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2020-2021 Quilt Alliance Grant Report to the Robert and Ardis James Foundation

Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories 2.0: Sustain, Envision, Connect, 2020-2024

Reporting period: 1/01/20 – 10/11/21
Grant period: 1/1/20 – 12/31/21
Report last updated: 10/15/21


View financial report for grant here.
Download full report as a pdf.

Running Stitch, a QSOS Podcast: two seasons completed

Running Stitch, A QSOS Podcast,  hosted by Janneken Smucker, Professor of History at West Chester University, released two seasons (six episodes per season) between June 25, 2020 and April 7, 2021. Two podcast episodes were recorded live as part of the collaborative Textile Talks series, which has helped to expand the audience of the project.  Season three of the podcast is scheduled for release in late October 2021 and will spotlight young quiltmakers using excerpts from the interviews from QSOS collection (1999-2017) as a catalyst for the interviews. The Running Stitch episode guide can be found here.

Podcast listener statistics and reviews

  • • Total listens 19,569 unique podcast downloads so far!

  • • Audience per episode Each episode averages between 1,100 and 1,800 listeners

  • • Listener demographics Running Stitch reaches a younger age demographic than the average quilter (age 65, according to 2020 PNA Quilter’s Survey): 36% of Running Stitch listeners are between 23-27, and 52% are between 35-44. 98% of listeners are female.

  • • Global Audience Listeners from the United States (85%), the United Kingdom (4%), Australia (4%), and elsewhere around the world (7%): Denmark, Germany, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland

  • • Engaged listenership Podcast episodes have a higher rate of completion (percent of each episode listened to) than the industry benchmark, and positive reviews demonstrate the value of the story-based format

QSOS Interview Migration

Work has continued throughout 2020 and 2021 to migrate QSOS interviews to the new platform. As of mid-October 2021, 220 of the approximately 1203 interviews are publicly available on the QSOS site, with additional interviews available soon. This represents nearly one-fifth of the total collection.

In 2020, we developed indexing documentation and a volunteer training workflow. We held two volunteer trainings, one for QA solicited volunteers, in December, 2020, and one for student interns through a partnership with the Virginia Quilt Museum in May, 2021. The fruits of that labor have already begun to pay off with student interns providing training to a next generation of student interns. Migration work has been focused on early interviews representing the historic foundations of the project, interviews conducted in the 1990’s and early 2000’s at the international quilt festival, and Virginia-area quilters as part of a partnership with the Virginia Quilt Museum.

The process of interview migration and volunteer recruitment has been slower than anticipated: the work is technical, and requires close collaboration with our partners at the Louis B. Nunn Center. During the pandemic, staff focus was shifted to virtual event planning and connecting with our audience remotely, diverting work hours from the QSOS migration but the migration project will be a major focus of the final months of 2021 and first quarter of 2022.

Ardis James QSOS Scholars Program

Due to the pandemic the Not Fade Away Conference was postponed to July 2022. The Alliance worked with Sacred Threads to create an alternate event in 2021–a Quilt StoryShare event. Watch the full StoryShare event here or see a sample interview below. Due to this rescheduling, the selection of the second cohort of Ardis James QSOS Scholars has also been postponed to the first quarter of 2022 and we expect the 2022 scholars to make presentations at the July 2022 NFA event. 

Regional Quilt Documentation Project

Due to the cancellation of gatherings due to the pandemic we pivoted the goals for this segment of the grant project to work with a sample guild in Tennessee to test a virtual model. We have since grown the pilot into an initiative called Quilt StoryShare and have worked with four partner groups to produce video collections: 

Video samples for each Quilt StoryShare project are below.