For Quilt Guilds

American Patchwork—edited by Sonja Hakala
American Patchwork—edited by Sonja Hakala


“Stitching Together a Writer’s Life” is a trunk show with a difference. Along with a collection of quilts featured in her how-to books, I’ll bring the books themselves, using them to tell the story of how books brought me to quilting.

I start off with the behind-the-scenes story of how I came to edit a collection of 65 stories by quilters that became American Patchwork from St. Martin’s Press.

From American Patchwork, we move into my baptism-by-fire quilting education when I  was chosen to write Teach Yourself Visually Quilting for Wiley Publishing.

Based on my many years as a professional writer and my work in book publishing), your group will get a good look behind the scenes of what goes into writing and producing the how-to book that has more photographs than any other quilt book on the market.

Teach Yourself Visually Quilting
Teach Yourself Visually Quilting

While books and writing made me a quilter, quilting itself led me down another unpredictable path when, in 2011, I founded the Parkinson’s Comfort Project.

Both of my parents died of complications of Parkinson’s disease but it was my mother’s request for a “smaller quilt” that gave me the insight into the importance of quilts as providers of comfort.

The Parkinson’s Comfort Project’s goal is to bring the warmth, comfort, and beauty of handmade quilts to people on the Parkinson’s journey. To date, the Project has been gifted with more than 400 quilts made by people around the U.S. They are distributed via Parkinson’s symposiums, Parkinson’s support groups, through medical professionals, and through our website.
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In 2015, the Parkinson’s Comfort Project was selected as the non-profit of the year by the Vermont Quilt Festival. In honor of that selection, I wrote and published a how-to book of simple patterns and quilting techniques called Piecing for Parkinson’s.

If you would like to know more about the Parkinson’s Comfort Project, here’s a link to pieces I have written about this important non-profit.

Cover art by Judith Freeman Clark
Cover art by Judith Freeman Clark

The Parkinson’s Comfort Project also provides community service opportunities for guilds through its Piecing for Parkinson’s events. We’d love to include your guild in that effort. Here’s more information.

In addition to my how-to books, I am the author of the Carding, Vermont novels. While quilting is not the main focus of these novels, there is a school in Carding—the Carding Academy of Traditional Arts—where quilting is taught, and there’s an annual fair that features a quilt show. So quilting is part of life in this Vermont community.

I’ve presented this program in quilt guilds all over New England as well as at social service organizations, libraries, and at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts. I would love to bring this program to your guild.

To make arrangements or to discuss particulars, please email me at:

I can’t wait to meet you.

TRU-2015 front cover only

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Author of the Carding, Vermont novels, quilt books, and book publishing guides.

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