About the Project

Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories (QSOS) is a project of the non-profit Quilt Alliance. The project creates, through recorded interviews, a broadly accessible body of information concerning quiltmaking, both present-day and in living memory. Our archive for the original audio recordings and photographs is the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. QSOS volunteers from across the country conduct and transcribe these interviews. We appreciate their generosity of time and dedication to the project!

This collection of interviews serves as a pilot project as we continue to prepare all of the more than 1200 QSOS interviews to be shared online in this new format. We're still learning--some interviews may be more completely indexed than others and we may have made a few mistakes; we'll be updating this site soon with more interviews as we're able. If you have any questions or feedback about this new format, let us know at qsos@quiltalliance.org!

Ardis James QSOS Scholars

The Quilt Alliance established the Ardis James QSOS Scholars Program  in 2013 with the support of the Robert and Ardis James Foundation to support research that draws on the rich resource of over 1,200 Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories (QSOS) interviews collected by the Alliance since 1999. Scholars use the QSOS archive to produce original research to disseminate as essays, exhibitions, curricular materials, and interactive content.

QSOS interviewees share how quilting impacts their lives, including inspiration found in unlikely places, comfort during times of grief, and joyful artistic collaboration among friends. Our interview archive is a valuable resource for anyone interested in quilts and quiltmakers, as well as craft, folk art, and the process of making things. It’s our hope that the Ardis James QSOS Scholars Program will enable scholars to dig into the archive and investigate those stories, making connections among interviews, finding common themes, placing histories in context, and spotlighting incredible moments. The 2023 call for proposals is currently open.

QSOS History

In the fall of 1999, Quilt Alliance (formerly known as The Alliance for American Quilts) introduced the Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories (QSOS) project. In the more than two decades that followed, many additional volunteers have spearheaded regional QSOS projects around the country. From 1999 until January 2007, Quilt Alliance partnered with the University of Delaware, Center for Material Culture Studies, under the guidance of Dr. Bernard Herman, to house QSOS records. From January 2007, the Library of Congress American Folklife Center has served as the physical archive for QSOS interview materials. Researchers, in addition to accessing interview transcripts and photographs online via the Quilt Alliance website, can access audio recordings of interviews and related materials directly from the Library of Congress. Since its inception, QSOS has been a grassroots project with volunteer leadership. Volunteers have conducted interviews and curated exhibitions drawn from the archive. In addition, scholars have utilized the archive of interviews in their research. The Quilt Alliance continues to draw on the rich resource of interviews to share the stories of quiltmakers and their quilts. QSOS continues to grow and evolve. The interviews show us the complexity and diversity of quiltmakers and their quilts. Thanks to the hard work of our volunteers, the anonymous quiltmaker has gained a voice.