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Column #107

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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Archived blogs:

Column 141: Tom Korn’s Military Medal Quilts
Column 140: The Return of Double Knits!
Column 139: Passage Quilts
Column 138: Home of the Brave Quilts
Column 137: The Story of Fabric Yo-Yos
Column 136: Christmas in July
Column 135: Trifles
Column 134: Deaf Initiatives—Communicating Through Quilts
Column 133: My Betty Boop Quilt
Column 132: Maura Grace Ambrose
Column 131: All You Need Is Love
Column 130: Chicken Linens
Column 129: The Quilted Chuppah
Column 128: Patchwork Around the World: Yoruba Dance Costumes
Column 127: The Bowers Co-Op Quilts
Column 126: Fon Appliqué and Haitian Voodoo Flags
Column 125: The Quilt Garden at The North Carolina Arboretum
Column 124: Harriet Powers and Handful’s Mauma
Column 123: Quilters de Mexico
Column 122: An Appliquéd Surprise
Column 121: Matisse’s Fabric Stash
Column 120: Soogan—The Cowboy’s Quilt
Column 119: The Ron Swanson Quilt
Column 118: HClarkdale, Georgia—A Thread of History
Column 117: How WWI Changed the Color of Quilts in the United States
Column 116: Wagga—The Bushman’s Quilt
Column 115: All in the Family
Column 114: The Alabama State Quilt
Column 113: Balloon Quilts of Albuquerque
Column 112: The Family That Quilts Together, Stays Together
Column 111: Two Rivers, Three Sisters
Column 110: Quilters Helping Quilters
Column 109: Community Cookbooks and Fundraiser Quilts—Parallel Histories
Column 108: Quilting to Freedom
Column 107: National Quilting Day
Column 106: The Airing of the Quilts
Column 105: A Call for a National Juneteenth Commemorative Quilt
Column 104: Dominoes
Column 103: 1936 Texas Centennial Bluebonnet Quilt
Column 102: Helen Blackstone, A Texas Quilter
Column 101: Montana CattleWomen Anniversary Brand Quilt
Column 100: 100th Suzy's Fancy Column!
Column 99: Montana Stockgrowers Anniversary Brand Quilt
Column 98: The Tobacco Sack Connection
Column 97: Meet the Sisters Who Are State Fair Quilting Queens
Column 96: The connection between fairs and quilts.
Column 95: Her Mother Pieced Quilts
Column 94: Rebecca Barker’s Quiltscapes
Column 93: The Thread and Thimble Club Mystery

See other archived columns here

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