Sustaining Threads

Connecting Sustainability in Our Quilts and Our Environment

Curated by Laura Hopper

What sustains our love of quilts? 

Ask any quilter, and they’ll give you an answer as long as the thread on a brand new spool. We’re thrilled by the creativity of quiltmaking, entranced by the long history and tradition, and challenged by endless techniques to try. We love the feel of fabrics, made from cotton and flax and dyed in all the colors of the rainbow. We spread our quilts out on the grass on warm, sunny days and enjoy our time outside. Those same quilts surround us with warmth in the cold winter months. 

As much as we work to sustain the tradition of quiltmaking, quilts in turn help to sustain us.

Quilts are made for new babies, gifted to loved ones undergoing medical treatments, and given as graduation gifts. Quilts mark stages of our life, as seasons mark the passing of a year. Quilts are gifts of comfort during grief and trauma. And when we went through the collective trauma of a global pandemic, we welcomed even more quilters into our community to sustain and grow quiltmaking traditions. 

What sustains our environment? 

Drawing inspiration from nature is not that different from finding it in quilting. Even a trip to a backyard or a corner park can spark visual wonder that can translate to quilts, from the boldest flower to the humblest stone. Infusing the spectacle of nature into our quilts is just one way quilters can connect to the environment.

Quilters also save scraps. We use old clothes to make quilt tops and sheets to make backs. Scrappy quilting and quilting with non-traditional fabrics are two of the easiest ways for quilters to be environmentally friendly by reducing overconsumption. 

Quilting and the environment share a special connection. As quilters, we use materials harvested from the earth in nearly everything we do. Our color palettes, floral prints, and design choices can all be deeply connected to the beauty we see outside our sewing room windows.

Sustaining ourselves as quilters, sustaining our creativity, and sustaining our environment are all connected by a shared thread.