Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dougan Falls Raffle Quilt

All three of my children have attended Washougal High School, and with Kimberly a senior this year, we are approaching the end of our involvement with the school.  My eldest son, Reid, started attending WHS in 1999.  His entry into the school couldn't have been at a worse time because that was the year a community school bond passed and a major remodel and upgrade started at WHS.  Reid still tells stories of leaking roofs, no heat, temporary classrooms crowded in the gym with plastic sheeting for "walls," dust everywhere, and continuously changing construction zones. 

After almost two years of construction though, it is a beautiful school that the community is very proud of.  In addition to adding and updating classrooms, they also added a state-of-the-art auditorium.  Named after the tireless and much loved WHS educator and administrator Gordon Washburn, the Washburn Performing Arts Auditorium is a true acoustic theatre that draws rave reviews from attendees.  Many a time I have sat in that auditorium and watched Reid, then Brice (my second son), and now Kimberly playing percussion instruments as a part of an ensemble or with one of the WHS bands (yes, that's right....all three of my children are's what I blame my deafness on!).

One of the traditions at the school is an all-night party for the graduating seniors.  After their graduation on June 9, 2012, the seniors will be put on a bus and taken to a secret location for an all-night drug-free party.  This party is not funded by the school or taxpayers, but rather by dedicated parents who tirelessly hold fundraising events.

In thinking about how much of my family life has been tied to the high school, I wanted to help raise money for the senior class party.  So, I decided to make a quilt.  I really wanted to make this quilt something specific to the Washougal area, so one day I drove up along the Washougal River and stopped at interesting sites and took pictures.  I ended up at Dougan Falls, which is a magnificent waterfall that you can usually hear before you get there.  I took lots of pictures and headed home.

"Dougan Falls" is the resulting quilt.  Measuring 45" long x 28" wide, I painted each element individually, then appliqued it onto the hand painted water fabric.  It was then heavily machine quilted with thread and cheese cloth couched on for added dimension. 

This quilt will be on display at various locations in the Washougal and Camas areas for the next several months.  You will be able to buy a raffle ticket for $5 each with all the proceeds going to the WHS Senior Class.  The drama department at WHS is putting on the play "The Quilters" in April and May, and during intermission on May 5th, a ticket will be drawn and a lucky winner will be announced.  So, I hope you'll participate and potentially win this quilt!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Olivia's Baby Quilt

Olivia is my second grandchild and first granddaughter.  She joined Max, her two-year-old brother, on December 18, 2010.  Because it has been a year since she was born, I thought it was high time I got busy and made her a quilt!

The very first quilting class I ever taught was a six-week beginning quilting class that featured two pieced blocks and one appliqued block.  The appliqued block was a dragonfly that I demonstrated in each class that I taught.  When I was looking around in my studio closet for ideas for Olivia's quilt, I found eleven of these blocks and decided a dragonfly quilt would be perfect for Olly!

I made one more block, chose some fun clear, bright fabrics to border each block, and chose a white and black print for the outside borders.  The result is a very colorful quilt that I hope Olivia likes and will drag around with her for many years!

The dragonfly side of the quilt........

and the moon side of the quilt!

A picture of Olivia dressed as a ladybug for Halloween.  She's the cutest bug this grandma has ever seen!

River Quilts in Camas, Washington

December 10, 2011

This Saturday finds me teaching a Thread Painting class at River Quilts, a quilt shop located in downtown Camas, Washington.  Nancy Sullivan opened this areas' newest quilt shop this past spring and a welcome addition to this area it is!  If you haven't been to downtown Camas lately, now is a great time to visit.  In addition to great restaurants and cafe's, there are some antique shops, women's clothing stores, a yoga studio, cool bead shop, wine shop, the historic Liberty Theatre, the beautiful Camas Library, and of course, River Quilts. 

