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.