Quilters' Save Our Stories

Quilters' Save Our Stories


Karen Musgrave's article "Saving Quilters' Stories: Ten Years and Counting" appears in the October/November 2009 issue of Quilters Newsletter. Karen has conducted oral history interviews with more than 250 quilters since 1999 as a volunteer with Quilters' S.O.S.-Save Our Stories, a project of the Alliance for American Quilts. Here are Karen's top tips for conducting a successful interview. To get involved with the project, download the complete Q.S.O.S. manual at allianceforamericanquilts.org/qsos.


  1. Know your equipment.
  2. Clearly and accurately explain how the interview will be conducted so there are no surprises.
  3. Understand that it's not about you. Do not interject with your own stories.
  4. Take your time.
  5. Listen actively. Make eye contact and keep your body calm.
  6. Be curious. Probe to elicit more information.
  7. Keep your questions short.
  8. Ask meaningful, open-ended questions, not "yes" or "no" questions.
  9. Don't fear silence. Give the interviewee time to formulate his/her response.
  10. Don't assume, argue, refute, or correct.
  11. Don't interrupt.
  12. Avoid "off the record" information.


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The interview process
How is the interview to be conducted? (So that I can "clearly and accurately explain"). Thanks for this article! More details first.


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