This past August, Nancy organized the very first Outdoor Quilt Show in downtown Camas.  The show was very well attended with over 125 quilts on exhibit, so she is already planning for an even bigger show next year.   If you live in the Southwest Washington area, I hope to see one of your quilts hanging in the 2012 show. 

It was during the Outdoor Quilt Show that I first met Nancy and we scheduled the class that brings me back today.  Nancy rearranged the store so 18 of us could take over the back half of the store.  Most students worked on Great Blue Herons, but there was a purple heron that also appeared in class!  All the students were very enthusiastic and it was a pleasure meeting all of them. 

I'm scheduled to teach a beginning Art of Machine Quilting class at River Quilts on March 10, 2012.  So, if you're interested in taking an introductory machine quilting workshop at a classy quilt shop, here's your chance!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pajaro Valley Quilt Guild, Santa Cruz, California

November 12-15, 2011

It was a beautiful day when I flew in to the San Jose Airport and was met by Jaimie Chism and Katie Woods of the Pajaro Valley Quilt Guild.  We had a fabulous lunch seated in the outside veranda of the Crow's Nest Restaurant, which sits on the beach at the Santa Cruz Harbor.  After lunch, we drove along the coast and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Brown Pelicans and other sea birds, sea lions, and dozens of surfers.  After walking along the coast for a while, Jamie and Katie dropped me off at the Capitola Inn, which will be my home for the next three nights.

On our walk we passed this lighthouse, which also housed a surfer's museum.

You could see the seaweed when the waves crashed.

Next morning, Jaimie, Katie and I ate a tasty breakfast at Gayle's, a local well-known bakery.  I then had the pleasure of meeting a group of very enthusiastic quilters and taught a Thread Painting class.  The students worked very hard and I hope they are as pleased with their results as I was. 

After class, Jaimie and I had a marvelous meal at the Paradise Beach Grille Restaurant that sits on the beach in Capitola.  The weather was so mild that we ate outside on the veranda and watched a spectacular sunset.

On Monday, I got to sleep in a little before Jaimie picked me up and we went to Pat's home, a fellow quilt guild member.  Pat's home is so lovely she calls it Pelican Pointe and has it decorated with any number of pelican quilts, pictures, and statues.  We also got to meet her two darling dogs, along with another member's dog who belongs to Nancy, who was also visiting.  Nancy, a lifelong Californian, has lived in this area for 30 years and is quite knowledgeable about the region.

Nancy drove Jaimie and me around in the afernoon and we toured the University of California Santa Cruz campus, where Nancy worked for many years before retiring.  It couldn't have been better timing for me to be able to talk to someone well versed in the UC world because my 18 year old daughter, Kimberly and I attended a college roundup in Portland just last week!  I was able to understand the UC and State college environment better because of Nancy's expertise....especially invaluable since Kimi has expressed an interest in attending a California college.

After touring the UCSC campus, we drove north on the scenic California 1 highway and saw the beautiful coastline, fields of artichokes, strawberries, surfers, sail boarders, lots of birds including pelicans, and even a few deer.

We then met up with Katie, Pat and Pat's friend Melanie, and went to a wonderful Thai restaurant for dinner.  The place is a local institution and it is easy to see why.  There was a beautiful garden in front, and it is easily the most ornate restaurant I've ever seen.  In fact, one of the gals said it always reminded her of the movie "The King and I".  Did I mention that it's next to impossible to not gain weight when visiting guilds?  This trip is certainly no exception!

After dinner we drove to the church where the guild meetings are held.  The Pajaro Valley Quilt Guild gets it's name from the valley in this region.  There are currently 200 members, with new members joining all the time.  They are very active in the local community and have an annual quilt show in February.  I saw some outstanding work during Show and Tell.  I gave my lecture and displayed all the quilts I was able to cram into my suitcase.  The audience was very receptive and gracious.  A great big Thank You to the members who held my quilts and walking them around the audience so audience members could get a closer look.  Thanks also to all the gals who brought their heron thread painting pieces to the guild meeting - you guys did great work and I was happy to see them again!

