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.


Desert Guilds Quilt Show, California

Moira S. recently attended the Desert Guilds Quilt Show in Palm Springs, California.  The show is a biennial fundraising event for three local guilds — the Coachella Valley Desert Guild, the Cactus Sew-ables from Yucca Valley and the Pass Patchers from the Banning/Beaumont area.

“There were many beautiful quilts and I took a few pictures while I was there.”

Thanks, Moira, for sending these photos for our blog.


Quilting in Alaska

Abby's Reflection Apparel & Quiltworks
Abby’s Reflection Apparel & Quiltworks in Sitka, Alaska

Moira S. visited a quilt shop and attended a quilt show in Sitka, Alaska recently, when she was returning from Japan on a cruise ship.  Sitka is a city of about 9,000 people located on Baranof Island on the outer coast of Alaska’s panhandle.

With some time ashore, Moira discovered the Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Annual Show in the Harrigan Centennial Hall, which is located right where tourists get off the tender from the ship.  She also visited an excellent quilt shop in Sitka called Abby’s Reflection Apparel & Quiltworks.

What a lovely opportunity to learn about another quilting community.  Thanks for this story and the photos, Moira.

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.

Roxanne’s, A Wish and a Dream – California Quilt Shop Dazzles

In the small coastal town of Carpinteria, California, south of Santa Barbara, is a quilt shop you won’t want to miss if you are in the area.  Step through the periwinkle-coloured doors into Roxanne’s world of colour and imaginative displays and you won’t want to leave.

Visit this inspiring quilt shop online at http://www.roxannequilts.com/.

Web Woman Wanders

As many of you know a few of our members have been travelling in Europe for the last few weeks.  I was one of them.

I did come across two quilt shops in Amsterdam that were next door to each other
Den Haan & Wagenmakers which specializes in reproduction fabrics, specifically antique Dutch chintzes, and
Birdblocks which had notions and a variety of fabrics with many bright, colourful prints.

Otherwise I did not pass by many fabric shops but I did keep an eye out for quilt designs in what we saw so here are just a few pictures of those observations.

painted on a castle wall in Prague  sidewalk
Tromp d’oeil on a castle wall and one of many different designs in the sidewalk pavers in Prague

Quilt design
Design in a mosaic floor in a church in Budapest
Spiral staircase
Spiral staircase in a monastery in Melk on the Danube River

I thought of Helen Fujiki and her Japanese manhole covers and took a few pictures including these:

Manhole cover   Manhole cover

There was design inspiration everywhere and I tried to be observant as we have been advised to be by a few of our latest guest speakers at the guild meetings.


Barn Quilt Trails

While passing through northern Oregon last summer Lynn B and her husband noticed quilt blocks painted on barns!  Lynn discovered that the blocks are part of the Tillamook County Quilt Trails.  She brought back one brochure on quilt blocks on barns and another on quilt blocks on businesses in Tillamook.  Go to the website to find the Quilt Trail Map and the Walk our Blocks Quilt Trail Map.

Apparently there are approximately 3000 quilt blocks mounted on barns and business along quilt trails in the Eastern United States.  The closest one to Tillamook, in the U.S., is in Nebraska.

There are some barn quilt trails in Canada!  In 2011 Quiltercon, a blogger for Quilter’s Connection magazine, found the Southwest Ontario Barn Quilt Trails.  This summer she did a little Internet surfing and found one block near Princeton.  On further investigation she found more blocks on barns and you can read about her quest, see a few pictures, and find out the locations of the blocks on the Barn Quilt Post on the Quilter’s Connection Blog.


L and M in MoabLF, our president, is asking about favourite quilt shops.  Yesterday L and M found their current favourite in Moab, Utah!

We managed to have an hour in the shop – met a fellow quilter from Powell River, BC and explored the excellent selection of fabrics.  We especially liked the blenders and Southwest prints and we walked out with a bag of fabric each.  Don’t tell Les but we found a new bag pattern.

We went on that day to hike in the Fiery Furnace – it included seeing a rattlesnake, climbing, scrambling, squeezing and amazing views.