National Quilting Day
"Celebrate America" the 2013 National Quilting Day quilt designed by Kathy Lichtendahl. Miniature version pieced and quilted by Freda Jones.
Sharing has always been a fundamental aspect of quilting, and it was a shared idea that led to the creation of National Quilting Day, which has been held annually on the third Saturday in March for more than two decades.
In 1989, the Kentucky Heritage Quilt Society held a “Quilters’ Day Out” event to honor the deep-rooted tradition of quiltmaking in Kentucky.
National Quilting Association (NQA) officers who participated in that event were so inspired by its intent and its success, that they shared the idea with the NQA membership at the group’s 22nd Annual Show in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1991.
The NQA members in turn passed a resolution establishing National Quilting Day as an annual holiday and the first celebration occurred in March of 1992.
“The purpose of National Quilting Day is to encourage quilters of all genres to hold special events to celebrate the tradition of quilts and quilting through education and service,” said Marcel Miller, current NQA President.
Helen Storbeck was one of the founders of National Quilting Day. In an article written for the NQA’s magazine, Quilting Quarterly, she described the event:
"Groups of quilters were encouraged to hold special events, publishers and shop owners were invited to sponsor promotions especially for quilters, and it quickly became a grass roots endeavor with quilters in every part of the country participating. In the first year of National Quilting Day, quilters in other countries asked to participate. They were welcomed with open arms. As our feeling of a community network has evolved to include a world community, it is only appropriate that quilters and quilt lovers everywhere united to give recognition to this special art form."
In addition to becoming a global event, the observance has evolved to include the entire month of March as National Quilting Month. The NQA hopes that quilters everywhere will get involved—be it for the National Quilting Day or National Quilting Month. One of the NQA-sponsored activities for its membership is a design contest for the National Quilting Day free quilt pattern from which quilters are encouraged to create a specific quilt to commemorate National Quilt Day.
According to Freda Jones, the current National Quilting Day Coordinator, “Beginning the very first year, a specific quilt block design was created for quilters of all skill levels to make a quilt to be donated to their favorite charitable organizations. Many quilters donate the quilt to the first baby born on that day in their local hospital.
“Others celebrate by having community activities to promote quilting. Some years the proposed quilt has been tied to the theme of the National Quilting Association Show, although that was not a requirement for the contest. For instance in 2013, the theme was “Celebrate America” and the quilt design was of red, white, and blue stars.”
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