Tag Archive | quilting

Start something new

I like this photograph of Cathryn showing Nikki how to quilt. A few weeks back, we were finishing up the quilt that belonged to Nikki and before it was absolutely imagedone, she stopped by to do a bit of sewing on it herself. The moment was perfect and the sunlight on the quilt helped to capture the magic of Cathryn passing on the tradition. It seems ideal as we begin the new year to think of new things that we each can learn. Bev is mastering her smart phone. Renata explained how to do ice dying. Mary Louise is bravely taking on a major renovation to her house. I set 2016 as a year I am seriously going to focus on improving my writing.

Nikki’s quilt is finished now so we began a new one. Bonnie pieced it and as always, it’s lovely. We are still discussing how it will be quilted but I have no doubt the final decision will be a good one.  In the meantime, we have some items from the bazaar that we are selling and raffle tickets for the floral quilt to those visitors who stop by the old school house. You might think the cold temperatures and snow drifts would deter them, but nope. People still come in to see what we are working on, perhaps pick up a few belated gifts and catch up on news.  I could surely relax into the calm pace of our Friday quilting but inspired by the other older quilters, I am determined to improve this year.



and its November

quilt lunchAlright. Its still just the beginning of November but we are already making quantum leaps towards the holidays as December is just around the corner. December 5th is the day of all the bazaars in Eureka and we want to be ready. Actually most of the women are. Cathryn has been making beautiful pine needle baskets. Joan is sewing up a storm with baby quilts. Carmen is knitting like mad. Judy is making holiday table runners and cute pin cushions shaped like birds. I admit that I am the only one who is still mulling over what to make for the bazaar. While most of these women have multiple talents besides quilting like Cathryn’s basketry or Carmen’s knitting (and did I mention Mary Louise’s utterly delicious homemade chocolate covered cherries?), I do better with other things.  I have tried sewing hats in the past and we ended up donating them to the thrift store. Or one year I tried making those small lapel wreaths that I remembered from my Girl Scout days and…well…they weren’t a hot item either.  Fortunately though the other women are very talented and we will have piles of lovely things to sell at our bazaar.  In fact we were so relaxed about it this past week that even with the bazaar approaching and two quilts set up on frames, we decided to do lunch out in Fortine where we spoiled ourselves with pies. It did seem like the ideal occasion to take a photo of the group. Unfortunately Renata leaned back just as the photo was taken and Dianne was still quilting.  But it is most of us gathered around the table at Renee’s Rolling in Dough rather then around the quilting frames. And I did so enjoy relaxing with the other women and didn’t ponder at all what I will do for the bazaar. Instead I just listened to their stories and savored the banana creme pie.

This year’s raffle quilt

Every year we raffle off a quilt that we made in order to raise money for the Historical Village. This year’s is a beauty but than I probably always think that. But no – truly – this year’s is amazing. Not just the colors but th2016 quilte amount of stitching.  We like taking it out from the cupboard to show visitors. Even though we made it, we still marvel at the quality and quantity of the work.  So now we are selling raffle tickets for this quilt and next summer at the Lincoln County Fair someone will win it.  It could be you. Perhaps it seems too early in the game to be buying raffle tickets though for something that you might not own until next summer but think of it as an installment plan. If every month between now and late August you bought ten tickets, you would have one hundred chances to win.  One hundred!  And you wouldn’t hardly think about the money because its just $10/month and really that’s about three of those fancy coffee drinks.  Wouldn’t you rather be snuggled up beneath this wondrous quilt than buzzed out on caffeine?

We are on our way

Thank goodness for October. Today I went to quilting. There were nine of us there working on a quilt for Nikki. It is a top that her mother pieced many years ago and Nikki decided to have it finished. She stopped by today to have a look and take a few photos of the process. Cathryn wPicMonkey Collageas her usual diplomatic self and expressed how much we were enjoying the fabric (a very soft cotton) and didn’t mention our grumbling as it had been difficult to sew the border as a result of the color and the quilting pattern that had been chosen.  But we finished the border today and decided to set up a second quilt for next week.  Once we begin rolling the ends of the quilt in, it limits how many of us can sew on it at one time. The new one we set up is this sprightly yellow pattern that is going to make someone’s bedroom lovely.  The two quilts are so different in both their colors and their styles. It will be nice to have choices when we show up on Fridays.  Everyone was so enthused to be back sewing together that we decided to have a celebratory luncheon at a new place in Fortine the last Friday of October.

