Episodes
Quilt enthusiasts have been writing about the craft’s history for over 100 years now, first focused on collecting and sharing patterns based on historic quilts, and later collecting and trading published patterns, in essence building an analog database of quilts. These women began to interpret and synthesize quilt history, eventually moving their newspaper clippings and mimeographed copies to digitized forms. Today, quilt history flourishes in thousands of books and articles, online spaces,...
Published 12/16/21
Published 12/16/21
Sara Trail, and the non-profit organization she founded in 2017, the Social Justice Sewing Academy, has built on a long tradition of quilt artists who use quilts as part of their activist practices. Sara has been sewing and making quilts since she was a child, and transformed her work as a quiltmaker and fashion designer into that of community organizer. The Social Justice Sewing Academy has a mission to quote “empower individuals to utilize textile art for personal transformation, community...
Published 12/10/21
We often think of quilters as hobbyists, typically women who like to stitch beautiful bedcovers for use around the home, or to lovingly give to new babies or show off at quilt guild meetings. But for centuries, alongside hobbyist quilters have existed professional quilters, those who find a way to earn money for their craft and even quit their so called day jobs. Going pro requires a big leap of faith, especially for younger quiltmakers, like the ones we are featuring during season three of...
Published 12/02/21
One of the most exciting aspects of the quiltmaking tradition is that within it, artists continue to innovate the form. Eliza Hardy Jones, has done just that with her remarkable Song Quilts series, combining folk music, oral history, and her creation of a notation system that transcribes music into quilt form. If that sounds completely cryptic, join Eliza, a professional musician, as she joins Running Stitch host Janneken Smucker, to discuss her Song Quilts project. They also listen to QSOS...
Published 11/17/21
Some people made sourdough, some people got pandemic pets. Sarah Steiner became the @pandemicquilter, learning how to quilt from youtube and Instagram, and making over 20 quilts since summer of 2020 after not previously knowing how to wind a bobbin. Sarah joins Running Stitch host, Janneken Smucker, to listen back to QSOS interview excerpts about how quilters learned their skills during earlier eras, sharing how the pandemic inspired her to quilt.
Published 11/10/21
Coming soon: season three of Running Stitch, a QSOS podcast. This season, we're focusing on younger quiltmakers -- quiltmakers who build on quilting traditions and contemporary influences to make something that's uniquely theirs. We'll listen back to interview clips with quilters from the past two decades, and talk with these quilters about the role of quilts in their lives and in society. Subscribe now and don't miss an episode of our third season of Running Stitch, a QSOS podcast!
Published 10/26/21
What do one-of-a-kind, unusual, or outlier quilts tell us about the quiltmaking tradition? In this episode, Joe Cunningham joins host Janneken Smucker to revisit their 2007 interview and discuss how American quilt history reveals a tradition of experimentation, problem-solving, and creativity that today’s quilters can draw on. Joe further contemplates the relationship of art and quilts, recalling his own evolution and liberation as a quiltmaker.
Published 04/07/21
Have you ever wondered how quilt historians can unravel the story of a quilt with just a few threads? Do you want the inside scoop on how researchers look for “clues in the calico”? Our guest this week is celebrated quilt historian Barbara Brackman. Running Stitch host Janneken Smucker talked with Barbara about quilt history research and how it’s evolved in the 21st century, how quilts can be used as a lens for women's history, and the new, expanded edition of her Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt...
Published 03/03/21
What makes a quilt “sing”? Join us for this episode of Running Stitch, with our guest Denyse Schmidt, to explore that question and more. We’ll talk about what it means—for an object OR its maker—to be ‘authentic’.  Denyse is a groundbreaking quiltmaker, and the designer of numerous patterns and fabrics, the author of Denyse Schmidt: Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration and Denyse Schmidt Quilts. We’ll revisit her 2012 QSOS interview, explore the places and eras that inspire Denyse’s work,...
Published 02/03/21
For well over a century, quilts have meant business. A thriving quilt industry has existed since the 19th century, publishing patterns, selling fabrics and supplies, promoting quiltmaking, and offering celebrity endorsements. In today's age of social media and online retail, the business side of quilts has continued to thrive, while navigating all sorts of bumps in the road, including, most recently, a global pandemic. This week, we talk with Linda Pumphrey, Senior Account Executive for...
