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Author Jennie Nash Sponsored by Keepsake Quilting

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  • Keepsake Quilting Challenge Quilt Contest: "Fiction Comes to Life." Create the quilt described in Jennie Nash's novel, The Threadbare Heart, and win Keepsake gift certificates, a "Book Club in a Box" and the chance to have your quilt become a Keepsake Quilting Quilt Kit. Check out details at www.jennienash.com.

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How Does a Quilt Shimmer in Your Imagination?

                        Writing a novel is the same as any other creative endeavor, whether it’s making a quilt, painting a picture or knitting a sweater. It starts with something that shimmers in your imagination and stays there, refusing to go away. Maybe it’s an image or a song or the snippet of a conversation or a swatch of fabric, but suddenly that thing becomes alive. It begins to generate heat, and to draw other things toward it – other images, colors, people and ideas.

                        The Threadbare Heart began with the image of a wildfire charging down the tinder dry hills of my hometown of Santa Barbara, California. I kept imagining a woman, a house, and a long list of things she could not save. The more I opened my mind up toward these ideas, the more I pictured this woman having a collection of some kind – something that took up a lot of space, that represented many phases of her life, something that would be impossible to save and crushing to lose.

                        About this time I read a short article in The Los Angeles Times by NPR reporter Kitty Felde. Cut From the Same Cloth was the story of friendship and fabric, and how the two were intertwined. It was also the story of loss. Kitty’s friend died, and the way Kitty honored her life was to sew a jacket using a beautiful piece of fabric from her friend’s stash, and to finish the seams the proper way rather than the slapdash way that was her inclination. I was mesmerized by this article. I couldn’t get it out of my mind. The odd thing about my obsession was that I am not a seamstress, nor am I a fabric collector. But when I couldn’t get these two women out of my head, I knew that my next novel would  be about a fabric collector.

                        I interviewed fabric collectors, studied textile programs at universities, visited a master weaver in the mountains of Colorado, made a pilgrimage to some of Los Angeles’ finest fabric stores – and because my college roommate happens to live nearby, trekked to Keepsake Quilts in Center Harbor, New Hampshire, and walked among the rows and rows of vibrant fabrics. I immersed myself in what it means to love fabric – and what it would mean to lose the fabric you’d spent a lifetime collecting.

                         The Threadbare Heart is now on its way to bookshelves in bookstores all across the country. It will arrive in May. And as it wings its way there, I will be spending time here talking a little bit about my story – and a lot about yours. Each week on Friday, I will post a different question about fabric and story and the emotion that underlies both. My tenure here will culminate in a Keepsake Quilting Challenge Contest that I’m absolutely thrilled about, because it brings my novel to life in a way that words on a page simply never could: the challenge is to make a summer beach quilt my character could never make, and to use some fabric from your stash that says something important about you. I will post contest details next week, but in the meantime, I’d like to invite you to send in a few words and photos in response to this week's question:

                         “How does a new quilt first shimmer in your imagination? What’s the first sign that you are about to embark on a new project?”

                          CLICK ON "COMMENTS" AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE TO ENTER YOUR ANSWERS.

                          If you have a photo that illustrates your answer, post it at The Story of My Stash flickr site and let us know it's there. 

                          If you'd like a sneak peek of the first chapter of The Threadbare Heart, you can read it at my website, which is www.jennienash.com

                          If you'd like to purchase a copy of The Threadbare Heart, you can do so by clicking here.

                                                                                         

                         Cheers! Jennie

Comments

Nana said:

How does a new quilt first shimmer in my imagination?  Sometimes it is that there is someone special to me that I want to do a quilt for and the quilt pattern and theme evolve from that person's personality.  Such as a quilt that I made for one of my daughters that is based on shoes. She has the idea that if a shoe fits you buy it in every color.

I made my other daughter a quilt based on the Wizard of Oz because she and her grandmother watched the movie together every fall when my daughter was young.  Her grandmother is no longer with us but the memories are strong.

Some quilts simply come from a fabric that I fall in love with and have to have.  It may take months before I have decided how to use the fabric but it goes into my stash to be looked at and touched until the final pattern makes itself known.

# April 8, 2010 3:04 PM

Rob O'Brian said:

Keepsake Quilting is very excited to help Jennie launch her latest book.  Good luck Jennie!

# April 8, 2010 3:58 PM

Jennie Nash said:

I love how Nana talks about how sometimes the idea comes first and sometimes the fabric comes first and sometimes it comes from the recipient's personality. It speaks to what an organic process creativity is!

# April 8, 2010 4:41 PM

gini said:

a shimmer is just the way a new quilt comes to me.   at first it flickers at the edges of my mind.   the next thing i know i am jotting down sketches.  i know it's ready when i drop everything and just work on that project.   it is so much fun to bring an idea to fruition.   gini

# April 8, 2010 5:31 PM

Jennie Nash said:

And isn't it funny, Gini, when people ask, "Where do you get your ideas?" Willie Nelson once said, "The air is full of tunes. I just reach up and pick one." That's kind of the way it works, isn't it?

# April 8, 2010 8:31 PM

Stephanie said:

With the Dahlia quilt I'm making, I had met Sandy from QCA for the first time  at a quilt show and as we were searching the vendor booths, I came across a a Beautiful Fabric collection called Dolce by Debbie Beaves. The shimmer for me was to come up with a pattern that would take full advantage of as many of the fabrics that I could. I wanted it to be special and unique to remind me always of what a giant Leap I had made in meeting a new friend and attending my first quilt show.

# April 13, 2010 5:49 PM

sassypixie said:

I am looking forward to read this book as lived in los angles area as a child and were sometimes part of those wildfires but now I lived in sagebrush of wyoming. reading and quilting are linking  some   many ways pattern of written words the farbric making the pattern into art form and somemany times I see a  fabric buy and have no idea what to make out of it but the my fabric speaks to me at times as writing t this  One of fabric in my stash wa brougt month ago now it will have a new home I have an co-worker who has coln cancer and she loves fairies and this the m. miller periwinkle fairies panel so within the next few weeks I will desgin a quilt for my friend and co-worker kathy

# April 17, 2010 5:55 PM

sher wolfe said:

My husband is sitting in "Chuck's chair" at Tomorrow's Treasures in Bowie, MD on a Saturday morning. The chair duly named by the store staff and frequent customers assures him a place to doze in and out while I socialize. I'm begining to wanderthrough the main room, meeting new friends and old. I'm standing by the cutting table watching ladies bring in their finished quilts for the long arm quilters the store has on staff, when suddenly I catch a glimse of something special out of the corner of my eye. Maybe it is the color or texture of a fabric someone is carrying to the cutting table, or maybe it is Vickie (the owner)telling me she has the perfect piece of fabric for me (purple, orientals, or butterflies) but whatever the stimulus, I know I'm in trouble again. It is the sight and feel of the new fabric that I can't resist and that start my creative juices flowing and I know that again I just can't pass up that glorious find!

IS it peach and soft blues (my sister Diane's favorite colors), or maybe it is soft greens or turquoise (mom's favorites), or lavender and greens (Chucks's Mom)downfall. But butterflies are my trademark for projects, even if the fabrics don't have them in the fabric pattern, the quilting will!

Who is the lucky recipient this time? I think it is Mom's turn as Diane got the quilted wall hanging I did in class. (It was my first finished project that I quilted by myself.I just made Lisa a purse of lavender and black florographic butterfly prints with green and lavender hanles and ties. Of course then Mom, Gail, Peggy and Roberta Lee had to have butterfly purses, too!

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