For me today was a reminder of time. Darla I(Nikki’s mom) pieced this quilt about thirty years ago.  Now Nikki is pregnant with her first child and here we are finishing it up so it can be used. This quilt will easily span three generations. Of course there are quilts that have been in families longer than that. I look around the old school house.  Many of the quilters here have grandchildren. Some even have great grandchildren. I wonder if the wisdom these women have is appreciated and passed down?  I’ve no doubt this quilt will be cherished for years to come.  I hope the wonder of these women is cherished as well.

yeah for Fall!!

It is official. Fall is here. Not perhaps according to the calendar but according to the rhythm of the Historical VIllage. We had a lovely indoor picnic (weather was threatening rain) on Wednesday to celebrate all the volunteers. The museum will close for the season this coming Monday. The blue quilt is finally done! Now we can start to prepare for the imagerummage sale in a few weeks. After that we will seriously get back into our schedule of quilting every Friday from 10:00 to 3:00. I for one am looking forward to it. I appreciate that time every week to spend in the Village.  I appreciate the time with the quilters.  I have even decided to cut back on my regular job so that I can have Fridays free. In life we need to make decisions about what is valuable. Yes, of course there are some things that need to be done regardless. I need to take time to wash dishes and pay the bills.  I try to get enough sleep and to exercise. But there are those other hours in the day, week, month, year which are more flexible.  Do I want to quilt on Friday or sit in front of a computer all day? Am I willing to tighten my budget so I can visit with these women a bit each week around the quilting frame?  And the answer – at least for me – is that I do want to spend time in the old school house listening to their stories and advice. I want to learn more about our valley’s history. I want to be able to answer at least some of the questions tourists stop by to ask.

Wrapping up summer

imageThat time of year again. Shakespeare in the Park happens this Tuesday (August 25). The county fair is the coming weekend.  Then the picnic for all the volunteers who helped with the Historical Village this summer takes place on September 2 with Lynda and Lewis grilling hamburgers for us all and lots of potluck salads and desserts. A group of us continue to meet on Friday mornings to finish the blue quilt. This past week a young Czech woman, Martina, was there to learn quilting techniques with us. Bev was very patient demonstrating how to sew through all three layers and make knots that don’t show.  Martina caught on quickly and the women agreed that she was a keeper. As she makes beaded jewelry, I guess it is not a surprise that she can take small neat stitches. But for me it not just the new quilting skills that were valuable for her but the exposure to these women. Talking about their life experiences, cracking jokes, giving each other advice – they are such great examples of how to age with grace. There isn’t any grumbling about pesky neighbors or inept politicians.  There wasn’t excessive complaining about aches and pains.  No one bemoaned inattentive children or the prices at the grocery store.  Rather than digging a hole of despair, they build joy. Often I wonder how good people can make a difference when there seems to be so many problems and sorrows to contend with in the world. This group of quilters has found a way. They support each other and set a standard for doing well and I’ve no doubt this impacts our community in a positive way. And although it would be hard to prove, I imagine this positive impact also reaches out beyond the Tobacco Valley as well. I am very glad Martina got to experience this for even one morning.

Eureka Montana Quilt Show

museumstoreIt somehow went from feeling like summer was just beginning to here we are perched on the edge of August. Tomorrow is the 11th Annual Eureka Montana Quilt Show. Everyone is getting ready from the guys who wash the streets to the women sorting the quilts so they will be ready to hang up first thing tomorrow.  Of course my favorite time is around 7am tomorrow when the day is still young and the crews are out hanging quilts up and down the main street, on the buildings in the Historical Village and in the parks.  The vendors will be setting up.  This year the RiverWalk committee is selling breakfast next to the Historical Village as a fundraiser so we can all get coffee and pancakes by 8am. This day really is an event that everyone participates in. The electric co-op with their trucks will hang the quilts that go high on the old buildings.  Businesses will hang the quilts on the main street and then ‘police’ them during the day (“Please don’t get your ice cream cone near that quilt, ma’am”). And the town will explode with colors. Everywhere you look there will be patterns and designs in every hue. A nine-square there and an appliqued one over there. The tiniest quilts (minis) will hang in the old library at the Historical Village. The patriotic ones in reds, whites and blues will brighten Memorial Park. You can vote for your favorite quilt of the over 600 that will be displayed in town and later these votes will be tallied to determine the “People’s Choice”. But it is always so difficult to decide.  How is it possible to compare a large quilt with pieces that look like a mosaic to a smaller one that has been hand embroidered?  Or that one that is so unusual to the one made of all different white fabrics? There must be a word when there is too much for your eyes to take in. That’s the Quilt Show.

