We know you love Suzy Quilts patterns and tutorials — that's why you're reading this! But have you ever wondered about how Suzy made her first quilt? Or how she turned her hobby into a thriving and growing quilt pattern business? And where does she come up with the ideas for the patterns you know and love?
You're in luck because Suzy Williams, founder of Suzy Quilts, documented her story in an interview recorded for the Quilt Alliance's flagship Quilters' Save Our Stories (QSOS) oral history project, and you can watch it! If you love watching Suzy's Instagram LIVE videos during sew alongs, this event is a must-see.
Below is the interview followed by a Q&A from the LIVE event.
Family came up several times during Suzy's interview!
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Suzy with her son Desi and mother Jane.
What Is An Oral History?
Oral history is a way to preserve history by recording a person's voice as they are interviewed. It's an engaging and dynamic way to preserve the past because listening to someone reflect on their own experiences and memories can help bring history to life. You'll hear their laughs, their emotion, and maybe even their tears. You can learn more about oral history here.
Since founding the QSOS oral history project in 1999, the Quilt Alliance has built the largest oral history collection related to quilts and quilters in the world with over 1,200 interviews with quilters from all walks of life. Archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, these interviews are available to anyone to hear.
If searching through all those interviews seems overwhelming, the Quilt Alliance has made it even easier for quilters to enjoy their collection of oral histories through a podcast called the Running Stitch podcast. I love listening to it while I quilt and hearing the stories of other quilters.
Suzy's Oral History
This oral history interview offers a glimpse at Suzy's life and work at an important moment in time. She's been quilting for over 20 years, grown a business, and became a working mom.
"I'm not sure my journey as a quilter is particularly special or even needs to be documented; however, I do think it's important for us to learn from each other's experiences and find inspiration in places outside of ourselves. My hope is that this interview connects in a meaningful way with someone. Sewing, entrepreneurship, creativity, motherhood — it's all a process made valuable by the people who share it with us." - Suzy Williams
The Quilt Alliance is thrilled to add an interview with Suzy to the collection. "The QSOS project essentially captures a snapshot of the quilt world and today, more than ever, that picture includes the stories of quilters who make their living within the community," said Quilt Alliance Executive Director Amy Milne.
"Suzy’s story will resonate with anyone who picked up quilting and never wanted to put it down. And also ring true for makers who transitioned to business owners organically and sometimes quickly. We’re thrilled to be able to not only share Suzy’s story via Textile Talks, but to also add her interview to the historic QSOS archive."
Did you know that Suzy is a BERNINA Expert Ambassador? Read more about filming this video in Switzerland here.
Register To Watch Now!
Do you want to hear Suzy's story from Suzy Williams herself? This special oral history, recorded on video instead of audio-only, will be presented at a Textile Talk, a free weekly series of presentations and panel discussions about fiber arts co-presented by the Quilt Alliance and other quilt and fiber organizations. Following the interview, there will be a 15-minute question-and-answer period when any audience member can ask a question!
Mark your calendar for Wednesday, October 26 at 2 p.m. Eastern and register now with the link below!
Click here to register for the Suzy Quilts Textile Talk!
You can register to view the event up until the start time. If you aren't able to make it to the live zoom, you should still register because you'll receive an email with the Textile Talk recording a couple of days after the event.
The Textile Talk recording, including the oral history interview and question-and-answer, will also be added to this blog post after the live event.
Get the Gather quilt pattern here!
Document Your Own Quilt Story With The Quilt Alliance!
The Quilt Alliance's oral history project has been on pause while interviews are indexed to make them easier for anyone to search, with only a handful of invited interviews happening over the last few years. But soon you can participate too! The project will re-launch in 2023, during the Alliance's 30th anniversary year, for any quilter to submit their own oral history.
This grassroots project is open to any quilter and encourages the importance of preserving your story not only for researchers but also for family who may want to listen to your interview in the future.
If you're interested in having your quilting story preserved at the Library of Congress as well, the best thing to do is to follow the Quilt Alliance on Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up for the monthly Quilt Alliance newsletter here so you'll be the first to hear when the QSOS oral history project opens next year!
What Questions Do You Have for Suzy?
If you're not able to come to Suzy's oral history Textile Talk in person, leave your questions in the comments of this blog post! We'll add them to our list and she might answer your question if there's time!
Get the Mod Mountains pattern today!
2 thoughts on “Oral History: Suzy Documents Her Story”
You’re just the best, Suzy! Thank you for always being so generous with us (your time, your creativity, your insights, your funnies, etc.). Keep up the amazing work!
Thank you, Shannon! You’re the best!