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Jaki, one of three charming staff people who greeted me at Quilt Winks shop in Amarillo, Texas, today, models the skirt she designed and made using 2.5-inch strips and a 10° wedge ruler. Find out more about this talented woman on her Facebook page. Don't miss the block keeper she designed. Just scroll down on her page to see it. She's working on publishing the pattern for it.

I visited this shop after I stopped at Amarillo's Bernina dealer. See more on that below. When I put the address for Quilt Winks into my GPS, it said it was .03 miles away then said I was there. Huh? I was at The Sewing Nook.

I called Quilt Winks to find out where they're located. Turns out they are across the street from The Sewing Nook. What could be better than having the Bernina dealer and quilt shop walking distance apart?

Jaki of Jaki Made

Members of Friendship Quilting Guild of Perryton, Texas, shop hopping

Jaki wanted to be sure I met members of the Friendship Quilting Guild of Perryton, Texas, who were visiting the shop. One of the guild's meetings each year is a mini shop hop. Quilt Winks was their second shop; they had one more to go before heading home. Jaki decided I should take a group picture. The ladies, who had no idea who I was, were good sports, just what you'd expect from quilters. I think I can say a good time was had by all.

Bernina — aka The Sewing Nook — to the Rescue

The Sewing Nook in Amarillo, Texas

I was thrilled to learn Amarillo has a Bernina dealer since I managed to get on the road with only my ditch stitching foot for my travel machine. Once I found the foot I needed, which will now live in the travel bag, I had a look around the rest of the shop. They asked I be sure to tell you the empty shelves were because they are rearranging to make space for new fabric. Then they pointed me to the storage room, which was full of gorgeous bolts.

It will seem a small thing but I was delighted to find they had two large spools of my favorite piecing thread: Mettler 412, which used to be 725. I haven't been able to find this color for quite a few years. I hope this means Mettler is bringing it back.

The delightful staff at the shop promised to see if they can order more and will let me know. The owner wasn't there because she was en route to Uvalde with quilts donated by her customers. Quilters are so consistently compassionate in times of crisis and pain.

Wondering about the photo at the right? Quilt shops always have the best restrooms, one more reason to plan stops at them when traveling. Welcoming comfort room at The Sewing Nook

Deer at Foss State Park near Foss, Oklahoma

Oklahoma: OK!

Foss State Park is billed as the place where the deer and the buffalo roam. The song actually says the buffalo roam and the deer and the antelope play but close enough. I didn't see buffalo, although I did overnight in the Buffalo Bend Campground. The deer, however, showed up after dinner. There were at least a dozen, including a number of young ones. Despite high temperatures — 100° when I arrived mid-afternoon — it was a pleasant campsite for a great night's rest.

Because I got in earlier than usual and it was too hot to hike, I decided to stitch. Emma (my 18-foot Rpod camper) may be tiny but she has room for me to sew. I find foundation piecing suits her tight confines. I replaced the table that came with her with a portable sewing table that I know will support my travel machine. The kitchen counter doubles as my cutting and pressing area.

View of Palo Duro Canyon from my campsite

The Canyon Was Calling

Texas has some great state parks. One of my favorites is Palo Duro Canyon State Park, about 30 minutes south of Amarillo. If like me, you thought the Texas Panhandle was flat and dry to the point of mirage making, you wouldn't be wrong about much of the terrain. But then this stunning canyon appears. It gets prettier and prettier as you wind your way down the steep road — 10° downhill grade at one point — to the campgrounds.

The sites have water and electric and reasonably level paved pads. The shaded picnic tables at each site make it possible to enjoy a least a bit of time outside even when it's as hot as it is today (99°). This is often my stop en route to Houston for the International Quilt Festival. The 10-mile drive off the highway isn't much when the beauty of this place awaits you.

National Quilt Museum Flashback

I promised to post a few more photos from my visit to the National Quilt Museum earlier this week. So here goes.

"Pattern Fusion No. 18, Motherboard 9," 2018 by Arturo Alonzo Sandoval of Lexington, Kentucky

"Sonnet 30" by Roxi Kringle of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, won third place in the museum's 2022 New Quilt from an Old Favorite competition. The theme was William Shakespeare and each quilt had to feature a traditional block pattern. Roxi chose rail fence blocks. Words from the sonnet are quilted onto the surface. This is one of those quilts that grew on me as I studied it.

"Beyond Boundaries" was Dr. Lesley Phillips' entry into the museum's 2021 Block of the Month Club. Lesley is from Devon in the United Kingdom. I love fabric with type on it, probably the reason I was drawn to this quilt. Each block was designed for the museum by a known quilt designer. Each maker put her, his or their spin on the blocks.

