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

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.