never had the right to vote. Clara died in 1912.”

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to find out (just click on the image above). 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 this quilt.

Quilt Index partners

Amy Milne headshot

Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance

Inspired By Matching Game!

The deadline for our annual quilt contest is two weeks away–“Inspired By” entries must be postmarked by June 1, 2014.  Full details including a downloadable entry form can be found on our website and blog.

If your design or execution are still in neutral, here is a little inspiration game to get your motor in gear.

Match the Quilt to the Alliance Board Member
Five Quilt Alliance board members have offered photos of their in-progress or finished Inspired By entries:

Allie Aller
Lisa Ellis
Luke Haynes
Michele Muska
Victoria Findlay Wolfe

See if you can match up the artist with the quilt! In the left hand column below are the Inspiration quilts, selected from The Quilt Index or Q.S.O.S., and on the right are the original contest entries. Post your answers here as comments (A=board member’s name, etc…), and we’ll draw a winner on Monday, May 19 at 5pm Eastern from all those with correct answers.

Full details on the Inspired By contest, including a downloadable entry form, can be found on our website and blog.

Thank you to these generous Quilt Alliance Business Members sponsoring “Inspired By”:

Amy Milne headshot

Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance

Inspiration In Progress: Audrey Hyvonen

Our annual quilt contest is all about Inspiration this year.

We’re working with our partners at to offer all contest entrants a chance to document the story of their quilt as it unfolds through a StoryPatches Slide Show. That feature should be ready for photo uploading soon and until then, we’ll feature entries in progress here on our blog. Want to share your entry? Email your photos with captions to Amy Milne.

This week, I’d like to share the story of Audrey Hyvonen’s contest entry, that was inspired by this 1920’s Split-Nine Patch Streak of Lightning quilt made by an unknown quiltmaker and documented as part of The Heritage Quilt Project of New Jersey.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here’s how to enter:
1. Pick an inspiration quilt. Choose a quilt from The Quilt Index or the Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories (Q.S.O.S.) projects, (see the Inspiration Gallery on our contest page for a few quilts selected by our members as examples of the variety and richness found in these resources). Browse and explore the projects to find your own inspiration quilt.
2. Find something(s) about the inspiration quilt that inspires you (like color, line, texture, subject matter, …)
3. Make your own quilt–work your magic–all techniques, materials, and styles are welcomed, but no replicas or copies allowed. All entries must be 16″ x 16″ and comprised of 3 layers (top, filling and back).
4. Sew a sleeve and a label on your entry and mail it to us with your entry form and fee by June 1, 2014.

You could win the Handi Quilter Grand Prize:

The Inspired By contest is sponsored by these generous partners:

Growing Quilts, Harvesting Support.

Every year I make a quilt for the Alliance’s fundraising contest.  I love doing this for so many reasons, but the one I want to share with you is how important this is for me as a quiltmaker.  I get to play with new ideas on a small scale and try new techniques as I think about each year’s theme…

But wait a minute!  All my quilts have been about gardens!

That being the case, please allow me to escort you on a garden tour, to show you how these contest quilts themselves have “grown” each year.  I want you to see all the techniques I’ve discovered along the way and incorporated into my subsequent work.

2008 The Home in the Garden

photo 1

In this quilt, for the first time, I tried printing a photograph onto fabric and then enhancing it with hand embroidery.  It was like “painting by numbers” a little bit, very easy, and so much fun.  I’ve made many home portraits since this first one.

photo 2

Freeform applique as applied to crazy quilting was another first for me, discovered while making this quilt.  Now it is my preferred method of choice for creating any crazy quilt block.

Photo 3

Here is how those white patches look sewn down…..

photo 4

….and then hand embroidered with crazy quilt stitching.  Another first: only using one color for all of the stitching on the seams.  Again, this is something I do a lot now.

