Thursday, March 19, 2020

International Quilting Day - March 21, 2020

Celebration Day is almost here! International Quilting Day is always the third Saturday in March and this year falls on March 21st. The usual celebration you might expect to find is groups of quilters gathering together to sew on their projects or charity projects. Some join online challenges and mystery quilts. Others go to quilt shops to support the small businesses in their locations and their vacation destinations. How many times have you seen requests on online groups that go something like this: "I'm going to be visiting Las Vegas next month. Where are the quilt shops?" A time or two right?

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Last year I had an idea that on International Quilting Day in 2020 we should celebrate by hanging quilts outdoors. I guess the basis of the idea came after visiting Sisters, Oregon twice for their annual Outdoor Quilt Show. It has become a vacation destination for quilters, quilting groups and some good natured significant others. Quilters get on board with events that focus on their passion of stitching with love. Quilt Shops organize shop hops under the banner Worldwide Quilting Day on the same day to encourage people to support local quilt shops.

I thought, "what if we hang quilts outside, and ask our friends to do likewise, and they ask their friends, and so on and so on. Wouldn't it create some curiosity? Wouldn't it add some colour to our yards? Wouldn't it tell our neighbours that we love our craft? And that is how it all began.

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I then created a Facebook event so that there would be one place online where people could find out information about the event. From there I shared with some online quilting groups. I had very enthusiastic responses and decided I might be on to something. Then it went viral.

The idea has grown and taken on a life of its own. Then arrived the Covid-19 pandemic with social isolation protocols announced and social distancing becoming the new buzzword. School is out for spring break but then on hold thereafter. Restaurants are closed except for takeout. Grocery store shelves are bare. Streets are empty. While sporting events and other gatherings are being cancelled, including our Victoria Quilters' Guild 2020 Quilt Show the first weekend in June, this project suddenly became something that quilters could do, hang their quilts outdoors at their residences, to add some colour to their neighbourhoods, despite our new restrictions. My last week has been spent on promotion in our local media, producing a driving map for my city, and answering social media enquiries. By the number of pings on my phone, it seems the world has realized that we can still get in our cars and maintain social distancing and yet do something fun this Saturday.

Let's go see some quilts and take pictures and post them! You will undoubtedly see bed quilts, traditional quilts, modern quilts, baby quilts, and art quilts. You will likely see them on railings, in trees, on benches, on the sides of buildings and hanging in windows.

Here is the link to an interview on Tuesday this week which aired on our local news channel:

Here are the locations in Greater Victoria, British Columbia where there will be quilts hanging on March 21st:

I would love to see the Internet filled with pictures of the quilt spottings! (Hashtags would be appreciated: #internationalquiltingday2020 #internationalquilthanging2020 #hangaquilt) Let's brighten someone's day. Let's help them remember their friends and family members who may have quilted and gifted them one. Let's help the cancer patients and NICU parents remember the love expressed by these caring strangers who donated to them in their time of need. Let's do what we do to show tangible love and comfort in these uncertain times. Let's wrap the world in quilty hugs.

Mavis (aka Dayspring Quilter)