Quilt Lit

Has the quilting inspiration hit you in time for National Quilting Day on March 21? If sewing quilts isn’t your thing, pick up one of these “quilt lit” novels that feature the quilting craft.

How to Make an American Quilt book jacket

A New York Times Notable Book, How to Make an American Quilt by Whitney Otto weaves the stories of eight quilting circle members within sets of quilting instructions. Its effect creates a novel “intricately arranged and historically ambitious” (Kirkus Reviews).

For a chick lit take on quilts in fiction, pick up The Fortune Quilt by Lani Diane Rich. 29-year old television producer Carly is given a quilt and a reading by a psychic that turns her life upside down. Publishers Weekly states that this novel “shows that chick lit can deal intelligently with fate, family issues and romantic relationships.”

Clay's Quilt by Silas House, a “heartfelt, well-crafted debut novel” (Publishers Weekly) set in Southern Appalachia, depicts the life of Clay Sizemore, a coal miner. Clay’s mother died when he was four, a victim of violence, and he has never known his father. A box of his mother’s possessions and a quilt pieced together from her clothes by his uncle help him discover his roots.

The Quilter's Apprentice book jacket

The first in the Elm Creek Quilts series, The Quilter's Apprentice by Jennifer Chaiverini tells the “beautiful story” (Library Journal) of young Sarah who has moved with her husband to a small town in Pennsylvania. Sarah takes a temporary job with the Sylvia, an elderly master quilter, to help her prepare her family estate for sale. Sylvia teaches Sarah how to quilt while opening up to her about her family’s difficult past.

A “solid smalltown whodunit” (Publishers Weekly), The Lover's Knot: A Someday Quilts Mystery by Clare O'Donohue engages the reader with the story of a devastated Nell who leaves New York City to visit her grandmother after her fiancé breaks off their engagement. When a handyman turns up dead in her grandmother’s quilt shop, Nell’s fiancé is one of the suspects and Nell works on solving the crime with the handsome police chief.

Depression-era Kansas provides the setting for The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas. With a “humorous down-home voice” (Publishers Weekly), this book follows city girl and aspiring reporter Rita who joins the quilting club in her new small town. The husband of one of the club’s members is murdered and Rita investigates.

If quilting IS your thing, check out one of these quilting groups at the library! The Fun with Quilting group at the Westport Branch meets next on April 13. If you’re near the Sugar Creek Branch, check out the Quilting for the People class which meets every other Saturday.


Angela Kille

Angela Kille is a librarian at the Kansas City Public Library.