Gillian is the South Ohio District Manager and has been with Half Price Books since 1998. We are lucky to have her! Like many HPB Bibliomaniacs, not only is she a voracious reader, she also exhibits several bookish and crafty superpowers as well. Last year, when Gillian heard that the author Delia Owens was planning a visit to our Flagship location in Dallas, TX, she asked us (begged us) to present Ms. Owens with a square of fabric for the author to sign. Delia Owens was delighted and honored to be a part of Gillian’s @BookClubQuilt project and graciously signed the quilt square. Want to know more about this literary crafter! Meet Gillian and her beautiful project:
How long have you been a quilter?
I’ve been quilting and sewing since I was a kid. We didn’t have a TV in my early years, so I played in my mom’s sewing room when I wasn’t reading. She was an avid quilter and founding member of the Seaside Piecemakers Quilt Guild when we lived in Florida. I circled back to quilting in college. It’s a process-oriented craft, and I find myself drawn to things that keep my hands busy. It’s meditative and channels my energy into something useful. I got involved with the Modern Quilt Guild while my kids were little, and was a founding member of the Cincinnati chapter.
Do you make other things? What are some of your favorite crafts?
I also love to knit and sew; essentially, if there are needles involved, I’m in. My aunt has started raising alpacas, so I bet that I’ll be knitting a lot of alpaca yarn projects once the fleece is spun!
How did you come up with the idea for this project? And what was your inspiration?
Usually I track what I read in a journal, but wanted a different way of documenting it. I read about 60-100 books a year, both in print and on audio while I travel, so I thought this would be a fun challenge for 2019. Over the holidays I pulled out an old paper piecing pattern by Columbus, Ohio quilter Kate Basti (IG account is @KateBasti) and started. Sometimes I try to match to the cover or design, other times I interpret the book, putting in references to the story or characters. I try and use my existing fabric stash and scrap bins as much as possible.
Do you work alone or collaborate with others?
Quilting can be an isolating hobby, I’ve worked on charity quilts with the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild and have done some collaborative quilts with friends for weddings. Those are pretty few and far between. Social media has been a great tool for quilters to share inspiration and cheer each other on. There is a very active online community since the days of Flickr, and lots of groups are community-minded, making quilts for various causes. When the Pulse nightclub shooting happened, thousands of quilters donated heart blocks in rainbow hues, quilt shops donated fabric and quilting services, even whole quilts to the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild. All-told, they donated 1,800 quilts to the victims, friends and family and first responders. It’s these kinds of gestures that make quilting so fulfilling. I usually work on projects solo. I like to make quilts for family and close friends for weddings and new babies when time allows.
How long do you think you will continue to work on a literary quilt?
We’ll see if I have enough steam to finish out the year. I read a lot, so I didn’t really think about the size of the quilt. I hit 65 books in July, so I will likely have to edit this one this down somewhat.
What’s the next project?
Not sure yet! I tend to work on a couple projects at a time. I’ve got requests from my kids for new sweaters and a wedding coming up this fall, so we’ll see what gets finished first.
Best of luck to Gillian in all her book, quilt, knitting and craft endeavors! You can follow her quilt progress on Instagram @BookClubQuilt.