Why Quilts Matter

October 3, 2011 § 7 Comments

I’ve just finished watching the two DVD set of Why Quilts Matter. I think it’s due to be shown on PBS in the states but as we are unlikely ever to see it on TV here I shelled out some of my hard-earned cash and bought the DVDs. I think it was worth the money, I really do. I enjoyed every minute of it. While I warmed to Shelley Ziegart I did find her reading of the cue cards a little wooden but what she had to tell us was so interesting that I forgave this minor fault. The quilts shown are gorgeous and the history, the politics and the wealth of other information was just fascinating.

If you’re wondering what to put on your Christmas list this would be a great addition. It cost me US$50 including postage.

However, if you really want to know Why Quilts Matter then take a look at these photos and you’ll get the real picture.


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§ 7 Responses to Why Quilts Matter

  • Linda says:

    Ah, Mr. Tiggy! His face says it all….lol. My particular favorite example of quilts that matter(ed) is their use as directions for escaping slaves on the underground railroad during the 1800s. The courage and talent of the women who made those quilts makes me proud to be an american. They risked their lives to help others.

    xo Linda

    • sewjournal says:

      Hi Linda
      Sorry to disappoint you but that story is a myth that was started by some poor scholarship. It is thoroughly “de-bunked” in this series in Episode 8 or 9 I think. It’s a great story but it’s not supported by one iota of evidence unfortunately.

  • Annette in NC, USA says:

    I have only watched the first DVD and have enjoyed it as well. I too shelled out the $$ because I didn’t think we would ever get it on our poor excuse of a cable tv provider.
    I am glad that they tackled the subject of the Underground Railroad. Unfortunately I have seen it taught locally and it is very hard to refute the stories without being called a “racist”. I had to make a stand about 4 years ago concerning our local quilt show when the state park where we hold it wanted to bring in a speaker during the show on this subject – the speaker had actually received a PhD on the subject based on the stories vice real research. At least I had Barbara Brackman’s book on the subject (a real quilt historian) to back me up.

    • sewjournal says:

      Good for you Annette that must have been hard. It is sad because it’s such a lovely myth but the truth is truth and it matters.

  • Doris says:

    I read that the whole quilt & Underground Railroad connection started when a “researcher” asked a black quilt maker, who was selling her quilts, if there was any connection–a leading question. Since the quilt maker knew a good thing when she heard it, she responded yes & spun a tale. A similar thing happend with Aran sweaters. The knitters were asked if there was any religous significance to the patterns–these knitters also knew a good thing. In the case of quilts, the whole thing has been traced back to that original source.

  • Vireya says:

    I was wondering about buying the DVD, too. But then I watched the free episode they had on the Quilt Show (which was about the market price of quilts), and didn’t find it very interesting. Are other episodes better?

    • sewjournal says:

      Hi Vireya
      I guess everyone’s tastes are different. I enjoyed all the episodes. I’m not sure whether you would think the other episodes were better or not. I’d hate to say “yes” just because I liked them and then find out you didn’t enjoy the DVD at all. Take a look on the http://whyquiltsmatter.org as they have info on the different episodes. It might give you a better idea of whether or not you’ll enjoy it. I hope this helps.

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