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Monday, March 20, 2017

National #Quilting Month

By Sandra Nachlinger

When I think about it, my hobby is kind of crazy. You see, I buy lengths of beautiful, perfectly good fabric and cut them into squares, triangles, strips, and other shapes, then sew them back together. The result is a quilt—an  object that’s both decorative and functional. Often, women use scraps of fabric from worn garments or leftovers from sewing projects to create their quilts. FYI: 35th century BC - An ivory carving, found in Temple of Osiris at Abydos in 1903 and currently in the collection of the British Museum, features the king of the Egyptian First Dynasty wearing a mantle/cloak that appears to be quilted.* Clearly, quilting is nothing new!

In The House Without a Christmas Tree (by Gail Rock) the author tells readers this about Addie’s grandmother:

When one of her flowered cotton housedresses began to wear out, she would hack out the collar and sleeves, and it would suddenly be a slip. When that started to go, it became a bib apron and then a smaller apron, and then a dust cap for her hair and then a quilted pot holder (which she called a “hot pad”), and in its final incarnation, the tiny remaining scrap would go into a patchwork quilt or a braided rag rug. Any piece of fabric that found its way into our house wouldn’t get out again for a good fifty years if Grandma got her hands on it.

I’ve added a little bit of color to Bluebonnets for Elly by including a quilt in several scenes, including this one:

Derek fumbled with the key in the lock, pushed the door open, and ushered Elly inside. She stepped into a typical bachelor pad—white walls, black leather sofa, gigantic state-of-the-art TV, coffee table of dark heavy wood—a sharp contrast to the lush hues outdoors. A patchwork quilt draped over a recliner added the only touch of color.
Elly walked across the hardwood floor while Derek closed the door behind them. Nervous, she stroked the quilt, tracing the tiny stitches on a square with her finger, wondering who’d created it.
A former lover?
“What a beautiful quilt,” she said, looking around the room for more signs of a feminine touch.
“Yeah. My sister made it for me.”
“She sure is talented.”
Good. A sister. Not a girlfriend.

It seems to me that writing a book is a lot like making a quilt. Bits and pieces of ideas, varied characters, and interesting settings are combined to make a book. And all the parts have to fit together with no loose threads.  If done properly, the result is a story that readers will enjoy.

In celebration of National Quilting Month (March) here are photos of two of my creations. 

They’re not perfect by any means, but the combination of bits of fabric combine to make a whole and they function well to keep a person warm. Besides, putting them together was fun!

Happy National Quilting Month!

INTERNATIONAL QUILT STUDY CENTER Quilt History Timeline, Pre-History – 1800 Compiled by Carolyn Ducey, IQSC Curator -


  1. I admire your quilting ability as well as your writing, Sandy. I have several family quilts. The oldest is not the prettiest, but it is from my husband's family and I am pleased to have it. The woman who quilted it did so about 1880 and it is made from scraps of clothing. They wore browns, so the quilt is not colorful. The pattern is called "Ocean Wave" according to the relative who gave it to us.

    1. Thank you, Caroline! Your heirloom quilt is a treasure. I have a scrappy quilt from my grandmother (probably from the 1920s) that's worn in places, and I hope to restore it when I have time. It's a double wedding ring pattern.

  2. Lovely quilts on display. I especially love the highly colorful one in the bottom photo. Are any of your characters quilters? Maybe in a WIP?

    1. Thanks for your comments, Judy. I've thought of making a character a quilter. Just need to get inspired!

  3. I've got quite a collection of quilts. Some from turn of the 19th century. My grandmother quilted during the Great Depression and sold her masterpieces for $2.00. She was quite talented in needle arts as was my mom who added to the family treasure chest of quilts. I haven't quilted in decades, but my daughter the artist made quilts part of her Master of Art Education thesis project. Hers are remarkable wall art--not bedding--with handmade pottery elements added. Loved your comparison of quilting and story writing.

    1. Thank you, Joan. You're so lucky to have such an extensive quilt collection. I'd love to see photos of your daughter's art quilts. They sound amazing!


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