Saturday, May 1, 2010

Can you say "May"?

Already we cruise into May, and I have the top down and a smile on my face. Yesterday was a little too warm for me, but it was a good day nonetheless. Helped to move a friend's daughter's stuff from her apartment in Ann Arbor (while she leaves town for the summer); had a very late breakfast at a neat little diner (Angelo's) in the heart of the worst parking area of A2. The bread used for toast was just like my Aunt Pearl' I want to bake!

As we departed A2 and her twins, we discussed other things we could do besides just head back to Clarkston. It was early in the day yet, and we were feeling energetic and footloose.

Recently, I snagged a copy of an advertising newspaper for quilters and "craftys" which shows a statewide calendar of events and all of the quilt shops (who care to advertise) from tip to thumb; pinky to UP, and all points in between. I surveyed the publication for any (strictly) quilt shops with more than 2,000 bolts of material, and that were not craft-oriented in any way. Put together two lists of these shops and designated them as "Maria" and "Jean." Mind you, none of us has any extra capital so spend right now, so quilt shop hopping would be a horrible waste of time - but do we care about that?

Hahahaaaaaa...I laugh at your naiveté.

Which brings us to lesson #74: Never bypass a quilt shop unless you know it to not be worthwhile.

Oddly, as Jean was navigating her burly, college-crap-loaded Suburban down the expressway, she mentioned she has seen a sign (several times) for a quilt shop in Davison and thought maybe it would be fun to explore it as we were already out and about, and we're not too far from it if we stuck to I-69 and took the 'back way' returning to my house. Well, who am I to turn down a chance to scurry through a small, unexplored, heretofore unknown shop; how can you justify not examining the contents before dismissing it off-hand?

I couldn't. Besides, it was one of the shops on my new mission list! It was kismit I tell ya! She was reading my mind - thank goodness. And what a gem of a find it was!

If you ever find yourself wheeling around in the Davison area, head north of M-15 until you find "Linda's Quilt Shop," you won't be sorry. It is EXACTLY as a quilt shop should be!

I had the added pleasure of being recognized by the owner...and it had been over 12 years since we had seen each other last.

There was once a shop in Davison's old downtown that was loaded for bear with calicos and solids, flannels and new geometric prints. That was some fabric mecca for a small town girl, and it was forever crawling with new quilters, curious tag-a-long friends, long-time customers, and the instructors who taught classes there. The women who worked there grew to know me over time - as they did with all of their regulars - and somedays I would go simply to have fun looking and dreaming about new quilts to assemble, or to pick up just a smidge of something to finish a current quilt. The conversations were a riot, and I always left feeling as though I had just had a great conversation with a sister or favorite cousin and not a clerk who simply wanted to make a sale.

Well, here we are at the check out counter, and Linda said "You remind me of someone. Did you use to raise turkeys?"

You could have knocked me over with a quarter yard of calico! How did she remember that!?! Not only that, but she recalled that we lived in Hadley! Of all the women that she had met and gotten to know, she remembered my sons and me because of that - and because of the chat we were having over the material.


As we stood talking, she told me how the other women thought Brian and Karl were so well-behaved when they would be at the shop with me. I love my boys. She also said that after I would leave the shop, some of the women would laugh til they cried over some of the stories I would tell of the boys and the turkeys, and of my idiot husband at the time.

Hmmm.... :^) It's all good, I guess, if you can make a lasting impression - especially if it's a good one! LOL

Well, with two happy finds like that, you can bet your boots I will be returning to Linda's lovely quilt shop!

From there, Jean and I went to the Ortonville Quilt Show (yes, that was on the mission list, too), and as luck would have it, we were there on the first day of the two day show. We were both very impressed by the lovely pieces exhibited throughout the church. There were quilts of all ages and sizes either draped over pews or hanging along the walls. A woman played tunes on a piano up in the front of the church while women and men went around the exhibit, closely examining (and appreciating) the workmanship and overall beauty of the quilts on display.

I have a whole new set of quilting ideas and goals after having a look at so many beautiful quilts. I most appreciated the oldest pieces and their simple, rustic handwork, as so few woman finish their own quilts any more. Quite a few of them opted to have their quilts quilted via someone with a long-arm machine - a pity. While the quilting was precise, and definitely tell tale of having been stitched by machine, it lacked the imperfections of hand/machine work - that is to say, when someone uses their regular flatbed sewing machines to stitch the quilts by guiding the quilt under the needle freehand. Less than perfect results can happen, but I think the advent of the long-arm has taken away the last bit of creativity one can apply to the quilt in order to call it "hand made."

I can still remember when woman poo-poo'd others who would use the free hand method to topstitch the quilt, and refuse to consider the quilt hand made because of it - and that was a scant ten years ago! My, how the mighty have fallen.

Personally, I reserve my hand work (stitching-wise) for binding the quilt and for crazy quilting, or on standard miniatures alone. My crazier pursuits are not undertaken with a needle and thread. Besides, I know my strengths and weaknesses; straight stitching (through layers) is not a strength of mine. Crazy quilting does not employ "straight" anything, and binding is an art which requires deftness to hide the stitches while accomplishing a strong and stable turning of the material from from to back. So, I apply the use of my skills where they are best appreciated!

Anyhow, from there we went back to Clarkston, where we watched a couple of movies we have been wanting to see; and talked about next steps; and what's next for classes and school; and work prospects and kid stuff in general - hers and mine. She's got an exciting week coming up with one of her daughters graduating from medical school! Another will be home from college for the summer, a third is heading to New York for a couple of months to re-energize, touch base with friends, dance with her NY troupe and have fun before architectural classes resume in the fall for her at...well, that supposed school in A2. Her son is providing her babysitting duties with her first grand baby, and she still has her own classes to tend to.

Me, on the other hand, I need a new life! More on that later - we have a whole new month, and I am certain to have news to share soon enough.

PS: Mucho thanks to Aunt Judy for the birthday email. You have always been my cheerleader - which, I suspect, you have been for all of your nieces and nephews. But I greatly appreciated the kind words. Yours was the only familial contact (except for my missed call from mom) on my birthday, and I was feeling pretty low. [hugs]

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