Jodi Thomas: Quilter of Words & Book Giveaway

My new novel, MORNINGS ON MAIN, is about a quilt shop in a small town called Laurel Springs, Texas.  Since I don’t quilt some people might think the setting strange for me, but they don’t know my family.

 My grandmother was born in a covered wagon and I’m sure there were quilts surrounding her.  My mother quilted all her life, even after she’d lost the names of her children to Alzheimer’s, she quilted.  Both of my sisters quilt. (See picture of mother’s quilt with books on top.)

 In a very real way the history of our family is woven into the squares of a hundred years of quilts.  So, setting a story in a quilt shop made sense.

 I also wanted to weave into this small town story the fact that it’s not so important where you live your life sometimes, but how you live it.  I think sometimes people think if they live in some exciting place like Paris that they somehow live a richer, bigger life.  Sometimes when I’m traveling people ask me, ‘You live in Amarillo.  Why?’  

If they only knew…

When I first started writing, my husband knew how much I loved this Lone Star Quilt my mother made.  So he went to an artist in town and said simply, “I’ve got two questions for you.  One, can you put this quilt and my wife’s books in a painting?  And, two, can I afford it?”

Arvis Stewart must have laughed, but he said,  “We’ll make it work.”That Christmas when Tom gave me the painting, I cried. (See picture of painting Tom gave me. My student intern Nicole McGee is holding it.)

 Early settlers made quilts from scraps and flour sacks so they could keep their family warm.  Pictures of early picnics, wagon beds and clotheslines often show quilts, but we can’t see the colors.  Yet I know that those quilts must have added a great deal of color to their lives.  Now, those quilts, some worn and over a hundred years old still add not only color to my life, but also a source of ideas for books.

 Step into MORNINGS ON MAIN and fall in love with the people of Laurel Springs lives and see their beautiful quilts in your mind.  When my mother read my first book, she said, “Jodi, you quilt with words.”

 I hope you will stop by and visit with me about your quilts, and I would love to see a picture. One lucky winner will be drawn to receive a copy of MORNINGS ON MAIN. (Giveaway guidelines apply).

 

Here’s where you can purchase Mornings on Main

Amazon

B&N

 

 

Guest Blogger
Updated: April 7, 2018 — 6:49 am

38 Comments

  1. I don’t know how to truly quilt, but I decided on preserving memories by sewing various sized patches of material on blankets. The one on my bed is made from swatches of shirts from my son’s toddler years, and the one on my son’s bed is from beautiful flannel shirts he too quickly outgrew in his young teen years. They don’t have a typical quilting pattern but were added by size and shape as the mood hit me. They were enjoyable to sew and to have lovely memories.

    I’ve really been looking forward to Mornings on Main. It sounds wonderful. Thank you for sharing your family stories, and I love what your mother said, “you quilt with words.” I can’t think of any higher or more worthy praise than that.

    1. Eliza, you will love this book because you are so much like the character Gram. Every memory was sewn into her quilts and they had to be preserved somehow. Sending you much love, dear lady.

  2. My paternal grandmother made quilts, but they were serviceable and very plain. She and my grandfather worked in a shirt factory and they were able to get the fabric scraps to take home. They had 7 children, 6 of them boys. What time my grandmother had to sew was spent mending or making hat was needed. Her quilts are large squares sewn together and tacked. I have several of these utilitarian pieces. She did make one crazy quilt from dark, heavy fabric. The only piece that was not utilitarian is a small quilt she made for the cradle. I never asked her, but I think she made it for the grandchildren, not her children. It has 6 embroidered squares, plain border fabric and a floral back.
    I have a couple of quilts I have picked up at auctions over the years. The one most special Is almost totally white. There are several rows of about 2 inch squares, all obviously from clothing. What makes about this quilt is the needle work. The stitches are tiny, even, and numerous. The entire quilt is covered with fine. The patterns quilted on the fabric cover the body of the quilt give it a quiet beauty. A lot of work and workmanship went into it. It saddened me that no one in the family wanted it or was left to have it. It was even more surprising that no one else appreciated it. I only paid about $5 for it. There were a couple of unfinished quilts that were more colorful, but not nearly as nice that went for much more.

