A Quilter's Holiday: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel

A Quilter's Holiday: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel by Jennifer Chiaverini Read Free Book Online

Book: A Quilter's Holiday: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel by Jennifer Chiaverini Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jennifer Chiaverini
it was the candlelight. “Without Jeremy, I never would have heard about the job opening at Elm Creek Quilts, and without his encouragement and the fact that his girlfriend worked here, I might not have applied. Since I took the job, he’s given me countless rides to work to save me time and bus fare, and although he’ll say otherwise, the trips weren’t always on his way. He’s been a true friend to me, and his kindness and generosity brought me into this wonderful circle of quilters and friends. I just hope I can be half as good a friend to him and to all of you as he’s been to me.”
    As Anna sat down, Agnes remarked, “It’s a shame he’s not here to hear himself praised so highly.”
    “You should tell him how you feel, Anna,” said Carol.
    Anna, who had just sipped from her water glass, coughed, pressed a hand to her lips, and shook her head. “Oh, I don’t think so,” she said, after clearing her throat. “I’m sure he knows.”
    “Make him a quilt, then,” said Gwen. “That’s the standard quilter’s response to any situation meriting praise, comfort, or commemoration. Wrap ‘em in a quilt.”
    “I’m sure Summer’s made Jeremy lots of quilts. He wouldn’t have room for one of mine.”
    Gwen frowned thoughtfully and shook her head. “I don’t think she’s made him any. She’s been very busy with work, and grad school applications, and then the move to Chicago, ever since they met.”
    “Well—” Anna seemed to search for something to say. “I’d be surprised if she hasn’t, and if she hasn’t she probably will eventually.”
    “You can’t have too many quilts,” said Gretchen.
    “Not if you live in a place with as much space as Elm Creek Manor, but if you have a small apartment—” Anna shrugged and pulled a face to suggest that it was hopeless. “Who’s next, Sylvia?”
    Sylvia reached into the cornucopia and held up another block, a pastel green-and-rose four-pointed star with split squares in the corners that Agnes identified as her rendition of the Signs of Spring pattern. “Even with winter upon us, there are signs of the coming spring,” she said, glancing out the window at the falling snow. “What I’m most thankful for is hope in difficult times.”
    Another solid piece of fabric followed, a landscape print of green trees on rolling hills that everyone easily guessed Matt had contributed. “I’m most thankful for my wonderful, beautiful wife, Sarah,” he began emphatically and not unexpectedly, to a chorus of laughter and friendly jeers. “Since I didn’t want it to look like I was copying the other guys, I thought I would expand my answer to include my whole family. I’m thankful for their support, their loyalty, their understanding, and most of all, their love. I owe my family everything, and it’s a debt I doubt I’ll ever be able to repay in full, but that doesn’t mean I won’t stop trying.”
    “I don’t get it,” said Diane.
    “What don’t you get?” said Matt, lacing his fingers through Sarah’s and kissing the back of her hand.
    “That fabric. What’s it supposed to symbolize, the landscape of your loyalty?”
    “Trees,” said Matt. “You know, family trees. Family.”
    “That’s a bit of a stretch,” remarked Gwen. “Oh, wait, did I just accidentally agree with Diane? On second thought, that’s an excellent choice, Matt, especially on such short notice. Very creative.”
    Matt accepted her praise with a grin as Sylvia took another block from the cornucopia. The vivid colors and dramatic prints told Sarah at once that this was Gwen’s handiwork. “A Guiding Star block?” said Sylvia, holding up the unequal nine-patch block for all to see. Triangles of different sizes combined to form kites that together created a four-pointed star on the horizontal and vertical axes. In each corner square, two dark triangles flanked a lighter kite, giving the illusion that the star threw off radiant beams.
    “That’s right,” said Gwen.

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