Peregrinos


Yesterday we flew from Madrid to Santiago and took a bus to Melide to join our friends, Laura and Tim. Last summer, Laura hiked with her sisters, almost 500 miles from the border of France on the Camino de Santiago, The Way of Saint James.

Every year thousands of pilgrims, or “peregrinos” in Spanish, set out from popular starting points across Europe, to make their way to Santiago de Compostela. Most travel by foot, a few by bicycle. For some it is a religious pilgrimage but many are hikers who walk the route for other reasons: travel, sport, or the challenge of weeks of walking in a foreign land. Also, many consider the experience a spiritual journey to remove themselves from the stresses of modern life or just a vacation adventure. 

Gary and I are excited to walk the last few days of the journey as peregrinos.


This won’t be at all like hiking the Appalachian Trail. You can get a pan de chocolate and a cappuccino To Go. Try finding that on the AT!


The first part is through shady forests of oaks and eucalyptus trees.



There are purple fox gloves and calla lilies everywhere.


It’s so hard to choose a few photos. It’s beautiful everywhere! Notice we aren’t wearing huge backpacks– that’s beautiful! We don’t have to carry much at all because we walk through villages frequently. We will stay the nights in “albergues.” Some albergues are hostels with bunks but each accommodations is different. We have reservations for private rooms with baths. For 3 Euros, we have arranged for our luggage to be transferred along the way. 


We hadn’t even walked a few kilometers when we come to a small fruit stand. 


Fresh peaches, raspberries– see the cup in Gary’s hand? A small coffee for about 50 cents.


Laura is a great tour guide and I have questions about everything. 


The local people use these as decorations on their houses.


This cafe has a large one. Laura told me this area is farmland and these were used as corn cribs to dry corn for animal feed.


We saw old corn cribs on farms as well that must have been used in past years.


The guide book says this boulder bridge over the River Iso dates back to medieval times.


This was interesting. A little stream filled the reservoir and the water circulated out the other side. It looks like a hot tub but we speculated it was used for washing laundry. The slanted sides would be perfect for scrubbing clothing.  


We walked from Melide to Arzua, 14 kilometers, about 8 miles. The day was such a mix of ancient and modern, forest, field and farm, village, and the town of Arzua. I heard many different languages spoken by the peregrinos. I learned to smile and say “Buon Comino,” which literally means “good path,” but mostly, “good luck and happy travelling”.  

Avila


Just a few miles from Segovia is the village of LaGranja, our home for the night. We wanted to experience one of the 90 state-run Spanish hotels called paradores.


The paradores are luxury hotels in restored Castles, Monasteries, Convents, Fortresses, Manor Houses and Palaces. They range in price and types of accommodation and amenities but many are quite inexpensive compared to American standards. 

The Parador de La Granja, is located in the Casa de los Infantes, constructed in the 18th century by Charles III to house Princes Gabriel and Antonio. I don’t quite understand why a nursery for two babies would be built away from the main castle. And why the heck did they need soooo many rooms?


I can say I totally enjoyed my elegant, enormous suite and dinner in the restaurant completed the full experience.


We took a stroll to view the castle, a few blocks away, illuminated at night. 


The next morning we enjoyed a leasurly breakfast. Gary had huevos Benedictine and I can’t get enough chocolate croissants and cappuccinos. There are so many churches in addition to the big cathedral and today seems to be First Holy Communion Sunday. It is so fun to see the little girls in their long white dresses and veils. Whole families are dressed up and pose for pictures on the steps. On the square and in front of the churches, small ensembles play a variety of music– everything from show tunes to chamber music. 

I’m going to read about St Teresa of Avila. My real name, though I don’t often admit it, is Theresa spelled with an H, so I know this isn’t my saint, but I’d like to know more about her and the walled city of Avila. 


The wall is amazing! If you pay 5 Euros you can climb up to the top and walk about 1 and a half kilometers around. Not for us today– it’s cold and windy. 


The view from the wall is probably spectacular but this is good enough. 


