Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Daytona Day 1

After a wonderful breakfast of waffles and eggs, Aunt Gertie and Cousin Martha were ready to start their day. They were headed to the quilt shop in Deland. It was a little bit of  a drive but the girls were ready to enjoy some Florida weather. The sky was blue and the temperature was quite a bit warmer than they were used to.

This shop was a new shop for them. As they drove out of town Cousin Martha reached for the GPS to plug in the address. Unfortunately, they had been so excited about their day, they had left the hotel without the GPS. “Not a problem!” exclaimed Aunt Gertie. “Deland can’t be that large a town.” With that, they were off to explore.

As they approached town, it became clear that they were not going to be able to drive through town. It seems there was a Bike Week event going on in Deland. The roads downtown were all barricaded and bust with pedestrian traffic. Up for an adventure and some motorcycle excitement, they parked the car and walked towards the festivities. The streets were lined with vendor tents; motorcycle insurance, skimpy clothing, jewelry, riding jackets, helmets, t-shirts, all things motorcycle were available. There was a band playing loudly somewhere close by. The girls walked the streets talking, laughing shopping and watching the people walk by.

After a while they were ready to find the quilt shop. They had walked up and down the cross street but had not seen anything looking like a quilt shop. When Cousin Martha reached into her packet for the address, she came up empty. It seems the address was sitting on the dresser in the hotel room right next to the GPS. Nothing to do at this point but ask. All of the vendors in the tents were from out of town. They had no idea what a quilt shop even looked like. Finally they stopped in a pet shop to ask.

As they walked through the pet shop door, Gertie and Martha were greeted by a giant alligator. It was in a tank thankfully, but even a baby alligator can be a little startling when you get close. “That is a certain reminder that we are not in Kansas anymore Dorothy!” Aunt Gertie whispered. Alligators were not a common pet shop attraction at home. Gertie had spent a fair amount of time in the pet shops at home buying treats and toys to spoil her three little babies. She had expected dogs, cats, fish and maybe a ferret, not a reptile of this size. The gator was not for sale, thank goodness. Aunt Gertie stepped closer to take a look. As she gazed on the creature she thought, “The texture of his skin would sure make a nice fabric print. I can understand the lure of belts, bags and boots from the hides.”

Cousin Martha ignored the reptile and walked right up to the counter to ask for directions. “Quilt shop? What is a quilt shop?” they were asked. “There is a store that sells knick knacks and stuff on the other side of town…across Main Street. Maybe that’s the one you mean.”

“We have to walk that way anyway to get back to the car Auntie.” Martha commented. Out the door they went and down the street through the crowds of bikers. They walked past all the tents, down past the taverns and across Main Street. Just as it looked like they were running out of town…just as they were about to turn around…Aunt Gertie spotted a bright quilt is a small picture window. “That must be it! Over there Martha!” Gertie commented.

There are few things to match the thrill of a finding a new quilt shop. The promise of new fabrics, patterns and embellishments is sure to give every quilter goose bumps. Every quilt shop takes on some of the personality of the owner and employees. They choose the fabrics and patterns to make up a very individual offering. While quilter’s buy fabric and patterns, thread and embellishments to create marvelous quilts, table runners and throws, they also buy dreams. Most quilters have a closet full of fabric that holds dreams of quilts. Regardless of what the fabric closet at home contains, new fabric beckons with the promise of something even more beautiful than anything imagined before.

Aunt Gertie and Cousin Martha hurried across the street. They heard the angels singing as they opened the door.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Road Trip!

Aunt Gertie was feeling like Spring would never come. The winter had been colder than usual with more snow than even she ever remembered. She gazed at the calendar, wishing February would turn to March, when it occurred to her. Daytona Bike Week was right around the corner! That was the perfect excuse for a road trip! “Cousin Martha!” Aunt Gertie called across the way. “Pack your bags. We’re going for a drive!”

Now as you can imagine, this was no ordinary road trip. Normally Aunt Gertie and Uncle Happy would load up their motorcycles, hop on and head south, but it was still snowing! And Uncle Happy was on the road working. This would be a girl’s only trip in the car. Cousin Martha hurried next door to help pour over the maps and discuss all the stops they would make along the way. The route to Daytona had been traveled many times. There were many favorite quilt shops along the way. In the end they decided to get to the warmer weather as quickly as they could. Maybe all the snow would melt before they returned.