Photo 5

Giving the central section an on point setting allowed for some fun in those four blue silk corners.

photo 6

A confession!  I dripped some juice on that blue silk and could not get it out!  So, do you notice those white mother-of-pearl butterflies?  You guessed it.  And again, what I tried here I’ve used since, so in later quilts, if you see butterflies you’ll know they’ve flown in to solve some dilemma……

2009 Ode to Tamar

Flowers, not quite gardening, became the subject of the next quilt.  This gave me a chance to revisit a favorite technique from my early quilt years, Broderie Perse, which is a style of applique using printed elements to create a scene on the background fabric.  Combining Broderie Perse with a crazy quilt background and border of small blocks was this year’s adventure.

photo 7

A pile of cut out flowers, ready to arrange in collage fashion.

photo 8

I have made more floral collages than I can count, but it had been several years…so I was loving this!

photo 9

The collage is set and ready to sew down in this picture.

photo 10

I’ve pieced the border blocks and have begun arranging the all black background fabrics.

photo 11

The top is all finished and awaiting embroidery.

photo 12

The black background reminds me a lot of the white background in The Home in the Garden. The fabrics and stitching again each only use one color. Many quilts of mine now use these strict design parameters.

photo 13

In case you were wondering who the Tamar is in my quilt’s title is, this label gives the answer.  While I could not replicate the quilt by Tamar North pictured here, it totally inspired the making of mine.  Using antique crazy quilts as a jumping off point for my own interpretations has also become a recurring theme for me since making this quilt.

2009 Garden Lace

I enjoy printing my own floral arrangement photos onto fabric.  For this quilt, I wanted to try using nothing but these fabrics in a quilt to see how it would look.

photo 14

Fusing lace over wide ribbon, and then using that to cover the seams between fabric  patches, was another new idea in this quilt.  Every year, I learn so much working on my Alliance quilts!

2010 Granddaughter’s Flower Garden

My cousin Tracy Seidman painted this watercolor of our grandmother’s house.  After printing the image on fabric, I set it in a border of vintage Grandmother’s Flower Garden blocks.  This began my continuing explorations of combining vintage blocks with crazy quilting and embroidery.

photo 15

Three dimensional flowers were prevalent in my work at this time, so I had to add some to this quilt too.

2011 Soil and Sky

The theme for this year’s contest was “Alliances”.  I can find a relationship to gardening in any contest theme, and this year’s quilt was no different…to me, the relationship between soil and sky is truly a romance, not just an alliance.

This quilt combined my own printed fabric (including imagery of paintings of tomatoes I found online, after I received the painter’s permission to use them), some Broderie Perse, three dimensional vegetables instead of flowers, and for the first time, stitched writing on the quilt.  I wish I had used a darker thread color so that the words are easier to read.  But these small quilts are great for teaching us what to do better next time.

photo 16

Those tomatoes are so great!  In the upper left is a photograph of tomatoes growing in our garden, too.

photo 17

The carrots are vintage millinery (can you imagine a hat with carrots on it?).  Their tops were another experiment for me.  I tried doing some machine thread-painting on water soluble stabilizer, rinsing the stabilizer away, and gluing the resultant “carrot tops” to the carrots.

photo 18

I read this quotation on the Facebook page of a man whose life’s work has been teaching small scale sustainable agricultural practices to villagers all over Africa, via the Peace Corps.  And how true this sentiment is! Click on the picture so you can read it.

photo 19

Except for the writing not being dark enough, this is my favorite of my Alliance quilts.  But there are two more that I loved making too and that have taught me a lot, so read on…

2012 Washougal Valley View

For years I had tried to figure out how to integrate a little machine quilting into my heavily embroidered and embellished crazy quilts.  It seemed to me that those two surface treatments were mutually exclusive.  But for this quilt, I was determined to find a way.

photo 20

The vintage blocks–and some flying geese strips I had made years ago of vintage fabrics–were put to work for my background.  How I love using those old blocks and fabrics!  They contrast well with the sky, which was hand painted by Mickey Lawler, of SkyDyes.

photo 21

The hills of my view of the Washougal River Valley came next, along with a fragment of hand dyed Battenberg lace for the lower border area, a gift from my dear friend Michele Muska.

photo 22

I added a little cabin, symbolic of my own home, and some three dimensional flowers to the foreground.  And….there is the quilting!  It’s in the sky!

