Make Quilts Not War - By Arlene Sachitano


Any endeavor that takes place over a period of time and requires a degree of effort, requires support from ones family, friends and acquaintances and writing a book is no exception. Thank you to all of you who have had your schedule or plans disrupted by my writing schedule or promotional travels; in particular, Susan, Susan and Annie.

I’d like to thank Katy King, my critique “partner” (we are all that’s left of our group) who always gives me insightful comments and suggestions on my current manuscript.

Once a book is written, a lot of effort goes into promotion. I’d like to thank everyone who has hosted events for me or allowed me into their shop, booth, parking lot or bookstore. Special thanks to Vern and Betty Swearingen of StoryQuilts, Linne and Jack Lindquist of Craftsman’s Touch Books, Ruth Derksen of Shop Girl Fabrics and Deon Stonehouse of Sunriver Books and Music.

As always, thanks to Liz and Zumaya Publications for making all this possible. Special thanks to April Martinez for the great cover work.

Last but not least, thanks to Jack and our offspring and their offspring.


The shooter couldn’t have planned better circumstances. Evenly spaced along the exterior wall of the large exhibition area were alcoves with life-sized statues representing prominent figures from Washington state’s past. Captain Robert Gray was shown holding his spyglass to his eye. It was perfect.

The backlighting meant anyone looking away from the well-lit quilt display would see the silhouette of the statue, the spyglass pointing directly at the target, hiding the rifle of the killer concealed in its shadow.

The target, unaware she was taking her last breaths, stood on the far side of the show floor on a raised stage, a white glove on one hand to allow her to handle the quilt hanging behind her without fear of soiling it. The glove wasn’t going to be any help, the shooter mused then sighted on the target and pulled the trigger.

Chapter 1

“It was a dark time,” Mavis Willis said.

The Loose Threads quilt group sat spellbound around the table in the large classroom at the back of Pins and Needles, Foggy Point, Washington’s, best and only quilt store.

“Cotton had once been king. Up until the early nineteen-sixties, something like eighty percent of the textiles sold in America were made of cotton. By the mid-nineteen-seventies, it was down to maybe thirty-five percent. Cotton was displaced by the scourge of the decade.”

“Polyester?” Harriet Truman said in a hushed voice.

“That and worse,” Mavis replied. “Synthetics of all sorts. Our fabric, our threads, our upholstery—the very warp and weft of our being was being supplanted by a poseur.”

“What did you do?” Carla Salter asked, her eyes round. At twenty-three, she was the youngest member of the group and had never experienced polyester fabric firsthand.

“What could we do?” Harriet’s Aunt Beth answered for her friend. “We used what was available. Our fabric was a cotton/acrylic blend, heavy on the acrylic.”

“I think everyone made at least one polyester knit quilt, too,” Mavis confessed with a small shrug.

“Yes,” Beth agreed. “We all have them.”

“Where?” Harriet challenged. “I’ve never seen yours.”

“Would you display it, if you had one?” Mavis asked.

“Good point,” Harriet said.

“I’m sure the colors were different back then, too.” Robin McLeod said tactfully.

“If you mean avocado green, electric orange and mustard yellow, you’re right, if the pictures in my mom’s photo album are any indication,” Lauren Sawyer added.

“Those were the colors of the times,” said Aunt Beth. “Not just for quilts, either. Appliances and shag carpets also favored them.”

“I guess I’m glad our house is historic,” Harriet said, referring to the spacious Victorian home her aunt had given her, along with the long-arm quilting business housed within, when the older woman had retired.

“I wanted a harvest gold refrigerator in the worst way,” Aunt Beth mused. “I was so jealous when Mavis got hers.” She smiled at her friend.

“My mami was so thrilled when papi put Astroturf on our cement patio,” Connie Escorcia said, rolling her eyes to the ceiling. “Diós mio,” she added with a laugh. “Those were the days.”

“How old were you in the sixties?” Carla asked Connie, blushing at her own boldness in asking such a personal question.

“Those were my glory days,” Connie replied with a smile. “I was a teenager. I was born in nineteen-fifty, so I turned ten in nineteen-sixty. My mami taught me to sew on her sewing machine when I was twelve, but I didn’t take up quilting until my babies were in school. By then, I’d gone back to