Issue 16: Family

Invitation for Reader Submission

A few ideas to get Started

There are many ways to tell a story about quilts and family! While we are looking forward to reading stories about special family quilts passed down through the generations, we are especially interested in stories with a unique perspective on the topic of quilts and family. 

Below are some of the types of family quilt stories we’re looking for; each category has a few questions that might spark an idea for you. You do not have to answer one of these questions in your submission. These are only meant to provide inspiration for those needing a little help to get started — we want you to surprise us.

Finally, you do not have to be a quiltmaker to have a family quilt story! As long as the story is yours to tell, we hope you’ll share it with us.

Learning and Teaching

So much of quiltmaking is about giving and receiving — and it all starts with someone sharing knowledge of the craft.

  • Are you the “quilt teacher” in your family? What has that experience been like for you and for your “students”? Are there people in your family you’d like to teach? Who and why?
  • Did a family member teach you how to make quilts? Who was that person? Tell us all about her (or him!) Did you learn willingly — or did you drag your feet?
  • Is there a “legacy” quilt in your family? One that tells your family’s story better than any other? What makes the quilt — and the family — so unique?
  • Does your family have a collection of family quilts through the generations? Tell us about the quilts in the collection: who made them, where they came from, who has them now, etc.

Traditions of Making and Giving

There are traditions and rituals in quiltmaking that bind us together and impart meaning into our quilts. 

  • Do members of your family receive (or make) a certain type of quilt for special occasions? Who started this tradition? Why does it matter to your family? Will the next generation carry it on?
  • Is there a quilt in your family that was made for a distinctive or unusual occasion? Tell us what happened and what part the quilt plays in the story.
  • Have you ever been given a quilt by a family member? Were you glad to receive it? Or was it a burden? (Note: Burdens can be emotional, physical, or aesthetic!)

Different Types of Family Quilts

Many quilts are made “just because,” but others mark births, deaths, graduations, weddings, housewarmings, or as encouragement for family members who are ill or otherwise struggling.

  • “Mourning” quilts are made to remember or memorialize someone; often times this is a family figure. Tell us the story of a mourning quilt in your family.
  • Baby quilts! All babies (and their quilts) are special, of course, but if you’ve got an unusual, extra-unique story to tell about a baby quilt, we’d love to hear it. 

Other Ways Family Quilts Tell a Compelling Story

  • Is there a long, unbroken line of quilters in your family tree? How many generations worth of quilters do you know about and how are they linked? Do a surprising number of your relatives who quilt win ribbons and other prizes? Does anyone keep track of them as a family collection?
  • Are your family quilts compelling because they tell your family story in an unusual and especially vivid way?
  • Do you own a family quilt about which you could say: “Just looking at this one quilt tells everything you need to know about our family.” Tell us about it!
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