They should film an episode of The Amazing Race here. The teams would have a hard time, trying to find their way down tiny, twisting, confusing streets. There’s a lot of real estate enclosed within 1 and a half meters of wall. Gary has been searching for a beer for at least an hour!

Segovia


Gary and I rented a car so we could take some day trips from Madrid. He scoffed at my suggestion of getting some Euros before we left the USA. After spending more than a frustrating hour trying to figure out how to change the Navi from Spanish to English, we started driving. Immediate panic– Toll Booth ahead– What! No Euros! Out of nowhere, Gary pulled two single Euro coins from his pocket. He must have discovered these just laying around our house. The charge? Two Euros. A good omen!

We discovered on the road to Segovia, the toll booth machines take credit cards. Nice to know. Of course we now had Euros, because the Metro machines wouldn’t take the credit card. Well, a good reason to travel is for enlightenment, right? 


The aqueduct in Segovia was amazing! I need to read about the engineering of how this worked. The little information available is all in Spanish. 


Segovia is most famous for its historic Roman aqueduct, it also boasts an impressive castle and cathedral. We decided to admire the cathedral from the outside and tour inside the castle.

The Alcázar of Segovia is said to be one of the several castles that inspired Walt Disney.  The first written record dates back to the beginning of the eighth century. 


The halls and salons are decorated with mind numbing different styles spanning the hundreds of years of habitation. Much of the furnishings and surface treatments are restored but some are original historic pieces. Tapestries survive pretty well and suits of armor certainly last through centuries! 


I loved the ceilings. Many a quilter has been inspired by intricate floor or ceiling patterns in cathedrals and castles. I won’t be piecing fabric like this anytime soon tho.


The formal gardens could provide quilting motifs as well. 


Touristing requires lots of energy. Time to enjoy a glass of vino tinto and taste Segovia’s gastronomic specialty of cochinillo – roasted suckling pig at Meson De Candido. Gary and I split a single order of the pork, served as very tender shredded meat.


Right next to us was a table of 8 people, clearly celebrating something special. They were served the entire pig! 


We watched enthralled as this man, with a gold embroidered sash draped around his neck, came out of the restaurant and delivered a stirring speech to the celebrating diners. As he spoke the last words, none of which we understood, he picked up the plate and used it to chop the roasted pig into portions, taking care to preserve the snout and ears. Then, in a grand gesture, he crashed the plate to the cement floor, smashing it to pieces and everyone at the table stood and cheered and clapped! Wow! I didn’t see that coming!

The party went on to enjoy their feast but this important dude– Grand Server of the Roast Pig?– we don’t know what to call him! Shook hands and posed for photos with many other diners. On the walls of the restaurant, we saw framed pictures of this same man in his younger days,  with Cary Grant, Sofia Loren, and other celebrities and international dignitaries through the years. 

All kinds of enlightenment today!

GB and H


Good-Bye, Pennsylvania.


Hello, Madrid, Spain!


It’s very important to hydrate after a long overseas flight. Gary and I napped at our hotel for a few hours and then took the Metro into Plaza Mayor to see the sights. 


Madrid is famous for beautiful architecture and the opera. Sitting next to the opera house, we watched the orchestra musicians arriving, carrying their instruments. 


I’m not sure if the singers we encountered were really practicing arias for the performance, or if everyone sings opera here, walking along the side streets. 


I convinced Gary that we needed to go to at least one of the three art museums. I chose Reina Sofia because there is a special exhibition, Pity and Terror, Picasso’s Path to Guernica.  


The exhibit was amazing. The painting was created in response to the bombing of Guernica, a Basque Country village in northern Spain, by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italian warplanes. Upon completion, Guernica was exhibited at the Spanish display at the Paris International Exposition at the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris and then at other venues around the world. The touring exhibition was used to raise funds for Spanish war relief. The painting became famous and widely acclaimed, and it helped bring worldwide attention to the Spanish Civil War. It is now regarded by many art critics as one of the most moving and powerful anti-war paintings in history.

The mural is enormous! Viewing hundreds of artworks Picasso accomplished before painting Guernica, and seeing the sketches and studies done in preparation, was a view into the vision, method and life of the artist. Incredible. 