Photo 23

This is the finished quilt, in the house shape for the theme  “Home is Where the Quilt Is”.  I loved absolutely every second, making it.  I’ve made several other quilts with my little home in them, too, including the next one…

2013 20 Years in the Garden

While this year’s quilt is not a crazy quilt per se, after years of embroidery making crazy quilts, there was no way I could depict a garden in a quilt without it.

photo 24

The quilt is well along in this photo.  You know my process by now!

photo 25

A little trick I discovered is shown here.  My bed of silk ribbon lettuce needed some definition…so I used a permanent marker directly along the edge of the ribbon after it was stitched into place. Risky!  I knew if it didn’t work, I could snip out the ribbon and try again…but I didn’t need to, at least, not this time….

photo 26

My husband is always trying to get me to spend more time in his garden (weeding, I suspect.)  But this kind of “gardening” works for me!  I am gluing the squash leaves into place.

photo 27

The quilt is finished, and ready for its adventures this summer at various exhibits, and then to go to its new owner’s home after it is auctioned off.

photo 28

Always, always label your quilts.  People in the future will want this information!  On my label is my husband’s garden, the inspiration for this quilt, where we have indeed spent twenty happy years.

I hope you can see by now what an important and thoroughly joyous part of my quilt life making the Alliance contest quilts has been.

Won’t you make one too?  You’ll be so glad you did, surprising yourself at what you learn.  And you will feel such satisfaction, helping this wonderful cause of documenting, preserving, and sharing quilts and their makers’ stories.

And thank you for taking my tour!  See you in 2014…..

AllieAllerAllison Ann Aller is an award-winning quilter, author and teacher who has served on the Quilt Alliance board of directors since 2009. See more of Allie’s work, including more great tutorials and works in progress on her blog, Allie’s in Stitches.

Tiny Desk Exhibition: Ramona Bates

The 7th annual Quilt Alliance contest theme is TWENTY and all quilters who love quilt history and believe that every quilt has a story worth sharing are encouraged to enter. This year in honor of our 20th anniversary as a nonprofit organization, we celebrate “twenty”: the numeral, the concept, the quantity, the word. All techniques and materials are encouraged. Entries must be a quilt (3 layers–top, filling and backing) and conform to our contest guidelines. Postmark deadline for entries is May 1, 2013. The Grand Prize winner (to be chosen by a panel of three professional quilters/designers) will receive an HQ Sweet Sixteen machine quilting system by Handi Quilter, Inc.  Download entry forms here.

detailHere is a Tiny Desk Exhibition (love those NPR Tiny Desk Concerts) of Alliance contest quilts made by Alliance member Dr. Ramona Bates of Little Rock, Arkansas. Ramona donated these miniature beauties between 2009-2012 and each quilt now lives in the collection of a generous quilt fan. Click on the link below each quilt to see materials and techniques Ramona used along with her artist statements. These quilts are also documented in The Quilt Index, along with all Alliance contest quilts (browse them here).

Meet this Member!
Visit Ramona’s Blog, Sutured for a Living, and find out more about this talented plastic surgeon with a passion for piecing (and knitting, and dogs and knitted items for dogs…). Thank you, Ramona, for giving your time, talent and treasure to this organization. As you help us save the stories of quilts and quiltmakers, we are so proud to preserve and share your own quilt story.

I hope you enjoy this Tiny Desk Exhibition. Please share with a friend!


