Share your quilt story with Go Tell It!

One quilt, one person, one camera + three minutes = another quilt story saved!

The recipe for Go Tell It! is simple: one person talking about one quilt in front of one camera for three minutes, recording the story of the quilt according to the “teller.” All you need is a camera, a quilt, and a quiet, well-lit space. 

In 2012, the Quilt Alliance began filming short three-minute video interviews at places where quiltmakers gathered for a new project called ‘Go Tell It at the Quilt Show!“. Now we want to hear from you! We’re looking for quilt stories, from antique to modern, appliqué and wholecloth, from the perspective of not just makers, but quilt collectors, recipients, curators, family members, or anyone else who loves quilts.

Sharing your quilt story is as easy as:

Pick a spot and set up your quilt

  • You are important, and so is your quilt! Be sure we can see it fully and clearly by hanging it on neutral background, without a lot of activity going on behind it. The teller should stand in front of the quilt to talk.
  • Film your video in a bright spot with good lighting so that the quilt is visible. Near a window, outdoors, or in a room with bright light during the day is best.
  • Try to capture the best sound you can. We want to be able to hear the story of your quilt loud and clear! Film a test video first to see how it looks and sounds to you.
  • Important: if you’re using a phone to film your video, rotate your phone so it’s horizontal (landscape), not vertical.

Start filming

  • If you’re filming yourself, set your camera (or phone) on something sturdy so the video doesn’t shake and bounce. Better yet, get a friend to help!
  • Start your video with: “My name is ________ and I’m telling my quilt story in [City, State] on [date of recording]”. Don’t leave this line out! It’s how we’ll know it’s part of the Go Tell It! project.
  • Then, start talking! You can share anything that you feel is important about the quilt: how you made it, why you made it, who gave it to you, why it’s a meaningful quilt for you… the sky’s the limit! Well, three minutes is the limit, so you’ll want to keep an eye on the video timer.

Share your video

  • Share your video here. You’ll be able to upload your video and enter information about the “teller” and details about the quilt. On this page your will also find a downloadable cue card to help your teller start their video, and a link to the online release form for the project. Once you upload your video, Quilt Alliance staff will do some simple edits, adding Go Tell It! and Quilt Alliance graphics to the video, and then upload it to the Quilt Alliance YouTube Channel. You will be notified once the video is live and then you can embed the video on your own website, blog or share it via social media.

Example videos

Here are a few Go Tell It! videos that you might take a look at before beginning:

Why we love it: This video was filmed in Houston, shortly after it won Best In Show–it captures that energy!

What could improve: The camera moves several times (should stay stationery), the quilt and the speaker is cut-off at times, and sound is not great

Why we love it: This video has the quilt filling the frame, is well-lit so we can see the teller and the quilt, and has great sound.

What could improve: The quilt is a little crooked, but otherwise, not too bad!

Why we love it: It shows that Go Tell It! videos can be filmed anywhere! 

What could improve: For exhibition videos, pick a neutral, blank background with the quilt hanging or pinned to the wall. Only the “teller” should be in the frame.


[accordion style=”boxed” open=””]

[accordion_toggle title=”What do I talk about? Can I have a friend ask me questions?”]You can talk about anything you want! Whatever you think is important about the quilt–what makes it special to you, why you like it, why you don’t, what makes it unusual… the sky’s the limit, really! If you made the quilt, you might talk about inspiration, technique, or special meaning. If you inherited or purchased the quilt, you could tell us why you love it or the story of how it came to you.We just ask that if you’re recording a Go Tell It video, your voice is the only voice we hear. If you want to write a few notes, or practice beforehand, go for it! [/accordion_toggle]

[accordion_toggle title=”Do I need a special camera or microphone or lights?”]No! If you’re in a well-lit, quiet room and the video is easy to see and hear, you can use any video camera you’d like. If you do have access to a video camera, or lighting, that’s even better. You’ll want to make sure to position your lights so that there aren’t too many shadows on the quilt. If you’re an organization considering purchasing entry-level video equipment, send us an email and we’ll tell you what we use.[/accordion_toggle]

[accordion_toggle title=”I have a lot of quilts I’d like to share. Can I make more than one video? Or can I share more than one quilt in a video?”]You can submit as many Go Tell It! videos as you’d like! We do ask that each video follow the Go Tell It! formula: one person and one quilt per video. If you’d like to share more quilts, feel free to make more videos–just submit one per quilt. [/accordion_toggle]

[accordion_toggle title=”How much does it cost to participate?”] Go Tell It! is a project of the non-profit Quilt Alliance, and it’s free for anyone to submit a video or watch the videos we’ve collected. If you’d like to support the project or believe that documenting, preserving, and sharing the stories of quilts is important, you can make a donation to the Quilt Alliance in any amount or become an Alliance member. [/accordion_toggle]

[accordion_toggle title=”Can I add a close-up image of my quilt to my video?”] If you have video editing skills and time to spare, feel free to add some still photographs of details of your quilt. We don’t recommend trying to zoom in on the quilt during the video–in general, it’s best to focus on the person talking, and try not to move the camera around. If you’d like to add a still image to your video before uploading and feel comfortable editing video, go for it! [/accordion_toggle]

[accordion_toggle title=”Can I do the video outside?”] Yes! As long as you feel like your voice will be easily heard in the video (ie. not too many wind/traffic/nature noises) and the background isn’t too distracting, you can film your video anywhere you’d like. Getting outside sometimes provides the best, most even light for making a video. [/accordion_toggle]