“If you are lucky enough to know a quilter, ask them to make you a mask,” Tara Parker-Pope recommended in an April 9th New York Times article. As it turns out, tens upon thousands of quilters didn’t wait to be asked. In a historic response to a historic crisis, America’s quilters have traded out applique and piecing for mask-making, sending masks off in bundles to hospitals, nursing homes and their neighbors. Most are asking for nothing in return.
That quilters show up in times of trouble comes as no surprise to people familiar with the quilting community. Whether they’re making quilts to comfort friends in crisis or organizing charity auctions for the victims of wildfires in California and Australia, quilters are known for action in the face of adversity. What makes their response to the COVID-19 pandemic exceptional is that a large number of America’s quilters are sewing at the same time for the same cause.
Come Tell Us: Quilters Share Stories from COVID-19 is a documentary project spearheaded by the Quilt Alliance, a nonprofit organization that serves to document, preserve and celebrate America’s shared quilt heritage. The Quilt Alliance is collecting stories via its social media pages on Facebook and Instagram, using the hashtag, #quiltersshare. Quilters are being asked to share photographs of their COVID-19 projects as well as post narratives about their experiences of making masks and quilts in response to the pandemic. The Quilt Alliance has established a Facebook group, Come Tell Us, to gather stories and share pictures and information.