Cathy Miller is dual talented; not only is she capable of stitching together a stunning patchwork quilt, but she also writes and sings at festivals, clubs and concerts nationwide. Whats more, she sings about quilts!
The Canadian singer songwriter has primarily been a folksy type of singer nearly all her life; even at school she was singing and composing songs. She began her singing career as a member of the group Trilogy, touring a successful Christmas show called Two Thousand Years of Christmas. In 1991, she wrote the music for a play about quilting, spending months with the playwright, Peggy Sample. Together they read every book they could find which drew reference to quilts, forming a fascinating history of quilting tales. Cathy took these weird and wonderful stories and turned them into songs.
In September 2000 she released One Stitch at a Time, the first of three albums of quilting songs. They range from sad tales about real quilting events to comical stories about quilters and their habits. Cathy delights in finding and writing songs about real stories, such as Australias Rajah Quilt, made by female convicts aboard ships bound for Van Diemens Land in 1841. Its the only known surviving convict ship quilt, sent back as a thank you to Elizabeth Fry and her ship committee at Newgate Prison. Theres also another true-story song, Quilt of Names, recounting the story of a WWII Red Cross quilt from Canada that travelled the world with a young man called Harold Bloomfield from Lewisham, London, until his death. His last wish was to have the quilt sent back to Canada. On a lighter note, the song entitled 100 Ways to Hide Your Stash should hit a chord with most quilters, and would bring a smile to any listener.
Cathys own quilts are also sewn with history. Many were made while on tour. The 130 fish around the border of So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish! were sewn on as they toured Australia. Postcard from the Other Victoria - Ogden Point toward the Olympic Mountains was made for the SCQuilters New Zealand Retreat in April 2004. The postcard depicts where Cathy lives. "We live in a beautiful part of the world, and I'm proud to show it off", says Cathy. The Star and Plume Quilt tells a happy-ending story about the quilt pattern, Sunbonnet Sue, who eventually finds true love. It uses 46 quilt block names to tell the story, says Cathy. I made it after I wrote the song (of the same name) on my third quilting CD A Quilters World. It is machine and hand pieced, and appliquéd then machine quilted. Each block is 9 inches. We finished it in the car on our way to Texas, January 2005, added Cathy.

Gradually, quilting has taken over Cathys life. As part of her research in the early days, she took up quilting classes and became hooked. Today Cathy travels the world, singing for quilting events, guild meetings and shows. So far they have performed some 250 events on two continents, and make their first tour of the UK between September and October. If you're interested in booking the singing quilter for your event or would like to see Cathy performing in your local area, visit her website, for further details

First published in Popular Patchwork Volume 13 Issue 9 - August 2005