Saturday, July 3, 2021

The Patchwork Lady--Quilting in Children's Literature

"Patchwork lady talks in patchwork." This brief note, jotted down by the author, became the creative inspiration for her book. 


Whittington, Mary K. The Patchwork Lady. Illustrated by Jane Dyer. Harcourt, 1991.  ISBN: 978-0152595807

This book is full of patterns and colors. The Patchwork Lady goes through her day preparing for visitors, and all around her are items that, in the end, show up in a surprise quilt.

The Patchwork Lady's clothing is a bit eclectic (like mine!).


The softly colored watercolors by Jane Dyer are perfect with the text--they illustrate some words that children might not know, such as "argyle," "festoons,"and "afghan."  Many of the illustrations are full pages, and the facing page has an accompanying smaller illustration with the text.

Full page

Facing page

In the story, we see the Patchwork Lady finding creative solutions to problems: scarves take the place of dusty tattered streamers, and she fashions a cake from crumbled cupcakes. Her words throughout the book are little bits of sentences that add up in the end to make sense--like the little bits of cloth that make up a quilt. Indeed as the note mentioned above says, "Patchwork lady talks in patchwork."

A quilt in this book represents the idea that the small, everyday things of our life add up to something
original and whole when we step back and look at the overall pattern.

A Quilt of Everyday Things


As I sit here writing in a crazy muumuu (pink, purple, and red patchwork print) and red shoes, I identify with the Patchwork Lady a bit! Everyday life may not go smoothly, but we have the ability to turn some of our problems around to create solutions . . .  and sometimes, those solutions are more beautiful than we expected.

Happy Quilting. 😸

A reminder--you can find my posts on Quilts in Children's Literature by clicking "Children's Literature" in the list of labels on the right-hand pane of this blog.

NOTE: I found my books used from I can highly recommend this site. Not only do they always have free shipping, but they also contribute a book to someone in need for every book you buy. I was not compensated for this recommendation--I just love doing business with them.



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Happy Quilting,
The Eclectic Abuela