Between now and Fall Paducah in September, we would like to invite you on a special creative adventure. Each week we will offer you ideas, techniques, blocks, and embellishments to help you tell your quilt story in stitches.
Each week as we all work on our quilts, we will share a little of the AQS quilt story with you along with a sample that reflects the AQS quilt story. We invite you to share your progress too. Several of us will be sharing our work in Instagram (an app you can use on your tablet or smart phone) using the #myquiltstory hashtag. You can also share your progress by posting pictures on Facebook and tagging American Quilters Society in the post. You are also welcome to share any pictures with us directly and we will add them here to the project pages, simply email email@example.com
Just as a story has words that grow into sentences that become paragraphs, our quilts will grow bit by bit from blocks to units to sections. The quilt construction will be organic rather than a set design so there isn’t a finished pattern or design to kick things off. In the same respect, there isn’t a set size or shape.
Last week we started with a worksheet to help us gather our thoughts…
Week One: My Quilt Story Worksheet
This week we start at the beginning, the beginning of the project and the beginning of the story. Let’s start with the project.
Week Two: The Beginning
Where did it all start for you? Use the first few questions from the worksheet to jog your memory. Jot down people, places, and projects that come to mind. You can keep these ideas in a project journal or write them on post it notes and stick them to your design wall (any wall will do!) Begin to think about how you might represent these things in your story quilt.
Revisiting Your First Quilt Block
Remember the first quilt block you made? If not, think back to the first one you can remember. Take a few minutes to recreate your first block. If you decide not to include it in your quilt later you can include it in your journal.
Here are a few simple steps to recreate a pieced block from a drawing:
- Draw your block the size you want for your story quilt on graph paper. This is a finished size drawing.
- Cut apart the shapes for the block on the drawn lines. These are your templates.
- Lay a shape on the backside of your fabric and trace around it.
- Cut the shape out adding a 1/4″ outside of the drawn line.
- Use the drawn line as a sewing guide to sew your shapes together.
Where did your quilting journey begin? For AQS it all began with a quilt show…
In 1983 Meredith and Bill Schroeder, already avid collectors and publishers of books for collectors, headed south to Bell Buckle, Tennessee, barely a dot on the map, for a national quilt show. Though over 400 quilts were hung for the show, they didn’t expect the thousands of people who poured into the exhibit. It was a groundswell of enthusiasm unlike anything Bill and Meredith had seen in all their years of collecting. The moment was not lost on the Schroeders.
Within a year, Meredith announced the formation of the American Quilter’s Society. Her goal was to develop a group that “gave national recognition to the quilters and their work” and “to set the standard in the industry.” In the first year, 1,500 quilters became charter members.
In April of 1985, the American Quilter’s Society held its first quilt show and contest in Paducah, Kentucky. Five thousand people showed up. The Schroeders underwrote the first-ever quilt show with cash prizes, offering $10,000 for the Best of Show award. This was the beginning.
We all began somewhere, what is your story?