(Inter)National Quilting Day

The last day of March and I’m writing about International Quilting Day an annual event held on the third Saturday of March!  Although it’s taken me a while, and so it might be a little out of date, I really didn’t want to miss recording how one group of quilters mark this day every year.

Busy stitchers on Interanl Quilters Day
Busy stitchers on International Quilting Day

As a newby to the world of patchwork and quilting I was kindly swept up into the annual International Quilting Day by my new found friends at North Hampshire Quilters.   For a small payment I received a comprehensive programme for the day, the promise of table space for me and my sewing machine and a choice of homemade soups for lunch (this has since morphed into an equally tasty Ploughman’s Lunch). And so for five years I’ve had the pleasure of taking part in International Quilting Day, spending time with friends from NHQ and meeting quilters from other Groups in the area.

It’s only as I came to write about IQD that I thought I’d better research it’s history. This is what I found on the website of The National Quilting Association:

A Brief History of National Quilting Day

In 1989, the Kentucky Heritage Quilt Society organized a “Quilters’ Day Out” on the third Saturday of March to celebrate the rich tradition of quilt making in Kentucky. In 1991, the NQA officers were so enthused with the concept and success of “Quilters’Day Out” that they voted to take it to a national level.

The first National Quilting Day was observed in 1992 and since then it has grown into a global celebration for all quiltmakers and quilt lovers. Helen Storbeck, one of the founders of National Quilting Day, wrote in The Quilting Quarterly, “Groups of quilters were encouraged to hold special events, publishers and shop owners were invited to sponsor promotions especially for quilters and it quickly became a grassroots endeavor with quilters in every part of the country participating.  In the first year of National Quilting Day, quilters in other countries asked to participate. They were welcomed with open arms. As our feelings of a community network has evolved to include a world community, it is only appropriate that quilters and quilt lovers everywhere united to give recognition to the special art form.”

I’d assumed IQD had been going for much longer (I’m old enough to think 1992 is recent history!).

Thanks to the good planning and hard work of a small group of friends, the most of us can arrive at the village hall in the Candover Valley, set up our machines and get straight down to stitching!

Bead bags for Beads of Courage.
Bead bags for Beads of Courage.

We spent the morning making items for two charities – draw string bags for Beads of Courage and heart-shaped support pillows for breast cancer patients.  There was also a collection of general tools, sewing machines and equipment for Tools With A Mission.  After a tasty lunch and homemade cakes (we are asked to bring either a cake to share or a fat quarter for the raffle) some ladies continued with the charity makes while others began work on their own projects. Before the end of the day, there was an inspiring ‘show and tell’ session and an opportunity for retail therapy courtesy of Yvette of Needle and Thread and her baskets of fabric loveliness.

One of the many support pillows made for patients recovery from breast surgery
One of the many support pillows made for patients recovery from breast surgery

To say it is a ‘good day’ isn’t nearly sufficient as a description, but GOOD it is – heartwarming, inspiring, unifying, fun and most definitely worthwhile!  If you haven’t had the opportunity to share International Quilter’s Day with others I hope this might be a little bit of inspiration, if you already do hold an annual event I’d love to find out what you get up to; do share with a message and/or a link to a post about your IQDay.


One last picture - note in the far background that essential piece of quilting equipment - an urn for all day teas and coffees
One last picture – note in the far background that essential piece of quilting equipment – an urn for all day teas and coffees!


4 thoughts on “(Inter)National Quilting Day

  1. A Ploughmans? Well it’s origins are in the midday meal of farm workers. Basically bread, cheese and/or ham. It’s a popular lunch – especially in British pubs – and gets embellished with pickles, coleslaw, and green salad. Lovely if the bread is homemade and there’s a choice of cheeses etc! And of course all washed down with some ale (we stuck to tea and coffee on IQD!).

  2. It does look like a lot of fun ! That “Tools with a Mission” sounds like a really good idea, too. I hadn’t heard of anything planned around here for IQD but I didn’t look too hard either.


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