Quilt or Innocence

Quilt or Innocence by Elizabeth Craig Read Free Book Online

Book: Quilt or Innocence by Elizabeth Craig Read Free Book Online
Authors: Elizabeth Craig
help us out before our next bee,” said Meadow, beaming. “I’ll be sure to give you lots of notice.”
    Savannah snickered. “Georgia
should
be able to come up with some ideas for our group quilt. She’s got five or six quilting-magazine subscriptions.”
    Georgia looked reproachfully at her sister. “But there’s never more than one or two patterns that I want to make. So I almost
have
to subscribe to that many to get enough ideas.”
    * * *
    The quilting bee eventually broke up for the evening. More members came up at the end, introduced themselves and welcomed her to Dappled Hills. Felicity and Amber chatted with them for a few minutes, too.
    Piper pointed at the paper shopping bag Amber held. “Is that the quilt you were telling me about yesterday? Can I see it?”
    Amber placed the bag down on the hardwood floor and bent to pull the quilt out. “Well, sure. We’re glad to find a home for it, honestly. With Mother getting ready to move to a retirement home, we’re trying to get her downsized. And I don’t have room in my place for even my own stuff, much less Mother’s.” She unfolded the quilt halfway and showed it to the ladies.
    Savannah and Georgia hurried up, Savannah puffing in her haste to see the quilt. “Is that the quilt that you’re giving Judith?” she asked.
    “It’s beautiful,” said Georgia, reaching out and smoothing her hand over a few of the squares.
    “Is it?” asked Felicity, squinting at the quilt doubtfully. “What I think it
actually
is, is very old and hogging space in my linen closet.”
    “Mama’s house is jam-packed with quilts,” said Amber.
    “You know, it used to pain me to even
think
about giving up my quilts. They’ve been around so long that they’re practically members of the family! But there are just so
many
of them that it’s not fair to Amber to unload them all on her. The women in my family have quilted for so many generations—and my mother didn’t help matters by collecting quilts from flea markets and yard sales. I’m not even completely sure which of the quilts were made by family members and which were made by strangers.” Felicity sighed. “When Judith visited me last week and offered to take this one off my hands, I can’t tell you how relieved I was. I cannot
wait
to move into a smaller place. Trying to keep up with a yard, dusting those empty rooms and cooking for one is absolutely killing me.” Felicity laid a blue-veined hand dramatically on her heart and winked, broadly, at Beatrice.
    There was a flash of pink from the corner of her eye, and she turned. Judith was standing there staring at the quilt with quick interest.
    “Is that my quilt?” she asked, reaching out and pulling it out of Felicity’s grasp. “Thanks for bringing it. I’ll hang it in a place of honor.” She gave a sort of phony smile.
    Beatrice asked, “May I see it?” in a tone that allowed no disagreement. She pulled it gently from Judith’s grasp, into her arms and over to the group of long tables they’d spread the quilts over. Beatrice studied the quilt for a minute, then carefully but tenderly ran a hand over the closely woven, silky fabric. It was a double nine-patch quilt of white and crimson on an umber background. She gave Felicity and Amber a tight smile. “I know Judith is getting the quilt for free. But it’s very old.”
    “It’s old, all right. I feel bad dumping it on Judith, but she’s kind enough to take it on. It’s true she’s not paying anything for the quilt. Maybe I should be paying
her
for taking it off my hands.”
    Beatrice shook her head. “No. I mean, we all know it’s old . . . The stitching is raised because the batting has shifted. I’m sure the batting is cotton or wool—not polyester. The appliqués and piecework have clearly been hand stitched, and there’s no sheen at all to the quilt. One striking thing is the handiwork—this stitching is quite decorative, which is a little unusual for older quilts, which

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