Irish Lake Quilter

......snippets and quilts, family, pets and friends....

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Quilts are like a journal,
Bits and pieces of fabric….
Various shapes and sizes
With colors that come to life

Joined together,
They tell a story.....

from Lolly's website

The quilt, from the late 30's, was made by Jim's Aunt Tootie (Catherine).

Shipshewana IN is a wonderful place for quilters to visit. It is well known among quilters mostly because of Lolly's and Yoders, both great quilt shops and people come from all over. At check out, it is interesting to listen to the wide variety of zip codes offered when asked by the clerk. People travel from all over to visit, get a taste of the Amish atmosphere and enjoy a casual, relaxing day. For me, whenever life becomes too muddled or a break from the day-to-day humdrum is in order, a trip to Shipshe puts the stars in line for me and I'm refreshed for a few more weeks or months. Today was a Shipshe trip. I called my friend and said 'let's go' and she said 'what time'? Ahhhh, a day among the bolts. We went to Lolly's and admired all of the kits, the numerous bolts and just the atmosphere. We found some bargains - and some not necessarily bargains. Then we were off to Yoders where the sidewalk sale was going on. Fresh corn, peaches and apples lined the area outside the grocery/hardware store as we entered the building, all signs of summer in the Midwest. The Amish bonnets, the hickory rocking chairs and little boys in blue shirts and straw flat-crown hats completed the picture. A few purchases later, we were on our way to Topeka and Tiffany's, a down-home restaurant with a parking lot full of cars and horses and buggies sharing space. The specials were home made beef and noodles, beef manhattans with mashed get the idea. We passed on the pie that we both know are awesome. Then we backtracked to Emma and the very small general store that carries maybe 100 bolts of quilting fabric and many more of the poly blends that so many Amish ladies use. Handmade clocks chimed as we shopped and the gas lights glowed, but didn't provide much light.....definitely a throwback from our modern time. We found some very good choices and added them to our small pile of bags in the car. And, finally, a stop at Alco on our way home to see what treasures we could find on their shelves. Of course, there were a few! It was a day spent in friendship, enjoying our fabric finds and a day satisfying that urge to create. Next month during Retreat, we'll get to do it again. What more can a quilter ask?

And the bride was beautiful!!

I don't understand how I became a great aunt while so young! :>) Natalie is 21 and as of last week, a married young woman. Of course, as at all weddings, I cried. The tears are just sentimental tears, ones that are happiness for the occasion, sadness at the passing of childhood and tears from all those wonderful love songs that bring warm fuzzies to my heart because of my own great love. I'm sappy and the first to admit it! The picture shows the bride with my Mom, Natalie's great grandma, her paternal step-grandmother, maternal step grandmother and maternal grandma, and of course, her mother. What a lucky young lady to have so many grandmas to surround her and impart wisdom as needed!

One of my goals is to make sure each niece and nephew gets a quilt. I finally got around to making one for Nat and gave it to her and Dan for their wedding. Along with the quilt, pillow cases were made and given so that it would make a complete set for a bedroom. We had a great time, enjoyed the gathering of family and friends and savored our own wedding memories. It's been 33 years for me and my did so much time pass so quickly?!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Good Read!

A few weeks ago my neighbor, Mary, came down to sit in the front yard while her grandson was playing in the water. Our yard has a bit of a sandy beach and a boat ramp that makes entry into the water easier so it is the gathering point of all who go in and out of the lake. Sitting in the front yard is also an invitation to any and all to gather around and chat for a few minutes or most of the afternoon. Mary is active in several groups around the area and one of them is a book club. Often she tells me of what she is reading or has read, but doesn't often say "you've got to read this book!" On this particular hot and humid afternoon, she said just that about the book, "Little Heathens" by Mildred Armstrong Kalish. It is the story of growing up on an Iowa farm during the Great Depression. There isn't so much of a story line as there is recollection of how she was raised and how things were done during that period. I haven't yet discovered why or how the book got it's title, but I'm thinking it has to do with the way the older generation thought of the younger ones. That I can remember and relate to!

My paternal grandmother lived with us as I was growing up and her sayings, depression-ist methods and ways of doing things were quite similar to what is described in this Little Heathens. One of the things that reminded me of my childhood was the annual gathering of greens. This is not the annual Christmas celebration but the arrival of dandelions in the yard! Grandma, like the one in Little Heathens, had her special butcher knife that she used for digging greens. Grandma in her bonnet, long dress and stockings held up with garters (ladies didn't wear pants in those days!) would go into the yard with her knife and bucket and gather greens that she would later soak and wash very well to get rid of the bugs and beasties and cook them with a bit of bacon and onion. We all would gag at the thought of eating weeds from the front yard, but how were we to know that someday this would be the "in" thing to do and eat - as long as Chem Lawn doesn't visit your yard! Our reaction was not the same reaction as the author who thought these a tasty treat.

The book is full of fun things ........ like how to make really good fried potatoes - something Mom is so good at but who keeps bacon fat around any more? .... making porcupines, putting cardboards on the spokes of bikes with clothespins, (I'd love to have those old baseball cards that we used!); how to make marshmallows and of course, the adventures of out-house tipping.

I'm enjoying a visit to Memory Lane thru this book. It will take me a week or so of front yard sitting to get thru it - not because it is such a thick book, but because I enjoy sitting in the front yard, occasionally reading a page or two, watching the swans or boats on the lake and of course, the neighborly chats. We are building memories that need to be passed on, just like the ones in this book.