    1. Patricia, estate sales are very sad. I hate that the remnants of one’s life comes down to having it all laid out, bared to the public, to pick over. But how wonderful that you saved that white quilt. Oh my goodness! I’d love to see that. And you paid little for it. I have no quilts. The ones my mother made early in her life either fell apart from use or someone else got them. She was really more of a crochet-er. I have a bedspread (Lord, that’s heavy) and some throws she made and I treasure them.

      1. I have a crocheted bedspread from my other grandmother. You are right, they are so heavy. Estate sales and auctions are sad. It upset my grandmother so much when her neighbor’s things were put out and sold off. The did put most of her things up for the family to have and she gave me the important pieces early on, but much of her stuff was sold off. I have been to several sales where the family did want the things, but they had to bid on them and buy them.It was really sad. When we married, virtually all of our furniture was purchased at auction. It was a cheap way to get really nice furniture. Most of what we got we couldn’t afford in antique shops today.

  3. I do not quilt, but grew up around hand quilting. I remember the frames, an old heater in the corner, a big room, maybe was in an old church and the outhouse. Hand quilting was a social time for country women to come together and get caught up. Machine quilting is pretty, but lacks the heart and soul of old times. I am lucky to have some real quilts. One is the Friendship Ring pattern.

    1. Jerri, what wonderful memories you have. I envy you. I never got that growing up because my mom was always having to pick cotton or wash and iron for others. She would’ve loved to had the time to sit and sew and share social time with other women. That truly was about all the social interaction they got back then. I agree about machine quilting. Nope. Doesn’t have heart.

  4. Good morning Jodi- Both of my Granny’s quilt and I have my guest room as my quilt room with all their quilts in it. Sadly both have passed now, but I feel their love in each and every stitch. Some if my quilts they did together, one pieced and the other one quilted, so that really makes them super duper special. I’m not a quitter but I wished I was. I’m so excited this book is out. Thank you for my autographed book, pens, and gift bag you gave me. I put a thank you letter in the mail to you. Love and hugs!
    Tonya

    1. Miss Tonya….I know how you cherish the things made by both your granny’s hand. How wonderful that they often made quilts together. That is so special.

  5. My family doesn’t quilt, but my best friend does. She made me a quilt that is mostly colors of purple. I love it!

  6. I have always loved quilts and wish I knew how to make them. My first one was given to me and my first husband by his step-mother. it was a southwest design and colors and she put horses and our wedding date into it. When we divorced, she asked for it back. 🙁 The one I have now is even more special. It was given to me and my husband (the one I’m married to now) by our neighbor. She made it when her children were young (probably 30-40 years ago) for Christmas a few years ago. She said that she was given them away to the kids and said she considered us to be family too. The one she gave us has a red, yellow and white background and embroidered cats on it (because we love cats). When I heard the history of it, I knew I couldn’t put it on the bed. I feared the cats would rip it with their nails. So, I have it hanging on the wall instead.

    1. Janine, what a great idea to hang your quilt on the wall. That would be so lovely and keep it protected too.

      1. There was no way it was going to get used when I found out she made it and her kids used it on their beds. Apparently she made lots of quilts over the years and had them to give away to the family. We consider her to be family too. Her husband recently passed away and now we look after her.

        1. That’s so incredibly sweet that you look after your husband’s stepmother. That is earning you an extra star in your crown. 🙂

  7. one thing i do not know how to make is a quilt. I enjoy the crafts I have managed to learn, but sewing isn’t one of them.lol

  8. I have pieced a few quilts in the past but I have about stopped now my fingers just don’t work like they use to. I did make a baby quilt last year but that is about it. The Long Star quilt is my favorite but it is hard to get it right. I have a Broken Star quilt and a Lone Star quilt stored away in my closet. I have also make Lone Star baby quilts and I have one of those started but never finished not sure I remember how it goes together now. Maybe one day I will finish it.

