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Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Winding Ways Quilt...Review

About the book:
Quilters have flocked to Elm Creek Manor to learn from Master Quilter Sylvia Compson and her expert colleagues. There's Sarah, Sylvia's onetime apprentice who's paired her quilting accomplishments with a mind for running the business of Elm Creek Quilts; Agnes, who has a gift for appliqué; Gwen, who stitches innovative art quilts; Diane, a whiz at the technicalities of quick-piecing; and Bonnie, with her encyclopedic knowledge of folk art patterns. But with Judy and Summer, two other founding members of the Elm Creek Quilters, departing to pursue other opportunities, will the new teachers be able to fill in the gaps created by the loss of their expertise -- and more important, their friendship?

"When I think of all the different paths I could have followed in my life, all the twists and turns that could have led me anywhere," muses incoming teacher Gretchen, "it's something of a miracle that I ended up here, surrounded by loving friends."

But what of friends departed? As Sylvia contemplates a tribute to the partnership of the Elm Creek Quilters, she is reminded of a traditional quilt pattern whose curved pieces symbolize a journey. Winding Ways, a mosaic of overlapping circles and intertwining curves, would capture the spirit of their friendship at the moment of its transformation.

Will Sylvia's choice inspire the founding members to remember that each is a unique part of a magnificent whole? Will the newcomers find ways to contribute, and to earn their place?
The Winding Ways Quilt considers the complicated, often hidden meanings of presence and absence, and what change can mean for those who have come to rely upon one another.

Like the other Elm Creek books, this one includes all of the Elm Creek Quilters. Two are finally going their own ways and leaving Waterford. Three new ones are joining the group. Sylvia decides to create a new quilt honoring all the quilters. As with several of the other books, each woman is highlighted in a chapter and while history is retold, new information is included. However, little new insight is gained, yet each one "adds" something to the new quilt.

The story is well crafted and entertaining. Fortunately, Chiaverini finally adds a bit of closure and could end her series with this book. My gut tells me that because Sarah is pregnant we will see a story of her finally reconciling with her mother (although there is some closure in this book about that conflict). Since two new quilters and a cook will be joining the Elm Creek group, a new book chronicling their acceptance is also possible.

My feelings are mixed as to whether I welcome additional books. You can have too much of a good thing sometimes. I think this is a good place to end the series. But time will tell as to what happens.

An easy, entertaining read.

Thanks to my local library for having a copy I could borrow.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 4/08

* * *

3/5 Stars

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