I don’t think Gary has recovered yet…


It wasn’t hard to find a good restaurant to discuss the art we saw. We wanted to try some tapas, especially the jamon iberico. 


It was delicious but I didn’t expect literally “on the hoof.” 


We chose a tasting platter with a glass of sangria. A fitting toast to our first day in Spain. 

Two Quilt Days


Quilt Bee met at my house this week. We have all been so busy this Spring, not much Quilting has happened. 


At least Andra had Show and Tell. She brought this large top for Susie to longarm quilt. 


Watching Susie audition quilting thread colors is an education.  She makes her customers happy at Quilts on Wawaset.


Which thread color do you think would be best? At first I thought a light gray but we all liked the pink and also the light blue. It’s surprising sometimes, your first choice on the cone isn’t what you like after you pull thread across the different fabrics.


Can I just say, the key lime pie was delicious. Next time I make it, I’m making two! I agree with the Barefoot Contessa, make something, buy something. So Fresh Market made the salted carmel cookies. Sometimes We Do enjoy deserts … well, all the time, since there aren’t any calories at Quilt Bee. 


The other fun event was the annual auction and luncheon at Calico Cutters quilt guild. The door prizes alone were awesome. I won this Layer Cake! I’m looking online to see if I can find some yardage of the fabrics.


Gary knew I was at the auction so I texted him, “I bought a Bernina sewing machine.” I got an immediate response, WHAT? YOU NEED ANOTHER SEWING MACHINE ? Hey wait– this from the guy who needs multiple different angled pitching wedges? Really? Just don’t hit the ball into the sand trap in the first place, right?  A few months ago I upgraded my machine and he is well aware of the thousands of dollars new Berninas cost. But he doesn’t know that Bernina makes an inexpensive plastic “starter” machine, the Bernette, that would be perfect for my little granddaughters. It’s not often I can put one over on Gary so I even asked him to carry the box in from the car. He figured from the size and weight that I hadn’t taken out a bank loan. Hehehe! Gotcha!

Quilt Local


Yesterday my friend Joan and I went to the Penn Oaks Quilt Show. It always amazes me how this small quilt guild puts on a fantastic show every other year. It’s really fun to see the quilts,  talk to the makers and connect with friends I haven’t seen in a while. 


I was yaking with friends…a lot. So I didn’t write down the quilter’s names, and didn’t take as many photos as I intended. But I wanted to show a few of my favorite quilts. I love this modern quilt. The quilts are shown with lovely display decorations as artfully done as the quilts.  


Joan was good at guessing quilts made by Kelly of Pinkadot Quilts. She has such a distinctive style and her fabric selection is unique.  She had me with the green and blue colors, and trees! I’m a fan. 


I love this quilt, especially the hedge hog and fox critters. I need to make it for a grandchild– before they apply to college. So little time…


These dimensional flowers were so nicely done. This quilt would look perfect in my entryway. 


The technique used to construct the hills was interesting and added much to this small landscape quilt. 


I think this quilt made by Kelly might have been Joan’s favorite. Kelly pieced the birds by improv cutting — no patterns. We’re hoping Kelly will teach a workshop based on her quilt. I’m in!


This small quilt by Stephanie got my Viewers Choice vote. I just love the way she interpreted her photo of her son. I feel this single moment, captured, recorded. Her choices in positioning the horizon line, the figure’s body language and relation to the background, all look like a quilted “sketch” to me. How neat to do that with fabric. 

So if you happen to live in the area, click on the Penn Oaks link for information about the show today. The quilts are inspiring and, can I just say, the Dresden Plate Cafe at the show serves up the BEST chicken salad lunch. They also have carrot cake…I got mine to go to share with Gary. Didn’t happen….the sharing part. 

Postcard Tutorial


The white trilliums are aging gracefully into a streaky pink color. 


It just happens I have the perfect fabric in my stash! I love to send a fabric postcard to the Program Chairperson as a thank you note for inviting me to lecture or do a workshop for their guild. I have a lot of guild presentations coming up so I need to go into production mode. 