With the car packed and the Dytona hotel address loaded into the GPS, Aunt Gertie and Cousin Martha were off on another adventure. Cousin Martha had loaded their MP3 player with Jimmy Buffet and other summer songs. The sun peeked out from behind the clouds as they pulled out of the driveway early the next morning. It was going to be a great trip!

They had decided to drive straight through. The weather definitely showed signs of improvement as they motored south. It was in the 60’s by the time they reached Georgia. Aunt Gertie put away her boots and put on sandals at the rest stop. She had had enough of the cold. Shorts and a sweatshirt was the perfect attire.

Cousin Martha had been contemplating a new quilt design to reflect the theme of their trip. She had made an applique quilt with flames in the past. The quilting had also been flames. Cousin Martha was looking for a design with more impact this time. She playing with the idea of piecing the flames as the weather grew warmer and the number of motorcycles on the highway grew. This quilt was much more complicated that most of the quilts Aunt Gertie and Cousin Martha worked on. Cousin Martha drew out the flames on paper to use as a pattern. She carefully numbered the pieces and placed hash marks that would allow the pieces to be to properly aligned as they were sewn together. They would transfer the drawings to freezer paper and cut out each piece. These freezer paper patterns could then be ironed onto the back of the red, orange and yellow flame fabrics.

It was late when they arrived in Daytona, but they had arranged for that. Off to bed they went. It would be a busy week They had a long list of quilt shops to visit and of course all the excitement of Bike Week: new motorcycle models to see, new vendors to shop, and of course old friends to visit. Aunt Gertie and Cousin Martha had visions of new quilts as they drifted off to sleep.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Baby Quilt

Aunt Gertie was sitting on her front porch swing when Cousin Martha arrived. "What is the plan for today, Auntie?" Martha asked. “We are starting a quilt today Dear. Cousin Kat is having a baby and we need to make that little wonder something to keep her warm.” "Oh! That means a trip to Matilda's Quilt Shop!" Martha exclaimed. Off they went to look for inspiration.

Gertie and Martha were inseparable. They lived next door to each other and what ever one planned, the other was along for the adventure. They each had a sewing room and chosen rooms across the driveway from each other so they could open the window and talk to each other as they worked. They would laugh about using one of those soup can telephones the children play with. They would string it across the driveway so they could talk without the whole neighborhood hearing.

Matilda’s Quilt Shop was always a happening place. Aunt Gertie loved to stop in for the latest news and to caress the fabric. “There is nothing quite like the feel of a piece of cotton that has dreams of becoming a quilt. You can feel the aspirations when you touch the bolt.” Auntie would always say. “Feel this! Can’t you just see the quilt it will make?” Cousin Martha would always agree and some of that fabric would find it’s way home with them.

Today they
were hunting fabric for the baby quilt. They walked right past the baby section. The pastel pinks and blues would never do for this quilt. Cousin Kat would appreciate something a little brighter, maybe a beautiful red. Fabrics were chosen and yardage was cut. Aunt Gertie chose a new embroidery design. Cousin Martha chose ribbons to add to the binding. The quilt was a two block design Aunt Gertie had worked out. They would not have any trouble finishing it in time for the new arrival.

Home again, home again... jiggedy jig. They needed to cut this baby quilt out and get sewing. After the cut out the pieces and divided the work, Martha set up her machine on Aunt Gertie’s cutting table so they could work together. They ordered dinner out and worked until evening. When Cousin Martha was ready to go home, they cleaned up the work space so they could start again early the next morning.

Cousin Martha went home and got ready for bed. It was about midnight when she looked out the window to say goodnight to Aunt Gertie. She opened her window and yelled, “Go to bed Auntie! You won’t finish that quilt tonight. You’re going to fall asleep with your foot on the "go" pedal again, sew through your finger and ruin the block. Then I’ll have to come over, take you to the emergency room. We’ll be up all night. We don’t want to go through that again right?” Aunt Gertie agreed it was time to call it a night.
Off to bed they went to dream of new fabric and new quilt designs. Tomorrow would bring new ideas, new quilt designs, maybe new fabric and always an adventure.