Posts Tagged With: quilting


I love this poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It really suits my feelings at the end of a year. I miss those family members gone, and as I go through the rituals of Christmas and the new year, I think of them, little memories tickle in, mostly sweet, some regrets. And, I appreciate the sentiment of “anniversaries of the heart.” Here then, the poem. And, a ritual my mother and I shared for more years than I can remember.

The holiest of all holidays are those
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
The secret anniversaries of the heart,
When the full river of feeling overflows;—
The happy days unclouded to their close;
The sudden joys that out of darkness start
As flames from ashes; swift desires that dart
Like swallows singing down each wind that blows!
White as the gleam of a receding sail,
White as a cloud that floats and fades in air,
White as the whitest lily on a stream,
These tender memories are;—a fairy tale
Of some enchanted land we know not where,
But lovely as a landscape in a dream.

img178Orella Elizabeth Moore around 1970 (Copy)

My mother was a hard-working person, who tried to make everyone’s dreams come true at Christmas. She cooked enough on Christmas to practically keep all of us full until the New Year. An early riser, she would get up before everyone and savor those early morning moments with her first cup of coffee and the crossword puzzle from the morning paper. Other than that, she rarely took time off for herself, but the week between Christmas and New Years was hers. She’d set up the card table and begin a jigsaw puzzle. Anyone and everyone could take part. If someone dropped in, she would engage them in the puzzle. Time floats away as you concentrate on working a puzzle and she chose them to be challenging. Then on New Year’s day, the puzzle finished, we took down the tree and put the ornaments away. I kept that ritual going in my home after she died but then, somewhere, I stopped working puzzles. And this year, for the first time, I missed putting my ornaments away yesterday.

A couple of days after Christmas, I got into my stuffed full quilting closet and there, the “anniversaries of the heart”, lay hidden. Memories came pouring out. Lacey doilies she had crocheted. Patches she had made for a bedspread. Her handwriting on wisps of paper pinned to fabric describing its future use. Her button collection.

I kept scraps from clothing she wore or made for my daughters. The closet had so many unfinished dreams, I’ve yet to finish the job.

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With most of the material and stuff I’d put into the closet gone, it is looking much neater on this side. My sewing machine is giving me trouble and out of the closet. I gotta find something better.

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On this side of the closet, those nicely closed drawers were so stuffed full, the bottoms were warped and the drawers couldn’t close.

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My office is practically unnavigable for the stuff I unloaded from that closet. Yes, it was full of unfinished projects, but marvelous memories it contained have inspired me anew to finish them. Thanks Mom. Thanks Henry.

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Murphys Independence Hall Quilting group has one of the better quilt faires I’ve seen over the years. They do a great job and attract entries from other states. I attended yesterday afternoon, but this morning, I bundled up  to see the much touted meteor showers, shivering over my cuppa coffee. The sky was in full bloom and a lovely half hour spent star-gazing was enjoyable, though I was apparently too late for the meteorite shower.

I managed to do some star-gazing at the quilt faire yesterday, anyway.

This white on white quilt pattern looks more like  snowflakes than  stars, but star patterns abound in quilt making. I chose this quilt to show because of its beautiful stitching. Quilts that last are stitched like this one, every quarter inch.

The starry affect in this quilt is part of the material print, rather than the quilter’s cut.

A star framed portrait, an unusual piece, and lovely.

An abstract of dresden plates floating star-like in a sky of blue. I actually didn’t intend to find all the star patterns in the faire. This was totally accidental. There are so many interesting things to choose from.

A pattern I had never seen before. Well, not exactly, a take on a log cabin but designed as a hanging garden, working very well.

Flower motifs are much loved by quilters, and this arrangement was unusual and pretty.

This quilt is amazing because of the work represented.  Each square is the size of a postage stamp. From cutting, to making the seams, to precision arrangement, this quilt commands respect.

Tulips in a Hawaiian quilt pattern. Hawaiian quilts are generally quilted tighter than a quarter inch so you often see them like this, one piece in a wall hanging. They are difficult applique, fine lines and points,  and quilted to resemble the ocean waves.

Original quilts are challenging. Lynne Ingalls from Seattle copied a snapshot she took of CatherineThe Great’s summer palace and produced this enchanting piece.

Another challenging walll hanging made from 52 shades of gray. I didn’t count, but again, the stitching is close, wonderfully executed and an unusual one of a kind pieces.

There is always much to see and do at a quilt faire. This woman is teaching how to mitre corners with and without stripes. The workshops are free for anyone who wants to watch and ask questions.


A food court provides delicious food and drink; a place to take a break and rest your feet.

Vendors supply materials, patterns and anything a quilter might need, and many things a quilter didn’t know she or he needed. Tables are filled with ready-made gifts to take home  like these cupcake shaped hot pads. Every year sees a new fad. This year it was kernal corn filled flannel pads that you heat in the microwave and put on your lap or the back of your neck to keep warm on a cold winter morning. I wish I had had one with me whiile I star gazed on the deck.

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This weekend past was the 33rd Annual Mountain Heirloom Quilt Faire put on by the Independence Hall Quilters of Arnold. In 1976, for the Bi-centennial Celebration, cities and counties across the nation were encouraged to choose projects representative of our colonial past to help celebrate the Bi-centennial. In Calaveras County, the most lasting tribute to that celebration is the Bicentennial Quilt made that year by about 12 women who quilted together at Independence Hall in Arnold.

This amazing quilt was put together with thoughtful consideration for each community in the county, exemplifying the special attribute of that place in 20 blocks. Mark Twain is rendered writing his famous story of the Jumping Frog Of Calaveras County.

Old time firefighters from Mokelumne Hill.

The famous bandit, Black Bart was jailed in San Andreas, the County Seat. The document is readable, it is so finely worked in thread.

Because gold mining is part of our heritage, the blocks were sewn into a background of gold material.

The bald eagle of the United States flies above; the center of the quilt holds a Bear Republic Insignia and the Insignia of the County of Calaveras. All of this took permissions from the artist who designed the Insignia and from the county. What an undertaking; what a successful and beautiful endeavor.

As I reminisced over the various blocks two people were attempting to find the five frogs on the quilt. Four of them are pretty easy, but the fifth one is difficult to find. Who thought to put a bit of mystery into the quilt?
The great part of this affair is that the Independence Hall Quilters formed their group and have become one of the top quilter’s guilds in the nation. They have maintained, over those 33 years, a huge membership that hovers between 250 and 225. Like a family, they work together, socialize, learn new techniques, teach and revel in fabric art.

Their Faire is as unique as they are. Quilts on display can never be repeated. Thus a conservative estimate of 3,300 quilts have been exhibited by countless numbers of quilters over the years. Also unique to this Faire is the antique “heritage” props the men and women of the group arrange to enhance the quilts displayed. There are male quilters, but these men are the husbands who have become involved in the undertaking along with their wives.

The couples enjoy a set-up party; with music and great food. They do the same in reverse as each year the quilts are taken down and their owners come to pick them up. Some come by UPS and are returned the same way.

Besides the quilts and props and parties, the quilters sew a challenge quilt, a raffle quilt and provide multiple quilts for the Ronald McDonald House and Habitat for Humanity. They provide quilts for those in need locally as well. The money they earn from their Faire provides student scholarships. What a wonderful bunch of empowered women. And it all started with a quilt.

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