The Keeping Quilt

June 3, 2014 at 5:23 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Little girl got soap in her eye in the bath tub tonight.  It was awful.  There was banshee-like screaming, bright red faces from all involved, and a lot of tears.  Her daddy, the man with the magic hands, was able to pat her back long enough to soothe her into a half slumber after we got the eye rinsed out and pajamas donned.  Just as we headed out of the room, though, a little voice piped up from beyond the darkness, “But you didn’t read me my bedtime story.”

So snuggled under her own quilt, I whispered to her the story of Patricia Polacco’s family –

the_keeping_quiltTitle: The Keeping Quilt

Author: Patricia Polacco

Publisher: Aladdin Paperbacks

The Keeping Quilt is a beautifully illustrated family history that spans six generations.  From the first immigrants of a family coming to America, through the making of a family quilt from the few cherished possessions they have from the mother country, through weddings, births, and old age, The Keeping Quilt tells a story of many lives united by love and history.

This book doesn’t just belong in every child’s library, but every quilt lover’s library as well.  As we were reading, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Rich Fabric edited by Melinda McGuire and all the beautiful family histories captured in that volume as well.

I’m so glad I stumbled across this book today at the bookstore, honored to have been given the opportunity to step into Polacco’s family for the evening, and amazed at how perfectly soothing it was for a child who was emotionally and physically exhausted after a battle with a bar of soap.

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A Rich Anthology

November 8, 2012 at 12:05 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Rich Fabric lying on a piece of my own rich fabric, a quilt made by a family friend’s grandmother.

Title: Rich Fabric

Editor: Melinda McGuire

Length: 165 pages

When I first booked Melinda McGuire to do a signing at Half Price Books in Humble, I didn’t know I was about to meet one of the sweetest and down to earth people ever. A successful indie author of southern fiction and fellow Texan, she has been to the store for two events now, and hopefully more. Her most recent project, Rich Fabric, is an anthology about quilting, “the tradition, culture & symbolism.” With a dozen contributors, memoirs, short stories, tidbits, tricks of the trade, and all sorts of cozy anecdotes, Rich Fabric truly shows off the exciting and colorful heritage of quilting.

During the book signing on November 3rd, Melinda was kind enough to give me a copy of this little anthology, and yesterday I finally sat down to read it by my fireside, hot cocoa in hand.  I knew it would be interesting and precious, but I didn’t expect such a lovely and diverse group of writers.  Not all were from the south, not all were over thirty; in fact, there were contributors from all over and of all ages.  The entire work is dedicated to a woman whose work is included within the pages, but died before Rich Fabric’s publication, an avid quilter named Crystal Vining.  All the profits go to the Twilight Wish Foundation, a non-profit organization that grants wishes to senior citizens living at or below the poverty level, but the work itself leaves you with a strong sense that quilting is not just something of interest to senior citizens, but the young and the very young as well.

A beautiful inscription.

I have truly enjoyed the stories and pictures in Rich Fabric. I have enjoyed the feeling of getting to know families I have never met while being inspired to hunker down and complete my own unfinished quilt, as I have been working on one for years but all the quilts in my house were made by others. Many of the anecdotes were so intimate and involved, I began to feel a little sad for my quilts not having such an involved history. Each of mine were made by friends of the family and their families, they are items I received used, merely by accident; though they are well-loved here in my home, I do not personally know their crafters or the circumstances in which they were brought into existence. Then, I read Claire Burson’s piece about her quilt, passed down through the family and cherished but the intimate details being lost. She explains the treat and delight in the mystery of the quilt itself, how there is beauty in the known facts but beauty in the lost details as well because then she can imagine all the possibilities. In that moment, the sadness for my hand-me-down quilts was gone and I realized she was right, it is kind of nice to be able to imagine.

I hope there will be more Rich Fabric volumes. It truly is a little treasure to have on the shelf, and with all the lovely stories within its pages it is only so glaringly obvious that there must be so many more out there in the world. I’d like to read those too some day.

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