For the 2009 contest, “Crazy for Quilts”
04. “Still Crazy After All These Years”
Ramona Bates
Click here for materials & techniques and artist’s statement


For the 2010 contest, “New from Old”
14. “Label Me”
Ramona Bates
Click here for materials & techniques and artist’s statement


For the 2011 contest, “Alliances: People, Patterns, Passion”
38. “Redwork or You Should Have Seen It In Color”
Ramona Bates
Click here for materials & techniques and artist’s statement


For the 2012 contest, “Home Is Where the Quilt Is”
16. “Dog in the Yard”
Ramona Bates
Click here for materials & techniques and artist’s statement

Amy Milne headshot

Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance

Meet a Member: Patricia Hobbs

On This Day in History Quilts posts will return tomorrow! 

Alliance member Patricia Hobbs of MacomPat Hobbs photob, Illinois was our Grand Prize winner in the recent 2012 membership drawing. Pat won the Amazing Aurifil Cotton Thread Suitcase, with 216 gorgeous colors. I’d like to take this opportunity to launch a blog series I’m calling Meet a Member, where we’ll spotlight some of the generous, talented folks in our community of members. Our members include many who quilt, and some who do not. Pat is a quilter and a lifelong artist; in fact, she taught art for over forty years.

Pat has donated four stunning quilts for the Quilt Alliance contests, one each year since 2009 (see the Tiny Desk Exhibition of these quilts below).  And as a member, she has volunteered to help with Alliance events like greeting guests in our contest quilt exhibition at the AQS quilt show in Paducah. Thank you, Pat and all our members, for supporting the work that we do, contributing your story and your quilts to our documentation, and for caring deeply about preserving the tradition of quilting for future generations.

When Pat heard the news that she’d won this bonanza of Aurifil thread she said, “I am so excited to have won the suitcase of Aurifil. I never thought I would be the winner of such a wonderful prize. I am guilty of sometimes using cheap thread in the past, but will certainly feel like a queen using such fine Aurifil thread.  I do believe in the work and projects of Quilt Alliance especially that of telling and keeping quilters’ stories. I have learned so much from this organization and enjoy the annual small quilt auctions. It is impressive to see each quilter’s design and special interpretation of the yearly theme.”


And after Pat received the thread suitcase, she told us: “It is one thing to be excited about winning the thread, but to sit and hold the Aurifil thread collection in my hands is a dream come true!”

Here is a Tiny Desk Exhibition (love those NPR Tiny Desk Concerts) of Pat’s Alliance contest quilts from 2009-2012. Click on the link below each quilt to see materials and techniques used in each quilt and to read and hear Pat’s artist statements. These quilts are also documented in The Quilt Index, along with all Quilt Alliance contest quilts (you can browse them here).


For the 2009 contest, “Crazy for Quilts”
24. “Elements of a Homestead (3rd place, Ages over 30)”
Patricia Ann Hobbs
Macomb, Illinois
Click here for materials & techniques and artist’s statement


For the 2010 contest, “New from Old”
09. “Blessings of Plenty be Upon You”
Click this link
to view materials & techniques and artist’s statement for this quilt.

2011 contest, “Alliance: People, Patterns, Passion17. "Recycle/Repurpose"Patricia Ann HobbsMacomb, IllinoisFast to fuse, found objects, machine applique, oil pastels, machine quilted.My passion for over forty years has been teaching art, but that also includes collecting odd found objects – lots of them (the bane of my husband’s existence). Making something out of “nothing” is the challenge. One of my favorite artists was Robert Rauschenberg, the father of recycling. The patterns on this quilt are created with the repetition of similar little pieces or colored objects. People? Number one is my husband of 44 years.

For the 2011 contest, “Alliance: People, Patterns, Passion
17. “Recycle/Repurpose”Materials, Techniques”
Click this link to view materials & techniques and artist’s statement for this quilt.


For the 2012 contest, “Home Is Where the Quilt Is”
01. “The Piece Maker’s Child” (Honorable Mention)
Click this link to view materials & techniques and artist’s statement for this quilt.


Amy Milne headshot

Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance