Our community is so generous. There were all those individuals who sent membership checks over the summer to support the Historical Village. Then there were the shoppers who came by for our September rummage and fabric sale. One woman traveling from Pennsylvania was so taken with the fabric strips we had at the sale that she called after she got back home asking if she could buy more. We were tickled with her interests and immediately arranged to have the fabric she wanted shipped to her. And nearly every week now, some one stops by the old school house on Friday when the women are quilting to make a donation.
Last week Donna Todd came in with a lovely old quilt top that she gave to the Historical Village quilters. We are still discussing how it should be quilted. Sally thinks this top was pieced around the 1930s. No doubt it will be a wonder once it is laid out on the frame, all those vintage colors and patterns. We look forward to working on it.
Pam, a staunch Historical Village supporter from Oklahoma, who has sent numerous quilts over the years to be hand quilted, recently gave us fabrics as well as some hand stitched items for our winter bazaar. Along with these treasures, she also sent two beautiful quilts we will work on this winter. One, a lovely collection of rainbow colors, might just be my current personal favorite.
When people say it takes a village – it is obvious the community that supports the Historical Village in the Tobacco Valley is a village that stretches across the entire country. The woman in Pennsylvania, Pam in Tulsa, and of course many people in Montana are all part of our village, helping with resources, quilts and volunteer efforts. As we enjoy this autumn season, it indeed feels like a bountiful harvest. Thank you.
The women started quilting on Fridays again. We set up a lovely blue one with blocks created by numerous people. It will be a pleasure to decide how to quilt each unique design. No doubt it will take us through til November, and there are other quilts waiting to be done. Thankful to have this pile as it is one of the many ways we raise money to maintain the Historical Village.
To begin this season off, the Tobacco Valley Board of History constructed a strategic plan to carry us through the next three years. The Historical Village was first established in 1971 so now nearly fifty years old. Forty-seven to be exact. Forty-seven years of volunteers fundraising, getting old buildings painted, roofs repaired, exhibits set up, the museum open everyday in the summer. A lot of accomplishments for an all-volunteer organization in a small town. And now we want to plan well so that this can continue for your children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Darris, Lynda and Sally fine tuned suggestions from the entire board. Some very exciting ideas that we will begin to work towards making a reality.
Sally will create History Suitcases that can be borrowed by schools and home school groups. Each suitcase will have artifacts, photos, books and other items that students can touch, read, examine and learn from. We also decided to expand our outreach to the community as we begin doing more events at the Village starting this winter. For you not to miss anything, get on our email list so you can receive quarterly newsletters. You can ‘like’ the Tobacco Board of History Facebook page as we will have updates there. And of course we will be putting our quarterly calendar in the newspaper.
We are also building our lists of volunteers. There are summer docents for the museum, quilters, archivists and individuals to help with small repairs and some grounds maintenance. Obviously we need more. People who like to help organize events, help get our calendar out, fix things that need fixing (yes, the teeter totter is on the list), do demonstrations in the summer of skills we don’t want lost.
And an archival room is in the plan! This would be a space that is secure, temperature and humidity controlled and with a place for individuals to do research. This has been needed for some time and now we are ready to take it on – find someone to do the design, raise the funds to build it, and then move the files, boxes and other archival materials into the new space. Once this is completed (remember this is a three year plan) it will open more room in the Fewkes store museum to expand the exhibits there.
We are definitely springing into Fall.
It is that time of year and yes, we are all ready. The Historical Village museum closes for the season after Labor Day and then the quilters begin meeting again on Fridays in the old school house. The second Friday in September we will have our annual Fall Rummage sale from 10:00 – 2:00. Lots of treasures including all sorts of fabric for your sewing pleasure. Stop by so you don’t miss out! The third Friday of September is when we seriously start quilting again until next May. All the quilters are looking forward to this: the conversation, the camaraderie, the chance to explore new quilt patterns, colors and designs. We have already decided which quilts we will start with. The blue one is my personal favorite but you will have to wait until it is on the frame to see it.
As always, if you are interested in joining whether as a novice or an experienced quilter, don’t hesitate to stop by on Fridays between 10:00am and 3:00pm. No pressure as this group has a good sense of humor and more patience then anyone might imagine. And if you have a quilt top that you would like to have hand quilted, this is the group to do it. Stop by any Friday and one of the woman will explain the process. Not only will you get your quilt finished but the proceeds from our quilting support the Historical Village.
Yes, the snow is nearly melted in our valley. There are still patches under trees and on the north side of the old school house but otherwise we see bare ground, mud puddles and a few spring flowers pushing through. The women are hard at it trying to get the current quilts finished by the end of April. That is when things shift for us into the next season.
On April 28, it is Rendezvous in Eureka which mean vendors fill the Historical Village grounds and there is the largest parade of the year down main street. The old school house will be transformed from the place we quilt all winter into a book sale. Stop by if you are in town to pick up some great bargains. Then in May school children take their annual trip to visit the museum. We also have a rummage sale, another opportunity for bargains and to get raffle tickets for a lovely quilt we made. And finally on May 26, the Historical Village announces the summer season. Everyday until Labor Day, volunteer docents will open all the buildings and are available to provide information to visitors from 1:00 – 5:00pm.
So now we are trying to get the last quilts finished up. Jana, a guest from the Czech Republic, has been joining us to learn how to quilt and to share her travel adventures with the women as they sew. Cathryn created a pile of new baby quilts that are perfect to welcome little ones to the world. Sally made some lovely children quilts that are for sale in the museum along with our full size tied quilts and, of course, the beautiful hand quilted ones. If you are in town for Rendezvous or just ambling through the Historical Village grounds on a sunny afternoon, stop by to learn about our valley’s history and perhaps purchase a quilt to support this remarkable space.
Yes, it has been too long. Quilts have been started and even finished since the last post. And there were some lovely ones. The women are working hard to keep up with the requests – a quilt made from t-shirts a car buff collected, a quilt started thirtysome years ago and pulled out to be finished, a quilt someone made for a person she loves very much. And now besides quilting every Friday, the women are also hard at it making items for their annual bazaar on December 2nd.
You won’t want to miss this bazaar. There are many events happening in Eureka over the first weekend in December but the bazaar at the Historical Village is by far the best. Handmade baby quilts, aprons, crocheted hats and mittens, tree ornaments, items for your kitchen and items for your bedroom (lovely pillow cases that will be immediately snatched up) are available. There are the most delicate pine needle baskets made by Cathryn and some of Mary Louise’s hand dipped chocolates for sale. There will be a raffle for a basket of treats. Thick and soft flannel quilts hand tied so quite affordable are for sale in colors that call your name.
The prices for these handmade items are definitely within anyone’s budget and besides that – all the proceeds go directly to the Historical Village. No percentage for this or that, no fees or undisclosed costs. When you purchase something at the bazaar in the old school house this Saturday, all the money from your purchase helps maintain the Historical Village. Your Village which keeps the archives and the artifacts and the memories of our valley as well as offering a wonderful place for events like Rendezvous, the Eureka MT Quilt Show and Shakespeare in the Parks. Do you need any other reason to come to the Historical Village bazaar on Saturday morning? We open at 9:00am.
The quilters drew the lucky raffle winner at the Lincoln County Fair on August 27th. A Canadian woman won the beautifully pieced quilt and will pick it up this week. Thanks to all of you who bought raffle tickets. It is one of the many ways we work to pay the bills to maintain the Historical Village. Also at the end of August, the Historical Village was awarded a grant from the Tobacco Valley Community Foundation. What a wonderful gift to help us cover the expenses we incurred this past summer including chinking one of the old cabins and painting a building. And on September 9, the quilters will have their annual Fall Rummage Sale at the old school house from 10:00am – 3:00pm. Some great treasures and, of course, all proceeds go towards the Historical Village. Stop by to purchase something you need and/or to talk with the women. The following Friday, September 15, the quilting season officially starts for the year. It is open to anyone who has time on Fridays. Even if you haven’t sewn before, we are happy to show you how. Many of us started out as true beginners and are now addicted to showing up every Friday to stitch. Bring a bag lunch and drop by anytime between 10:00am – 3:00pm. We will even supply you with a needle and scissors to begin this new passion.
Perhaps you are seriously considering coming by on a Friday to quilt with us – or to learn how to quilt. You study the photos that are part of this blog and notice how agreeable the women look who are sewing. But then the balloons on the quilt catch your eye and you wonder what they are used for. Has there been a recent birthday party? Are the quilters prepared to fill them with water to deter anyone from littering on the Historical Village grounds? No, the balloons are actually used for quilting. Sometimes it is difficult to pull a needle through multiple layers of fabric and batting. When it becomes a challenge, a balloon placed around the needle gives the quilter that extra leverage to pull the needle through.
Its that time of year. Everyone is going a bit crazy shopping and putting up decorations and trying to decide if it is worth sending out holiday cards. And then here in Montana we are also thinking about winter tires and having emergency supplies in the car in case something happens on the road. And why do children seem to lose at least one glove or mitten every single week?
The quilters prepare for the annual bazaar. There are beautiful hats and scarves made by the women, embroidered pillow cases, pine needle baskets, lovely potholders, aprons that Cathryn sewed, handwarmers knitted by Carmen. Sally made a tied quilt that will cover a lucky bed with forest scenes (and matching pillow cases). Dianne created the cutest Advent calendars although no one knows how she managed to cut out so many numbers. There are scrubbies, tree decorations, mittens and of course baby quilts in every conceivable color. And even while everyone is busy preparing for the bazaar (starts December 2 and runs December 3 and every Friday til Christmas), we still quilt. We have one set up Joan made. As we just began sewing on it a few weeks ago, quite a number of women can fit around it still. But really with preparing for the bazaar and various ones off doing other midwinter activities, there are usually only three or four quilting at a time.
But it feels right – as though things are where they need to be in the old school house. The new handmade items are displayed for the bazaar and Joan’s imaginative quilt is set up. The women do any required task and then break for lunch. Sally made delicious blueberry bread. Carmen brought cookies. Mary Louise shares the applesauce she made. Renata updates us on the house she is building with her husband. Of course there are concerns. A friend is ill. There is a question about getting a driveway plowed when the snow gets going. No one talks about finances but it hovers in the background. Medical care, housing, the price of everything going up. What about taxes and what about savings? But these women are a breed who don’t whine. They fashion leftover fabric into quilts, make tree ornaments from bits of this and that, laugh as someone tells a bawdy story. And they are strong. They will do what needs to be done. They will speak up when words are required.