I cut a bunch of strips of fabric at least 8 inches long by an inch or so wide. I create the quilted base by cutting a long piece of interfacing– whatever kind I have on hand, and flip and sew the strips to the interfacing. The interfacing is about 7 inches wide. The finished cards measure 4 and a quarter by 6 inches, so for 1 card the interfacing is about 5 by 7 inches. I don’t measure much because that would involve numbers– I try to avoid numbers. 

I stitch the base fabric, backed with interfacing, with colorful quilting, including some green glittery threads for some bling. 

I select my fabric for the flowers and leaves and iron Wonder Under fusible web on the wrong sides. 


I have sketched out leaves and flower parts onto freezer paper. I iron the freezer paper patterns to the fused fabric and cut out the shapes. Sometimes I don’t bother with patterns– I just free cut flowers. Sunflowers are easy to do but trilliums are a little more complex. I can layer up my fabrics and cut 3 at once. 

 

I cut a “window” 4 and a quarter by 6 inches in a piece of card stock to compose my design. I don’t want to end up having to chop off part of my flower.


Woops. I don’t have enough “base” for the last card. See how I didn’t quilt right to the edge of the last strip? 


I just butt up a piece of interfacing and add a few more strips. That measuring technique is so over-rated. I’m a wack it out kind of quilter. 


When all the flowers are fused to the base, I free-motion quilt to add details. 


I iron on Peltex double-sided fusible stabilizer, cut to my finished card size, 4 and a quarter by 6 inches. Some numbers are necessary…because of the dang post office. They don’t match up exactly on the back because I have positioned the stabilizer based on the flowers on the front, to best frame the image. 


Trim with ruler and rotary cutter, based on the edge of the Peltex. 


Audition some fabrics for binding. I love stripped bindings!


I sew the binding strip to the card in exactly the same way I would to a quilt. My strip is 1 inch wide by…long enough to go around. WIM. (Wack It Method) I move the machine needle to the farthest position on the right to get a narrow binding. 

Turn binding to backside of card and fuse smoothly down with the iron. Yes, double sided fusible products are my best friends. 


Iron a pre-printed card to the back. There are lots of free printable templates available on the internet to choose from. 


Stitch in the ditch, close to the binding through the whole shebang– mini-quilt, Peltex and paper card, securing everything. 


Don’t forget to sign your beautiful work of art and send it to someone wonderful. 

Oh, one last thing. The post office can be “tiresome” about mailing these. I have found out that you can send ANYTHING through U.S. Postal Service (except banned stuff…) with the right postage fee. You can mail a friggin’ bowling ball without a box around it if you stamp and pay correctly. Really. They have Rules and Regulations and Numbers. They might give you a lot of guff. It took me 3 post offices to find a friendly clerk that will hand cancel my First Class stamp and mail the card. Stand your ground, don’t take no guff (politely) and good luck!

Breakfast With Kira


If you happen to be in JoAnn Fabrics, grabbing a rotary cutter blade with your half price coupon, wander past the pattern book counter and check out my cover-girl daughter, Kira. 


It’s so cool to see her modeling for Vogue Patterns. She told me the style-ists and photographers at the photo shoot loved her story of how I sewed her prom dress a (few) years ago by combining several Vogue patterns. 


So as I was flipping through the book, I might have casualy mentioned (ok…gushed excitedly) to all of the sewers at the table that this is my daughter. Hey, sewers and quilters are the best! It turned into a fun Kira seek-and-find and round-table discussion on which were the best fashion looks and which pattern did you want to make. 


She also has a nice spread in the new Vogue Patterns magazine. 


I don’t sew many garments anymore. But I’m really enjoying reading the articles and having breakfast, so to speak, with Kira.  

Pierce’s Woods


I miss being outdoors in the woods. Four days is not enough hiking, though my knees are telling me different. Two days of steady rain has kept me inside. A walk at Longwood is in order. Those foxgloves are 6 feet tall!


I do love how rain makes the color contrast so intense.


I turned in the path and caught sight of these ferns. Oh my gosh.


