Carole Lyles Shaw, Modern Quilt Innovator

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Carole Lyles Shaw

Carole’s passion is to inspire quilters to explore the fun and creative freedom of making modern quilts. She taught herself to quilt when she decided to make quilts for her wonderful nieces and nephews.  Then, she found her first quilting home with the African American Quilters of Baltimore, who gently taught her the best techniques to express her quilt vision. She is excited about modern quilting because it brings individualism and free expression to the quilts we are making today.

She teaches workshops to help quilters confidently and joyfully dive into modern quilting. Her students say that her workshops inspire them to let their creative voices shine.


Lisa Woolfork

Lisa Woolfork is an associate professor of English, specializing in African American literature and culture. Her teaching and research explore Black women writers, Black identity, trauma theory, and American slavery. She is the founder of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. She is also the host/producer of Stitch Please, a weekly audio podcast that centers Black women, girls, and femmes in sewing. In the summer of 2017, she actively resisted the white supremacist marches in her community, Charlottesville Virginia. The city became a symbol of lethal resurging white supremacist violence. She remains active in a variety of university and community initiatives, including the Community Engaged Scholars program. She believes in the power of creative liberation.


Insights from this episode:

  • What makes a modern quilt
  • Insights into quilting
  • Emerging trends in quilting
  • How modern quilt borrows from traditions
  • Relationship between quilting and music
  • The importance of respecting traditions
  • What Carol is looking forward to in 2023
  • Details about QuiltCon


Quotes from the show:

  • “People used to phrase community over competition all the time, but sometimes, people be lying” —Lisa Woolfork in “Stitch Please”
  • “Modern quilting: First of all, it does have one foot in the traditional quilting world; it’s not that we hate traditional quilts, far from it. We honor that tradition, we learn from it, and then we expand it and build on it” —Carole Lyles Shaw in “Stitch Please”
  • “Modern quilting is an emerging genre. It’s always changing and being re-invented” —Carole Lyles Shaw in “Stitch Please”
  • “Improvisational design and actual quilting is only one design principle. Not all modern quilts are improvised; some of them are very much pattern-based and block-based” —Carole Lyles Shaw in “Stitch Please”
  • “It (modern quilting) really is about invention, re-invention and combining and re-combining and borrowing from artistic, as well as folk art tradition from literally all around the world” —Carole Lyles Shaw in “Stitch Please”
  • “If you are gonna learn from and borrow from a tradition, understand that tradition first, before you explore it further” —Carole Lyles Shaw in “Stitch Please”
  • “The best teachers are not trying to create acolytes in their own image; the best teachers want to bring out the best students can do” —Lisa Woolfork in “Stitch Please”
  • “Pay close attention to the parts of quilt making that bring you joy and energy (...) go where your joy takes you” —Carole Lyles Shaw in “Stitch Please”


Resources Mentioned:

Modern Quilt Guild



Stay Connected:

Lisa Woolfork

Instagram: Lisa Woolfork

Twitter: Lisa Woolfork


Carole Lyles Shaw

Website: Carole Lyles Shaw

Facebook: Carole Lyles Shaw Quilts


This episode was produced and managed by Podcast Laundry.

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Hosted by Lisa Woolfork

Lisa is a fourth-generation sewing enthusiast who learned to sew while earning a PhD in African American literature and culture. She has been sewing for more than twenty years while also teaching, researching, and publishing in Black American literature and culture.