How to Make an American Quilt, the Movie

Women stitch quilt as a wedding gift for girl

Girl doesn’t know whether she wants to get married.

Women in quilting circle tell stories about life and love that fit the quilt’s theme

Where Love Resides

Wrapped in a quilt, girl follows bird flight to find her dream.


That, in essence, is the story of Finn Dodd, a Berkeley graduate student who visits her great aunt and grandmother to finish her thesis and to think about a marriage proposal. Among her grandmother’s sister and friends, Finn (Winona Ryder) learns that love can sour, thicken, betray, even stay strong. She also learns a thing or two about quilting in lines spoken by Anna, played by Maya Angelou, the organizer of the group:

You have to choose your combinations careful. The right choices will enhance your quilt. The wrong choices will dull the colors and hide their original beauty. There are no rules you can follow. You have to go by instinct and you have to be brave.

~ Whitney Otto, How to Make an American Quilt



Quilts as Remembrance

It was not a woman’s desire to be forgotten. And in one simple, unpretentious way, she created a medium that would outlive even many of her husband’s houses, barns and fences; she signed her name in friendship onto cloth and, in her own way, cried out, Remember me!

~ Linda Otto Lipsett

Lipsett suggests there is “a sense of permanence that permeates” the folds of a quilt.


Mom’s Quilts Live On

Mother Ruth Longenecker wrapped in love and beauty

Crazy Quilt design, 1999


Dresden Plate quilt design

You can read more about my mother’s quilting adventures here.


Quilts in Church

Writer and blogger Sherrey Meyer shared a link to the story of quilts that brightened a memorial service.

In a recent USA Today feature, Brittany Loggins reports that the family of Margaret Hubl honored her memory by displaying all of her quilts at her funeral. Her children and grandchildren draped dozens of quilts over the back of pews, a visual demonstration of how she communicated love for her family.

I’m curious: Have you see this movie? Read Whitney Otto’s book? Made a quilt? Want to comment on anything else?

Bonus: Behind the Scenes of this post . . .

Broad outline, Google search, tweaking content, viewing movie, final edits, plus photos and drafts in an online folder – how this blog post was born


Are there quilts lying in a chest somewhere in your home? On a bed? Have you made a quilt or received one as an exquisite one as a gift? Inquiring minds want to know  . . .