After years of walking in Pierce’s Woods, the oldest part of Longwood Gardens, I know where to look for Jack-in-the-Pulpits. My favorite Jacks have purple-brown stems and colored stripes on the bloom. 


I love the translucent, pale green Jacks too. Now I just want to race home and start sorting through my green fabrics. How many quilts do you make in your head? Millions?


It’s mandatory to check on the trilliums. Oh my gosh. Again…


Red ones!

 

Purple ones!


Pale green ones! 


I walked along the Flower Walk, expecting to see beds of blooming tulips. There are a few left but they’re mostly finished. What! Done already? This is such a crazy spring. I looked back at photos from previous years and the tulips were in bud and bloom on April 30 and the first week in May. No matter, I’m deliriously happy to see all the wild flowers, my longing for the woods satisfied for a bit. 

Visiting


Another reason I like hiking in Virginia– visiting with grandkids! Tanner and family actually live less than a mile from the Appalachian Trail in Daleville. I need to hike a 90 mile section that includes McAfee Knob and the Dragons Tooth but I’m saving (avoiding) that for another day. It was cool how well this cotton candy machine worked! 


A mountain valley has to be a great place for a kite festival.


Amateurs and professionals were flying all kinds of kites.


This might be a balloon instead of a kite. 


Of course we had to buy a kite and try to get it flying. My job was to hold all the drinks and festival food.


Success! Now show us some fancy tricks, PopPop.


Everyone had a great time. Corn dogs, ice cream, and donuts for dinner. Cotton candy for desert. What? Apparently you can’t get your fill of cotton candy. 


Avarie and Mackenzie are growing up too fast. I sure wish they lived closer. I miss them already!

Down and Done


Gary has dropped me off at the Trailhead on the ridge above Burkes Garden. He will drive to the road crossing at the bottom of the mountain and start hiking up towards me. I’ll have about a 2 hour head start due to driving time, and I get to saunter down most of the day. Sounds good to me! The views into Burkes Garden aren’t as good as yesterday because the Trail quickly starts to leave the ridge. 


Hiking the Appalachian Trail has taught me many lessons. Never expect one side of the mountain to be the same as the opposite side. If there are steep, rocky sections with lots of mud and water drainages, the other side might be all open breezy meadows. And you can’t really tell from the maps. Sometimes you’re pleasantly surprised, sometimes, sucker-punched. Just like real life, huh. No views of endless mountains here. Today is all about rhododendron tunnels. And numerous signs about recent bear activity. Yikes! 


Lots of squaw corn popping up.


These flowers are tiny– smaller than a dime and I can’t think of the name but I love the intense color. 


Gary didn’t have a difficult trek up the mountain because the last mile was a nice old, forest road. Trail Magic! I peaked inside to find a bunch of different kinds of Mountain Dew. I left  the cold drinks for ThruHikers. Who knew there are flavors of Mountain Dew? Learned another thing!


I took this photo from the bridge. There’s the road, right across Laurel Creek. This is the way to end a wonderful hiking trip. I stopped for a moment here, listening to the water and bird song, letting the peace of the woods settle over me, reminding myself why I hike. I’m so grateful to have this experience. In the car, I’ll be plotting my next section and wondering when I can get back to the Trail again.  

VA 623 to VA 615 Laurel Creek   8.9 Miles

37.9 Miles hiked    545.8 Miles Remaining

Burkes Garden


Isn’t this an amazing photo! The Appalachian Trail follows the ridge for several miles along the left, or eastern side. I didn’t take the picture of course. I found it on the internet, along with an explanation of the geography of Burkes Garden. How was Burke’s Garden formed? There are more than a few theories about its geological origins. Some people think the valley was once a lake. Some say a meteor hit it and flattened it out. Still others suggest the area was once part of a volcano. Geologists say that this bowl was a 6,500-foot-high mountain largely composed of limestone, but with a sandstone cap. Slowly, that sandstone cap eroded, and the peak of Garden Mountain collapsed into itself. 


