A Book Club Quilting Bee

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A Tapestry of Secrets has been out for two months now and if anyone out there is considering reading the book as part of a book club, I thought I’d share some ideas I put together with the marketing team at Bethany House.

Ella Phillips, the heroine of A Tapestry of Secrets, is a quilt artist. She uses traditional quilting techniques learned at her Grandma Perla’s knee to create beautiful art pieces. After her grandmother has a stroke, Ella hauls out the old quilting frame to encourage Perla to sew as she struggles to regain her mobility. So what better way to gather and discuss the book than with an old-fashioned (although modernized) quilting bee?

Activities:  You probably aren’t going to actually stitch away at a quilt (although if you do, I want an invitation!), so here are two activities to give your Modern Quilting Bee a little authenticity.

  1. Quilt Coloring Pages – There are dozens of on-line sites that offer printable pages. This site has an incredible variety of quilt blocks. Offer your members a selection of pages along with colored pencils or markers and get into the latest trend—adult coloring!
  2. No Sew Fleece Quilts – Not only are these easy and fun to make, you can also donate the finished quilts to a local shelter, children’s hospital, or other charity. Instructions for making fleece quilts are below.

Food:  If you want your refreshments to reflect the theme, here are a few ideas.

  1. Cheese Tray – Cut cubes of different cheeses all the same size and lay them out on a rectangular tray in your very own quilt pattern. Use pretzel sticks in place of toothpicks.
  2. Quilt Pizza – Top rectangular pizza dough (follow package directions) with sauce and cheese then lay out quilt squares with different toppings—sliced olives, pepper rings, and mushrooms offer lots of room for creativity.
  3. Quilt Cake – Bake your favorite cake mix in a 9×13 pan, top with white frosting, mark off squares with an icing pen, and invite book club members to design their own quilt squares with icing, candies, edible flowers, or other toppings.

HOW-TO MAKE A NO SEW FLEECE QUILT
Supplies:

  • Two complimentary pieces of fleece that are exactly the same size
  • A ruler
  • Something to write with
  • Scissors

Directions:

  1. You can make your blanket any size you like from a lap quilt to a large coverlet, just remember it will be smaller once you tie the fringe.
  2. Lay your first piece of fleece right side down on a table or the floor and smooth it out.
  3. Lay the second piece of fleece right side up on top of the first piece, being careful to match your corners. Trim the edges if needed to make them match.
  4. Next, you need to remove your corners. Measure in from each corner the same depth you plan to cut your fringe and make a mark. Four inches is a good minimum. Cut the measured square from each corner.
  5. Now begin cutting your fringe. The distance between each cut doesn’t have to be exact, simply space your cuts 1.5” to 2” apart all the way around the edge.
  6. Begin tying simple, overhand knots to attach the two pieces of fleece. Snug each knot into place until you’ve tied them all.
  7. Ta-da! Your no-sew quilt is complete. Now use it to make someone happy!

Discussion Questions:Tapestry Cover

  1. Ella’s former fiancé didn’t seem to think her art qualified as a “real” job. Has anyone ever written off something you love to do as just a hobby or not really important? How did it make you feel?
  2. Ella finds inspiration for her art in the family farm and the people she loves—what inspires you?
  3. Wedding quilts are mentioned twice in the book. Have you ever made a gift for someone’s wedding? What did you make and what deeper meaning did it have for you?
  4. Ella finds a quilt her grandmother made for her using scraps of fabric from her growing up years. If you had a quilt like that, what are some of the fabrics it would include? What memories do they spark?
  5. Ella creates a series of quilt hangings—including one of Laurel Mountain Church— that she calls, “Appalachian Blessings.” What series of images might you use to depict the greatest blessings in your life?

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