A View from Sierra County

Small town life and politics, lots of knitting, and travels with and without my five burros

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Location: In the Sierra Nevadas, United States

I blog about rural living and social issues, and the creativity that comes from knitting, as well as post random pictures of the Sierras and my burros. "In order to be an artist, one must be deeply rooted in the society" - Simone de Beauvoir


Sunday, October 23, 2005

A Harvest of Quilts

I awoke (too early) yesterday to a beautiful fall day, the kind I will surely be missing in another month. No need for a coat yet, and up into the 70s by afternoon. My plan was to drive over to Chico and attend a quilt show with my daughter, but I also got to feed my critters in the daylight, talk to them and pet them, and to load three large garbage bags into the Jeep to take to the Goodwill there.

Annie's Star Quilt Show

The show I attended is put on every other year by the Annie's Star Quilt Guild of Chico. It was a very large show for a guild, winding its way through an U-shaped building at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds. In the middle of the U, there is a restaurant-sized kitchen against the outer wall, and a large seating area that was packed with diners, but we opted to have "fresh Cal/Mex" for lunch afterwards.

The show entries really impressed me with their creativity. Although there were several antique quilts on display and lots of traditional quilt patterns made up in the modern fabric collections, there were as many "art quilts", where the artist had designed a scene or moved beyond the usual rectangular shape of a quilt.

My son decided to accompany us as well, and he and I both worked to make our choices as to which was our overall favorite, best traditional quilt, best art quilt and best use of color, but my daughter simply refused to vote.... "There are just too many choices!" was her opinion.

This quilt portraying lighthouses ended up being Cody's overall favorite. Posted by Picasa

We also worked our way through the vendors, looking for a certain purple flannel that I need to locate in order to continue making Nikki a bed-sized Hawaiian ka'paa quilt, but without any luck. We did totally delight the ladies at Books & Things, who were amazed by Cody's presence at a quilt show, stating he was only the second man they had seen so far, and "the first one was 87 and in a wheelchair, so he probably hadn't had any choice in the matter".

Featured Quilter: Judy Ramos

We all fell in love with the work of featured quilter, Judy Ramos. An art major and teacher, Judy brings an eye for color and a love for shape to her work, moving far beyond the usual piecing and appliqueing.

This sunflower is a great example of the detail involved in Judy's work. Posted by Picasa

This lady reminds me of an Art Nouveau painting. Posted by Picasa

Sunflowers must be one of Judy's favorite flowers. I particularly loved the detail and authenticity of the vase. Posted by Picasa

This Pacific Northwest-inspired quilt of Judy's was Cody's favorite, and he was disappointed to learn that visitors cannot select one of the featured quilter's items in their voting, apparently because some have been shown at previous shows. Posted by Picasa

We obviously loved Judy's work, but there were many other simply extraordinary quilts, including Phyllis Cullin's "We Love Picasso", which won my vote as best art quilt. It was difficut to get photos, though, as the place was packed!

I found these charming sculptures in the courtyard on my trip to locate a restroom....

dancing Posted by Picasa

This lovely couple was hard to capture on the camera, as the sun is right overhead, but they were very charming. Posted by Picasa

On to the Yarn Store

I had been bugging my kiddos to find out where the local yarn stores were, and they actually drove around on Friday afternoon, trying to locate two listed in the phone book, without success. I had been told by a quilt vendor at our Downieville show a few weeks back that Heartstrings "was in the old Red Cross" building, which meant virutally nothing to any of us, and so we called the number listed in the phone book while driving to lunch, and got directions. After we had eaten our fill, it was off to 1909 Esplanade, a charming house converted into a commercial space, before the Red Cross outgrew it. The owner did say she had moved in the spring.

The overall choices reflect the recent popularity of knitting, with lots of novelty yarns, fancy needle choices, expensive tote to carry around your project, and easy beginning projects. Now, don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean I couldn't still find a way to part with a fair amount of money! Cody, who has been a big promoter of my hat- and bag-making abilities, had to analyze the various felted bags, and Nikki even liked one embellished with a felted flower corsage (and I had to remind her she has the kit to make those flowers, but hasn't gotten around to it yet.

