Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories (QSOS) is the largest oral history collection about quiltmakers in the world. Our archive for the original audio recordings and photographs is the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

The project was co-founded in 1999 by a dedicated group of Quilt Alliance board members and volunteers who identified an extraordinary gap in the quilt world: no one had ever created an oral-history project to capture the history, craft tradition, and personal experiences of America’s quiltmakers. They envisioned QSOS as a grassroots effort and designed the interview process in ways that would make it accessible to interviewers and quiltmakers at all skill levels and backgrounds, allowing them to explore the central question: “if this quilt could talk,” what would it say? Now, almost twenty years later, the collection includes over 1,200 recorded interviews with quiltmakers from novices to professionals.

The Quilt Alliance celebrates the twentieth anniversary of QSOS in 2019 with a whole new way to share our archive online. When the project is complete, you will be able to listen to the audio recording, read the summary and transcript and view the photos for each interview, and search or browse the entire collection.

Listen to Running Stitch, a QSOS Podcast

Running Stitch, A QSOS Podcast, is hosted by Janneken Smucker, Professor of History at West Chester University. Join us as we explore quilt stories, revealing the inner thoughts, feelings, and motivations of contemporary quiltmakers by drawing from the Quilters S.O.S. — Save Our Stories oral history project. We’ll dig into the QSOS archive to listen to excerpts from past interviews, and bring back interviewees to ask them about what they are working on and thinking about presently. Season one episodes will be released in June and July 2020.

Visit the new QSOS website

Here you can browse a sample set of 20 QSOS interviews that demonstrate the collection’s new features, such as original interview audio recordings and enhanced descriptions. Subscribe to the Quilt Alliance eNewsletter to receive updates as interviews are added to the new site.

SELECTIONS FROM QUILTERS’ S.O.S. – SAVE OUR STORIES

Read some featured interviews below. You can also search or browse the full archive of QSOS transcripts. 

QSOS Interview with Ann Holmes

QSOS Interview with Ann Holmes

Alice Helms (AH): My name is Alice Helms. Today is September 15, 2010. I’m conducting an interview with Ann Holmes for the Asheville Quilt Guild Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories project. We’re at a quilting retreat at Lake Logan in Canton,…

QSOS with Roy Mitchell Jr.

QSOS with Roy Mitchell Jr.

  Karen Musgrave (KM): This is Karen Musgrave and I am doing a Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories interview with Roy Mitchell, Jr. Roy is in Woodridge, Virginia and I’m in Naperville, Illinois so we are conducting this interview over the…

QSOS with Mary Kay Davis

QSOS with Mary Kay Davis

Joy Combs Spence (JS): My name is Joy Combs Spence and today’s date is April 26, 2010. This is 3:00 p.m. I am conducting an interview with Mary Kay [Carrico.] Davis in Sunnyvale, California for the Quilters’ S.O.S.-Save Our Stories project. We…

QSOS with Carter Houck

QSOS with Carter Houck

Le Rowell (LR): My name is Le Rowell. Today’s date is November 12, 2001 and it is 10:38 A.M. and I am conducting an interview for the Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories, a project of The Alliance for American Quilts, and I’m here with Carter…

QSOS with Carole Lyles Shaw

QSOS with Carole Lyles Shaw

          Karen Musgrave (KM): This is Karen Musgrave and I am conducting a Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories interview with Carole Lyles Shaw. Carole is in Columbia, Maryland and I’m in Naperville, Illinois so we are…

QSOS with Pamela Allen

QSOS with Pamela Allen

  Tomme Fent (TF): This is Tomme Fent. Today is Saturday, December 10th, 2005, and it’s 1:06 p.m. Central Time. I’m conducting a telephone interview with Pamela Allen for the Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories project. Pamela is in…

QSOS with Susan Shie

QSOS with Susan Shie

NOTE: This interview took place from October 1-5, 2006. Karen Musgrave (KM): I’m doing a Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories interview with Susan Shie by e-mail since we cannot be together to do the interview and we wanted very much to include…

QSOS with Darlene Christopherson

QSOS with Darlene Christopherson

Jo Francis Greenlaw (JG): This is Jo Francis Greenlaw interviewing Darlene Chistopherson at the Quilters’ Save Our Stories Project on Saturday, November 4th, 2000 at the annual Houston Quilt Festival. Well welcome to you today, Darlene. You have…

QSOS with Ellen Kochansky

QSOS with Ellen Kochansky

Bernie Herman (BH): This is Bernie Herman for the Quilters’ S.O.S. – [Save Our Stories.] project at the American Craft Council, Baltimore Craft Show with Ellen Kochansky. The day is the twenty third of February 2003. And Ellen we always begin in…

QSOS with Jean Ray Laury

QSOS with Jean Ray Laury

Bernard Herman (BH): We’re with Jean Ray Laury we’re at the Quilters’ Save Our Stories Project. We’re in Houston, Texas and today is November the third 2000 and it’s about 12:30 in the afternoon. Jean Ray Laury (JRL): Okay, I haven’t remembered…

QSOS with Linda Claussen

QSOS with Linda Claussen

[note: this interview was conducted as a demonstration to the  participants at the training. throughout the tape there are voices in the background from other classes.] Karen Musgrave (KM): This is Karen Musgrave. Today is October 4, 2002. It is…

QSOS with Juanita Yeager

QSOS with Juanita Yeager

Karen Musgrave (KM): This is Karen Musgrave. It is August 29, 2001. It’s 5:09 in the afternoon. I’m conducting an interview with Juanita Yeager for Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories project in Louisville, Kentucky. Juanita, tell me about the…