Just One Quilt: Kate’s Story

Watch Kate’s Story here

In my former career as an Associate Producer in documentaries I witnessed many people being interviewed and sharing personal experiences. I was very aware of how difficult it can be to tell a moving story yet not to take advantage of a person’s vulnerability. My job was tough because often we became very involved in a contributor’s life for a short period of time – and then moved on. Ultimately I didn’t like that aspect of the job and realised I wasn’t really cut out for Directing. Hence the career change to sewing!

Thankfully I feel confident in producing these films that the people sharing their stories know me, and know that I care. I am very grateful for the trust they put in me, and I do make sure that everyone is happy with their story before it is published.

Kate is a strong and kind woman I admire very much. She isn’t surrounded by a big crafty family, she has very little time to herself and yet she has thrown herself into making a quilt for each of her children, including Jemima – which was a tough one for her emotionally.

When Kay and I saw the quilt again on the studio wall to film it – we both commented on how it was reminiscent of some of the quilts of Gee’s Bend – a remote black community in Alabama with a quilting tradition focussed on warmth and family. Simply put, Jemima’s quilt evokes pure joy and you can just tell it has been created with so much love and care. That makes it unique, beautiful and irreplaceable.

Kate’s last statement in the film is a quote that put shivers down my spine when she said it- and really resonates with my motivations for making the series.

On quilting:

“Life is busy but sometimes we just need to slow down a bit and see what’s important and your history, family and heritage – this is how you celebrate it”.

Please leave some feedback for Kate and me, it’s lovely to hear from you.

Also enjoy reading all about the Quilts of Gee’s Bend online (one day we are going on a road trip to see them in real life!)




  1. Sue says:

    What a beautiful quilt and a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing. This quilt story resonates with my family.

    1. Jenni Smith says:

      Thanks Sue. So happy you are enjoying the films.

  2. Annette says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and the emotional journey you have been on Kate. I totally agree making a quilt can be a powerful form of therapy.

    1. Jenni Smith says:

      I’m looking forward to seeing your quilts again soon Annette xx

  3. Patricia says:

    A lovely story, thank you for sharing. Kats’s last statement in her story is So meaningful.

  4. Sarah Jane Swire says:

    An amazing lady and a beautiful quilt. You should be so proud of all you have achieved. xx

  5. Lisa says:

    I love how Kate has chosen the fabrics in this quilt and their meanings. It is beautiful and I love how the quilt is a comfort for her too.

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