Jennifer Chiaverini is a Wisconsin author with a strong Schwartz connection. For years, her novels based on the Elm Creek Quilters were a must-attend event at the Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop in Brookfield. In fact, Chiaverini was one of the three guest authors at the Brookfield wake, set up when the closing was announced last year. (Read about ex-bookseller Brian's acknowledgement in A Quilter's Legacy.) Chiaverini has built up a following at various stores around metro Milwaukee, but this is time we get to get a try at hosting her.
Though our events draw from a much wider area than our neighborhood, you'd be suprised how many quilters don't live that far from our store. That said, I thought we needed a partner to get the excitement going.
I asked Judy, one of my quilting customers where she went for her quilting supplies, worried that she'd mention a chain fabric store or mass merchandiser. The likelihood of partnering with them was pretty much nil. Fortunately she told me about Patched Works in Elm Grove, a full-service shop that has been around since 1976.
Last week I took a pilgrimage out to Elm Grove to see the store. Like the best quilting stores, it has wonderful fabrics, along with beautiful quilts mounted on the walls. They have quilting supplies, and books too. I used to visit the Cutting Table in Bay View just to look at the colors and designs. Mesmerizing!
Alas, I got there just as owner Julie Karasek was closing up shop. Fortunately, she was very gracious and let me take a few photos. She told me about a special project that is being led by quilter Jen. They have a club that is quilting squares from Jennifer Chiaverini's design, based on the wedding quilt in the book, The Master Quilter.
Patched Works Quiltseller Jen sent me some information explaining the program:
"For our Sylvia's Bridal Sampler program we are doing 4 blocks a month as the sampler is 140 blocks it will take us about 3 years. There is no large up-front cost commitment other than purchasing the book (Sylvia's Bridal Sampler). For $2.50 per month, participants get a challenge fat quarter (18" X 22" cut of fabric) to use in their four blocks. They are also getting their paper piecing foundations printed out for each block and an extra instruction sheet as a companion to what Jennifer Chiaverini has written in her book.
"Customers are coming in the first Wednesday of each month (We just started in February) to pick up their blocks. We are open 10-8 each Wednesday so they can drop in at any time. If they are unable to come on the first Wednesday they can pick their blocks up any time thereafter.
"We plan on keeping enough print outs and fat quarters on hand so that if someone joins they can still get caught up with any of the earlier blocks that they might have missed."
Got more questions? Email email@example.com.
How will the event go? The set-up would be similar to our very successful event with The Loop yarn shop in Riverwest. They come, bring some patterns and fabric, we promote them, they promote the event, Chiaverini discusses the book, takes questions, signs copies, and everybody dances the twist in the big scene at the end.
Or should I say the hula? Chiaverini's new book, The Aloha Quilt, has a Hawaiian theme. Bonnie Markham of the Elm Creek Quilters starts a quilting camp and Hawaii. Chiaverini explores the heritage of Hawaiian quilting as Bonnie fights for ownership of her business with her ex-husband.
Now I'm wondering if I should have partnered with Sushi a Go Go at the Milwaukee Public Market. Have you had their Hawaiian plate lunch?
Come join Chiaverini and the Patched Work folk on Saturday, April 10th, at 2 PM. More on Chiaverini here.
What to Read Next — Winter 2017
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