Then, being the greedy offspring that they are (actually, they really are pretty loving), they both fell in love with this hat and wanted me to make them each one:

This model is made up in Berroco Bling Bling (a cotton-acrylic blend, with flecks of aluminum - weird, don't you think?!), which I was prepared to hate, based on name alone. But it fit Cody perfectly, so I laid it on a table and measured the length, made notes, etc., and proceeded to look for an appropriate all-black yarn (no Bling Bling for him). Posted by Picasa

Cody settled on Rowan Cashsoft Aran, in inky black. Meanwhile, Nikki decided that she wanted the black version of Bling Bling, with flecks of silver... oh well, these hats will only take me about an evening apiece, and I do love my kiddos. Some people are stuck with kiddos who don't want anything they have knit - mine on the other hand, traipse off to yarn stores and make demands, much like asking for candy when they were little, and hats don't require much yarn.

I was making this visit ostensibly to find a yarn for a baby hat, since I had just received a shower invitation. Eventually, I settled on a wool/fluff blend called Danubio Style in pale blue for baby Josef. I also stopped by Hancock Fabrics to pick up some washcloth yarn, and grabbed a skein of red Cottonease, as well as 1/2 yard of black denim to help Cody repair the cuffs of his snowboarding pants, damaged in his fall last spring. For regular readers who remember his accident and recovery period, he has healed very well, and claims that he "runs goofy", but doesn't really have any limitations... what a miracle!

I also couldn't resist a little something for me... ebony circular needles in size 8, to be used for shawl knitting later this winter.

Decluttering In Progress

I had a wonderful day, but eventually I had to return home to decluttering... I had stayed up till midnight Friday night weeding out stuff to drop by a thrift store, and actually almost coming to terms with what is hidden under the stairwell (if you don't have one of these, DON'T get one... it's merely a black hole in your home). I found things my DH had stashed under there earlier this year, in his method of "decluttering" the parlor (i.e., merely moving the pile from one place to another), including some jewelry I had been missing since we remodeled our bedroom last summer. I boxed up a sweater project that I had bought at a flea market years ago, and couldn't bear to part with before, simply because it was close to done... nevermind that it was way too big for me! I also found the floor, although there are still items of his that I have nowhere else to put - maybe I can get him to build a closet door there this coming winter.

Now, it was time to move upstairs, to my DD's old room, where the space is empty and waiting to become my studio. I rounded up the last (five) bags of clothes and shoes she left behind, to take to the teenaged daughter of a co-worker who will share them out amongst her friends. I even boxed up two packages of items I had been saving for other friends, to mail out on Monday, and swept the floor. Dust is my natural enemy, aggravating my sinuses, and I know from hard experience not to go to the point of provoking an asthma attack, so took a tea break, and was reading when my DH called. When I began discussing whether we should paint the floor in this room, he informed me that he had been eyeing the room to move his model train layout into, and that I could have the room where it now resides.... I was daunted, to say the least, envisioning the hours of work ahead. I don't think I was nice, either. Especially, since he had just told me he would be getting two days' vacation, then moving on from Texas to Nashville, and on to a rural area of Mississippi, where disaster relief is still desperately needed. I would have to move all the furniture myself. He did promise to move the train layout, and insisted I would have plenty of room to get started... oh well, maybe I can get rid of more clutter there too.

I have located several skeins of yarns to offer to some of you charity knitters... I will take photos later today when the light appears, but please email me if you know a good source for these yarns, acrylics in worsted and chunky weights.


Blogger Liz said...

Those quilts are unbelievably stunning....I particularly like the first sunflower one. What a great show!

10:57 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Did you drive right by me?

What beautiful quilts. I haven't been to the yarn shops in Chico. I am spoiled my Mothers shop.

8:51 PM  

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