Tuesday morning is another clear and beautiful day with temps in the mid-60's.  Jaimie picks me up and drives me back to the airport for my flight to Portland.  A very special THANK YOU to Jaimie for making this trip such an enjoyable time - I sincerely hope our paths cross again in the future!  I'd also like to say thank you to the members of the Pajaro Valley Quilt Guild for giving me the opportunity to come to this beautiful part of the world and speak to the members.  I wish you much luck and continued success in the future!

The Quilter, Vancouver, Washington

October 29, 2011

This particular Saturday finds me teaching an Art of Machine Quilting class at The Quilter in Vancouver, Washington.  Bonnie Craig has had a quilting shop for 22 years, with 11 of those years in Vancouver.  She has been at the present location on Chkalov Road in Cascade Park for the past four years.

This full-line quilt shop features reproduction prints to batik, civil war prints to traditional.  The Quilter also has a large selection of books and patterns, a variety of batting selections, and the full line of Hemingworth Threads.  It was at this quilt shop that I first saw the Hemingworth threads and I fell in love with them.  It is a 40 wt. polyester thread like a lot of other thread currently on the market, but what I like the best is their colors.  There doesn't seem to be as much yellow in this thread line, so they have a lot of what I call "muddy" colors - colors that you can't tell if they are green, brown, or gray.  This is the type of thread colors I'm looking for when quilting rocks, tree bark, branches, and bird legs to name just a few.  They have beautiful taupe threads in a range of values, blue/gray threads (great for Herons), and awesome mauve colors - just to name a few.

Since Bonnie's classroom is located on one side of her store and is smaller in size, the maximum number of participants in any class is also smaller - which is great for the students!  Class today has 10 students, so everyone got a lot of one-on-one time.  Several class attendees also joined me for lunch at the Jerusalem Cafe, which made the day that much more fun and relaxed.

So, if you're ever in the Vancouver area and want to visit a quilt shop with a great selection of thread and books (along with fabric, of course!), stop in and visit Bonnie at The Quilter.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Westside Quilter's Guild

October 17, 2011

Westside Quilter's Guild is located in Hillsboro, Oregon and currently has about 85 members.  This guild has been in existence for five years and they are very active in their community.  They donated 175 quilts to the flood victims in Vernonia last year.  They also contribute quilts on an ongoing basis to the neonatal unit at St. Vincents Hospital.  They have semi-annual quilt shows, as well as an upcoming exhibit at Glenn Walters Cultural Trust Center. 

They have asked me to come and speak to the guild about my work, so I loaded up my car with as many quilts as I could and drove to the Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church where their meetings are held.  They were a very receptive audience and I had an enjoyable time.  In fact, there was so much interest in my work that we scheduled machine quilting and thread painting classes in November and December, 2012 - and the November classes were filled within the hour!  So, I am looking forward to returning to this lively group in 2012.  Thank you everyone for such a wonderful reception!

Gals lining up for Show and Tell - I saw some great work that night!

Velda Newman Workshop

October 12, 14, 15, 2011

The tables were turned and I got the opportunity to take a class instead of teaching one.    And what a great class it was!  On Wednesday, October 12, Velda taught her Creating Realism-Techniques class.  She also calls it her Kindergarten Class because we got to play and couldn't do anything wrong.  We experimented with discharging, foiling, bleaching, and painting.  Velda supplied her paints as well as all the other tools she uses to add color to fabric - watercolor pencils, oil pastels, and permanent marking pens.  We experimented shading paint from very light to dark, blending one paint color with another, and adding shadows to add depth and dimension to an object. 

On Friday and Saturday, Velda taught her class entitled Texture & Form.  We made several samples, including a lemon, basket, cantaloupe, sea shell, several tulip petals, and leaves.  Once these were made, we spent the remaining time on Saturday applying color to these objects.  Some were painted, and on others we used pencils and even splatter brushes to add depth and dimension. 

