Category Archives: Quilting

Fiction for Quilters

What entices you to buy a book? The author? The cover? The description? Reviews? Favorite themes or tropes? Some combination of all of these elements?

When I encounter a new author, the subject matter is often a compelling motivator to buy the book. Women’s fiction that includes small towns and independent women always gets a second look. If the book also involves quilting, it moves to the top of my list.

If you feel the same, check out these books that feature quilting as part of the story.

Forget Me Knot (A Quilting Mystery Book 1)

Welcome to San Fernando Valley, California, where Martha Rose and her coterie of quilters are enjoying life on the good side of retirement—until murder pulls a stitch out of their plans. . .

Martha and her besties Lucy and Birdie are set to expand their Quilty Tuesdays by inviting newcomer Claire Terry into their group. Though at forty Claire’s a tad younger than their average age, her crafty reputation could perk up their patchwork proceedings, especially as they prepare for the fancy quilt show coming to town. But when they arrive at Claire’s home and find her dead inside the front door, and her exquisite, prize-winning quilts soon missing, Martha is not one to leave a mystery unraveled. Especially if she wants to stop a killer from establishing a deadly pattern. . .

Quilters of the Door (The Door County Quilt Series)

Enjoy this new series from Ann Hazelwood, The Door County Quilt Series. This first novel introduces you to Claire Stewart and her life in beautiful Door County, Wisconsin.

Claire Stewart, a new resident of the county, joins a prestigious small quilting club when her best friend moves away. Claire is a watercolor quilt artist, and the beauty of Door County captivates her right away.

Claire’s new friends and her quilt group provide fun, but it’s the man with the red scarf who intrigues her. As she grows more comfortable after escaping a bad relationship, new ideas and surprises abound as friendships, quilting, and her love life all change for the better.

The Sweet Tea Quilting Bee (Southern Grace Book 5)

A stranger’s murder in the dark alley behind May’s Flower Shop is causing the residents of Park Place, South Carolina to keep their children inside and their doors locked at night. Banty Hen Antique Shop owners, Sam and Valerie Owens, are caught right smack dab in the middle since they were the last ones to see the victim alive. Valerie’s new venture, the Sweet Tea Quilting Bee is comprised of an eclectic mix of women, calling themselves ‘newbies’ and ‘oldies’ in the art of quilting. Their weekly meetings help keep Valerie’s mind off the murder, but it’s hard to keep the secret from the ladies that the victim was killed over, of all things, a quilt! The murder suspect has been described as tall and thin, a pitifully vague description, but Police Chief Jess Hamilton and his new detective, a self-described Columbo, are on the case, questioning every tall and thin person in town. Even Sister Margaret, a nun who has just begun her mission at St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church, doesn’t go unnoticed. But it’s hard not to notice a nun who dances, and sings along with country music when she thinks no one’s watching.

Miranda Hathaway Boxed Set: Cutler Quilt Guild Adventures #1-3

This exciting box set includes the first three adventures of Miranda Hathaway and Cutler Quilt Guild Number One:

Book One – The Quilt Ripper: Miranda gets involved in the search for a burglar who simply tears apart vintage quilted pieces and seemingly steals nothing.

Book Two – The Missing Quilter: While helping daughter Zoey search for her missing friend, Olivia; Miranda goes missing.

Book Three – The Quilt Show Caper; To raise money for the school, the guild is holding its first ever quilt show with the oldest quilt in Pennsylvania on display when someone turns on the sprinklers—and steals the cash from the show.

Throughout these adventures, Miranda is assisted by Gabe Downing, a former FBI agent; and Harry, her cat, who always knows when something is wrong.

Birds in the Air

When Emma Byrd moves into the house of her dreams in the small mountain community of Sweet Anne’s Gap, she knows that making friends may prove to be her biggest challenge. Her husband loves his new job and her kids are finding their way at school. But Emma — no natural when it comes to talking to strangers — will have to try a little harder, especially after the sweet, white-haired neighbor she first visits slams the door in her face. Luckily, a few of the quilters of Sweet Anne’s Gap adopt Emma and she soon finds herself organizing the quilt show for the town’s centennial celebration. With Birds in the Air, Frances O’Roark Dowell (winner of the Edgar Award, the William Allen White Award and the Christopher Medal) creates a warm, funny novel about fitting in, falling out and mending frayed relationships one stitch at a time.

You can also enjoy my women’s fiction with quilting themes: The Quilt Company and Quilts Galore (The Shops on Wolf Creek Square, Book 1)

April – Planning Ahead

With the uncertainty we are facing now and into the unknown future, we are forced to do more planning than we have had to do in the past. Our shopping mainstays – grocery and all-purpose stores – have limited items on their shelves, forcing us to adjust our meals and activities. Never before in recent years have we’ve seen empty spaces in our stores and wondered when they will be restocked.

