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What is “Why Quilts Matter”…and Why Should it Matter to You? Tell Us and Win!

Last fall, I received a request from Jan Magee, editor in chief of The Quilt Life magazine, to write a feature piece on a documentary series called Why Quilts Matter. Since I had only the vaguest awareness of the series, I decided a little research was in order, so I rounded up a copy of the series DVD and settled in to watch. I viewed the series over the course of several evenings, and…well, in a word: WOW!

Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics is a landmark nine-part documentary series that is changing the way people think about quilts. The two-DVD set includes nine episodes, approximately 26 minutes each, plus seven bonus features, for a total of 250 minutes of informative and entertaining programming. Hosted by quilt collector and author Shelly Zegart, the series was created by The Kentucky Quilt Project, Inc. and profits go to further new quilt-related study and projects.

The series showcases dozens and dozens of quilts, both vintage and new. The WQM website provides an Image Resource Guide to identify them. Eli Lilly Family Album (detail) 1847 Cotton 104″ x 105″ Gift of Louise Emerson Francke, great-great-granddaughter of Eli Lilly, Indianapolis Museum of Art Indianapolis

“Summer Echo” by Joy Saville (detail). Collection of John M. Walsh III. Photo by Joseph Coscia.

Consider these episode titles: Quilts 101: Antique and Contemporary Quilts, What is Art?, Empowering Women One Quilt at a Time, Quilt Nation—20,000,000 Strong and Counting, The Quilt Marketplace. Is this stuff relevant? You bet! Whether your passion is making quilts, collecting quilts, talking about quilts, women’s art, quilt or women’s history, you’ll find much to love, to think and to talk about in Why Quilts Matter.

The Quilts of Gee’s Bend get their own episode–Episode 5–in Why Quilts Matter. Photo courtesy of Joe Cunningham and Julie Silber.

The series is available for purchase on the Why Quilts Matter site, which also offers a special group discount (four copies or more) for guilds. Other goodies you’ll find on the site include:

  1.  Additional info about the series and what’s in it (including trailers for each episode)

  2.  A downloadable Image Resource Guide that gives you the details on every quilt that appears in the series (and there are loads of great quilts!)

  3. A downloadable guide with great ideas for using the series as guild programming

There’s lots more on the WQM site, and new resource materials and features are always in the works. To sum it up: Why Quilts Matter will make you proud of being a quilter…period. One quilter, upon viewing the series, stated, “This series makes me proud to say that I’m a quilter. I no longer need to explain myself, or justify the importance of what I do.”

Some members of the “Quilt Nation–20,000,000 Strong,” cruising the floor at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. Photo courtesy of Quilts, Inc. and the International Quilt Festival.

You’ll love this: We’ve got a copy of the Why Quilts Matter DVD-set to give away to one lucky See How We Sew visitor! Just leave a comment to tell us (as they used to say) “in 50 words or less” why quilts matter to you. Post your comment by midnight (PDT), Wednesday, August 8, and I’ll announce the winner in my Friday, August 10 post.

A few “odds and ends” before I wrap up for today:

I’ve heard from the quilter, and my baby quilt, Hugs and Kisses from Grandpa, will be ready soon. I’ve been working on a special “go-with” at my quilting getaway this past week, and will share that (and more) in my follow-up post, soon after the quilt is delivered.

On Friday, August 10, Canadian quilter Mary Elizabeth Kinch will be stopping by as part of the blog tour for her brand-new book, Small Pieces, Spectacular Quilts, which she co-authored with Biz Storm. Mary Elizabeth will be sharing tips for sewing with, sorting, and storing those little bits of fabric, and we’ll top off the post with a giveaway! Stay tuned…

Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget to mark your calendar to come and meet all four of the See How We Sew bloggers at Quilting in the Garden at Alden Lane Nursery in September.

Christie, Jennifer, Laura, and Darra will be featured artists at Quilting in the Garden at Alden Lane Nursery in Livermore, CA, on September 22 – 23. Come see us!

That’s it for now. ‘Til next time, happy stitching!

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