More Quilt Stories from the Road

The Sugar Pine Company can be found in the scenic Rocky Mountain town of Canmore, Alberta, just a short drive from Banff.  Alcoves, shelves and walls are packed with material, quilts, fabric packs and all manner of quilting inspiration, beautifully displayed.  There was lots to explore around every corner.  It is a sewing and knitting shop as well. Continue reading “More Quilt Stories from the Road”

Quilt Stories from the Road

This month my husband and I explored a bit of central B.C.  Besides enjoying the mountains, ranch lands, canyons, lakes and waterfalls, I managed to do a bit of quilt spotting.  That’s my department.

Dancing Quilts   In 100 Mile House I visited a quilt shop called Dancing Quilts.  There were lovely quilts on the walls, lots of bags on display, popular with customers, and tempting fabric.  Faith, the owner, and her staff were very welcoming.  There are several guilds in the area, and I can imagine quilt making being an enjoyable activity during the cold and snowy Cariboo winter.

Dancing Quilts quilt shopDancing Quilts quilt shopDancing Quilts quilt shop

This quilt-as-you-go quilt was made by Faith and is one of her most popular classes.


Barkerville   We visited the historic town of Barkerville, in the mountains east of Quesnel.  In 1862 Billy Barker struck gold there, setting off a massive gold rush.  The town had 2,000 residents at one point.  Barkerville today is a living history museum with old wooden buildings full of artifacts and street performers bringing the past to life again.


Quilts and old sewing machines were in some of the buildings.


In a small museum devoted to the arts, crafts and tools of Barkerville residents, I read the following:

“Sewing circles and quilting bees played important roles in the community.  They allowed busy women to meet socially and produce useful articles.  These get-togethers provided opportunities for women to plan weddings and other events, to exchange news of births, deaths and marriages; to learn about fashion trends; to share successes and problems; and to discuss community issues.

The handicrafts that have been created through women’s meticulous labour, though never fully appreciated in the past, are slowly being recognized as works of art.”

When the sun set behind the hills around the town and the air chilled, it was easy to imagine that the residents of old time Barkerville would have valued a cozy quilt.


The Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge   In the town of Chase we learned about a donkey refuge in the area.  The Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge is a haven for abused, neglected and abandoned donkeys where they can live out their lives in a caring and protective environment.

Nineteen years ago, Rob and Shirley became the owners of their first two donkeys.  Today, the refuge they built is home to more than 100 donkeys.  A small team of people care for the animals and are working hard to make the refuge sustainable into the future through various fund-raising endeavours.


In the Donkey Shoppe, I spied some quilted items for sale and learned that they had been donated by a North Vancouver quilter and a local quilt guild.

Thank you for the hot tea, Shirley, and to you and Rob for all the interesting and moving stories about the donkeys that live at the Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge.


Hearst Castle, California – A Quilting Connection

Casa Grande

Who knew I would be talking quilting during a visit to Hearst Castle!  This opulent mansion, high in the hills overlooking the Central California Coast, was built by William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951), an American newspaper magnate.  He was one of the wealthiest men of his time, and actress Marion Davies (1897-1961) was his long-time partner.  They invited many of the rich and famous to extravagant parties at their castle during the golden days of Hollywood.

The architecture, gardens, and vistas at Hearst Castle are stunning.  One of the attractions is the Indoor Roman Pool.  As I was admiring the beautiful tiles there, and comparing their designs to quilt blocks, a guide nearby overheard me.  He told me that Marion Davies was a quilter, and that she had a sewing room near her bedroom in the castle.  I learned later that she designed her own quilts and in 1941 had won awards for them at a Los Angeles County Fair, where, of course, they received much attention.

This personal story about Marion Davies revealed another side to a woman surrounded by money and glamour, and gave me an interesting and unexpected memory about Hearst Castle.

A Quilt Museum in a Heritage Mansion

What a perfect pairing – a quilt museum in a beautifully restored Victorian home.  The La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum has been located in the Gaches Mansion in La Conner, Washington, since 1997.  La Conner is a small, picturesque town in northern Washington, with its main street bordering a natural canal and the broad farmlands of the Skagit Valley at its back.

Vintage quilts from the Museum’s Permanent Collection are displayed in high-ceilinged rooms among period furnishings.  Travelling exhibits of contemporary quilts and fabric art are also shown at the Museum.

The Museum is home to various quilting and fabric arts groups who meet and conduct workshops there.  There is a lovely turret on the top floor and a small, but interesting, gift shop.

I enjoyed some other attractions in the area.  Across the street from the Museum is the La Conner Civic Garden Club building.  What garden club wouldn’t want a building like this to gather in!

There were brilliant displays of tulips and daffodils on nearby bulb farms, all part of the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.

Sue Spargo at La Conner Quilt Museum

Sue Spargo‘s work is on exhibit at the La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum.  Sue attended the opening of her exhibit.  She is friendly and willing to share her methods for textured / embellished quilting.

At the opening she walked attendees through the exhibit and talked about her growth and noted that she is always looking for ways to stretch her techniques, to try something new, and to build on what she has already done.

Sue uses cottons, wools, velvets, corduroy, silks – any interesting fabrics and threads she comes across.  Sue is from Ohio and has a website – Sue Spargo.

Sue Spargo A

These pictures are only a taste.  They are meant to entice you to go to La Conner before March 23 and see her exhibit for yourself.  Read more about the exhibit …

Sue Spargo B