Throughout the entire three days of classes, Velda was very gracious about telling us all her tips and tricks she uses to create her astonishing quilts. Velda brought several smaller samples for us to look at, in addition to her Baskets quilt.  Class participants also got to get up close to (and help hold) Zinnias, one of her newest quilts that is seven feet long, and see the detail in each leaf and how she achieved such realistic flower buds. 

I hope that If you ever get the chance to take a class from Velda Newman that you'll take it.  She is a marvelous teacher and has inspired me to look at my quilts and quilt making differently.  I can't wait to try out some of her techniques in my own work.  Thank you, Velda!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

SEW-Q Southeastern Washington Quilter's Guild

October 9, 2011

Today I am driving from Washougal to Kennewick, Washington, which is in the southeastern part of the state. This is my third visit since May when I first visited the SEW-Q gals and did a trunk show. I then came back a few months later and taught an introductory Art of Machine Quilting class. Tomorrow I'll be teaching a Thread Painting class.  While driving to Kennewick, I took a break at a rest stop just east of Mosier, Oregon and had to take the following pictures:

Great place to have a picnic lunch, don't you think?

I was thrilled to see a small herd of Big Horn Sheep just east of the John Day dam.  Truth be told, I've seen the sheep in that same area many times before, and so I'm always looking for them now. In fact, one time I also saw Mountain Goats in the same area!

After arriving in town, I went to Columbia Park, which is a wonderful park that runs for miles along the Columbia River. It is a great place for walking, jogging, biking, and feeding birds. They also have a baseball diamond and a frisbee golf course. I walked some of the paths and enjoyed a great sunset.

On Saturday, I taught Thread Painting to a group of very enthusiastic attendees. 

SEW-Q is a guild with about 90 members that was started in the mid-90's. The guild has an annual quilt auction with all proceeds going to Hospice House, a local support center for the dying and their family. Rickie Nichol is program chair and my wonderful hostess.  I had a terrific time getting to know these ladies and I wish all of them and their guild much success and happiness in the future!

Fibers In Motion

October 1, 2011

Fibers In Motion is a quilt shop located in Multnomah Village, which is in the southwest section of Portland, Oregon.  This contemporary quilt shop features a lot of Bali and African fabrics, along with some silks and rayons.  Owner LuAnn Rukke has created an environment that nurtures and celebrates creative fabric art of all types.  You can take a wide range of quilting, wearable art, and accessories classes that are geared toward the beginner to advanced sewer.

LuAnn has a small classroom located in her quilt shop, and I'm here today teaching a machine quilting class.  I have taught here many times in the past, and have always enjoyed my time spent here.  For lunch, two class attendees and I walked across the street and ate at O'Connors - always a good meal.  After class, LuAnn and I walk up the street to Thai Herbs for dinner.  This restaurant is another gem in Multnomah Village, along with Annie Bloom's Book Store and Northwest Wools - two other favorites of mine.

If you haven't visited it yet, Fibers In Motion is a must-see!  Check out their website at:

Purple Frog Quilt Shop

September 24, 2011

The Purple Frog Quilt Shop features a large selection of bali fabrics, prints, and a limited amount of reproductions.  They also have an entire wall of tools to peruse.  They are located in the rolling hills of Jefferson, Oregon which is about two hours south of Portland.  Jefferson is a quaint community of about 3,000 people and they are the self-proclaimed "Frog Jumping Capital of Oregon".  The frog jump competition is held every 3rd Saturday in July during the Mint Festival.  Owners Mary and Kim chose the name of the quilt shop to honor the frog jump, as well as the high school colors.

I've been invited here to teach a Thread Painting class.  This is the second time I've been here; the first time was back in May when I taught a machine quilting class.  A number of gals who attended the first class are joining me again and I'm happy to see them.  A number of class attendees joined me for lunch at a local cafe just down the road from the quilt shop, and it was a treat to have Cathie (my driver) take me to the local Mexican Bakery.  I've never been to this type of bakery before, and I very much enjoyed the cookies she bought for the class for the rest of the afternoon!

