One of my favorite questions that’s occasionally asked as part of a Q.S.O.S. interview is “In what ways do your quilts reflect your community or region?“. I love to read the great diversity of answers to this question–some quiltmakers are eager to explain how the colors of the natural world or traditions of their state appear again and again in their quilts, while others say their work is something that could be done anywhere and isn’t specific to a certain place. Judy Coates Perez, a quilter interviewed at the 2011 International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas, shared a stunning quilt with an underwater scene inspired by Texas’ early (very, very early!) history. Judy talked in her interview about how this quilt–and many of her quilts–are influenced by the world around her:

Image“This quilt is ‘Primordial Sea’ and I made it in 2005 after living in Texas. We lived in Austin, Texas for seven years and while we were there my son became obsessed with fossils. We spent a lot of time looking around in the creek beds of Austin [Texas.] collecting fossils and it led to many discussions about the geological history of Texas and how it used to be underwater and why there were seashells in the middle of Texas.
I would think about, ‘wow I wonder what that was like? What was a primordial sea like?’ After thinking about that I decided to make a quilt…

CC: Aside from the quilting community that you’re in, is there any particular way that you think that where you have lived has influenced the way that you quilt?
JP: It completely influences the imagery. I have so many pieces that are about where I’ve lived and that are about experiences that I’ve had. A lot of my work is very multi-cultural. When I was a kid, we moved out of our house when I was 13 and put everything in storage. I lived in Massachusetts at the time. We drove to Guatemala and spent a year traveling. We went all over the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Guatemala. We rented a house in Guatemala for six weeks and really got immersed in the culture. That has been a huge influence in a lot of my work: the colors, the imagery, that all comes into play. This quilt, ‘Primordial Sea’, is really about my life in Texas. I have another quilt that’s a big agave plant that’s about my time in Los Angeles when one of our homes that was up on a hill in a canyon. Often where I’ve lived has influenced my work in the imagery or colors or something about it.” 

You can read more stories from the International Quilt Festival (and hundreds of other locations!) at the Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories page on the Alliance’s site.


Posted by Emma Parker
Project Manager,  Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories

How To Trim Flying Geese Without A Specialty Ruler

If you don’t have a Bloc-Loc ruler, you may find trimming these flying geese challenging. But by following these steps, you should be able to get four accurate geese in each color!

First, line up your ruler so the point of the flying geese unit will be trimmed exactly ¼” above the point. Try to line the unit up as straight as possible on the other three sides.

Next, flip the unit over. Line up the edge you just cut on the 2” line of the ruler as shown below, and trim the excess from the top.

Flip the unit right side up again. Line the lower left corner up with the 3 ½” mark on your ruler as shown above. Trim the excess on the right.

Finally, flip the unit over again so the point is pointing towards the 2” line. Align the left edge of the unit with the 3 ½” ruler mark as shown above and trim the excess on the right. Your flying goose unit is now ready to be pieced into your block!

Quilt Documentation Tip

 Andrea’s block story is all about the importance of quilt guilds. Quilting can feel solitary, but guilds bring us together. It’s a topic of conversation that was discussed with two Birthday Block of the Month Designers in a recent Textile Talk where the participants all shared emotional stories about their love for their guilds. 

Did you know that your guild can document your quilts as a group? Consider hosting a quilt documentation day in your guild! Follow these instructions and have members share three minute stories about one meaningful quilt in the Quilt Alliance’s signature Go Tell It documentation program. You could even host a screening so all of your members can see the videos! Get in touch at:

See You in October for Month Seven!

Thank you so much to everyone who has participated in the Quilt Alliance’s Birthday Block of the Month so far! Our designer for next month, the seventh block we’re making together, is Bonnie Hunter herself! 

Be sure to tag @quiltalliance and @3rdstoryworkshop on Instagram with your block photos this month, and use the hashtag #QuiltAllianceBOM. And leave any questions about this month’s block in the comments below!


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