And a chicken.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Wherein I Befriend a Speckled Hen
Fifteen years ago (gasp! How time flies....) we moved to Florida from the midwest. It had been cold in Minnesota but one compensation was that there was a quilt shop on (almost) every corner! At first glance Florida seemed to have none. Fortunately, that is not the case. It just took me a while to find them!
And so. October found me back in quilt country, the Northwest this time with, you guessed it! A quilt shop on every corner! I had plenty of "explore alone" time on my visit as The Bean and The GF had to work most days. I could have caught up on reading, but really? With the entire Willamette Valley at my doorstep and Fall colors at their peak?
Miss Google and I took to the roads.
Chances of getting lost were slim. In college I took a course in orienteering which did not in any way prevent me from getting lost regularly for the rest of my life --- until now. Now I have an orienteering device in my pocket way better than those wiggley old compasses. I even know how to use it. And it comes with an imperious female voice that instructs me to make a legal u-turn whenever I look like I'm about to go astray.
Three minutes down the highway, three more on leafy country roads ablaze with red and gold, and we were at our first quilt shop.
The sign was hanging in front of what seemed to be a residence, not a shop, but I soon spotted the quilt shop in a separate building back behind the house.
It was a slow day. Most area quilters were preparing for a big quilt show slated for the coming weekend so the owner, Karen, had plenty of time to chat as she invited me to look around.
Many of the display quilts on the walls were her own designs, and everywhere my eye fell there was something to marvel at including hens everywhere, speckled or not.
I felt like a kid in a candy store.
The wide variety of fabric included some of her own lines. She prefers more traditional than wild and modern.
The antiques in Karen's shop are a carry-over from her original business - antiques. As she gradually added more and more fabric, her business morphed into a full-blown quilt shop. Her antiques look perfectly happy in their new life displaying quilts, fabrics and notions. Karen's patterns have been featured in several national quilt magazines and also in a French magazine ---- oo, la, la! I was hanging with the big kids now!
I resisted the temptation to buy any fabric since I have enough already to open my own quilt shop, but I did find a sweet little vintage fabric panel for a baby alphabet book --- perfect for my new little grandniece.
Since the weather forecast was for rain, Karen invited me to come back the next day and spend a few hours sewing. No need to ask twice! The sights of the Willamette Valley would still be there when the sun came back.
Shortly after ten the next morning I pulled in at The Speckled Hen. The day was grey and damp, perfect for sitting and stitching. Karen worked on samples for the shop and I set about making the cloth baby book. The Guinness Book should take note: I actually finished it the same day I started it - unprecedented.
It's no surprise that people who love quilting share many of the same interests. We chatted about everything under the sun - families, quilting, children, travel, grandchildren, cooking, quilting, gardening, quilting again and antiques.
Several times the ping of the doorbell announced the arrival of customers most of whom knew Karen and each other. In addition to whatever they'd come in search of, the chat looped around to how families were doing, who'd gotten married, who'd had a new grandchild and whose son had a wonderful new job. Phones came out and pictures were shared as grandmas have shared them forever, only now they're using fancy new gadgets!
That's Karen on the left with some old friends who used to help out in her shop.
The friends obligingly took a picture of me and my new friend with one of her designs on the wall behind us.
And a chicken.
And a chicken.
It seems like all the quilters I know are gardeners too. Before I left I stopped to drool at the flowers on
Karen's front porch...
The eye for color and design does seem to carry over from quilting to gardening or possibly the other way around.
The moral of my long, meandering story is - if you're feeling lonely go visit a quilt shop. Chances are good you'll make a new friend.
As I did.