The Purple Frog has a large classroom on site, as well as a long arm quilting machine.  They don't have a web page yet, but if you'd like to contact them, use this email address:

So, if you're ever in the area, take the time to visit this charming quilt shop and say 'hi' to Mary and Kim for me.  You'll be glad you did!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Grass Valley and Lakeport, California

September 6-12, 2011

Grass Valley is a quaint little community in the foothills north of the Sacramento Valley. At an elevation of approximately 2,500 ft above sea level, they tend to have cooler temperatures than the valley floor of North/Central California. They also tend to have a few snow flurries each winter as well. The foothills are covered in pine, oak, and madrona, which has a beautiful red bark, making the drive from the Sacramento airport (their closest major airport) quite picturesque.  It is a beautiful, clear day with the temperature in the high 80's when I arrive in

My hostess, Chris Parks, has a lovely home tucked into the hills not far from town. She has a wonderfully inviting garden with fountains and a swimming pool, surrounded by pine and redwood trees. My home-away-from-home for the next three days!  On Tuesday evening, I had the opportunity to present my trunk show to the members of the Pine Tree Quilt Guild.  They were a very fun, enthusiastic group and I very much enjoyed my time with them.

On Wednesday, I taught a class based on my Nautilus pattern to 20 attendees.  There were some beautiful renditions of the Nautilus shell started, and I look  forward to seeing pictures of all the completed quilts very soon! 

Thursday was a day of sightseeing with Chris as tour guide. We visited the Empire Mine State Historical Park, which is located just a mile down the road from Chris' home. Established in 1850, the mine consists of 367 miles of tunnels that crisscross under the town of Grass Valley. In fact, most homeowners in the area only own their property to 100 feet below ground; the mine retains rights to the tunnels underneath. When the mine closed in 1957, there was a total of nearly six million ounces of gold that had been mined from the site.

Looking down one of the tunnels. 
Can we say claustrophobia fast enough!?!

This is one of the original buildings at the Empire Mine site.

Sign in front of main building.

The owners of the mine had a beautiful home, complete with park-like grounds,next to the mine and open for tours.  Here, Chris is in front of one of the fountains.

This is a picture of the huge bronze statue by the fair grounds entrance.

What trip to a new town would be complete without a visit to the local quilt shop? Sugar Pine Quilt Shop is in a renovated home and has rooms filled with reproduction prints, lots of Bali fabric, and a great selection of Asian prints (yes, I did manage to add to my stash!).

Friday was a travel day from Grass Valley to Lakeport, California, which is located northwest of Sacramento. I said goodbye to Chris and met Ellen Hall of the Ladies of the Lake Quilt Guild. Ellen drove me to Jane Alameda's home, where I'll be staying for the next two nights. Jane's home has a beautiful garden overlooking a wooded valley and a friendly cat named Lucky, who slept with me both nights - felt just like home!

Lakeport sits next to Center Lake, which is the largest lake entirely within the borders of California. Center Lake is also the site of many catfish and bass fishing tournaments. Because Lakeport is lower in elevation than Grass Valley is, the temperature is in the mid- to high 90's.

A view of Center Lake, geese, and the beautiful rolling hills beyond.

On Saturday morning, I had the opportunity to speak to the Ladies of the Lake Quilt Guild. This guild has about 150 very talented, creative members and it was a pleasure to show them some of my work.

In the afternoon, Ellen Hall and I took a road trip around the Lakeport and neighboring Kelseyville area in search of barns that had traditional quilt blocks painted on them. Called the Quilted Trail, there are currently about a dozen barns, packing plants, and businesses sporting a brightly painted quilt block on the side of the buildings. One of my favorites was a Monkey Wrench block painted on an old barn with a dilapidated old truck parked next to it. I also enjoyed seeing a block on a barn where all the "animals" were made of iron. It was a very enjoyable afternoon!

