Did you know that the nonprofit Quilt Alliance maintains and protects the largest oral history collection about quiltmakers in the world? Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories, or QSOS for short, was founded by Quilt Alliance board members and launched in 1999 at the International Quilt Festival. The audio recordings, photos and transcripts that document over 1,200 interviews with quiltmakers are archived in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. This collection, now 20 years old, is a national treasure containing important documentation of our shared cultural heritage.
QSOS interviews include personal reactions to 9/11, hurricanes, fires, military conflicts, elections, immigration, births, deaths, weddings and funerals. And to our community, this project has even deeper meaning. QSOS is the library of our memories, our techniques, our tools, our fabrics, our gatherings, our honors, our challenges and our successes. Interviewees tell about their favorite sewing machine, their favorite thread, their favorite teachers and shops. They share techniques and describe new movements. QSOS is the only collection of its size and scope, and we need the help of our quilting community to preserve it and bring it into the 21st century.