Last Leg Begins Tomorrow

Tomorrow begins the last leg of my road trip as I head to Belen, New Mexico, for a weekend of celebrating Judy Chicago's art before turning north to my Colorado mountain home next Monday.

I'll deliver my lecture on the quilts and quiltmakers of Caohagan Island from the road this Friday as part of the Virtual Quilt Festival hosted by Quilts, Inc. Looking forward to that opportunity.

Happy Stitching!

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"Mountain Chapel" by Annette Kennedy, Longmont, Colorado, 2008

As I wandered through the galleries at the National Quilt Museum on Sunday, I was drawn to "Mountain Chapel" by Annette Kennedy. It was inspired by St. Catherine's Chapel in Allenspark, Colorado, which is just up the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway from where I live. No wonder it grabbed my attention. Each time I drive to Estes Park to teach at the Stitchin' Den or hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, I pass this lovely structure, which appears to emerge from the rock beneath it.

Fabulous Freeform table runner by Dana Jones.

Time to Sign Up

Speaking of the Stitchin' Den, I'll be teaching there later this month, and there are still a few spaces for you to register. My "Fabulous Freeform" class will be offered in-person and on Zoom simultaneously. It will meet from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time Friday, June 24. Kits of the Warehouse District fabric designed by Lesley Tucker Jenison that I used are available from the shop. Register now.

At left, "Making A Point" by Diane Firth. At right, "Blown by the Wind," also by Diane Firth.

Quilts from Down Under

Among the exhibitions at the National Quilt Museum was "Australia Wide Seven" by the ozquilt network. These small quilts were impressive. I especially liked the two above by Diane Firth.

"Blue Grass" by Carolyn Sullivan was lovely. The texture of her hand stitching to create the grass seeds made it appear you could slip them off the stalks to plant. It seemed only fitting to enjoy this quilt after a day of driving through rural Kentucky where references to blue grass are everywhere. In Colorado where I live, many of us don't think much of folks using precious water to have blue-grass lawns, but where the earth is lush and green, the blue grass is wonderful as is this depiction of blue grass Australian-style.

"Blue Grass" by Carolyn Sullivan

In For The Night

After a pleasant 400-mile drive from Paducah across Missouri into Oklahoma — all on Highway 60 through the Ozarks — Emma and I are settled in at the Twin Bridges Area at Grand Lake State Park in northeastern Oklahoma. Tomorrow we'll head across Oklahoma. And tomorrow I hope to share a few more photos from the National Quilt Museum. It's really great they now let you take photos. Just no flash.

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Miles of stopped traffic on I-71 in Kentucky south of Cincinnati, north of Louisville 6.10.2022

I wasn't riding a donkey. I'm not pregnant. But last night or actually very early this morning, I needed a place in the inn — Hampton Inn in this case. There as no room in the inn but the kindly innkeeper took pity on an old lady traveling alone at 3 a.m. with no place to lay her head.

I had a plan when I left Columbus, Ohio, about 5 p.m. last night. I'd drive the four hours from Columbus to Louisville after my final class at Quilt Surface Design Symposium. I'd camp in Louisville, rise early and visit the Sanford Biggers' exhibition at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville. Only problem, four hours became 10 hours. Just into Kentucky south of Cincinnati,

I-71 became a parking lot. Other than a few seconds here and there when we'd inch forward, the traffic — hundreds of cars, campers, semis — was at a standstill.

I'd planned to call quilt bud and amazing friend Janet Bozzone once I was on the road. I called. When she heard my plight, she accompanied me on the phone for hours. She had more luck searching online for information on what the hold up was than I did. The close to seven hours I sat not moving were only tolerable because of her. Thank you, Janet. I owe you big, big time!

Once traffic finally moved — sometime around 2:30 a.m. — I was able to exit for gas pretty soon after passing the semi that had caused the delay. It wasn't clear what had happened. The truck was really messed up. There were several dozen police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, tow trucks and more on the scene. The road was terrible. Wet from the rain. Unusually hydroplane slick. Banked higher on the left side than right around major elevated curves. It was not a fun drive with Emma — my 18-foot camper — in tow. It would not have been a fun drive in a semi. Shoot, it would not have been a fun drive even in a fun-to-drive car.

Finally an exit with hotels. They were full to overflowing. But I lucked into the best Hampton Inn night manager ever. He saw no problem with me parking Emma in the hotel lot and sleeping there. An angel just when I needed one.

I slept soundly and too long into the morning to make my scheduled ticket time at the Speed Art Museum. Instead I headed straight to tonight's destination, a campground near Paducah.

Emma settled in at Birdsville RV Park on the Ohio River.

