Back from the Quilt Festival

My friend and I are back from our vacation. Many thanks to those who sent us best wishes! We had a great time.

We went to the Shipshewana Quilt Festival in Shipshewana, IN. The show itself was wonderful, with some of the most amazing quilts I’ve ever seen. Quilting has become a sophisticated art form.

There was also a display of World War II quilts in the Hudson auto museum; we enjoyed that, too.

We hit all the best shopping spots in Shipshewana, including Yoder’s Department Store. We also visited several small Amish shops in the outlying areas and came home with some nice fabric, including several pieces for a quilt I’m making for my first grandchild, due this fall.  🙂

While in the area, we tracked down several quilt gardens, which were just beautiful despite the drought in the region. Here’s one in Elkhart, IN:

We also enjoyed the barn quilts on various buildings.

I spent a lot of money at the Amish bulk store, where I bought 25# of natural sugar (cane, not beet), several pounds of three varieties of popcorn for 60 cents a pound (my husband makes popcorn almost every night), and 5# of cocoa for $1.09 a pound, along with some other goodies that we will enjoy (for quite some time!)

But the very best part of our trip was the night we went to an Amish farm.

While there, we were served a yummy homemade dinner (salad, fried chicken, Salisbury steak, homemade bread, buttered noodles, stuffing, gravy, green beans and two kinds of homemade pie!) followed by a quilting bee.

What fun! There were nine of us quilter-tourists plus two Amish women who quilted with us. We chatted while we worked, which is how we learned that the Amish lady quilting next to us had ten children, the youngest of whom has Down syndrome. When we told her that both of our youngest sons have Down syndrome, she was clearly quite touched and it gave all three of us a lot to talk about. We had such a nice time that night.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the boys and their dads were doing just fine without us. I think we had the harder time adjusting to being away from them. We really missed them, plus it felt weird not to have to make meals for anyone; we just went out to eat whenever we got hungry. Between outings, we’d take a break in our room and comment on how quiet it was without our families around. And before we checked out of our hotel, we both scoured the room, looking under the beds and in the drawers out of habit from years of making sure our kids hadn’t left anything behind.

We returned home very tired, but refreshed just the same. If you get the chance, check out Shipshewana, IN. It’s a nice place to visit. And if you’d like more info on how you can quilt with the Amish, just let me know and I’ll send you the contact info.



A Delightful Young Lady

I was flipping through a quilting magazine the other day while waiting in line at the grocery store when I happened to see an article about a young lady with Down syndrome whose mother taught her to sew.

The article mentioned this young lady’s blog. Since I refuse to pay $6 for a magazine, I memorized the blog address and actually kept it in my brain until I could get home and type it into my browser. (If you know anything about menopausal brain fog, you know that was an accomplishment!)

I was rewarded with a peek into Sarah’s world. It’s a lot of fun. Whether or not you know and love someone with Down syndrome as I do, I think you’ll like this blog.

New Project for a New Baby


I call this photo “Optimism.” You see, I haven’t made a quilt in a few years, but a friend of mine just became a grandma, and I want to make a baby quilt for her adorable new granddaughter.

So I picked out the fabrics one week, pre-washed and pressed them the next, and was supposed to start sewing this week.

Ahem. Here they are, still awaiting the rotary cutter.

I’m hoping to start sewing very soon. The fact that we’re moving 4-6 weeks from now looms large in my brain. I need to start packing. But I really want to make this quilt! So we’ll see…..

Picking out the fabric was something of an experience, btw. I wanted to buy new fabric because I figured the fabrics from my stash probably look too dated for a modern baby quilt. Most of them are 10-20 years old, and I even have some stuff from the 70s. All of my stash is good fabric, tightly woven with colors that are still beautiful. Most likely, all of my fabric stash was made here in the USA.

Several years ago, I read that most of the fabric sold here in the USA these days is made overseas. Like so many other things, fabric can be produced more cheaply in other countries, so why not? That explains why it took so long for me to find the fabrics I need for this baby quilt. I learned first-hand that cheaply produced fabric is most definitely cheap. I had to reject many fabrics that were not woven tightly, or not printed very well. Even so, a couple of the fabrics I chose because I needed them color-wise are not as high-quality as I would have wished.

Today I learned that there’s a wonderful solution to this problem. One of my favorite quilt supply catalogs, Connecting Threads, has announced that ALL of the fabric they sell now is woven and printed in the USA from cotton grown in the USA. How cool is that? And the price is still $5.96 a yard….how do they do it? They say they cut out the middleman, and I’m glad they do.  Wish I’d known this before I went shopping for baby quilt fabric. I have a feeling that the fabric they’re selling is better quality than the imported stuff.