Trish Bradford and her family have just been transferred from Los Angeles to Harrisburg, PA. One day, while cleaning the attic in the old Victorian they have just bought , Trish stumbles upon an old trunk. She doesn't remember seeing it before but feels strangely drawn to it. She tries to ignore it and goes about the business of sorting through things and dusting but curiosity finally gets to her, and she carefully opens it.
Inside, among other things, she finds some old letters tied with a faded blue ribbon, an old hand-tied pinwheel quilt, some diaries, and a yellowing pillow case with a stack of quilt blocks. She hears soft music coming from their attic at night but never really knows why. She later finds out through the local quilt shop that the blocks are Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks.
Through these blocks she is pulled into the world of Emma Cade Bartlett, quilt teacher, lecturer and blue ribbon winner, who was born in the late 1800s. Through the diaries she solves the mystery of the quilt blocks and is drawn into Emma's life and tragedy, something that parallels her own. Can she find that one piece of happiness left for her and at the same time help Emma finish her quilt?