A Good Day of Driving, A Lovely Campground

When I arrived at Birdsville RV Park, I was warmly greeted by the owners who escorted me to my site, which was an upgrade to a riverfront — the Ohio River that is — site. It's a gorgeous campground with widely spaced sites. I was surprised to find I could barely reach the electrical box, quite different from most campgrounds that require you to get on your knees to plug in. When the owner saw me on tiptoes trying to connect, he laughed and explained the riverfront sites flood from time to time so the electric has to be above flood line. I remembered the year I came to Quilt Week in Paducah when there was massive flooding. The convention center was under water so the show had been moved piecemeal to every available space around the town.

Tonight as I write, I'm hearing an occasional boat pass. The crickets are singing. A dog is barking in the distance. All is right with the world.

My plan is to visit the National Quilt Museum tomorrow then head on west Monday morning. Best laid plans. I guess I'll see what tomorrow actually brings.

Random Thoughts from the Highway

I drove a short distance on I-71 this morning but when traffic backed up as I approached Louisville, I exited. I spent the rest of the day off the interstate with most of the drive on Highway 60, which parallels the northwestern edge of Kentucky, defined by the Ohio River. It was a peaceful, relaxed drive. Here are highlights of a laid back day. I love noticing quirky things as I drive:

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  • I passed a Lustron house. I've always been fascinated by these "modern" homes that are just a bit older than I am. Most I've seen have been yellow. The one today was blue like the one pictured above. They seem to pop up randomly across the country. Years ago when I was in the market for a house, I looked at one. It wasn't for me but my intrigue with them remains.

Wikipedia says of these houses: These prefabricated enameled steel houses were developed post-World War II in response to the shortage of homes for returning G.I.s. They were the brainchild of Chicago industrialist and inventor Carl Strandlund. Considered low-maintenance and durable, they were expected to attract modern families who didn't have the time or interest in repairing and painting conventional wood and plaster houses. Lustron production ceased in 1950 when the company's couldn't pay back the startup loans it had received from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. More than 2,000 homes were constructed during Lustron's brief production period, and many remain in use today. Several have been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

  • I saw five barn quilts. The most interesting one was a 4-H design on a community building. It wasn't exactly like the one pictured here but was quite similar. Turns out, Kentucky 4-Hers have made dozens of barn quilts. Pretty cool.

I wish it was easier to photograph barn quilts but it usually requires invading private property, not something I can do subtly with Emma in tow.

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  • I filled my gas tank for $4.52 per gallon. It seems a crazy to be excited about getting gas this "cheap" but it was the lowest price I'd seen in days The station attendant was super nice. When she found out my cup was just ice she said, "No charge for that today." Thank you. Little kindnesses are so appreciated.

  • I passed a bargello house. Well that's what I called it. It was made of four colors of bricks that were positioned at diagonals like the pieces in bargello quilts. The house almost looked like it was spinning. Sorry I couldn't get a photo.

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  • I have shed envy. There is no reason I need a shed in my yard but I want one. If you can think of a reason I must have one, let me know. For now, I'll just continue to drool each time I pass an outdoor display area of sheds. One with a porch would be nice. But then again, I have three decks on my house. It's not like I need a place to sit.Yet, a shed with a porch...

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  • Hawg's ass anyone? This in Harned, Kentucky.

  • So what does it take to have a "Congested Area" sign posted? I've always been baffled by this sign appearing on the highway over the Grand Mesa in Colorado. You might pass three or four cars in a 30+ mile stretch.

Today I saw one of these signs posted right before the entrance to the campground where I'm staying.I didn't pass even one car along the five or so miles into the park.

Congested area? Think I-71.

  • Who knew? I kept seeing campaign signs today for candidates for "jailer" or "jailor." I couldn't remember ever voting for a position called jailer. Good reason. I've never lived in Kentucky, and Kentucky is the only state that elects jailers. One website described a jailer's function as follows: "The constitutional duties of a Kentucky jailer are defined within Chapters 71 and 446 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes. All county jailers are "Sworn State Peace Officers" as are their deputies with all rights and responsibilities connected to the power of arrest and other functions of the office."

Say what? Still not sure what they do.

Kentucky’s first constitution made no specific mention of jails or jailers. A provision requiring each county to elect a jailer was adopted in 1850 in the state’s third constitution. Turns out, not every Kentucky county has a jail. That means that there are jailers with no jails to oversee. So I'm still wondering what they do and why they are elected in 2022. If you're from Kentucky, please explain.

  • I'm not going to debate abortion here. I'm clear what I believe and many reading this blog are equally sure of what you believe. That said, I did have to wonder at an anti-abortion sign I passed today. Quoting Scripture and showing a photo of a very pregnant woman, it quoted Scripture: "Come to me all who are heavy laden." Yep. In the last weeks of pregnancy, women are pretty heavy laden. Anybody proof this sign before putting it up?

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