At some point during the day, take a break in the Historical Village Museum where it will be a tad cooler and with sounds and colors muted. There’s even a sofa there to sit on as you think about which quilt to vote for.


quiltsrpingIt isn’t really midsummer but it feels like that with the heat these days.  Thus when I go to quilting on Friday mornings, I tend to forget to take any photos.  It feels like enough to just sit there and stitch when it is this hot. And as it is summer, there tends to be a lot of tourists passing through the Historical Village and visiting with us which is another distraction that I could blame things on. Still here I am writing and I did find a photo that I like very much from the spring.   Lynda, Carmen and Joan stitching away. Judy going off to find something in the background. A second quilt set up behind her which is the one we are currently working on.  Summer. Judy is busy getting ready for the quilt show in August as she will surely enter a lot of pieces that she made as well as helping with the show’s organization. Joan is getting to be a wiz selling books on Amazon and putting up her usual gaggle of summer guests. Carmen has gardens upon gardens that she cares for growing flowers and vegetables. Lynda keeps things straight at the Historical Village (there was a wedding there last week!), goes birdwatching and looks after the grand kids.  It does astound me that all these women are so consistently busy, not in a don’t bother me kind of way but with activities that keep them fresh and the community a better place. And there they are in this photo, all in one place looking relaxed.


2quiltThe other day we had the old school house set up for our annual book sale and so had pushed the one quilt frame off to the side. Those of us working that day could then either sell books or sit and quilt. At one point Joan was quilting and explaining the technique to the various folks who stopped to watch her. We actually had three quilts out: the blue one we are currently working on, the one with hearts we are raffling off this year, and the lovely one we just finished that we are selling. The price tag is $1000 and we all agree it has a lot and I mean A LOT of work in it. Its a beauty though and I figure it only takes one person to walk in, see it, really appreciate it and take out a check book. Anyhow so there was Joan explaining how hand quilting is done and how many stitches to the inch. One woman who just moved to the area was interested in learning and said she might join us in the fall when we start up again. She was explaining how she probably wouldn’t be a fast quilter but would try her best. Joan pointed out that yes Fridays are about quilting but they are also about therapy. At that moment I realized once again how smart Joan is. Of course it’s about therapy! Sitting around the quilting frame, relaxed and stitching, talking and listening and laughing. If only we could market this, we wouldn’t have to raffle quilts. But of course I also believe that it’s valuable for people to own these quilts. Each quilt somehow holds all that energy and thoughtfulness that the women give in taking those thousands upon thousands of stitches. And the laughter and the tears and the kindness. All of that gets absorbed into the quilt as we sit around the frame. So yes, even if we could market quilting therapy, we would still want people to buy quilts so they could take this magic home to put on their bed.

Looking for Quilts

painting quiltFor as many years as some of these women remember, we have had quilts in the closet waiting to be done in the fall. Some were quilts tops that someone in the valley had gotten from a grandmother or great-aunt that needed to be hand quilted. Others were newer ones someone pieced and didn’t have the time to hand quilt so brought it to the Historical Village for the women there to work on (we recently finished one for a woman in Texas!). Our fees are incredibly reasonable for the amount of work it takes. And our fees are incredibly important because it is by charging for hand quilting that we raise money to help maintain the Village. But this Spring…and yes I know it is still only early April….we don’t have any quilts in the closet for fall and its a bit disconcerting to some of us. We can always make our own quilts to raffle or sell but that usually doesn’t bring in as much money for the projects in the Village. So Lynda asked if I would help get the word out. I am letting all of you who read this blog know and perhaps you will even share with your friends that we are looking for those special individuals who need hand quilting done. In trying to decide which photo to use for this, I opted for the beautiful colors of one that Carmen’s mother donated to us. It was pieced back in the 40s or 50s. We hand tied it because the fabrics and style called for that. And I admit I couldn’t resist and bought it when it was finished. Now it is hanging in my living room as a background for a Derek Trotter painting. But I shouldn’t get sidetracked by the colors…thanks for helping to get the word out that we are looking for quilts that need to be lovingly sewn by this very special group of women.