  9. I don’t quilt but more of a hook rug person.

  10. Good morning, Jodi and welcome back to P&P! We’re so excited to have you visit and share your lovely memories. Often those are all we have to carry us through the hard times. Mornings on Main deeply touched me. I related very strongly to Jillian in that my past is largely a mystery. I never knew any of my grandparents. One set died before I was born and the other set lived too far away and I never saw them. It was like God just plunked me down one day in the middle of this life with just my parents and siblings. But back to the book. It held sadness of course, but there were so many lighthearted, funny moments where I had to just lay the book down and laugh, soaking it all in.

    This is really your best work. Keep writing and touching our hearts with your words. Wishing you much success always.

    Love you, lady!

    1. You always have just the right words, Linda, and continue to brighten my day! Here’s to many more memories together!

      1. Absolutely! Lots more lies ahead for both of us.

  11. Thank you for sharing your great post. I don’t quilt but my great grandmother did and my daughter now has one of her quilts. I admire quilts and the people who made them.

  12. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all your comments about quilting. I love to read the stories of those quilts you made or received from someone special. Quilting is such an art and I am honored to share in your memories and hope you enjoy how I shared memories in the book. Thanks so much to all of you!

    1. Thanks for popping in, Jodi. I know you’re so busy with the travel and your book tour so it’s extra special that you took the time. I’m grateful every single day for your stories that thrill my heart and the time we share.

  13. I have never been able to quilt since my hands are not adept for that but I was given a beautiful hand made quilt made by my aunt who was always thoughtful and kind. This quilt is a real treasure which I cherish and still use and appreciate.

  14. I don’t quilt, but I received a beautiful one when I got married! I love it! She even wrote a little message to us in stitching about our marriage. It is really special! I think the work and time and money put into quilt making is just amazing!

  15. Quilting has given me many hours of pleasure and enjoyment not just for the project which I create for my 4 wonderful grandchildren but for the peace of mind. Knowing that these lovely little ones will have my creations and understand how meaningful they are is profound and important.

  16. I’m very fortunate to have a lot of quilts thanks to my grandma. She made them for pretty, for function, and I treasure each one. I have two double wedding quilts. Each one was hand stitched with love.

    I also have a few from my MIL.

  17. I have never made a quilt, but have a couple of pieces made by others… my grandma knitted some, but never quilted…

  18. I have a quilt my grandmother made me years ago that was sewn by hand. I use a sewing machine for my quilts. I have made one for each of my children and stepchildren. I finally made a quilt for myself last year. I sent one over seas to my ex husband when he was deployed in Iraq.

  19. my great-grandmother quilted

  20. There are many serious quilters in our area and I’m not one of them. I am a quilting appreciatter. I marvel at the beautiful designs, colors, handwork, and intricate machine quilting on display at local fairs, church fund raisers, and quilt shows.

    For many years a group of us at our church have made quilts for local and international charities,mostly not fancy but pieces of fabric stitched together in large blocks,strips and occasionally crazy quilt blocks. We would add batting and backing which was also often pieced together from large pieces of fabric then tie it with colorful yarn scraps or crochet thread. Not artistic masterpieces but warm and serviceable.
    The ones that did come out looking special were saved for our fund raisers or given to the church members graduating from high school. It was a lot of work but a lot of fun, too.

  21. I just love quilts! My mother in law is known for her quilts around these parts.

  22. I don’t quilt but I would have loved to learn. I’m so amazed at how talented and creative these quilters are.It’s just great to see Jodi here

  23. I don’t quilt but they are beautiful. I love to stay warm.

  24. My sister used to quilt. They are beautiful.

  25. I am not a quilter but making a quilt has always been a goal. I love how the colors of the pieces can almost guage the quilter’s mood and I admire the tiny stitches that a master quilter achieves. Thanks for an enjoyable post.
    Blessings!
    Connie from Kentucky
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

  26. I don’t quilt, but do treasure the quilts my late mother-in law created for us.

    Jody, I love your stories. Tall, Dark & Texan is still probably my favorite.

    Thanks for stopping by P&P.

  27. My mother has some beautiful quilts that my grandmother made. The best part is listening to my mom point out the fabric scraps and tell us, “I had a shirt out of that, your uncle had pajamas from that material.” It really connects me to a grandmother I never got to know.

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