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.

Quilt Contest

Keepsake Quilting has specially selected a fabric Medley™ of 5 fat quarters that evoke the beach on a clear summer day. 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 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 just like it :)

The maker of the winning quilt will receive a $150 gift certificate from Keepsake Quilting, and 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, 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 KEEPSAKE QUILTING QUILT KIT. Five runners up will each receive $25 gift certificates from Keepsake Quilting and a signed copy of The Threadbare Heart.


In addition, I am hosting a blog for Keepsake on the Quilting Club of American website, called The Story of my Stash. The idea is to get quilters talking about – and telling – their stories. I would love it if you wanted to contribute a few words in response to one of my prompts. This week’s question is about your first ever sewing memory. Who was present? Where did it occur? What do you recall?

Jennie Nash
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The Threadbare Heart Quilt Contest

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