The Monkey Wrench block with an old truck
parked next to it - perfect!

Another of my favorites - a horse and her (camera shy) foal
next to an old barn with a quilt block.

Some of the local businesses are even joining in on the fun. 
Here, a local wine tasting room with an appropriate
quilt block on their building.

Here is the link if you'd like to get more information about Lakeport's Quilt Trail:

On Sunday morning, September 11, members who had gathered for the Thread Painting class, stood for a moment of silence in remembrance of those lives lost ten years ago. May they rest in peace - and may we never forget! We then spent the rest of the day working on a Great Blue Heron and Butterfly thread painting samplers. It was a busy, productive day for the participants.

Ellen is working hard, along with two other attendees.

Great job, Clara!

After class, Ellen and I drove to her home in Roseville, which puts us much closer to the Sacramento Airport and a flight home on Monday morning.  I want to thank both guilds for giving me the opportunity to come and speak to them. I can only hope they enjoyed it as much as I have - thank you!

John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, North Carolina

In January, 2011 I went to the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC to teach a weeklong class in quilt design.  If you're not familiar with it, the John C. Campbell Folk School was founded in 1925 and seeks to bring people toward two kinds of development:  inner growth as creative, thoughtful individuals, and social development as tolerant, caring memebers of a community.  Located in western North Carolina in the shadow of the Appalachian Mountains, a typical week has between 13 to 15 different classes in everything from music, photography, painting, blacksmithing, writing, cooking, jewelry, wood turning, pottery, weaving, and of course, quilting!  If you've ever wanted to learn to make a kaleidoscope, weave a pine needle basket, or make soap from scratch, the JCC folk school is for you!  Check out their website at for more information on this amazing place.

View of the Appalacians from John C. Campbell Folk School

This trip was different from the first two trips I've made to the folk school because I accepted an invitation to stay at the home of Jane Oliver, along with her dear friends Emily Thompson and Donna Warfield.  In years past, I always stayed in one of the houses at the folk school.  But this year, Jane offered her beautiful mountain home, which is located just a few miles up the road from the folk school, and I accepted.  I first met Jane, Emily and Donna when they took a class from me several years earlier in Sisters, Oregon.  Since then, we've gotten to know each other at other classes, including the two previous times I taught at the folk school.  It was at Jane's home early one morning that I saw one of the most spectacular sunrises I've ever seen.  Pictures just didn't do it justice, but it was magnificent and I'll always remember it.

The quilting studio at JCC is the nicest one I've ever taught at.  It is a very large, bright room and each student gets an 8 foot table for themselves, along with a 6' x 8' design wall - great for spreading out.  Power cords hang from the ceiling, which means there are no extension cords to trip over!  There is also a quilting (and weaving) library if more inspiration is needed.  The classes are also limited to 12 students or fewer, so there is more instructor/student time....Yeah!

In my Thread Duets workshop, students created an original fiber art piece using the color theory and Divine Phi ratio I discussed.  Participants also started to think about how they intended to quilt their fiber art pieces earlier in the design process.  This really helps to create a piece where the quilting is an important, integrated part of the overall quilt.  Some of the students also made their quilts two-sided.  In all, there were some great quilts designed.

Students spent the first two days designing their quilt top.  By Wednesday, participants sandwiched their quilts and made them two sided.  We also practiced machine quilting.  On Thursday and Friday morning, students quilted their fiber art piece.  Each Friday afternoon at John C. Campbell, there is a gathering of all students and faculty at the Community Center for the Student Exhibit.  Students display a sampling of their week's work and view the creations of others.  After supper, there is a free concert to end the week.

