Fabric. Stories. Life.

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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Novelist Announces "Fiction Comes to Life" Quilting Contest

Dear Quilters and Readers,

I’m thrilled to announce the start of the “Fiction Comes to Life” contest, sponsored by Keepsake Quilting. The Threadbare Heart is novel is about, among other things, the way that fabric can speak so powerfully about our lives – about the things we love, the things we lose, and the things we may regret never doing. The main character, Lily Gilbert, loses a lifetime of fabric in a Santa Barbara wildfire. When she ventures into a fabric store for the first time after the tragedy, she imagines a quilt she never made:

Lily wandered through the aisles, stopping at bolts of fabric that caught her eye, considering the possibilities. There were burnout velvets, Italian wool so fine they felt like silk, silk in a cacophony of color, weight, and texture. Every bolt offered something new to Lily’s imagination—a coat, a skirt, a dress—and every possibility reminded her of a piece of fabric she had lost in the fire. There was so much fabric and so many things she had never made!

She thought that she could list them all on her yellow pad of paper—Hattie’s gray tweed that had not become a jacket, the sage green flea market silk that had not become a skirt, the white dotted Swiss that she had bought in Boston when she thought she might have a little girl. She had one Rubbermaid tub that was stuffed with swatches of printed cotton in different shades of blue. There were stripes, dots, florals, swirls, and geometric prints, and taken all together, they had looked like the sea. Lily had always thought that she would make a beautiful quilt with all that blue. She would design the horizon, the sky and the water, and somehow, it would cease to look like bits of cotton stitched together, and would look, instead, exactly the way the beach did on a clear summer day.

“I should have done it,” she said, and she realized too late that she had spoken out loud.

 Keepsake Quilting has specially selected a fabric Medley™ of 5 fat quarters that evoke the beach on a clear summer day. (You may purchase the Medley at Keepsake Quilting for $13.99.) The challenge is to use at least 3 of the Medley fabrics, and at least 3 fabrics from your own stash to make the quilt Lily never made. In addition, we’d like you to write up to 500 words about the fabrics you use from your stash – where they came from, what they mean to you, why you chose them for this project—and we’d like you to name your quilt. The finished quilt should be 30" x 30".

 Quilts will be judged by members of the Keepsake Quilting staff and me, author Jennie Nash, in early July. All entries must arrive at Keepsake Quilting by July 1, 2010. You can get all the details about where to ship when you purchase your “Fiction Comes to Life” Fat Quarters – and you are not required to purchase or even read The Threadbare Heart to enter the contest, although I think you might really like it. (You can purchase The Threadbare Heart at amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders or your favorite local independent bookstore. It's paperback, so it's affordable!)

The maker of the winning quilt will receive a $150 gift certificate from Keepsake Quilting; a "Book Club in a Box" kit, featuring 10 signed copies of The Threadbare Heart; an hour-long phone chat with author Jennie Nash so that you can gather your friends together to discuss the book and bring Jennie into the conversation; and a gift certificate for a delicious "Rum Cake by Kelli" to serve at your book reading event. The winning quilt will be displayed at the Keepsake Quilting shop in Center Harbor, New Hampshire, on Jennie Nash's website, and on The Story of My Stash blog at the Quilting Club of America,

AND IF THE DESIGN IS ORIGINAL, MAY BE CONSIDERED FOR A KEEP-SAKE QUILTING QUILT KIT. Five runners up will each receive $25 gift certificates from Keepsake Quilting and a signed copy of The Threadbare Heart.

Please spread the word about this contest -- and my book -- to all your quilt-loving friends! Send them to this blog, to the QCA forum where I'm going to announce the contest, as well, or to my website, which is www.jennienash.com. You can read the first chapter of The Threadbare Heart on my site.

And FINALLY, since this blog post marks the start of the "Fiction Comes to Life" contest, I think we should gather some stories about the start of your life in sewing. I'd love to hear what you remember about your very first experience with sewing. How old were you, where were you, what was going on?  


Marie said:

I was 4 years old when I first started "sewing".  My neighbor Mrs. White was a wonderful seamtress.  She sewed all of her daughter's clothes and I loved visiting her daily.  Mrs. White was very loving and patient. I would take a doll (I had over 100) to her house and she would give me fabric, a needle and thread. I would design and sew a outfit for the doll, many times to the doll.  Mrs. White very gently taught me to sew.  By the time I was 7 or 8 I was sewing on my grandmothers tredle sewing machine making clothes for Barbie.

# April 19, 2010 12:23 PM

dalericklefs said:

I was 7 when grandma Altman taught me to cross stitch. She was a German-American taught by a Polish man in Chicago to do cutwork embroidery by hand. I have some of the table scarfs. I moved on to hand satin stitch by 10. At 12, grandma Rogers taught me to sew on an "electrified" single stitch machine. I was taught to do a corduroy skirt-- she said it had the facing, zipper, seams, and hem-- all core sewing skills (too young to handle the bodice).

By 14 I made most of my clothing in high school. I was 5 ft 9 inches, tall for that time, and it was frustrating finding clothing that fit.

I started a baby quilt when my son (now 31) was little, but washed it before I finished it. It was a mess. During this time I was doing crewel embroidery, still one of my favorite embroideries. I love doing fancy handwork. The sewing machine can go only so far for some techniques.

I started machine embroidery with my Pfaff 1221 when I was married in 1973, moved to a 1475, then a 7570, now a CV and Brother 6000D (also had a wonderful Brother Ultimate). I was digitizing embroidery designs in the 1997 period of time with PCD-Win. I appreciated the experience-- it made me a better digitizer. I also was trained in Japanese hand embroidery, though I have yet to finish a piece--its the journey in that discipline.

I started serious quilting 14 years ago when I made my son a king size quilt (not one to do things in a small way) and took a longarm class from Linda Taylor in McKinney to finish the quilting. I went on to make a couple of wallhangings which made significant funds at non-profit fundraisers, and another queen size quilt for a friend about 2 years ago. I contribute to donation quilts these days. I  made period curtains between 2000 and 2004 for our 100 year old Victorian in Taylor Texas, including machine made lace on the 7570 for 34 windows.

I retire the end of the year and have two rooms of cotton fabric awaiting my scissors and sewing machine, and two Japanese handwork pieces to complete. I'm set for the long haul.

# April 20, 2010 7:51 PM

Jennie Nash said:

Oh my goodness, I read both these stories with a lump in my throat. There's somthing about beginnings that is so poignant -- where we start and who guides us to the things we love. Thank you for sharing these!

# April 22, 2010 1:31 PM

Colleen Bartell said:

I was in the fourth grade when I started sewing.I went to school in Brooklyn, NY.  Sewing was required.  I learned to sew on a treadle machine.  We made an apron and a kind of head protection because the next year we took cooking.  My mother had always sewed and that set me on a lifetime of sewing.  I made many of my children's clothes and even made my daughter's wedding dress.  I only started quilting about 5 years ago after I retired.  I am now hooked.

# April 22, 2010 4:47 PM

Anonymous said:

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# April 30, 2010 9:15 PM