Sunday, May 9, 2010

Road Trip!

Last weekend I packed up my wares and headed to Blacksburg, Virginia to be a vendor at Fork and Cork. This was my first go at tent selling, and while sales weren't anywhere near what I had hoped, I had fun and learned a lot. This was also a trip home for me. I grew up in the next town over and my parents had a business in Blacksburg. I went to design school there at VA Tech. So naturally I was hoping to run into some people I knew from way back when, and I did. I got to see my childhood best friend/neighbor and her daughter and it was like stepping back in about a "little me", her daughter looks exactly like my friend did when we were that age. It was fun catching up!

At the close of the festival I packed it all back up (with generous help from my "tent neighbors"...THANKS Dr. and Mrs. G and daughter!!!) and headed to Roanoke to spend some time with my Aunt June. My Aunt June who is a fabulous QUILTER! :)

When I was growing up Aunt June and her family lived in Wilmington, NC and I usually only got to see them at Christmas. But I've long admired her sewing and handwork. She is the one who taught me how to do a proper blind hem when I was little and spent my sewing time making clothing. Among the many things she made I especially remember two beautiful quilted and trapuntoed pillows she made for my grandmother one year. Back in my young, single days living in Myrtle Beach and then after I moved to Winston-Salem, I would go spend a week with her when I had vacation time. Every morning when I would get up (after sleeping in of course, it was vacation after all) she would have already been up, done some gardening, and would be sitting at her quilting frame stitching away. Granted, at the time I had no real interest in quilting (gasp!) but I credit her with planting the seed that years later would sprout up in me and provide me with some of the most rewarding fun of my life!

She came to visit me one Christmas when I had just started my first attempt at making a quilt. It was a table runner and it was so bad I never finished it. The piecing was good, but the fabric choices were NOT and I had started trying to hand quilt it using high loft batting! LOL!!! I didn't know any better at the time. But she was so gracious and encouraging and I kept at it.

Anyway, I got to her house around 8:00 Saturday evening, and after catching her up with the latest and telling her about the festival I took a long hot shower and crawled under one of her wonderful quilts, drifting off to one of the best night's sleep I've had in a while.

This is hand appliqued and hand quilted. and it was her FIRST QUILT!! It is meticulously done and I laughed when I found that out. I told her I would not have wanted to be in a "My First Quilt" category with her in a show!

Sunday morning we had a trunk show of the quilts she still has. Like all of us, she has made many, many quilts that she has given as gifts over the years. But she still has a great collection and I was glad to get to see them. The really neat thing I found out is that my grandmother also quilted. All the time I knew her she crocheted, and the things she made were amazing. I never knew she quilted, so seeing those quilts was a special treat and threaded another tie between the three generations of us.

This one is so beautiful in person...a pale blush pink with cream appliqued flowers and vines. My photos do not do it justice!

"Matthew's Mountains"

This quilt is made of hand embroidered state names and flowers and is hand quilted.

These are some of my grandmother's quilts, either made by her or started by her and finished by my aunt:

Typical of quilts of that era, these were made with clothing scraps. It makes me smile to think that some of my dad's shirts may be in there!

After lunch with Aunt June and my Aunt Hazel who also lives in the area I had a hand quilting lesson. It will take a lot of practice before I consistently get the tiny little stitches that she does, but I learned a couple of things that made immediate improvements to what I had been doing. After a trunk show of all my festival wares I packed up and sadly said goodbye. I wish I could have spent more time up there.

Guess I'll just have to schedule another road trip! :)


Anonymous said...

What a treasure and resource you have found. Hope you make the time for many more visits.

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

Lovely, each and every quilt! I want an Aunt June, is she adopting any more nieces?!! I'm smitten with the idea of the U.S. states/embroidery quilt. Glad you topped off your weekend in such happy way!

Salem Stitcher said...

What a wonderful weekend! And that state flower quilt makes me swoon!

Alison Schwabe said...

What beautiful quilts. Thanks for sharing. The double wedding ring with green b/g seems unusual - I have one with pumpkn orange b/g - 1930's

Nane said...

Glad you could take a mini retreat with your Aunt after the show. Her quilts are great.

Tampanna said...

Loved your blog... The quilts are beautiful. An elderly friend I knew as a girl told me that when women got together to quilt, they received marital advice, natural healing remedies, and emotional sustenance to raise their families. A quilt represents art and nurture. Ana Tampanna