Elm Creek Quilts, the thriving artists' retreat at Elm Creek Manor, is a place that stakes its sterling reputation on the palpable creative energy and collective goodwill of its teachers and students. But when two of its founding members decide to leave the fold, the Elm Creek Quilters face untold changes not only in their personal lives but also in their business. As the news spreads, a single question emerges: Who can possibly take their place?
An Elm Creek Quilter must not only possess mastery of quilting technique but teaching experience, a sense of humor, and that intangible quality that allows an individual to blend harmoniously into a group. With high hopes, Elm Creek Quilts posts an open call for applicants.
Suddenly, quilters everywhere are vying to land the prestigious post. Among the candidates are Maggie, whose love of history shines through in all her projects; Anna, a quilter and a chef whose food-themed quilts are wonderfully innovative; Russ, the male quilter whose pathbreaking style could lend Elm Creek Quilts an intriguing aesthetic departure; Karen, a novice teacher whose preternatural gifts for language complement her deep understanding of the quilters' mission; and Gretchen, the soulful veteran with a legacy steeped in quilting tradition.
"We must evaluate all of the applicants' qualities," advises Master Quilter Sylvia Compson. "Our choice will say as much about us and what we want for Elm Creek Quilts as it says about those we decide to hire." In the course of the members' careful deliberations, cherished memories resurface and inspiring visions for the future take shape. Only by understanding the meaning of what their own labors have wrought can they select the ones who have earned a place among the circle of quilters.