As we focus on our homes, I’m reminded of a quilt block known as the Log Cabin design. Popular in the late 1800s, this block was traditionally made with a red square in the center of the block to represent the hearth of the home. Around that square, strips of light and dark fabrics were added in sequence. The light fabrics on one side represent the sunny side of the house while the dark fabrics are the shadow side.

It’s known that quilts with black center blocks were sometimes hung outside homes to indicate a safe haven for runaway slaves on the Underground Railroad trying to make their way north to freedom. After the Civil War ended in 1865, there was a dramatic migration to settle the West. During that time, brides-to-be often used yellow center squares, thought to represent hope for their lives ahead.

New quilters often used this design to develop their skills for accurate cutting and sewing. They find the sewing requires attention to seam allowance, and it’s easy for a block to become slanted if the sewing is not precise.

My first attempt many years ago.

Recently I made a wall hanging using the Log Cabin pattern It was important to me that the cutting and sewing were accurate so the wall hanging would be square with the wall when it was done.

Recent finished project.

In my latest release, The Quilt Company, Deanna Westford uses the Log Cabin quilt design to describe the way she’s building her company, with each strip representing a different part of the business. She knows that each “log” of her business needs to be added accurately or her business will become out-of-line and collapse.

Our current lives require us to give accurate attention to the many aspects of our lives – the light and dark “logs” around our hearth – to make it through this difficult time.

I wish your family well keeping your Log Cabin safe.

Believing in Tomorrow,
Gini

March ~ the Month of Transition

In Wisconsin, we talk mostly about the weather during March. The adage, “In like a lamb, out like a lion,” or vice versa, is mentioned often from day one. I’m afraid that if this is true, with the beautiful days we are having now, we will pay big time before the end of the month. So, when conversations lag, weather is an easy subject.

Nationally, we transition into Daylight Savings Time in March. How wonderful to have an extra few minutes of daylight in the evening and more time as the months pass. I love those warm evenings when it is light after supper.

Wisconsin – the beer capital of the U.S., maybe the world – transitions to “green” beer on St. Patrick’s Day. Even if you don’t claim Irish heritage, the meal that day is corned beef and cabbage served with a mug of green beer. One meal each year is enough for me, thank you.

My favorite transition in March is the changing of the closets. I am not a person who embraces winter, so when warmer temperatures arrive this month, I am happy to put away the heavy coats, hats, and mittens for another year. It’s like the weight of the cold weather is also being packed away.

This month I transitioned to include sewing and knitting along with quilting. Our local help organization needed baby items, so I opened totes of yarn, cabinets of flannel fabric, found patterns, and got busy. Boy, did I have fun. Look at my assortment of booties, beanies, bears, and blankets.

By the time you read this, all the items will have been given to local families in need. I’m so grateful to be able to help.

Before I sign off, I want to tell you Miss Opal, the recipient of the quilt from the January blog, arrived on schedule. She and Mom are doing fine. Dad is sporting a huge smile and offering a helping hand.

Keep well this month and enjoy a touch of the Irish.

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much, and reach for that Pot o’ Gold.

Believing in Tomorrow,

Gini  

FEBRUARY – The month of love and romance and Valentine’s Day

Did you ever wonder how it all began?

Historians aren’t 100% in agreement as to the beginnings of this holiday. Many believe it started as a Pagan ritual known as Lupercalia when goats and dogs were sacrificed and their skins, soaked in the animal’s blood, were used to slap the women of the village. The women welcomed the treatment, believing it helped to make them more fertile in the coming year.

Around the 3rd century A.D., the Catholic Church banished the Pagan ritual and recognized three different saints named Valentine, but, here again, there is no consensus among the researchers.

It is known that Americans began exchanging handmade valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, a woman began selling the first mass-produced valentines she made with lace, ribbons, and colorful pictures. In 1913, Hallmark Cards offered premade valentines, and in 1916, began mass producing them. It is estimated that 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year.

We have friends who save their money all year so they can celebrate Valentine’s Day in grand style. They buy special gifts for each other, spend the evening with dinner and dancing, and playfully renew their wedding vows. Hubby and I are lower key in the celebrating—maybe a card, maybe a dinner out, or not. It all depends on the activities surrounding the day.

My quilt project for February was done as a challenge from the aforementioned husband. He said, “Do something that you haven’t done in a long time.” I immediately thought of a miniature project. And what better subject than a heart?

Each of the squares of red fabric in the heart finish as one inch squares. To keep the challenge going, I hand-sewed all of the red squares together, then added the background fabric using the machine. The fabric heart is in a 7 x 9 inch frame.

With the leftover fabric, I made two-sided hearts and put them on florist wire. I put the hearts into a red and white artificial flower arrangement I put out in February.

I hope you enjoy the month of love and romance and make every day a Valentine’s Day.

Gini