If you were a Thru Hiker, you would see this beautiful view from the Trail but might not understand how unique Burkes Garden really is. Often called, “God’s Thumbprint” the valley is 3,000 feet above sea level and the weather is alpine, low humidity and summer temperatures rarely reach 80 degrees. The flat valley floor is only about 4 miles wide and 9 miles long and is completely surrounded by mountains. 


We had to say goodbye to Tim and Laura today but Tim bravely agreed to drive us up to the Trail head and drop us off. I say “bravely” because there is just one (mostly) paved road between Burke’s Garden and the nearest town, Tazewell, 30 minutes away. The road switchbacks sharply up the mountain and then back down into the valley. 

I’m so happy to be a section hiker, experiencing another aspect of the Appalachian Trail. I think I have gone back in time. Due to the remote, high-altitude isolation, only about 300 people live here. Some are Amish, farming and raising live stock, totally off-grid. There is no newspaper delivery, and no cable television; no stoplights and no working post office. Now, across the valley, Tim has to negotiate another switchbacked, not-so-paved road, up the opposite ridge and the AT trail head. 


The first few miles along the ridge are bumpy-bump, up and down. Can I just say again, how much I appreciate Trail Crews building these lovely stone steps. 


You know you’ve reached the top when you finely catch sight of the shelter. Whoohoo. A peanut butter sandwich never tasted so divine!

This is one of the most beautiful sections of the Trail I have ever hiked. After 3 miles of climbing up, we now have almost 8 miles of gentle, meandering down. I haven’t hiked the famous Balds in Tennessee yet, but this surely must be what it is like. I keep calling out to Gary to stop– a circle turn has me awestruck with views of mountains, unfolding in all directions. Purple mountain majesties indeed. I might have broken out in song…


Just one more. 


Laura, I did see 2 small garden snakes, sunning themselves. 


And Dutchmans Britches. 


Whoa– did I say gentle, meandering down? The last mile was a steep descent that had my tired legs protesting, but log stairs helped a lot. Another good thing about section hiking. Sometimes, like today, I get to choose whether to hike up or down the mountain. And tomorrow, I choose to hike down the other side! 

VA 623 Burkes Garden to USFS 222.  10.7 miles 

Virginia Day Two


Have I mentioned how much I love hiking the Appalachian Trail in Virginia?  The Trail actually   goes through fourteen states and each one has a different “feel.” Certainly the terrain, foliage, vegetation, weather– all those kinds of things are different. But the way in which the Trail is constructed and maintained is also very different. In Vermont, for instance, you might need to hike almost vertically straight up a mountain. In Virginia, you can count on lovely, long, gradual switchbacks, gently winding up the same scale of elevation. I dearly love switchbacks!


If there is a river in Maine, guaranteed — you will have to rock hop across, or worse, hold onto cables, get wet and pray a lot. They believe in bridges in Virginia. Big rivers, little creeks, you will find a luxurious, well constructed bridge. 


In Virginia, even crossing a small spring, a Trail Crew has thoughtfully lined up and leveled slabs of rocks, almost like pavement, for you.  I so appreciate southern hospitality. 


We might not have minded getting wet on this hot day though. We decided we needed a boots off and cooling feet kind of break. Tim was searching for crawdads and actually found a big one that decided to latch onto his finger!


Gary called the peanut butter sandwich break at what he thought was the summit. Still 500 feet to the top. Grrrr. Give me that map.


I saw these tiny white flowers but I wasn’t sure what they are called. The leaf shape will help in identifying when I look them up.


I think this is the only wild flower that Gary can name. Sometimes there are acres of trout lilies, but I only spotted a single bloom. 

VA 625 to VA 742 Holston River Bridge   8.1 miles

Another 40 AT Miles


Many times, hiking the Appalachian Trail, I wish I could look back in time. Or find a source that would tell me more about the area I’m walking through. I read that this mill dates back to the Civil War. I wonder about the people who lived here long ago. Was it corn they brought to be milled? Did sons, brothers, husbands, join the army to fight for the rebel cause here in Virginia? 


