Julia, Megan, Donna, Grace, and Vinnie are cross-country friends who are about to begin work on a challenge quilt. A piece of fabric is divided among the women, with the understanding that the following year they will all meet at the Elm Creek Quilt Camp to sew the sections together into a single quilt. But the friends have set themselves a special challenge - no one can start working on her block until she has taken steps to solve her problems and achieve her personal goals. Although they share a common creative objective, the Cross-Country Quilters find their friendship tested by the demands of everyday life. Yet despite differences in age, race, and background, the women's love of quilting and affection for one another unite them. The quilt they create becomes a symbol of the threads that hold their lives together - a glorious patchwork of caring and loyalty that brings home an enduring truth - Friends may be separated by great distance, but the strength of their bond can transcend any obstacle.