All in all, teaching at the John C. Campbell Folk School is a spiritually rewarding time for me and the environment is a testament to the power of creation that each individual has within.  I've been invited back to teach a weeklong machine quilting/thread painting class in January, 2012 and am already looking forward to it.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Abu Dhabi Quilt Guild, United Arab Emirates

In November, 2010, I had the opportunity to visit the Abu Dhabi quilt guild in the United Arab Emirates and teach quilting classes for five days.  Having never been to the Middle East, I really didn't know what to expect.  With temperatures averaging 85 degrees, the weather was perfect. 

The ship I was on....and you can see the chef working!

As it turned out, the weekend I arrived was the final race weekend for the Formula One race cars.  I'm not a big race car fan, but 24 hours after landing in this marvelous country, I was sitting on a 60 year old yacht (one of three original ships of Sheik Zayad) that looked like it could have been in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, with a private chef on-board creating a marvelous buffet meal for me and the other 25 folks on board, watching the Formula One race cars speed by a short distance away.  Wow!  The cars were moving so fast, it was difficult to even see what color they were.  So, in pretty short order I found myself people-watching - great fun! After the race on Saturday night, Colleen, my wonderful hostess, and I went to a Linkin Park concert, and after the final race on Sunday, we saw Prince in concert - awesome!!!

Prince in concert!

After all this fun, there were classes to teach!  The class attendees were all ex-Pat's from Europe, Australia, India, and the United States.  I taught five different classes, with a number of folks taking more than one class. 

Some of the Mandala's created in class.

A student with her version of Currents.

Colleen works on her Mandala.

One of the Labyrinths that was created.

Currents interpreted as a fire - awesome!

After each class was over, Colleen would take me sightseeing.  We visited the Royal Palace Hotel one evening - the only hotel I've ever been to where we were screened in the parking lot, and went through a metal detector when we entered the hotel.  We came around one corner in this over-the-top fabulous hotel and saw a vending machine that bars!!!!

Just wishin' I could buy a gold bar....

Fabric shopping in Abu Dhabi is quite different from shopping in the U.S.  Most fabric is on round tubes about 4 feet in length.  Most of the fabric I saw was beautiful silks, rayons, polyester, and lace of all weights.  There was a surprisingly small amount of 100% cotton fabric, so when quilters found pure cotton, they would buy yards of it!  Most gals in my classes came with minimum 2 yards of each fabric and some brought much more.  The cotton fabric costs on average between $4-$5 a yard, and it was negotiable with the salesman who follows you around the store and is ready to cut fabric the instant you I said - different than shopping in the U.S.!
The last night in town, Colleen and I toured the Grand Mosque - a must-see if you ever have the opportunity.  You'll have to don a less-than-awesome black burka and veil, but it's worth it.  Beautiful mosaic work with semi-precious stones mostly of flowers and vines are everywhere - all kinds of quilting ideas.  The mosque features three of the largest chandeliers in the world and are made of Swarovski crystals.  It also has the largest Persian rug in the world...with no repeating patterns!  The thing that impressed me the most, though, was the huge wall covered in back-lit Arabic script.  Colleen told me it was 99 different ways to say "God" - it was breathtaking!

The Grand Mosque at sunset.

Guess who the short one is.....

Amazing mosaics everywhere you look!

The enormous chandeliers...

The backlit wall with 99 different ways to say God....

Since the country is so close to the equator, it is hot all the time.  One of the ways locals cool off is to rent floating tricycles with huge tires and pedal around in the water.  The gals wear something called a "burkini" (think burka and bikini combined together), which is shorter than the floor length burkas normally worn.

Locals keeping cool in the heat...

All told, it takes about 20 hours to travel from Abu Dhabi and Portland, between the actual flight times and layovers.  I didn't suffer any jet lag going to UAE, but woke up at 4 a.m. for about a week after returning home - I cleaned out my closets and designed a few new quilts!

A huge THANK YOU to Colleen and her husband for being such wonderful hosts and making my first visit to the Middle East so memorable - I sincerely hope our paths cross again in the future.