I think about the folks who live along the Holston river now. How inconvenient for them when the river floods over this bridge. When the water is high, hikers have to walk a blue blazed  trail over a mile to get to a road with a higher bridge, but no problems for us today. 


Gary and I are hiking with our friends, Laura and Tim, near Atkins, Virginia. 


Driving south from Shenandoah on Interstate 81, the red bud trees were in magnificent bloom against a backdrop of lacy green leaves but here in the high ridge elevations, the woods still look like winter.


In this section, the Trail is a narrow corridor, sometimes only an easement a few feet wide through private property. I love meandering across green meadows. 


How many stiles did we have to climb over? Maybe 5 or 6? Only the first one is fun….  definitely enough to appreciate this type of livestock barrier that is easy to walk through for humans. Not so easy for the cattle, goats and sheep to negotiate.


I did spot some early bloodroot flowers.


It’s wonderful to be out hiking on this warm April day. The Trail is a series of gentle climbs and decents over high meadows and through rhododendrons in the woods. I have such a feeling of “coming home.”


I don’t miss that heavy backpack though. Not. One. Bit. 

VA 742 Holston River Bridge to VA 617 Davis Cemetary    10.2 Miles

AQS Lancaster Quilt Show


We are so lucky here in southeastern Pennsylvania. There are several large quilt shows to attend every year. I always look forward to the AQS show at the end of March. I think I took enough quilt photos to blog for a week but I’ll just share a few of my favorites. 

This quilt is by Cynthia England. I fell in love with her landscapes many years ago and made two of her patterns. I just received the American Quilter magazine and this quilt is on the cover. There is also an interview article with Cynthia.  


This quilt had so much texture. Isn’t it enhanced (bet the maker thinks so, too!) by the shot of color in the red ribbon.

Skinny spikes pieced perfectly (say that 3 times…) and gorgeous machine quilting. 


Then this quilter took it up another notch with detailed embroidery on the peacock’s feathers.


There is something so interesting and haunting about the multiple portrait images. The photos are actually by Edward S. Curtis, famous Western photographer. The quilt won a ribbon in the “Stationary Machine Quilted” category. I wish I understood the judges thinking. The quilting is a very simple, zigzag stitched grid. Hummm.


Now this is stitching. The blue ribbon is for First Entry in an AQS Show. The quilting was done with a “movable machine.” AQS is now separating quilt entries made by “Stationary Machine,” meaning the quilter moves the fabric under the needle. Or “Movable Machine,” meaning the quilting is done by moving the machine head over the quilt. 


I love this flower garden. I need a new hand appliqué project and I wonder if I could do something similar.  All trillium flowers, of course. 


I always love the quilts in the Special SAQA exhibit. This small quilt gets my “Best Composition” award.

Can you believe this is a quilt! “Silk Road Sampler” by Melissa Sobotka is based on her photo and is fused appliqué, enhanced with Tsukineko Inks. 


Oh my gosh…the detail. There is not a lot of stitching on the quilt and the fused edges are left raw. I really wonder what the quilt looked like before ink was applied. The subtle shadowing is so realistic. Melissa Sobotka is coming to speak at Calico Cutters, my guild. I can’t wait! I need to hear all about her process. 


There was also a Special Exhibit of Sobotka’s quilts. I’m such a fan! I love this quilt. First, I am drawn in by the color and I am mesmerized by the repetition of the circle shapes. Then I look at the bricks and the background and I realize, this is not an abstract composition. I’m looking down on spindles on a board. That, “Oh! I see!” recognition is what I really love in any art form. 


The close quilting over the raw edges was wonderfully accomplished.


Lastly, I was Blown. Away. by the Lion King Special Exhibit. In this competition, quilters had to use 4 colors of Cherrywood fabrics. Viewers were invited to vote for their favorite quilt. What! This is only 1 of 3 or 4 panels of incredibly stunning little quilts. No way could I choose. 

Select quilts will be displayed at the Minskoff Theater on Broadway for the 20th Anniversary Celebration of The Lion King.


I saw The Lion King (quite a few) years ago with my daughters. I think we should go back, to see the quilts and the musical.