A few weeks back I was contacted by Mary Pomponio of Plume Books to see if I would be interested in doing a review of Jennifer Chiaverini’s book, The Giving Quilt which is to be released in paperback tomorrow (April 2). Obviously, my answer was YES! and I waited for the book to arrive.
While waiting, I debated on whether or not to read any of the many other books that Mrs. Chiaverini had written and decided against it. With this confession I have no doubt that you can’t believe that I, a quilt shop owner, have never read any of the Elm Creek Quilts books. I have collected several of them, probably at least 10, in hardback version but have never taken the time to read any of them. While I love books that carry on with familiar characters, I tend to prefer to start at the beginning and read the books in order. Since I’ve not had a chance to do this it’s not been done. So, rather than starting at the beginning of this series I decided to assume that I might not be the only quilty person out there who had never read an Elm Creek book and see if the book could stand alone without the benefit of having read any of the background information of the main characters. The book passed on this point with flying colors. If you happen to be one who has never read the Elm Creek series do not hesitate to pick up a copy of this book so that you too can begin your adventure into the lives of the Elm Creek Quilters.
In addition to some of the regular Elm Creek characters, the book focuses on the lives of five ladies who are attending a quilt camp sponsored by the Elm Creek Quilters. You get to learn “the rest of the story” so to speak about each of these ladies through flashbacks of the events in their lives that brought them together at camp. Through their stories, we are reminded that what may appear on one’s surface might be somewhat-to-greatly different than what lies underneath. I must admit that while I could identify with aspects in each of their lives, I don’t think I would be able to handle some of their situations quite as graciously as they do. If it is true that a writer puts much of themselves into their work, than I can only deduce that Mrs. Chiaverini is a very gracious and wise woman.
The timing of the review request was rather interesting. How? First off, the book starts with the Elm Creek ladies getting ready to host a quilt camp. We had just finished our third quilt camp, in as many months, just three days before Ms. Pomponio contacted me. Knowing what goes in to putting together a camp was not lost on me as I began reading the book. It did make me wish that I had a similar facility in which to host such a camp. The focus of the Elm Creek Quilters camp, called Quiltsgiving, was just that…giving. Sylvia asks at the beginning of camp, “Why do you give?” The answers were as varied as the quilters themselves. The quilts to be made that week were to be donated to Project Linus. The quilt design that the ladies learned to make there could then be used in their own community later on.
The second interesting aspect regarding timing was the cover of the book. The quilt shown there uses the same block that is in our first quarter Thimbleberries Club project. I didn’t realize until I read the book that the block is named Resolution Square. You learn something new every day!
While my preferred genre of reading is mysteries-I like the challenge of figuring out “who done it”-I did enjoy reading this book very much and do plan on starting at the beginning and reading those which came before. I know I have the first six books already which should be a good start and will have to see where the others that I have fall in the timeline. I just bought The Union Quilters in hardcover (don’t tell Victoria, she’s Confederate all the way!) while on vacation even though I knew it would be a while before I could get to it. Once a collector, always a collector; if it isn’t fabric it’s books and more…much, much more.
In addition to sending the book for me to read and review, Ms. Pomponio also sent a copy for me to give away on this blog. Plus, she graciously sent some beautiful quilt pins based on the books in the collection as well. I was thrilled to see that these pins were made by the company where we have gotten our charms and quilt pins the past several years, PinPeddlers. They do such wonderful work!
Wouldn’t you like to win? You have six opportunities to do so. Someone will win the book and a matching quilt pin, and five someones will each win a quilt pin. All I ask is that you leave a comment below. If you’d like, you’re welcome to answer a question that I’ve wanted to ask while you’re at it. I would be ever so grateful. The question is which of the pre-cuts, i.e. 2-1/2” strips, 5” squares, 10” squares, etc. do you buy most often? If you never buy pre-cuts please let me know that too. Do you buy them even if there are no supporting fabrics in the shop from which you are buying them? Just curious… You have until the end of our Spring Eggstravaganza to leave a comment. That would be by 5:00 p.m. CST on Saturday, April 6. Yes, we are having our loaded eggs this week so be sure to drop in for that. There’s a surprise in every egg!