National Quilting Day is observed annually on the third Saturday in March. It was first observed in 1992 when the National Quilt Association (NQA) spearheaded the drive to create this special day and soon the 26th celebration will take place with special quilting shows, classes, speakers, vendors and at quilt/textile museums who have been known to open their doors at no charge. This is a day to appreciate and to recognize quilt makers for their creativity, skills and the long hours they devote to making their quilts.
This past year was a challenging year for the quilt world: Attendance at the spring and fall quilt markets were down, The American Quilt Society in Paducah, Kentucky, shutdown their book division as did The Kansas City Star including the PickleDish division which published many quilt books over the years, we bade a sad farewell to the Quilters Newsletter magazine a source of learning and inspiration for quilters for 47 years.
Related to these events was the closing of the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts, last summer. Lowell was the center of U.S. textile manufacturing in the 1800s. The museum founded in 1960 told America’s story through the art, science and history of textiles. It was on my bucket list to visit, and sadly that desire will not be fulfilled. As a quilt restorer, learning the history of fabrics and how they changed in color, design, dye techniques and manufacturing is of great interest to me.
Backing up to December 2015 The NQA dissolved. Fortunately the Quilt Alliance took over National Quilting Day and they promise to continue providing fun and meaningful ideas for celebrating National Quilting Day. Quilt Alliance’s mission is to document the stories of quilts and quilt makers, to preserve those stories by archiving them with assistance from their partners, and to freely share the stories with the world.
It’s a reminder for quilters to document their quilts for future generations. I’ve often stated: Every quilt has a story and I’m delighted to share them, whether it’s first hand from the maker, a relative, research or what I can gain from studying the quilt.
This year if you come down to Born Again Quilts on Saturday, March 18 from 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., bring a quilt with you and share its story. Be sure to bring your children and/or grandchildren with you so they hear it too. Who knows! It may just end up in The Waynedale News. To learn more about the Quilt Alliance’s project Save Our Stories (SOS) go to: quiltalliance.org/projects/
Quilt restorer Lois Levihn is the owner of Born Again Quilts located at 4005 South Wayne Ave, Fort Wayne. The studio is open Saturday 9-2 and Wednesdays 5:30-7.