Published 01/27/21
Quilters S.O.S. – Save Our Stories oral history interviews often include the question, “What makes a great quilt?” Running Stitch host Janneken Smucker asks today’s guest, quilt historian Merikay Waldvogel, to answer this most challenging question, while they also listen back to other interviewees’ responses. What’s the answer? Good planning? Lots of fabrics? First place ribbons? Immortality? Tune in to hear from one of the world’s foremost quilt authorities, who has seen 10,000s of historic...
Published 12/16/20
Running Stitch is back for Season Two, again digging into the QSOS oral history archive to explore the meaning of quilts in American life. In this episode, host Janneken Smucker talks to quiltmaking legend Ricky Tims about the role of creativity in his life. As a quiltmaker, musician, composer, co-host of The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims, and founder of Quilt Life magazine, Ricky embodies creativity. We’ll revisit his first interview for the QSOS project, recorded two decades...
Published 12/09/20
Join us for a very special sneak preview of our second season of Running Stitch. We'll be sharing more amazing interviews from fascinating folks in the quilt world, including Ricky Tims, Merikay Waldvogel, and Carolyn Crump. From an exploration of the creative spirit to a conversation about America's quilt history, you won't want to miss these new episodes!
Published 12/01/20
This episode--our last episode of season 1--features a panel discussion about quilts and writing moderated by host Janneken Smucker. Our four panelists are Meg Cox, Frances O'Roark Dowell, Chawne Kimber, and Gwen Westerman. All four are writers and quiltmakers and you'll hear them discuss connections between these creative pursuits.  The discussion was recorded live as part of the Textile Talks lecture series, featuring public programming from six quilt and fiber art organizations across the...
Published 07/30/20
Quilt legend Jinny Beyer has seen it all in the quilt world over the last 50 years. In this episode, host Janneken Smucker revisits Jinny’s 2013 interview when she shared the quilt she made following 9-11. Jinny joins Janneken to discuss quiltmaking amid crisis, including how independent quilt shops like Jinny Beyer Studio are weathering the current pandemic.
Published 07/23/20
During the week after the killing of George Floyd, Running Stitch host Janneken Smucker spoke with Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi about quilts, race, and the long struggle for civil rights. Dr. Mazloomi founded the Women of Color Quilters Network and has curated many landmark exhibits centered on race and civil rights, including “Journey of Hope: Quilts Inspired by President Barack Obama.” This episode features excerpts from several oral history interviews conducted for the Quilts for Obama QSOS...
Published 07/16/20
Let’s face it. It’s 2020 and 2020 won’t quit. We are living through difficult times. While the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are unevenly felt, we are all in the midst of it. QSOS oral history interviews often ask, “How have you used quilts to get through a difficult time?” Our guest for this episode, artist and maker Melanie Testa, first interviewed for the project in 2010, joins host Janneken Smucker to share how she has responded to the COVID-19 crisis by digging into her vast fabric...
Published 07/09/20
Episode 2 of Running Stitch focuses on quilts and activism. Quilters have long used their work to make statements and advocate for change, tackling abolition, temperance, suffrage, and many other social justice issues. Join host Janneken Smucker for a conversation with quilter and author of 'Why We Quilt', Thomas Knauer, discussing why quilts are great objects for making statements, and how Thomas communicates politically through his own quilts.
Published 07/02/20
For our very first episode, we’re talking with New York City quilter Victoria Findlay Wolfe. Victoria was first interviewed for the QSOS project in 2011. Our host, Janneken Smucker, talks with Victoria about that first interview, her first quilts, and how her career has evolved in the nine years since. Janneken and Victoria also talk about making a first quilt with their young daughters, what makes a great quilt, and just why we care so much about quilt labeling. Join us for an episode all...
Published 06/25/20
Running Stitch explores quilt stories, revealing the inner thoughts, feelings, and motivations of contemporary quiltmakers by drawing on Quilters S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, the oral history project created by the Quilt Alliance in 1999. Quilts serve as a lens to examine some of today’s most pressing issues, including activism, race, and the economy. We’ll dig into the QSOS archive to listen to excerpts from past interviews, and bring back interviewees to ask them about what they're working...
Published 06/12/20