The Keeping Quilt, Patricia Polacco

This is the third week in a row I’m posting about a book related to my family, but if you’d like to hear the other excuses for why I’m posting about a children’s book instead of the stunning memoir I’ll be talking about next week…? Of course you would.

Reason 1. Books are my first love. Quilting is my second. The quilt below is maybe the fourteenth quilt I’ve finished. Most of them have been baby quilts; a few have been for friends. This is a picture of the one I was working on when I read The Keeping Quilt for the first time in January. It’s for our friends’ baby, due next month.

Photographing quilts is not one of my hobbies. I’m not good at it, and I apologize.

When I first started hand quilting, I learned mostly from my mother and my best friend’s mother, and we did a lot of the work in community. I don’t even remember the names of some of the women who helped me tie my first quilt, but I do remember the experience of sitting together in someone’s kitchen working and talking together. Years later, I do about half of my sewing on my own while watching television and about half at project nights (organized by the couple who will receive the quilt pictured above). I love having a quilt to work on anytime (especially in the winter…or when I want to watch a season of some show without feeling profoundly guilty about it), but when I get to bring one over to their house and sit around with friends, it recaptures the experience I had when I first took up the hobby. This beautiful little book captures that feeling for me perfectly.

Reason 2. The Olympics. I know – everyone hates the winter Olympics. Everyone who doesn’t hate the winter Olympics is boycotting them. I realize that most people consider the summer Olympics to be a big deal and the winter Olympics to be a nuisance that bumps their favorite shows for a month, but I like them. I’m actually an Olympics fanatic, and although a part of me really wanted to boycott Sochi as well, I just couldn’t do it (I decided to donate some money to Lambda Legal instead). Conscience somewhat appeased, I hunkered down and watched a brain numbing amount of sport. It didn’t leave a lot of time for reading…or my own workouts come to think of it. Oh well. Two more years until I can justify eating this much popcorn while watching super-fit people compete again.

It did allow for plenty of quilting though, and I even invented my own sport – speed binding! Turns out, I won first place, but instead of a medal, I got incredibly sore thumbs and wrists, and a pain in my back that has not yet receded. The most exciting speed binding related injury was accidentally jabbing a straight pin all the way into my shin. It hurt a lot more coming out than going in, let me tell you. (Surprisingly, this book doesn’t mention anything about bleeding onto the fabric or having to purchase wrists braces; this is how I know it’s at least partially fiction!)

Reason 3. The book I’m reading right now is excellent, but it’s also exceptionally sad. I can’t speed through it, I can’t read it late at night, I can’t even read it when I’m alone in the house. It requires a particular mindset that just isn’t conducive to my usual style of reading. It’s worth it, but yeah. It means this week, you’re forced to accept a smaller offering in its place.

The Keeping Quilt makes me tear up too, but in a less “I’m devastated forever” sort of way. It’s a simple story about several generations of women in one family and how this quilt ties them all together (if you appreciated that inadvertent quilting joke, A+ for you this week). The illustrations are just glorious as well, and reading the book makes me excited about quilting every time I pick it up. I think it would be impossible for me not to love a book that manages to do that…


For more about Patricia Polacco, go here.

3 thoughts on “The Keeping Quilt, Patricia Polacco

  1. My interests rank the same way. 1. Books 2. Quilts. I recently have gotten into t-shirt and memory quilts, and it’s been so much fun. I think your pictured quilt is gorgeous.

    1. Aww thanks! I had to get a tetanus shot after jabbing myself, so I was feeling a little resentful toward that quilt, but now that I (probably) don’t have tetanus, we’ve reconciled, and I’ve sent it to a very nice home!

      (BTW I love your “About” page – Juno AND Colin Firth? Win!)

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