About Katherine

Katherine Bell
katherine at quiltingforpeace.com

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I come from a long line of crafters. My great-grandmother was a quilter. My grandmother braided rugs, crocheted, and tatted lace. My mom knits and spins, and she sewed most of my clothes when I was little. I began quilting in 2004, when I was in graduate school at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, close to Kalona, Iowa, an Amish farming town full of antique quilt and fabric shops. I was inspired by the history of quilting there, as well as the place itself: square mile after square mile of fields, each a subtly different color and texture, gridded by roads, and that enormous sky. I spent a lot of time at my sewing machine and found that the rhythm of each project—designing, cutting, piecing, quilting, binding—kept me absorbed from beginning to end.

When I moved to New England, I went back to work as an online editor, and then quilting started to feel necessary in a way it hadn’t before. I was spending 10 hours a day on the computer. No matter how hard I worked, I didn’t produce anything you could touch. The transformation of bits of mismatched fabric into a gorgeous and useful quilt became more satisfying than ever.

All quilters know that quilts are powerful because—like well-told stories and good food—they satisfy one of our most essential human needs with unnecessary flair. That’s why they’re so effective at comforting anyone who’s scared or sick, as well as carrying messages that may change people’s minds about important matters. Once I discovered how much tangible change quilters make not only in their own lives, but in their communities and in places they’ve never visited, among people they will never meet, I had to write this book.

Here are some other places you can read my writing:

Harvard Business Review
The Huffington Post
Best American Short Stories 2006