Thursday, September 29, 2011

Travelling fabric adventures with the Quilting Ladies

Jolene and Shelley in the lobby of Hampton Inn, Kalispell, Mt
Neither my Market partner, Jolene, nor I are quilters but the Chinook Country Quilters still let us hop on the bus with them on their Quilt show and shopping adventure to Kalispell, Montana last weekend.  Oh my, what a wonderful trip -- three nights in a lovely hotel, lots of visiting with great ladies and good deals on fabric.  And all at a reasonably leisurely pace -- the bus never left the hotel before 9:45 am and our evenings were mostly free to relax and recuperate.  Being used to church conferences where you start early and are scheduled well into the night, the pace was a great treat.
Jolene holds a very long receipt for materials we'll use for our Christmas Market products.
       Jolene was the youngest woman on the bus and one kind lady thought I was as young as her.  Thank you!  We stopped at the Flathead Quilting Show, fabric stores and other shops.  Jolene and I also fit in a tour of the Conrad Mansion built in 1895, an interesting tour through history.  Most of the fabric stops were quilt stores except for the large Joann's at Kalispell.  This was the stop most useful for what Jolene and I make for the Market.  Now, as you can imagine, a bus of 45 women showing up on a shop's door stop can cause quite a crowd.
       Soon after we arrived a local woman came in the door, looked around and said, "What on earth is going on?"  I said:  "A busload of 45 women was just dropped off."  Seeing she was just about to make a grumpy comment, I added:  "And I'm part of the busload."  We both laughed. 
Sheila and her brand-new, practical boots.
       The busload lined up to get our fabric cut (flannel at $2.99 per yard!!!)  Then another line to pay.  Lots of waiting all made enjoyable by friendly, encouraging people on either side.  If a local woman had less purchases, we were often putting that person ahead of us in line.

Lucy the sock monkey gets packed, ready for a child's welcomed gift.
       Our final evening was Saturday with 'Show and Tell'.  I had to grab a photo of Sheila with her brand-new, shiny red rubber boots.  Do you see that happy glint in her eyes?  I recognize that happiness.   It's the same way that Ramona in Beverly Cleary's Ramona Forever feels when she can shed Howie's hand-me-down black rubber boots for her own, brand-new, red rubber boots.   It's the same way I felt when I got my pink rubber boots at Sobeys.  We women can also traipse through the mud, muck out the horse stable or chicken chicken coop. AND we can still wear feminine, pretty yet practical boots to get the job done! No dull, heavy, black, intended-for-men boots for us!

      Frequently on my travels I carry my backpack with "necessities."   This time a Threads sewing magazine, a slim, interesting biography of Canada's first woman judge, Emily Murphy and that blue flowery fabric-covered notebook is my planning book for Love and Comfort Designs.  One needs a creative book for creative planning, of course!   The sock monkey came home with me for my six-year-old daughter who named her Lucy.   Lucy is smaller than regular monkeys and bore the tag "Handmade in Idaho by Victoria for over 50 years."  Victoria and her husband were at the Quilt Show and you can see more of Victoria's work at Admitonefabrics.
     For years, I must say I've dreamed of taking such a trip with other women.  I've read on Pattern Review of women meeting up in places such as New York and Chicago and Montreal to go fabric shopping together and relishing together in their common love of fabric and all things sewn.  Thanks to Theresa and Linda and the Chinook Country Quilters for making a fun dream come true.

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