Go Tell Your Quilt Story!

Make your own Go Tell It! video with any quilt you love, and we’ll add it to our gallery of quilt stories.

Thank you for coming to this page to find out how to record your quilt story! A Go Tell It! video is designed to take you on a “behind the seams” tour to learn more about each quilt–the story of the quilt’s ‘why’ and/or ‘how’. Because every quilt has a story

Here’s where you come in: we’re asking you to record one of these three minute videos about your quilt: either a quilt you made, a quilt you own, or a quilt you love. Go get started, sign up to tell your quilt story here.

Creating a Go Tell It! video is simple, and we’re happy to help if you have any questions. Here’s what you’ll need:

The quilt and a good space

  • Ideally, we want the quilt with you as you tell its story. If you can’t access it (ie. if it’s currently traveling), we can include a high resolution photo in the video so viewers can see it as you talk.
  • If you won’t be including the quilt in the video, we recommend standing against a neutral background, to one side of the frame. Here’s an example of one video with the quilt included as a photograph.

  • If possible, hang the quilt so it’s entirely visible on a quilt stand or other display. If it’s very large, it’s okay to fill the background with the quilt and stand in front of it. Holding the quilt, or having assistants hold it, isn’t ideal, as it means the quilt is usually in motion and difficult to see. Here are two well-lit examples of large quilts filling the frame, or with neutral backgrounds:

  • Film your video in a bright spot with good lighting so that the quilt is visible. If you have lights for photographing quilts, now is a great time to use them. If you have access to a bright outdoor area, that could work as well–just make sure that trees or buildings aren’t casting a shadow on you or your quilt.

  • 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.

A camera and (maybe) a helper

  • You can film a Go Tell It! with any device that has a camera. If you have a newer smart phone with a great camera, or a digital video camera, that’s best. If not, the camera on your laptop or a webcam also works.

  • If you’re filming yourself, set your camera (or phone) on something sturdy so the video doesn’t shake and bounce. A tripod? A bookshelf? All great.

  • Even better: ask a friend with a steady hand to help! Bonus points if they rest the phone or camera on something sturdy. The camera should not move for the duration of the video (no panning shots or zooming in while filming, please).

  • Important: if you’re using a phone to film your video, rotate your phone so it’s horizontal (landscape), not vertical.

The quilt story

  • Start your video with: “My name is ________ and I’m telling this quilt story for [any special event here]”. Or, “My name is __________ and this is a story about this quilt, _______________ which is featured in [special event]”. What’s important is that we get your name and ideally, the exhibit’s name. If that seems like a mouthful, consider making a cue-card you can tape next to the camera so you can read it while filming.
  • Then, start talking! We’d love it if you’d share whatever you consider to be the story of this quilt. If you’re the maker, you might talk about inspiration, technique, background of a historical moment that relates to the quilt, and the way the quilt’s story is visible (or invisible) on its surface. If you’re a collector, you might share what you know, and how you know it, about the quilt’s life: provenance, maker, materials, region, age, and what drew you to the quilt. Keep in mind the exhibit theme, if there is one.

Here’s a video with a distracting background (not ideal!) and distorted sound (not great!) but does a great job of sharing the story of a historical quilt concisely in a way that keeps viewers interested.

  • It’s ok to make some notes ahead of time to gather your thoughts. We ask that if possible, you don’t read from notes in your final video. Some people rehearse their stories ahead of time. Some don’t. Whatever you want to say is fair game to include… the sky’s the limit!Well, three minutes is the limit, so you’ll want to keep an eye on the video timer. If you go a little longer, that’s ok. 

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.

Uploading your video

First, sign up to tell your story. Anyone can sign up–we just want to make sure we get your name and email address. We’ll send you all the information and links you need in an email, but you can also find it on this webpage.

When you sign up, you’ll also find our release form.We just want to make sure that we have your permission to share this video online. Any questions? Just send us an email.

Click the button above to upload your video! Navigate to the video file on your computer (preferred) or phone, and follow the instructions to get started.

If you can, title your video “FirstnameLastname”, but if you can’t, that’s no problem. If you’d like, include 1-3 full or detail photographs of the quilt.

Depending on the project, we may include these detail shots in the video.

Thanks again for sharing your quilt story!